Southpaws rarely get quality pistol instruction. Why? because most instructors are right-handed. Thankfully, I had an opportunity to work with a terrific, knowledgably and skilled instructor for several years. His only flaw: he was left-handed.
Seriously, though, working with my friend and fellow training instructor, Matt, was an incredible learning experience. He taught me a lot more about how to operate all types of weapon systems bi-laterally and with the other hand in ways that I had not previously known.
I recall years ago—before working with the aforementioned southpaw—teaching a left-handed shooter in a pistol course. The shooter, who had been shooting for many years (but lacked skill in some areas) just put the semi-automatic pistol in his right hand whenever he wanted to lock the slide to the rear. Obviously, because speed matters in gun fights, that’s not a smart thing to do. Besides, switching pistols from the right to the left hand under stress (or not) can be unsafe (e.g. muzzle awareness, finger on the trigger, dropping the weapon).
So, how does a lefty lock the slide to the rear?
With the weapon in the left hand, the shooter puts his right hand forward like he going to shake hands with the top of the pistol slide. The thumb of the right hand should be near the index finger of the left hand, while the four fingers of the right hand are on the opposite side of the slide (the right side).
Being careful not to cover the ejection port, the shooter will grip the slide using their four fingers and the palm of their right hand. When the slide is extended backwards, the shooter will then use the thumb of their right hand to activate the slide lock.
Locking the slide to the rear left-handed is actually a lot easier for new shooters than doing the same thing with inexperienced right-handed students.
Just remember, practice with the weapon unloaded. Keep your finger straight and off the trigger, and be safe.
Until next time, continue to hone your skills and keep adding to your tactical toolbox.