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duelist vs double duelist recommendations?


El CupAJoe
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I've always been a fair bit ambi, but my left hand is weaker and double jointed thumb and it hangs up with my favorite right hand gun, it actually cramps when using certain single actions.  if you were me, would you run different right and left hand guns in double duelist or keep things simple and run the same gun and stick with strong hand use only?  open to hand strength exercises, maybe trying to modify the grip and hammer to work better with my left hand?  let me know your thoughts.

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I had something similar when I first started shooting GF and had to go back to shooting two handed.  My left arm would just give up.  However, when I bought Ruger 32 H&R, the lighter weight and recoil helped me get over the hump with the left arm issue.  I now shoot GF all the time.  There may be a different style of gun or hammers that would help.  I'd try some other peoples guns at matches and see if they feel better and would help.

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Depends on how competitive you are.  Double duelist offers a lot of advantages, but only if you can get your off hand up to or at least close to the speed of your dominant hand.  I asked a similar question a little while back and in short you can be a really good duelist with one strong hand, but to be the best you need to go double.  I tried for a few months with lots of dry and live practice with a shot timer and even tried it out at a few monthlies.  End results for me was I better focus on being a really good single strong hand duelist.

 

Edit:  Whenever End of Trail or Winter Range scores get posted I usually try to look up the various top duelist both by age based, Classic, and Frontiersman categories, the vast majority (at least judging by the youtube videos that get posted) of top duelists have invested the time to shoot double.

Edited by July Smith
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I was shooting Rugers when I switched to double duelist and then, eventually, gunfighter.  I didn't have much of a problem with my off hand because I had already installed Super Blackhawk hammers (lower than stock Vaquero hammers) and lighter springs.  Later on, I also had my pistols short stroked.

 

My wife, however, had a tougher time of it learning gunfighter.  Her left hand was much weaker.  First we had her pistols short stroked and lower hammers installed.

 

The second step was for her to do daily dry firing, especially with her off hand.  The last step was to purchase the device listed below to help strengthen her left hand.  This device really did help.

 

Amazon.com: Django Hand Exerciser Strengthener | 5 Finger Grip Adjustable | for Guitar, Musicians, Athletes, Rock Climbers, and Physical Therapy | Includes 3 Resistance Training Workout Cards | Fully Guaranteed : Sports & Outdoors

Edited by TN Mongo, SASS #61450
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Ask to try a few other pards guns.  Different grips, different size/weight, or different hammers can make a worked of difference.  I started off with regular old model Ruger Vaqueros shooting two handed.  I switched to old model Ruger Bisley's, still two handed, so the kids could shoot my Vaqueros.  When I went to duelist, the Bisley's just wouldn't point right for me, so I switched back to the Vaqueros and stayed with them through the transition to double duelist and then gunfighter.  My wife switched to the Ruger Single Sixes in .32 so she could shoot duelist.  I tried them, but the just felt too small for me.

 

There are big differences in the sizes and hammer reach between all the different models and manufacturers out there.  One of them is likely right for you.

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21 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

I've always been a fair bit ambi, but my left hand is weaker and double jointed thumb and it hangs up with my favorite right hand gun, it actually cramps when using certain single actions.  if you were me, would you run different right and left hand guns in double duelist or keep things simple and run the same gun and stick with strong hand use only?  open to hand strength exercises, maybe trying to modify the grip and hammer to work better with my left hand?  let me know your thoughts.

I started shooting Duelist, double duelist style with Vaqueros, then had them short-stroked with Super Blackhawk hammers. I have a fairly large hand and changed to short-stroked Bisleys (arthritic) and that helped a lot.  Watch some videos of Doc. Roy L. Pain, he shoots duelist strong hand only and is amazingly fast. If you have too much trouble with your weak hand try Doc's technique.

 

Randy

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If you can find a gun that works for you. Double duelist is the way to go as there are a lot of advantages when it comes to transitions. Shooting unmatched pistols doesn't matter as long you are shooting one with the right and the other with the left.

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I shot cross draw duelist for almost 20 years,  I had tried a couple times half heartedly to do double duelist.  Finally I decided it was worth the work and started Double Duelist only.  It was tough and I found myself shooting the stage based on shooting the closer targets with my weak hand but I was determined to make it work.   It took 2 years to get to the point that I am completely confident with both hands.  I am not as fast with my weak hand but I am almost as fast and the pistol to pistol transition is at least a second faster, not to mention that transitions are faster to other guns as well.  That said, if your hand doesnt allow you to do it it may not be worth the effort. As mentioned there are a lot of fast cross draw duelist.  What ever works for you is the answer.

 

Good Luck,

 

Chili

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I have shot DD for a number of years now.  I'm left handed and I am still a little bit faster with that than the right.  I am having some problem with the right thumb in the last few weeks and cocking the pistol with the right thumb has been a problem.  I don't want to switch guns during a run so as to minimize the chance of dropping one, so I switched categories for the last shoot and, for the moment, use a two handed grip with the second pistol.  If the problem/ arthritis? continues I have all winter to practice transitions with the second pistol.

