Ambidextrous SD handguns?

This is a discussion on Ambidextrous SD handguns? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; The gun itself may not be the issue. Whatever you carry YOU should be able to run with either hand. That includes loading it and ...

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Thread: Ambidextrous SD handguns?

  1. #16
    Senior Member Array adaman04's Avatar
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    The gun itself may not be the issue. Whatever you carry YOU should be able to run with either hand. That includes loading it and unloading it one handed, etc.

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  3. #17
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    The only ambi-control I think is needed is the safety for full "either-hand" function. Slide release and mag release is easily operated with either hand with "some" practice. The safety could be awkward due to its location.

    It still sounds like you're begging for someone to say yes or no to ambi-controls. I don't think there will be any firm consensus. You need to decide on what style you want and deal with it. I don't think it's that big of a deal with most people.
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  4. #18
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    The M&P has ambidextrous Slide release that I use when training left handed which Is nice. I always hear that people don't care (when they are right handed) but for leftys It would be the make or break deal for me on a gun. I just couldn't picture owning a gun if i was a left handed person to have to be operated right handed or with my finger. That is just unnatural for me.
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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I'm a lefty and I look for ambi controls.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerriLi View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    How important is ambidextrous controls on a SD handgun to you?

    I am left-handed and look for ambidextrous controls all the time. I want to be able to run a SD/combat handgun with EITHER hand.
    That sounds like one big can of worms.

    On my primary carry gun, yes I do this.

    "Can of worms," perhaps, for the manufacturer. So what? Several of the decent gun makers do it. Most all are capable of coming up with a reasonable design. Heck, why not? There are lots of people who are lefty, and a percentage of all shooters will consider the ambidextrous use of the gun. If you can design it into the gun from the outset, it seems an infinitely better way to achieve "one size fits all."

    One of the first things I check when evaluating a new gun as my primary carry weapon is whether I can reach and easily manipulate all of the controls. I am left handed. So, the main reason I do this is to ensure the left hand can easily manage everything. Secondarily, I also check to see if I can use all controls with the right hand. Reality is such that it might well become necessary.

    Nicely, it happens that of the few pistols that I can truly operate easily with my left hand, most effectively work well with either hand, even if the gun's controls aren't specifically designed as ambidextrous.

    S&W 442 Airweight .38; Browning BDM 9mm; CZ P-01 9mm; and HK P2000SK 9mm. I've had plenty of other pistols, but these have been the primaries ... and each has been relatively straightforward to manipulate with either hand.

    Examples:

    The CZ P-01 9mm semi-auto. The secret? Big, fat, easy-to-use controls for the slide release, decocker and magazine release. Very easy to move with either hand. The gun is relatively large, so it's a bit of a stretch for my right hand thumb to reach everything, small hands that I have. But, it works. CZ didn't design it ambi, per se, but the size of the controls and how easy they are to use effectively make it seem that way.

    The HK P2000SK is a recent addition to the stables. Of course, ambidextrous was designed into it by HK. It has a dual-sided slide release and magazine catch, without a safety or decocker. With either hand, I can (now) easily use the controls. As it continues to break in, it should get a bit easier. What a sweeeeet pistol this is. Yaaaaaaaay!
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  6. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    The only ambi-control I think is needed is the safety for full "either-hand" function. Slide release and mag release is easily operated with either hand with "some" practice. The safety could be awkward due to its location.

    It still sounds like you're begging for someone to say yes or no to ambi-controls. I don't think there will be any firm consensus. You need to decide on what style you want and deal with it. I don't think it's that big of a deal with most people.
    1. OldVet, thank you for participating in this conversation. I hope you continue to do so as I have found your comments in the past to very insightful.

    2. I am not looking for advice on what to do or what to buy. I know where I stand on the subject and I already "deal with it", as you say.

    3. I am hoping that some one will state their opinions - pro or con - with reasons for them. I had hoped to stimulate a discussion on the merits of ambidextrous handguns for self defense.

    4. I certainly do not expect concesus; just intelegent conversation with a group of people I respect.


    Now, as to your comment on the thumb safety, I agree that the safety/decocker is the primary control with which most of us should be concerned. I also agree that the mag release and slide stop are secondary. My question is, why is the safety/decocker only on one side on so many handguns, in particular, the classic 1911?
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  7. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAGMAN View Post
    I'm a lefty who bought a 1911 a month or two ago that doesn't have an ambi-safety. I've done a lot of practicing on having my left thumb flick off the safety once I've cleared the holster. Practice ,practice, practice. I used to carry a Beretta 92 FS that had an ambi so I was used to using it. With my 1911 carried cocked and locked, I am concerned about the possibility of a ambi-safety being disengaged somehow by my holster. Maybe my concern is unfounded but, being new to 1911's, don't feel comfortable enough taking the chance. I'll just keep practicing to ensure I build enough muscle memory so it's second nature.
    BAGMAN,

    I am curious. Could you possible describe your draw sequence a little better (regarding the 1911)? I have never been able to come up with a way to draw, off-safe, and present quickly while maintaining a stable grip.

