Monday, August 9, 2010

One handed reloading of the semi-auto pistol

I recently fielded a question on another board:
"I was told you cannot use an automatic with the left hand, especially changing a clip. I never thought of this. Does anyone make a Left handed automatic? Is a custom conversion even thinkable?"

(The question reminded me that many people don't know much about guns in general or pistols in particular so I threw a few explanatory and illustrative links into my answer.)

My answer:
Whoever told you that didn't know what they were talking about. I've shot many left (weak) hand only stages at combat pistol matches with my M1911A1 (1) Browning .45 ACP caliber semi-automatic pistols. Thousands of pistol shooters fire regular off the shelf semi-auto pistols left handed every day.

Also, it's called a magazine, NOT a "clip" because the magazine surrounds the cartridges on five sides. The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) has what is commonly called a "box magazine" because the magazine extends below the rifle. The M-1 Garand rifle and many European pistols use clips which merely "clip" the cartridges together.

Most semi-auto pistols have the magazine enclosed within the grip of the pistol when firing and are just referred to as magazines.

Many M1911 type pistols have ambidextrous thumb safeties so that's no problem for lefties if they remember to buy the right (pun intended ;-) gun. Also there are ways to fleck the thumb safety on and off with only the left hand on M1911 type pistols that I won't go into here, but they should be able to learn to do it safely from any competent firearms instructor.

To avoid the thumb safety issue altogether with Semi-automatic pistol buy a Glock pistol which has the safety in the trigger.

To change the magazine using only one hand (left or right) on a semi-auto pistol do this:

My preferred way to reload with just one hand:

Note this guy may get dirt in his muzzle:

(There are other methods that work but that I consider them to be less safe.)

If you're going to practice this maneuver be sure to do so with an unloaded gun and magazines for the first ten times or so until you're sure you're doing it safely and keeping the Muzzle pointed away from you at all times.

(1) M1911A1
(There are literally uncountable numbers of auto pistols based on Browning's design. If you've ever fired an automatic pistol chances are, no matter who made it, it was based on Browning's design.)

If you wish to try this technique do so with an unloaded (check three times) gun and magazines!

OH and one more thing!
Be sure to practice with an unloaded gun and magazines!

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