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When I was not doing something constructive, I would cock my revolvers. Watching TV I would dry fire in sets with each hand. Start out low, like sets of 10 with each hand. Do one, then the other, then right back to the first etc. You don't have to aim. Gradually increase the set number i.e. do sets of 15, then 20, 25....

You can judge your progress by continually dry firing one pistol until your rhythm noticeably slows down. You'll be surprised at how far you come in just a week of "downtime" practice.

I use lowered hammers too.

Edited by Tennessee williams
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This won't help any, just an aside.  I've had a ham radio license for 56 years, but have been inactive almost since I started CAS, but it's in my blood and I'll get back to it.  A friend of mine used to make comparisons of the similarities between bird-watching and radio contesting.  I have similarly made mental comparisons and parallels between radio contesting and CAS.  While I have been inactive, SO2R has become very popular.  Single-Operator-2-Radio: they listen to two radios on two different frequencies simultaneously, listening to one in each ear, with electronic or mechanical switching of the transmittng frequency.   It takes a lot of practice and coordination, but the regular one radio and one frequency at a time operator is now at a disadvantage.  I was actually fairly good (I think I may still hold a world record in a minor category since '97).  I do NOT think I would want to put in the work to learn SO2R.  I can imagine the same scenario in CAS.  Someone who shot duelist years ago and is now getting back into it will find themselves at a disadvantage due to the way the category has "progressed" with DD.   But then, all the other CAS styles have also progressed in speed so someone who shot traditional-style 20 years ago would be fairly shocked at how fast folks are shooting today as well.

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I started two handed, then crossdraw Frontiersman with just the right hand, then Gunfighter, and now almost exclusively Double Duelist. I'm right handed, but getting a little shaky in my old age (66), and actually shoot better now with my left hand than my right. I still can't wipe with my left though. :ph34r:

 

Double Duelist is twice as coolest!

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I started two handed with a double strong side rig. The problem I had was that, prior to CAS, I used to practice shooting my autos with either hand and I couldn't get my timing right to shoot two handed. (I would draw my weak side and want to start plugging away.) So I just went with it and have been trying to get better at DD from pretty much the beginning. 

I like TW's practice recommendation, I'm gonna have to try that.

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15 hours ago, Abilene, SASS # 27489 said:

This won't help any, just an aside.  I've had a ham radio license for 56 years, but have been inactive almost since I started CAS, but it's in my blood and I'll get back to it.  A friend of mine used to make comparisons of the similarities between bird-watching and radio contesting.  I have similarly made mental comparisons and parallels between radio contesting and CAS.  While I have been inactive, SO2R has become very popular.  Single-Operator-2-Radio: they listen to two radios on two different frequencies simultaneously, listening to one in each ear, with electronic or mechanical switching of the transmittng frequency.   It takes a lot of practice and coordination, but the regular one radio and one frequency at a time operator is now at a disadvantage.  I was actually fairly good (I think I may still hold a world record in a minor category since '97).  I do NOT think I would want to put in the work to learn SO2R.  I can imagine the same scenario in CAS.  Someone who shot duelist years ago and is now getting back into it will find themselves at a disadvantage due to the way the category has "progressed" with DD.   But then, all the other CAS styles have also progressed in speed so someone who shot traditional-style 20 years ago would be fairly shocked at how fast folks are shooting today as well.

 

17 hours ago, Tennessee williams said:

When I was not doing something constructive, I would cock my revolvers. Watching TV I would dry fire in sets with each hand. Start out low, like sets of 10 with each hand. Do one, then the other, then right back to the first etc. You don't have to aim. Gradually increase the set number i.e. do sets of 15, then 20, 25....

You can judge your progress by continually dry firing one pistol until your rhythm noticeably slows down. You'll be surprised at how far you come in just a week of "downtime" practice.

I use lowered hammers too.

I'll be trying out some of these techniques, if I figure out a way to safely dri-fire my cap guns I'll let ya'll in on it.

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2 minutes ago, El CupAJoe said:

 

I'll be trying out some of these techniques, if I figure out a way to safely dri-fire my cap guns I'll let ya'll in on it.

 

Remove the nipples

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Background.  I started shooting Duelist and have never shot anything else.  I never saw John Wayne or Clint Eastwood using two hands so that was all the convincing I needed.  But I also chose Double Duelist because I like to compete and win.  DD gives me the best chance at that. 

 

Advice:  When I first started the best advice I was given for improving as a Double Duelist was by a gentleman named Madd Mike. (Yes, he truly is madddddd :wacko:   :lol:)  He said in order to bring your weak hand up to speed start using it to do things you'd normally do with your strong hand, bathroom chores especially.  Shaving, brushing your teeth, scrubbing your dirty self in the shower, etc.  That not only builds up arm and hand muscles you don't normally use, it also strengthens the mind/muscle connection.  

