Most gun owners learn and train to shoot with a two-handed grip on their firearms, as it increases the chance of accurate and successful shooting. However, there may be situations in which this isn’t possible and when you’re only able to shoot with one hand on your gun.

To prepare for these potential scenarios, it’s important for gun owners to understand and practice proper ways for one-handed shooting.

Some situations that may call for one-handed shooting:

  • Sudden and dangerous event requiring personal protection and defense
  • Injury that prevents two-handed firearm grip
  • One hand occupied, due to holding a flashlight or other object
  • No time to draw and assume standard position or stance

Thus, here are 4 proper ways to practice one-handed shooting:

1. Vertical Technique

This method is the primary way for people to practice one-handed shooting.
When using this technique, a shooter will draw their weapon with their dominant (more capable and/or preferred) hand and hold it straight out.

The gun should be vertically aligned with the shooter’s elbow and the arm should be locked.

This vertical technique is reasonable to use and practice in one-handed shooting due to the fact the gun position feels natural and stable, and the aim allows for a predictable path.

Hollywood often portrays vertical one-handed shooting as if it is easily mastered. However, this technique takes practice to develop strength, aim, and smooth firing.

2. Canted Technique

For this technique, canted refers to the gun being set at an angle or “tilted.” Most gun owners will find this method awkward at first, but it is an effective way to practice one-handed shooting.

This technique is similar to vertical shooting as far as drawing the gun and pushing it straight out with the elbow and arm locked.

However, once the gun is drawn, this technique is achieved by canting the gun 45 degrees and aligning it with the same eye as your dominant hand (right eye for right hand, and vice-versa).

This method must be practiced thoroughly in order to be effective for one-handed shooting. Unfortunately, the canted technique has been confused with a “gangsta” image. However, this is a proper way of practicing one-handed shooting.

3. Bent Elbow Technique

This technique mirrors its two-handed grip counterpart. For one-handed shooting practice, the weapon should be drawn and kept vertical.

The shooter should then bend their elbow, rather than locking it straight, and keep their arm close to the body. This technique can be challenging in that the gun should be at eye-level before pulling the trigger, yet the shooter’s elbow should be down and locked.

However, mastering this technique for one-handed shooting is helpful, as this position keeps the gun stable with recoil.

4. Professional Training

Another technique to practice proper one-handed shooting is to participate in professional training. There are professional tutorials online that demonstrate one-handed shooting methods, how to utilize them, and how to effectively practice them.

In addition, gun owners who wish to master one-handed shooting can consult and train with a professional instructor.

This is beneficial because learners are guided by those with expertise and taught proper stances, grips, positions, and aim. In this case, it’s also important to find legitimate, professional instructors who are experienced and certified.


Unlike its portrayal in television and movies, learning to shoot one-handed can be a difficult, time-consuming, and even frustrating task.

However, when it comes to personal protection and the safety of others, knowing and understanding the proper ways to practice one-handed shooting can be essential in developing defensive skills.

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