Letter Re: Recommended Guns for Left-Handed Shooters?

Mr. Rawles:
One of my sons is left handed. Which guns do you recommend I buy for him? (I’m talking here both hunting and self-defense.) With Thanks, – L.B.T.

JWR Replies: I recommend that your son try shooting several different models and that you then buy him whatever he is most comfortable with. First, as with all members of your family, you should check to see if you son is right or left-eye dominant. Cross-dominance is a problem that can take considerable training to overcome. If your son is “left eyed” and/or he is not comfortable/fast/accurate shooting right handed, then buy him special left hand or ambidextrous models.

A good shotgun choice for lefties is the Ithaca 37 pump action , or the newer Ithaca 87. They have bottom ejection. Some lefties find it disconcerting to shoot a Remington 870 (or similar right handed pump or auto shotgun) and have those big red empties fly past their faces. I can’t say that I blame them.

Most pump and lever-action rifles are essentially ambidextrous, and hence are well-suited to the gauche.

Many semi-auto pistols are available with ambidextrous safety levers and even ambidextrous slide releases and de-cocking levers. Then again there is the Glock–with NO traditional safety lever, and their magazine release buttons are ambidextrous. The Glock 21 is a fine choice for left handers.

Many bolt action rifles are made in left hand variants. (Browning, Winchester, Ruger, Remington Savage, SAKO, CZ, et cetera.) These can sometimes be hard to find at a reasonable price in the desired caliber. You might try doing a “LH” or “Left” search at GunsAmerica.com. Sadly, the Steyr Scout bolt action has not yet been made in a left-hand version, but you could probably have another left-hand bolt action converted to scout configuration.

A detachable brass deflector is available for shooting early model AR-15s (and clones) left handed. The later “A2” models have an integral brass deflector that is cast into the upper receiver housing.

The ultimate ambidextrous semi-auto rifle is the Steyr AUG bullpup, which can be set up to eject to the left. Special replacement left-ejection bolts are made by the factory and are currently around $150. The rifle itself is $2,800+. (Gulp!) But the good news is that in May of 2006, Steyr-USA company officials announced that they would “commence with the AUG A3 semi automatic rifle production in the U.S. Its targeted availability is by the SHOT Show 2007.” Hopefully this wasn’t just a test balloon. I predict that if this does happen, then U.S. production will bring the price of Steyr AUGs back down to $1,300, or perhaps even less. My #1 Son, who is a lefty, will surely be saving his pennies, in anticipation.