Throughout history, being left-handed has had a negative connotation. Left-handed people were often considered unlucky to be around and in many cases, were thought to be evil. Many of these associations became cultural norms and were passed down through the generations and are still used in the modern vernacular. For instance, the Latin word sinister translates as “left or unlucky,” and the French word gauche not only translates as “left,” but clumsy or awkward as well.
So it should come as no surprise that there are very few firearms on the market that accommodate southpaw shooters and even fewer that are designed to be totally ambidextrous.
The Slovakian-manufactured Grand Power P11 9mm Compact from Eagle Imports is the exception with equal opportunity controls on the entire weapon.
For the Grand Power P11, Slovakian engineers used a combination of manufacturing materials to allow consumers to get the most bang for their buck. For starters, the CNC-machined steel body is enclosed by a futuristic polymer frame designed for shooting comfort.
The steel slide boasts a black finish with deep serrations at front and rear. A Picatinny rail is attached to the front of the frame for mounting accessories.
One of the most interesting features of the Grand Power P11 is its rotating barrel operating system instead of the standard Browning tilt-barrel action. Author Scott W. Wagner explains the advantages of the design in his article “Eagle Imports Grand Power P11: Totally Ambidextrous 9mm Combat Pistol” at USConcealedCarry.com:
“The rotating barrel design helps to mitigate recoil in the form of reducing muzzle rise. I found this reduction to be a reality, rather than just advertising hype, which is helpful in a pistol that weighs only 22.8 ounces.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
The firing system on the Grand Power P11 is standard Double-Action/Single-Action with an ambidextrous safety that allows the gun to be cocked with a round in the chamber. After firing the first round with its long 12-pound trigger pull, the slide will cock the hammer for the following rounds in single-action mode.
The Grand Power P11 was range-tested using a variety of ammo. The standard 3-dot sights on the gun made targeting easy by using a point of aim with 2-inch groupings easily achieved at 30 feet. At 100 yards from the two-hand standing position, the Grand Power P11 continued to exhibit precision accuracy with all rounds hitting the silhouette target and 80 percent hitting the center. Muzzle velocity averaged about 1071 fps compared to 1165 for a similar SIG model.
The Grand Power P11 is an excellent weapon for left-handed shooters, but its rotating barrel design, low recoil, light weight, contoured slide, and low profile also make it a superb concealed carry firearm option. The MSRP on the Grand Power P11 is about $530.
The AR-15 is the increasingly popular long gun used extensively in the United States by law enforcement, outdoorsmen, and property owners who are conscious about home defense. When first introduced in the mid-1950s by Armalite, its design was considered revolutionary. Intended as an upgrade for the U.S. Army Infantry, the rifle easily outperformed earlier weapons that were based on obsolete technology.
Armalite Rifle (hence the AR) was a subdivision of Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation.
This relationship allowed early versions of the AR-15 to borrow from the aircraft industry by using light, but strong materials such as plastics, aircraft grade anodized aluminum, and various other alloys.
Today, the AR-15 is a high-performance rifle with many options for customization, including left and right-handed models, caliber conversion kits, and full barrel customization. But as author Scott W. Wagner points out in his article “Shopping for Your First AR” at USConcealedCarry.com, the basic AR-15 has a lot going for it:
“The AR-15 served successfully for many years in its issued, un-adorned format. The original design is still a winner. Start out with the original, and if need be, work up from there. As for me, I will take my working, rough-use rifle as is.” (Read more at USConcealedCarry.com)
So if you are looking to get into a no-frills AR-15 for under a thousand bucks, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind. First, the AR-15 is extremely reliable. The direct gas system keeps the rifle on the lighter side for both weight and price. The drawback is that the gas design requires regular cleaning and lubrication to continue performing at optimal levels.
Secondly, the naked AR-15 is a thing of beauty. No dressing required. This is especially true if this is your first AR. Take a few test drives, find out what works for you, and go from there. Unnecessary accoutrements can seriously bog you down.
Iron sights are standard issue on the AR-15, and again, it is best to become familiar with them before taking it to the next level with a scope. The iron sights will withstand a ton of heavy duty use, while scopes must be treated with care.
And finally, do not mess with any caliber customizing, at least for a while. The original 5.56/.223 ammo is an effective round for new shooters, especially when using premium ammo. If you prefer more power, the full-length AR with a 20-inch barrel delivers 3200 fps velocity using 55-grain ammo.
The best news is that you can purchase a bare-bones street-ready AR for about $900. After a little practice, you will have a feel for what accessories are needed to adapt to your outdoor, recreational, or home defense preferences.