Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

Safely Passing the Gun

Becoming ambidextrous is a worthy goal for any serious pistol shooter. Very few people are naturally ambidextrous, meaning they can use both hands equally well. The rest of us are inclined towards a strong preference for our right or left hands to perform fine motor skills such as writing or working the trigger. Your non-dominant other half isn’t necessarily less capable than your dominant half, barring any physical injuries or conditions. Your non-dominant side may be less developed, physically weaker, or shakier, and sometimes far less coordinated than its “better half” simply because it is less experienced. Having the confidence to handle safely and shoot the firearm with either hand can be a personal marksmanship and overall safety goal.

Some competitions and many drills require “off-hand” activities. While taking the actual shot is a skill to master, so is the act of passing the gun from one hand to the other. If executed poorly, the hand-to-hand transfer can cause serious safety violations. Done correctly, safely, and efficiently the “pass” is both safe and can shave a lot of time off of scores. There are numerous methods for the pass. The following technique implements mindful muzzle direction and trigger finger placement and builds consistency and confidence in the grip established with the non-dominant hand.


STEP 1: Remove the non-dominant hand from the two-handed grip from the compressed ready position.
STEP 2: Observing the gun in your dominant hand, lower the thumb to touch the ring finger. This should produce a small gap between the gun’s beaver tail and your hand’s webbing.
STEP 3: Preset your non-dominant hand so that the pinky, ring, and middle fingers are all touching while the pointer and thumb are flared independently. Presetting the hand helps to “Teach” your non-dominant hand how to isolate the new trigger finger and prepare the other digits to build a good grip.
STEP 4: Keeping the gun pointed down range, slide the webbing of the non-dominant hand over that of the gun hand and into the gap below the beaver tail. The thumb and pointer finger, now the new trigger finger, should be on opposing sides of the frame.
STEP 5: Wrap the pinky, ring, and middle fingers of your non-dominant hand over the top of your original gun hand, allowing it to relax its hold and slide away, transferring the gun completely.

OPTION A: The NEW non-dominant hand is placed on the chest in preparation for a one-handed pistol presentation.
OPTION B: The NEW non-dominant hand prepares to complete a two-handed grip. Prepare the firing hand thumb by flaring it upwards. Non-dominant hand presets by “Knife handing” forward, thumb pointing towards the target while the other four fingers connect and angle downwards. Apply the palm of the non-dominant hand against the frame of the gun below the firing hand thumb, and fold all four fingers over the firing hand fingers and around the grip. 


Hot Potato: Slowly and safely practice passing from one hand to the other, building only one-handed grips. Pass back and forth until the technique is correct. Then try passing from one hand to the other, completing two-handed grips. This is a passing exercise only—no live fire. 

One Hand Wonder: Pass the gun from one hand to the other, presenting one-handed for a single shot on target after each pass. Return to a compressed ready position after each shot to conduct the pass. Keep your eyes on the gun and hands while performing the pass. 

Mirror Image: Pass the gun from one hand to the other constructing a two-handed grip before presenting for a single shot. Return to compressed ready, pass to the other hand and repeat. Keep your eyes on the gun and hands while performing the pass. 


DRY FIRE: As with any new firearm manipulation skill, A Girl & A Gun strongly recommends effective dryfire practice before implementing live fire at the range. Dry fire allows the body to learn and master the skill, fix minor errors, and correct any potential safety issues before introducing ammunition. It is critical to follow dry fire safety standards AT ALL TIMES, weather at the range or while practicing at home. 

LIVE FIRE: The live-fire exercises suggested above are not intended to be performed at speed. They aim to build proficiency and safety through multiple reps and correct, mindful practice. Take your time. Safety always comes first! 


Firearm: Walther Arms PDP F-Series
Optic: Trijicon RMR