Moving Left of Center
I’m sure that all of the “gun guys and gals” will recognize this holster – the Bianchi Serpent. What you may not see so quickly is that it’s a left-handed holster. I just received it in the mail, today, and you might be forgiven if you thought that Midway USA had made a shipping error; I’m not left-handed. At least, not yet.
Three weeks ago, I was unable to get my car out of the drive due to a heavy snowfall. Since I live just two miles from my job, I decided to walk. Unfortunately, only 200 yards from the entrance gates, I slipped and fell. I landed heavily on my right side, injuring my right shoulder.
(Backstory: 30 seconds before I fell, a co-worker stopped to ask if I wanted a ride to the building. I was only 200 yards away, and pridefully, since I had walked two miles, said, “Nah, I’ll be alright”. The Bible says that pride comes before a fall. So I fell.)
At first I was unable to lift my arm without severe pain. I was unable to sleep. But worst of all, I was unable to pull my M&P 40 from it’s holster, usually carried just behind my right hip. I was forced to carry in a center position, sometimes referred to as appendix carry. (And, as a result, forced to switch to a smaller handgun, my S&W 637 snubby.)
Appendix carry allows quick, center-line access to a handgun, but it breaks the first rule of safety: never point a handgun at anything you don’t want to destroy. And the muzzle of a center-carried handgun points at things I definitely want to keep. So I ordered a left-handed holster.
I know that all of us have practiced shooting with our non-dominant hand. But have any of us practiced carrying on the non-dominant side? Not many. A handgun carried on the dominant side might be inaccessible to you if your dominant arm is injured in a fight. Try it! Reach around and quickly draw your UNLOADED handgun with your non-dominant hand. Not so easy.
Shoulder injuries are more common as we age. Our shoulder muscles weaken and are more easily injured, especially in a fall. We might find ourselves unable to draw quickly with that arm. Practicing handgun techniques with a non-dominant side holster might be insurance for the future.
Now, three weeks later, my shoulder, though healing, is still sore. I’m working on stretching and strengthening exercises in an effort to regain full use. I have an additional physical problem,however, lurking in the shadows. My left knee has given me trouble before, requiring the use of a cane for a few weeks. So again, my dominant side could be busy – holding on to a cane (old age is not for weaklings), and I’ll need that left-handed holster.
I’ll be moving left of center in many of my practice sessions, from now on, and maybe in my every-day-carry from time to time. I hope trouble never comes calling for me or my family, but if it does, I want to answer with my M&P 40, and a full magazine of Critical Duty ammo, from the left or the right.