10 Best Guns for Left-Handed Shooters: Pistols & Rifles

Lefties make up 12% of the population…and it seems like the whole gun world is against them.

one lefty friendly
At least one of these things is lefty friendly…

If you’re left-handed, you understand the constant struggle of adapting to a right-handed world. Most tools and utensils are designed for the right-handed majority, including scissors, can openers, own mitts, and firearms. 

Lefty Pie Chart
Har Har.

Left-handed shooters have their own unique set of struggles. Using a standard rifle or handgun can is not only extremely frustrating, it can leave you with a face full of hot brass. 

You’ll find precious few firearms designed specifically for southpaws, but all hope is not lost!

Lefty Shooting
The struggle is real.

There are a fair number of guns featuring ambidextrous controls that make life easier for left-handed operators. 

We’re going to take a look at the plight of the southpaw shooter, as well as some solutions for shooting in a right-hand dominant world. 

We’re even going to cover some of the best left-handed guns (both pistols and rifles) on the market today. 

Table of Contents

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The Plight of the Left-Handed Shooter

Let me start off by admitting I am part of the boring majority. Although I am a standard-issue right-handed shooter, I have major sympathy for the struggles of southpaws, especially on the shooting range.

Lefty Smudge
sad reacts only 😢

My husband is a lefty, and I’m admittedly fond of him. My oldest daughter is also a cross-dominant shooter. Although she is right-handed, she is legally blind in her right eye, so she shoots a long gun left-handed. 

Spending hours on the range with them has made me both aware and sympathetic to the trials and tribulations of the left-handed minority.

Common Left-Handed Shooting Problems

Most firearms are designed for right-handed shooters and can be pretty difficult for lefty shooters to use. 

While this seems like it should be fairly common knowledge, there are a surprising number of righties who just don’t get it. 

Happy lefty Day
… You tried, and that’s what counts.

How many times has a buddy handed you his rifle and told you to just switch shoulders?

That’s easier said than done, Dear Right-Handed Friend. And it could actually be dangerous.

While it is possible for a lefty to use a right-handed firearm, there are a few problems. Some of them are potentially serious. Just because you can shoot a right-handed firearm, this doesn’t mean you should.

While possible, it’s not easy.

The most obvious problem (at least to the lefties) is that the controls are perfectly located for right-handed shooters. Engineered for the majority of shooters (who happen to be right-handed), standard weapon controls are positioned so a right-handed shooter can easily click a safety, release a mag, or cycle a bolt.

However, the southpaw shooter typically has to drop his shooting stance, reach across the weapon, and use the alternate hand to do these simple tasks.

Lefty Para-Athlete Taylor Miller
Unstoppable Lefty and Para-Athlete Taylor Miller

Southpaws also have to contend with raining hot brass. The ejection port on a standard issue rifle is usually located on the right side of the weapon. While handy for right-handed riflemen, it sends broiling hot casings flying mere centimeters from a left-handed shooter’s nose. 

Left-Handed Shotgunner
Left-Handed Shotgunner

You may try to ignore the spent casings zipping across your line of sight, but when one impacts the delicate skin of your cheek and leaves a nasty red blister, you’ll probably utter some words that would embarrass you Grandma.  

Real Danger for Lefties

Truth be told, flying brass and poorly positioned weapon controls are the least of a southpaw’s worries. 

A firearm’s action is designed to do more than just load, fire, and eject cartridges. The action also safely contains the massive pressure of combusting propellant. Modern cartridges can create pressures in excess of 60,000 psi. 

That’s a lot of pressure… like more than you put on your high school girlfriend in the backseat of your dad’s old Buick. 

LWRCI IC-SPR and DI, Ambi Controls
Ambi controls can help, but most ambi ARs still spit brass right in front of your nose.

Manufacturers build the actions on their firearms to be strong enough to resist that pressure (just like your high school girlfriend), but they also build in a bunch of safety features to channel escaping gas away from the shooter in the event of a catastrophic failure. 

Designers assume the shooter will be right-handed. 