    Also, I use ambi safeties on my 1911. All of my holsters cover the safety on both sides, eliminating this concern for me.
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  8. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    I'm a lefty and I look for ambi controls.




    On my primary carry gun, yes I do this.

    "Can of worms," perhaps, for the manufacturer. So what? Several of the decent gun makers do it. Most all are capable of coming up with a reasonable design. Heck, why not? There are lots of people who are lefty, and a percentage of all shooters will consider the ambidextrous use of the gun. If you can design it into the gun from the outset, it seems an infinitely better way to achieve "one size fits all."

    One of the first things I check when evaluating a new gun as my primary carry weapon is whether I can reach and easily manipulate all of the controls. I am left handed. So, the main reason I do this is to ensure the left hand can easily manage everything. Secondarily, I also check to see if I can use all controls with the right hand. Reality is such that it might well become necessary.

    Nicely, it happens that of the few pistols that I can truly operate easily with my left hand, most effectively work well with either hand, even if the gun's controls aren't specifically designed as ambidextrous.

    S&W 442 Airweight .38; Browning BDM 9mm; CZ P-01 9mm; and HK P2000SK 9mm. I've had plenty of other pistols, but these have been the primaries ... and each has been relatively straightforward to manipulate with either hand.

    Examples:

    The CZ P-01 9mm semi-auto. The secret? Big, fat, easy-to-use controls for the slide release, decocker and magazine release. Very easy to move with either hand. The gun is relatively large, so it's a bit of a stretch for my right hand thumb to reach everything, small hands that I have. But, it works. CZ didn't design it ambi, per se, but the size of the controls and how easy they are to use effectively make it seem that way.

    The HK P2000SK is a recent addition to the stables. Of course, ambidextrous was designed into it by HK. It has a dual-sided slide release and magazine catch, without a safety or decocker. With either hand, I can (now) easily use the controls. As it continues to break in, it should get a bit easier. What a sweeeeet pistol this is. Yaaaaaaaay!
    The P2000SK is an excellent pistol, but it gets around the ambi issue by having minimal external controls. On the other hand, I was recently looking at the HK45c. It has the safety/decocker on the left. I was informed that HK will gladly change the set up for you for an addition $200-$300 (depending on variant). Do you think that manufacturers such as HK continue this practice simply as a way of generating additional revenue?

    Also, do you think that there will be more and more DAO produced, thus eliminating the "problem" we are discussing? I think this would start another issue with those who insist on an external safety.
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  9. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    Now, as to your comment on the thumb safety, I agree that the safety/decocker is the primary control with which most of us should be concerned. I also agree that the mag release and slide stop are secondary. My question is, why is the safety/decocker only on one side on so many handguns, in particular, the classic 1911?
    Because the army thinks everyone is right-handed? Which the 1911 was developed for the army by the way.

    Face it; it's a right-handed world out there.

    Why aren't more things made ambi? Probably $$$. Extra parts, extra machining, etc. Some of your more "custom" 1911s generally are ambi, but then you pay for that "extra." Left-handed rifles (when someone actually makes them) are more expensive.

    You'd think by now that makers expecting to produce "X" number of makes would spend a few $$ to make their product more saleable by going ahead and making them ambi.

    I think the current trend in gun makers is going that direction (Glocks "reversable" mag release for instance, interchangeable backstrap on several makes). While one gun fits all isn't practical, one gun fits most certainly is.
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  10. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadRunner71 View Post
    The P2000SK is an excellent pistol, but it gets around the ambi issue by having minimal external controls.
    It is in fact ambidextrous in the controls it has. Hits it square on the head, as opposed to avoiding it, I'd say. The USP and P30 are the other two in the family that leverage the basic ambi designs that HK has done so well. Kudos for them, and for us, given how it allows variations to exist that other manufacturers seemingly can only dream of.

    A firearms market analyst I'm not, but it seems that HK is onto something with the modular nature of the USP platform, which alongside the ambidextrous controls and ergonomic tweaks that are possible allows for a fairly "custom" combination for a person.


