A week ago, my friends on the ProArms Podcast group shot an IDPA match mirror image. That is, all being right handed, we strapped on left-hand holsters and shot as southpaws. IDPA is the International Defensive Pistol Association, which requires quick draw, reloading under time, shooting on the move, and other useful skills. We did it because we’re instructors, and we know that if we can’t teach our own non-dominant hand to shoot a gun, we sure can’t teach a whole separate human organism. In the 28 years I’ve been running Lethal Force Institute, I’ve always asked the staff instructors to shoot a match or teach a class mirror image at least once a year to keep their own skills sharp. I do the same. The first thing this experience reinforced for me was that proper technique is critical. Most guns aren’t truly ambidextrous, so the left-hand technique can’t exactly mimic what the right hand is used to doing. One friend who shot that way with us said he felt like a monkey having a meaningful relationship with a football when he had to reload his .45 left-handed for the first time. He had a lot of fun and learned a great deal, though. It reinforced for all of us the importance of being able to perform at the Conscious Competence level, where if you take an instant to think about what you’re doing, you know you can do it right. My own reinforcement was costly: an eleven-second revolver reload because I tried to do it the usual way at the Unconscious Competence level – auto pilot. I didn’t have enough repetitions deposited in the long-term muscle memory bank to float an auto pilot loan for this particular skill set, and by the time I started thinking about what I was doing and got the S&W Model 686 back up and running, too much time had elapsed. Doing the rest of it on Conscious Competence, though, I was able to salvage the Most Accurate Shooter award out of the 50- to 60-competitor match. My buddy Jon Strayer was way faster than me, and his southpaw skills with a Glock 17 won him third place overall. Chris Christian finished first in Expert class shooting a CZ 85 pistol as a lefty for the first time. Our general consensus: keeping the accuracy good is the easy part when your non-dominant hand runs the trigger – it’s maintaining speed that’s tough. Thanks to the First Coast IDPA group at the Gateway Rifle and Pistol Club in Jacksonville, Florida for putting up with us. They’re a wonderfully welcoming place for new shooters, and some new southpaw shooters can lately attest to that. We’ll be discussing it in greater depth in a month or so on the ProArms Podcast, at the site mentioned above. Give mirror image shooting a try yourself – with handgun as we did, or with rifle and/or shotgun. It’s enlightening…and humbling. And, if you’re a seasoned instructor, it will make you more understanding and patient with your next class of newbies. Gail Pepin shows good control in her first match as a southpaw. Spent 9mm casing is rocketing past her head, but Glock 17 with Advantage Tactical sights is already back on target. Watching what he’s doing (conscious competence) Bud Deese reloads his Kimber .45 as a newborn southpaw. Shooting a 9mm CZ 85 cocked and locked (from a left-handed Aker holster for the first time), Chris Christian places First Expert in the Enhanced Service Pistol division. Freshly-minted lefty Jon Strayer, a 5-Gun Master right handed, wins the BUG (Back-Up Gun) side event with S&W 442 Airweight and .38 Special +P ammo. With the Glock 17 in his left side Blade-Tech holster, he came in third overall in the main match. Shooting mirror image with S&W Model 625 .45 snubnose out of left hand Don Hume concealment holster, Steve Denney wins the Enhanced Service Revolver division. Mas competed with this S&W Model 686, tuned by Bob Lloyd, loaded with 158 grain +P ammo, and drawn from left handed High Noon thumb-break concealment holster.