Using the non-dominant hand is difficult in common situations such as a lefty using a “righty’s” baseball mitt or a person in an arm cast trying to write with the other arm. But with law enforcement the inability to use the non-dominant hand in an active gunfight can have lethal consequences.

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) introduced the “One-Hand Survival Techniques” course to teach law enforcement officers and agents that they can draw, reload, and clear weapon malfunctions if they find themselves in the unfortunate circumstance where they only have one hand in operable condition.

“As long as the mind is working, and they have the use of at least one hand, the law enforcement officer can continue to fight and defend himself with his handgun,” says Senior Instructor and course developer Darrell Walker.

The course is one of several new elements integrated into the FLETC Criminal Investigators Training Program pilot.

“A reality of law enforcement is that at any moment, officers could find themselves in a situation where a normal two-handed operation cannot be performed because they have been injured or one hand is occupied with another activity,” explains Walker. “The ability to solve problems during an active altercation/gunfight with one hand increases survivability.”

Instructors teach the techniques of one-hand survival using lecture, demonstration, and observed performance. The students safely practice one-hand survival techniques and handling skills with their issued duty weapon, while using inert, non-functioning dummy rounds. The trainees draw from the holster, using either their strong hand or support hand.

During the course trainees also learn emergency reloads, magazine exchanges, and primary and secondary one-handed immediate action procedures using either their strong or support hands. The course exercises provide students with the skills to solve semi-automatic handgun problems with either hand.

“This course teaches an officer how to draw, reload, and clear malfunctions with confidence, if and when he or she is injured and has only one hand available,” says Walker.

This course is just one of the new progressive FAD training initiatives added to the Criminal Investigator Training Program.

For more information about this and other FLETC firearms courses contact Senior Instructor Darrell Walker at 912-267-3547 or visit