What's The Best Handgun For Left-Handed Shooters?
Finding the Perfect Handgun for Left-Handed Shooters
Many people in the firearm community will confess that the world of handguns is largely catered to right-handed individuals. A considerable number of firearms are produced with the right-handed shooter in mind.
This can indeed present a challenge for left-handed gun enthusiasts in finding a comfortable and safe firearm. However, the good news is that technology, weapon design, and customization opportunities are rapidly evolving to cater to all types of shooters, including those who are left-handed.
Handguns For Left-Handed Shooters Are Getting Slightly More Common
While it’s true that genuinely ambidextrous handguns are a rarity, there are plenty of modern handguns that come with features that can be switched for left-handed operation. Furthermore, the availability of ambidextrous aftermarket parts means that you can even modify certain handguns to better accommodate your left-handed shooting style.
Let's delve into the matter deeper to guide you towards a handgun that will comfortably fit your left-handed grip.
Firstly, it is essential to understand what makes a handgun left-hand friendly. As a left-handed shooter, you require the firearm's safety, slide stop lever, and the magazine release to be accessible on the right side of the handgun. Since you will operate your firearm primarily with your left hand, these features must be within easy reach of your thumb.
Many modern handguns come with such switchable features which deliberately cater to the left-handed market.
From there, it's a matter of determining which features you want in a carry gun. For the left-handed market, striker-fired pistols are abundant but few other options are as plentiful. Revolvers are just not made left-handed, and 1911s as well as select other pistols with a Browning-style slide stop pin (CZ-75, Sig P220/226 series) are also something of a non-starter.
Known Left-Hand Friendly Pistols
Brands like Glock, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, and Sig Sauer, to name just a few, offer such adaptability that left-handed shooters can appreciate.
Glock pistols, in particular, are widely known for their suitability for left-handed shooters. With their consistent trigger pull and lack of manual safety, they tend to be easier for left-handed individuals to handle. Generation 3 and later pistols have swappable magazine releases. Takedown levers on Glocks have been ambi from the get go, but the slide release has always been the Achilles Heel of Glock pistols when it comes to left-hand operation.
While factory models - including Gen 5 pistols - are still not offered with ambi controls, the aftermarket for Glock pistols is robust (to say the least) and ambi slide stops have been available for a dog's age. A number of excellent models are easily available, such as the Vickers/Tango Down slide release levers or the Kagwerks extended slide stop levers, to name a few.
The Sig Sauer P320 is also lefty friendly, in that it comes with ambidextrous slide stop levers and a reversible magazine catch. The only feature on the P320 family that is not ambi-capable is the takedown lever. However, given that takedown is a purely administrative task, it doesn't really matter all that much.
The same is also true of the S&W MP series.
Beretta's APX series also wins points in this area. The APX was specifically designed for military and law enforcement operators and has a fully ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release.
CZ's excellent P-10 pistols are also ambidextrous, as the takedown tabs and slide releases are ambidextrous, with only a mag catch swap needed. The same is also true of the Walther PDP series.
One of the most left-friendly pistols is the HK VP9 with the original paddle magazine releases. No swap is needed, and the only control that isn't ambidextrous is the takedown lever.
Fans of traditional DA/SA pistols can also find some pistols that are ambi-friendly, such as the HK P30 and USP series (all USP controls are swappable) though few others are as accomodating. Most DA/SA pistols have swappable mag releases and safety/decocking levers, but none besides HK have a right-side slide release. That requires either avoiding those platforms or training to operate the slide stop with the firing hand or using the support hand to manipulate the slide in lieu of using the slide stop.
There are plenty of options for the left-handed shooter, so chances are you can find something to fit your particular use-case.