That means if you’re a lefty unlucky enough to experience a catastrophic failure, all that hot gas (expanding at more than 5000 feet per second) will come blasting right into your face. That does not sound like a fun time.

A lefty shooting a right-handed pistol from a retention position can also have major ejection issues.

Righty Shooting
Look at this smug b*stard, his nose all safe and far from the ejection port.

Not only do those hot casings come flying directly toward your body, a southpaw can easily end up with a blocked ejection port, leaving them to deal with a dangerous jam. Not something you want to happen in a self-defense situation.

Solutions for Left-Handed Shooting in a Right-Handed World

If comfort and convenience were the only things lefties had to worry about when shooting, the solutions would be easy. However, life is rarely easy, especially if you were born left-handed. 

Righty Shooting Bench
Lefty Shooters’ Public Enemy #1

In the old days, when left-hand actions were rare, and Grandpa had to walk to and from school uphill both ways, southpaw shooters were left with few safe options. 

Lefty Ice Cream Scoop
Awwww…

Sure, most lever-action, semi-auto, and pump-action long guns look like they could work for both right-and left-handed shooting. Many lefties adapted pretty easily to operating a standard issue long gun with one of these actions. 

For bolt action rifles, the only viable option was to convert a right-hand bolt-action to a left-hand bolt. 

Not exactly an easy task. It’s time-consuming, complicated, and takes some decent gunsmithing skills. Plus, it only solves part of the problem. The action will still eject to the right. 

Bubba Lefty Build
😬

If all hell breaks loose inside the chamber, that flame and fury is still getting channeled straight into the face of a left-handed shooter. Left-handed shooters who choose to shoot most lever-action, pump-action, and semi-auto long guns risk the same outcome.

The only truly safe options for lefties (especially in the realm of long guns) are truly bilateral actions (think top eject Winchester Model 94s), or guns with genuine mirror image actions. 

The selection for lefties isn’t exactly vast, but left-handed shooters might actually hold the blame here. Although the left-handed minority is indeed repressed, downtrodden, and discriminated against, they represent at least twelve percent of shooters.

Leftorium Simpsons
A whole new world!

If you guys joined forces with the left-eye dominant faction, you could easily strong-arm manufacturers into developing more left-hand options. 

Best Guns for Left-Handed Shooters

Best Handguns for Southpaws

Thankfully, lefty shooters have a few more options when it comes to handguns. Many models have ambidextrous controls. Other options may require a simple swap of the mag release.

Let’s take a look at the top handgun options for left-handed shooters.

1. Glock 19 Gen 5

Nearly any Glock can be used with either hand. I’m picking this one because it’s my go-to CCW. A midsize pistol, the Glock 19 holds 15 + 1 rounds of 9mm Luger. It measures just over 7 inches long and 1.18 inches wide. 

Glock 19 and 17 gen 5 MOS
Concealed or duty carry, the G19 MOS (left) and G17 MOS (right) have you covered.

I may just have a penchant for Austrians (Sorry, Honey!), but I consider the Glock 19 as near perfect as they come. It is the perfect size to conceal, has enough substance to hold onto during recoil, and it has a magazine capacity sufficient for most dangerous encounters (and when it doesn’t, mag changes are super easy).

I know the Glock haters out there are going to disagree, but you’re allowed to be wrong. It’s a free country.

Murica
Hell yeah!

I know. I’m a right-handed shooter. But my left-handed husband is also a big-time fan of the Glock 19. 

Make sure you get the Gen 5 version.

It has an ambidextrous slide stop lever, a flared mag well for easy ambidextrous loading, a reversible magazine release button, and no manual safety. That means there’s no fumbling around to switch an external safety designed for a right-handed shooter. No safety = no fumbling. 

The Glock 19 is the compact version of the Glock 17. (Pictured: Custom Axelson Tactical Axe 19)
The Glock 19 is the compact version of the Glock 17. (Pictured: Custom Axelson Tactical Axe 19)

The Glock 19 does have a drop safe trigger for those concerned about accidental discharge. If you can’t keep your booger picker off the bang switch, this is not the gun for you. And you should probably review basic gun safety.

