“Lefties Have Rights Too!” If memory serves, I first read this pithy saying in MAD Magazine sometime in the 1980s. In application to the U.S. Constitution, it means that the 2nd Amendment applies to left-wing and left-handed citizens every bit as much as it does to their right-wing and right-handed counterparts.
With that in mind, a friend of mine who’s a CCW permit holder down in freedom-loving Florida — the same friend who inspired me to review the 9mm Canik pistol — asked me to write a piece on the best pistols for southpaws. Since I very much appreciate suggestions from our loyal readers, I’m only too happy to oblige. For the record, I myself write left-handed, yet I throw, punch, lift, and shoot handguns right-handed. To complicate matters further, I’m cross-eye dominant, which compels me to shoot long guns left-handed in order to optimize my sight picture. Yes, I’m one mixed-up dude.
That aside, let’s move on to the subject.
Walther P88, PPQ, and PDP 9mm
For the sake of brevity, I’m lumping all three Walther pistols together. I can personally vouch for the 9mm P88, as I’ve fired one, although it has been a long time since I did. The slide, stop, and magazine release are completely ambidextrous, and back in 1988 when the P88 debuted, famed gun writer Wiley Clapp in Guns & Ammo declared it to be the most accurate 9mm pistol in the world.
“Walther PPQ – The legendary southpaw pistol. It was one of the few pistols on the market which had left side ejection port options as well as an ambi magazine release along with the quality that Walther always puts into its pistols. Sadly, it’s no longer in production, but it’s well worth hunting for in the aftermarket. If you can’t find one, then the Walther PDP is a fine alternative that is currently in production.”
M1911 .45 ACP
The classic standard M1911 pistol might be a bit of a surprise listing here, as John Moses Browning clearly designed the pistol for right-handers. (Remember, JMB lived in a time period when schoolteachers cruelly abused left-handed students.) But Massad F. Ayoob of the Lethal Force Institute has long written about how user-friendly the pistol is for left-handed shooters, though he still recommends adding an aftermarket ambidextrous safety.
For those of you who don’t mind spending extra money — as in, a $5,800 base price — there’s the Cabot National Standard Southpaw, which “Misfit” brought to my attention as the only 1911 that is 100% southpaw and is completely custom-built to the user’s specs.
Heckler & Koch (HK) P2000 9mm/.40 S&W
Of all the pistols on this list, the HK “P2K” is the one with which I’ve done the greatest amount of left-handed shooting. It was my duty-issue pistol during my three years as a U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer at Los Angeles/Long Beach Seaport, and weak-hand firing strings were a mandatory part of our agency pistol qual courses. Slide stop and magazine are completely ambidextrous, and the gun is accurate, reliable, and reasonably comfortable for concealed carry.
HK P7 9mm
Yes, I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here by putting the two HK pistols under two separate headings while I lumped all three Walther pistols together, but rest assured there is a good reason: The P7 is so unique that it deserves to be discussed on its own. This is mainly due to its “squeeze-cocker,” which acts as a cocking lever, safety, and slide release all rolled into one. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a southpaw or a northpaw, you still need to apply the same amount of pressure to the squeeze-cocker in order to render the weapon operable. And whether you’re using the American-market version of the P7, with the magazine release behind the trigger guard, or the European-market version with its butt-heel release, the function remains ambidextrous.
I own a P7, and it’s one of my most prized possessions. Since the P7 wasn’t a duty pistol like the HK P2K was, I haven’t done nearly as much left-handed shooting with the former as I have with the latter. But I can definitely vouch for the P7’s excellent accuracy, reliability, compactness, and ergonomics, and its amazingly crisp trigger pull.
CZ P07 Duty 9mm
As with the HK P7, I have not done much left-handed shooting with the P07 Duty 9mm, but I can vouch for its accuracy, reliability, and handling characteristics. “Misfit” vouches for the P07 as well. In the case of the Czech pistol, while I don’t own one yet, it was my carry pistol during my last contract stint in Iraq. The P07 enabled me to shoot a perfect qual course twice in a row. It will appeal to lefties due to its ambidextrous safety-decocker as well as its all-around superb ergonomics.
What, No Revolvers?!?!
As far as I know, there are no wheelguns out there designed for left-handed shooters. If any of our dear readers know otherwise, please let us know in the Comments section. Likewise, please let us know in the Comments section if there are any autopistols that I unfairly excluded from this list.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.