    It has the safety/decocker on the left. I was informed that HK will gladly change the set up for you for an addition $200-$300 (depending on variant). Do you think that manufacturers such as HK continue this practice simply as a way of generating additional revenue?
    I don't know of many firearms makers that have such a flexible, modular type design that allows for such a range of combinations. HK does. Will they continue to offer the modularity? I hope so. Will they continue to offer a service of implementing variation changes, if individuals don't have the gunsmithing skills to do it themselves? I hope so. That's a good thing.

    If they really get it down pat, we might see the market even get to a cost-effective custom model in which it's possible to order the gun just the way you like it. With the modularity and the fact it needs to go through final assembly anyway, I don't think HK is that far from such a business model. Might well be able to achieve this in the next design change of the USP type platform.

    Also, do you think that there will be more and more DAO produced ...
    For the USA market, I see the trend toward DAO continuing, yes, for both reasons of simplicity and the CYA/legal aspect. It's unavoidable, I think.

    I think this would start another issue with those who insist on an external safety.
    And yet, the beauty of the modular type design that HK is crafting allows for folks to have it their way. Other than overall size and fit to the hand, it's hard to see how the USP can't work for a given shooter. IMO, some combination is of the variations is almost certain to be what the person's looking for.

    I hope HK keeps on truckin', in this regard. It would be nice to cut the price by 35-50%, though part of that is simply world currency fluctuations. To my way of thinking, even at the market price HK's pistols are a fair value for the quality, durability, reliability and accuracy that a person gets.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  11. #25
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    Since I'm left handed, if a safety is on a gun, I would want it on the ride side too.
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  12. #26
    AzB
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    FNH FNP-45 USG



    Full ambi controls; safety, magazine release, slide lock. 15 + 1 .45 acp. The safety has three positions, up for safe, middle for fire, and down for decock. You can carry cocked and locked, or decocked with the safety off and first round DA.

    Accurate, durable, powerful, and plenty of capacity. If I carry 3 clips (mine came with 3 15 round clips) I can carry pretty close to a whole box of ammo with me. That's a good feeling if the SHTF.

    But I love being able to shoot either right or left handed without jumping through hoops or changing stuff around. Just switch hands!

    The only drawbacks are that it's a big gun. And there's not a lot of aftermarket support for it.
    Az

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  13. #27
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    Ambi controls was one advantage I gave to selecting the Springfield XD. The mag release is ambi, though the slide release isn't. I didn't want to choose an HG that required changing parts to switch the mag release(L or R) as AzB mentioned.

    I try to practice at least 30% weak hand only when shooting. I also use the XDs in IDPA matches as extra dynamic practice.

  14. #28
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    Lefty here, mostly, though a somewhat complicated lefty. Long story; let's just say I have trained myself to be functionally ambidextrous with my firearms.

    Magazine release: I do NOT seek ambi mag releases, because the generally standard (in USA) push-button style is already ambidextrous. In right-hand mode, use thumb; in lefty mode, use trigger finger. I have handled handguns with ambi releases, from the P7M8 to some newer polymer wonders, and the solution to ambi release usually seems to be what amounts to a canoe paddle on each side of the weapon. I don't like protrusions; the fewer, the better. Moreover, I can actually release a magazine, from my usual P229s, more smoothly in lefty mode, with my trigger finger, than in right-hand mode, by using my thumb. Lefty mode does not require me to interrupt my firing grip.

    Slide stop, a.k.a. slide release: I do not seek ambi slide stops, because, unless using a 1911 in right-hand mode, and often, even then, I release the slide with an overhand/power-stroke method. Different autopistols have slide stops in different locations, some have tiny slide release levers, and some don't even have external slide release levers, so this overhand method is more universal.

    Safety lever? Not important to me. I like the 1911 pistols, very much, but am not a fan of ambi safety levers. The joint in the center pin gets loose over time, and then, there is the double-canoe-paddle factor. When I carry a 1911, I carry it in right-hand mode. (Remember, I am a complicated lefty, and largely ambidextrous.) I am mandated to carry certain approved DA autoloaders on duty, and for a whole book's worth of reasons, tote the same personally-owned P229 pistols on my own time as I do at work. My second choice for carry guns is revolvers, and I have no trouble using them with either hand as the "weapon" hand.

    FWIW, on duty, I wear the duty primary duty pistol on my right hip. There are several reasons, but perhaps the most relevant these days is that my right hand has some chronic health issues, and my stronger and more dextrous left hand is better able to run the slide, and also better able to fight an adversary at contact range. Pulling a trigger is easy stuff.

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