As a southpaw that grew-up shooting, I quickly adapted to right handed firearms. I had no choice, as it was pretty much all that was available. My dad was also left handed, and we spent every weekend from when I was about 7 years old shooting. When I was a young teenager, my dad was able to afford a pair of left-handed Remington 1100 skeet guns. He got one in 12ga for himself and a 20ga for me. We quickly abandoned these shotguns, as our muscle memory for loading and operating has already taken set. I never gave it much thought at the time, but I sure knew it didn’t feel right and so did my dad.
When I was 16, and old enough to purchase my first rifle on my own I bought a 22-250 with a left handed bolt. Well, you can probably guess how that went as I had been shooting a right handed bolt gun since I was a very small boy. I soon sold that and never looked back. Later in life when I began using AR style rifles, I discovered that gas operated AR’s can throw a considerable amount of gas back in a lefty’s face. I quickly got used to it on a semi-automatic, as I could only press the trigger so fast and keep the gun on target. When I shot my first fully automatic machine-gun that way, even that was mostly manageable but certainly uncomfortable. When I added a suppressor to the mix, it became intolerable. Sooooo much gas came back into my face that I couldn’t keep my eyes open for more than a short burst of fire. Try a 20-30 round mag dump and it was impossible. So I had a very, very expensive gun, a very expensive suppressor and I couldn’t use them together, which was the whole point of buying them. I tried everything on the market to make my gun better for me. First there was the “gas-buster charging handle” that didn’t do anything more than a regular charging handle, then there was the gas reducing forward assist modification for AR’s that just seemed like bullshit to me. These were supposed to work by diverting gas from the BCG area and blowing it downward from the forward assist, of course rendering the forward assist inoperable for its intended purpose. I’ve never needed to use a forward assist, but if I was a fighting soldier, I wouldn’t be without one. Finally, I purchases a left-handed upper receiver for my AR. This absolutely took care of the problem, as it ejected the spent casings out the left side of the gun, rather than in front of my face. As well as it worked, I could never get used to brass flying out of my gun on that side. Then along came the OSS Suppressor, and all of my problems went away with it’s design and diversion of the gas out the front rather than back at the shooter.
Today, I’m still of course a lefty, and there are many guns either designed specifically for lefty’s or there are ways to modify guns to be more lefty friendly by moving controls from one side to the other. I’m 100% in favor of ambidextrous safety selectors and in fact on a 1911 or other single action handguns, they’re mandatory for lefty’s. When it comes to guns that have magazine release buttons convertible to the other side for lefty’s, I’d urge anyone thinking about doing that to think twice. If you convert your gun so that the magazine releases on the right side only, you’re going to get used to that and build muscle memory, that I don’t think you want to build. There are literally tens of millions of guns in the world that don’t, and will never work that way. You would be far better served learning to adapt to the gun than making the gun adapt to you. The same goes for bolt action and semi-automatic rifles. With 10% of the population being left handed, there’s not nearly that percentage of firearms that were built for us. If you buy a left handed gun, when you sell it, you’re eliminating at least 90% of the buyers pool, and that’s if you include all lefty’s, it’s probably really more like 95%.
Adapt and overcome is a saying by the US Marines and it’s never been more applicable than to firearms. With all of the guns in the world, should your life or safety ever depend on your ability to use what’s available, you better be able to operate it without having to spend much time thinking about how it operates or where the controls are. They need to be right where your muscle memory says they are.
Be well, be safe, be ready