2. Beretta APX Centurion

The APX Centurion has a high, tight, natural grip with excellent ergonomics that make it a pleasure to shoot regardless of whether you’re right- or left-handed. But it’s the ambidextrous slide catch and  reversible magazine release that should get the attention of southpaws.

Beretta APX Centurion and shells
Beretta APX Centurion

The APX was Baretta’s attempt at designing a new military service pistol, and is chambered in .40 S&W.

Although it lost to the Sig P320, the APX deserves more attention than it gets. It is durable, easy to shoot (no matter your hand preference), and has one of the best striker triggers on the market. 

Yes, we understand the APX Centurion is a smidge on the bulky side. This one isn’t exactly easy to conceal. However, lefties with larger hands will appreciate the extra size. 

334
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. CZ P-07

The 9mm SA/DA CZ P-07 makes the list because the safety configuration can be easily converted to decocking and vice versa, while the controls stay completely ambidextrous.  

CZ P-07
CZ P-07 with a light and extended mag

The CZ P-07 has CZ’s unique Omega trigger system which allows the shooter to use a decocking lever or install a manual safety. This feature gives you the option to carry the weapon with the hammer down for a double-action first shot. However, you can also carry it “cocked and locked” like a traditional 1911. 

CZ P-07 Outside
CZ P-07

This is a sweet option, because 1911s are cool. They just don’t make them for left-handed shooters (which proves my point that lefties are oppressed and downtrodden).

Although the CZ P-07 may not be the “best” handgun for lefties, if you prefer a hammer-fired pistol over a polymer-framed striker one, this is one of the few options that won’t leave the southpaws completely flustered. 

515
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Heckler & Koch VP9

Introduced in 2014, the VP9 9mm quickly grew a loyal fan base among left-handed shooters. It comes with three changeable back straps and six side panels, so you can customize the grip to fit any hand size. The molded finger grooves also allow for quick, instinctive hand positioning whether you’re shooting with your right or left hand. 

Heckler & Koch VP9
Heckler & Koch VP9

All controls on the VP9 are completely ambidextrous. With a slide release on each side of the weapon and a magazine release easily activated by left- and right-handed shooters, we’re surprised this one isn’t more popular. 

5. Charter Arms Southpaw

Revolvers are a pretty popular choice for left-handed shooters. Revolvers and lefties are generally compatible. However, having to change hands to swing open the cylinder can be about as annoying for lefties as having to use a right-handed can opener. 

Charter Arms Southpaw
Charter Arms Southpaw

Enter the Charter Arms Southpaw. In case you couldn’t tell by the name, the Southpaw is designed specifically for left-handed shooters. Charter Arms claims it is the FIRST revolver designed specifically for lefties. 

The .38 Special Southpaw is identical to the Charter Arms Undercover Lite, only the cylinder releases and opens on the right side, making left-handed reloading tons more efficient. 

Charter Arms Southpaw Cylinder
Charter Arms Southpaw Cylinder

Whether you want to live out your dreams of being a left-handed cowboy, or you’re a lefty who wants a wheel gun for EDC, the Southpaw is a perfect option.

390
at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Best Rifles for Left-Handed Shooters

We have good news and bad news about left-handed rifles.

Do you want to hear the good news first? Okay, good.

Most major gun manufacturers offer a basic selection of mirror-image rifle actions. 

Now for the bad news.

oh come on
We know, man. We know.

In most cases, left-handed actions are only offered in the most popular chamberings and the most common configurations. Be prepared to choose from the standard selection of .270 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .308 Winchester, blah, blah, blah. The list is pretty vanilla. 

However, you can always spice things up with some badass accessories. 

Here are a few of the best left-handed long gun options to get you southpaws started.

6. Browning X-Bolt Hunter

Browning is hands down one of the most lefty-friendly firearms manufacturers in the world. The company offers southpaw versions of their popular BAR, T-Bolt, and X-Bolt rifles. 

browning-x-bolt-left-hand-on-stand
So sleek. So sexy. So lefty.

We’re pretty fond of the X-Bolt Hunter in .300 Win Mag. Not only does it have that classic deer rifle look and feel, it also has a crisp feather trigger system with zero take-up or creep, a quality that big game hunters will surely appreciate, no matter which hand they used to sign their hunting license.

901
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Ruger Gunsite Scout

Ruger offers four models of its Gunsite Scout bolt-action rifle to accommodate left-handed shooters. Developed in partnership with the famous Gunsite Academy, these rifles are jam-packed with high-performance features. 

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle
Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

The .308 Win Gunsite Scout features a cold-hammer-forged alloy steel barrel, a forward-mounted Picatinny rail, a detachable AICS-style box magazine, a flash suppressor, and an adjustable ghost-ring rear iron sight. 

It makes a great truck gun, although it will also be totally at home in the deer woods. 

850
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Weatherby Mark V

Weatherby offers its entire line of Mark V bolt action rifles in both right- and left-hand form in their 7mm Weatherby Magnum chambering. 

Weatherby Mark V
Weatherby Mark V with a wood stock

These guns are built for shooting in rough weather conditions. The Mark V has a tough, hand-laminated composite stock with a matte gel coat finish, which allows you to keep a good grip even when conditions get slippery. 

We also like the hand-lapped chromoly steel barrel that features a weather-resistant tactical gray Cerakote finish. Not only is it attractive, it’s built to last

Weatherby Mark V Backcountry
Weatherby Mark V Back Country model

Perhaps the best feature of the Weatherby Mark V is the 54-degree bolt lift. Super smooth and easy to reload without taking your eyes of your target, the Mark V may be the best modern push feed bolt action on the market today.

1600
at Cabela's

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. Stag Arms Stag 15 Tactical

Stag Arms was founded by a lefty, so you know they understand the plight of the left-handed shooter. Stag arms actually designed the first left-handed Modern Sporting Rifle, and they’ve been pushing the boundaries of the AR platform ever since. 

Stag Arms Stag 15 Tactical Left
Stag Arms Stag 15 Tactical Lefty (via The Shooter’s Log)

The Stag 15 is a top-quality carbine outfitted with all the standard polymer furniture you would expect on a factory-built AR. However, don’t feel like you have to settle.

Stag Arms offers 15 models of left-handed AR-15s in a number of chamberings and barrel lengths. Southpaws scrolling through their website will feel like they’ve hit the left-handed mother lode. 

701
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

10. Rock River Arms LEF-T LAR-15LH

Rock River Arms is another modern manufacturer with major sympathies for southpaw shooters. The LEF-T LAR-15LH is a modern sporting rifle designed from the ground up for left-handed shooters.

Rock River Arms LEF-T LAR-15LH
Rock River Arms LEF-T LAR-15LH Action

We’re talking left-hand upper, left-hand lower, left-hand ejection port, left-side forward assist, and a right-side bolt catch. Throw in an ambidextrous charging handle, forend, grip, mag release, and stock, and this rifle leaves righties feeling like we’re the odd ones out. 

1274
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

There you have it… ten high-quality options for the southpaw shooter. Any of these will solve the struggle (and danger) of trying to use a firearm designed for a right-handed shooter. 

Are these the only options for left-handed shooters? Not even close.

Jonah Hill Excited
Yay!

While the selection is limited compared to what the industry has to offer right-handed shooters, lefties have a fair number of handguns and rifles to choose from. And as manufacturers begin to take note of the needs of serious southpaw shooters (and those left-eye dominant shooters who should be shooting left-handed) the options are only going to increase. 

The best way to see if a handgun or rifle is right for you is to give it a test drive at the range. This goes for both right-handed and left-handed shooters.

left-handed-handgun-options
Pew Pew!

The way a gun works in your own two hands is the best criteria for choosing a weapon. You should never make your decisions based on the recommendations of your shooting buddies, especially if they happen to be right-handed.  

Do you shoot left-handed? Got any advice or recommendations for other lefties? Let us know in the comments. If you’re a cross-dominant shooter, check out our article on Cross-Dominant Shooting and How to Overcome It.

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