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Not too different than most of the replies. I have some arthritis in my thumbs, and the result was that my thumb would slip off the hammer and I'd have to cock again and then cock several times to get the 5th shot off. It was frustrating to say the least. Therefore I contemplated shooting duelest/double duelest. I've never fired left handed, but thought to myself, it's just a learned skill, why not go for it, so I did. 

 

And like it's been said, a gun that fit my right hand, felt foreign in my left. And my left hand is more arthritic than my right, so it can't tolerate excessive recoil. 

 

Hammers was another issue, shooting with 2 hands works better with a SASS or a Super Blackhawk hammer. Shooting duelest feels best with a New Vaquero or Colt hammer. Therefore it was back to the parts bin and more hammer changes. Also, because adjustable sights are not allowed, a couple of my Blackhawks went to the back of the safe. 

 

I like to change it up, and have several combinations. I also like the big bores, in moderation, so for my right hand I shoot a 44-40 or a 45 Colt, both original Vaqueros. One has a SBH hammer, the other has a stock hammer. Or I shoot a SASS New Vaquero in 357/38. The left hand has a New Vaquero or a New Vaquero SASS. An Original Vaquero does not feel right in my left hand. 

 

The point is; that to expect your left hand to be the mirror image of your right may be unrealistic. You may find a pair that works, but that would be boring IMHO.

 

Our club is small, a meet usually has between 10 and 20 participants. To accommodate the shooters, at the last meet they allowed a 1911 to be used instead of 2 pistols. I really liked this concept, it was fun. I call it Wild Cowboy, and you come to the line with a holstered 1911, with a mag in, loaded with 5, and instead of shooting a second pistol, you load another mag. I had fears that my wrist might complain, but I shot 6 scenarios with any wrist pain. Having old bones and muscles sucks sometimes.

 

BB   

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I’m going to try shooting frontiersman occasionally, and duelist is a part of that. I plan to go double duelist as with practice it’s most efficient as previously noted. My dominant hand (r) is already strong enough to cock repeatedly with ease and minimal muzzle movement. My non dominant hand is strong enough to cock repeatedly with relative ease but a lot of muzzle movement. My solution is grip exercises for my left hand. 
 

i cock the Navy’s a pretty good bit, but lower the hammer rather than dry fire. 

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:


 

i cock the Navy’s a pretty good bit, but lower the hammer rather than dry fire. 

Be real careful that you don't make that a habit. During the Rona lockdown last year, I did a lot of practice on drawing and reholstering my pistols and lowered my hammers instead of dry firing. As a result, I earned myself a couple of safeties when the ranges opened back up.

 

I'm left handed, so I'm used to living in a right handed world and probably had an easier time bringing my weak side (R) into play. I actually start with my right gun and finish with my left. I'm working hard on transitioning between the two. 

Speaking of which, what is the rule on when the second gun can clear leather? Can it be up before the last shot from the first pistol?

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15 minutes ago, Hendo said:

Speaking of which, what is the rule on when the second gun can clear leather? Can it be up before the last shot from the first pistol?

As soon as the first pistol is empty.

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56 minutes ago, Hendo said:

Be real careful that you don't make that a habit. During the Rona lockdown last year, I did a lot of practice on drawing and reholstering my pistols and lowered my hammers instead of dry firing. As a result, I earned myself a couple of safeties when the ranges opened back up.

 

I'm left handed, so I'm used to living in a right handed world and probably had an easier time bringing my weak side (R) into play. I actually start with my right gun and finish with my left. I'm working hard on transitioning between the two. 

Speaking of which, what is the rule on when the second gun can clear leather? Can it be up before the last shot from the first pistol?

 

40 minutes ago, July Smith said:

As soon as the first pistol is empty.

 

Yep, Make sure the barrel doesn't clear the holster until the last round in the first pistol goes bang.

 

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2 hours ago, Hendo said:

Be real careful that you don't make that a habit. During the Rona lockdown last year, I did a lot of practice on drawing and reholstering my pistols and lowered my hammers instead of dry firing. As a result, I earned myself a couple of safeties when the ranges opened back up.

You mean you decocked on a stage without specific instruction to do so by the TO?

 

Phantom

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1 minute ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

You mean you decocked on a stage without specific instruction to do so by the TO?

 

Phantom

Yup. I had already fired my five rounds and rode the hammer down after realizing I didn't have one more.

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2 minutes ago, Hendo said:

Yup

I was confused as you said you received "safeties".

 

20 minutes ago, Phantom, SASS #54973 said:

I earned myself a couple of safeties when the ranges opened back up.

 

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I've been shooting Classic Cowboy category for a lot of years, first with a pair of 75 Remingtons and for the last 8 years or so with a pair of OM Bisley Vaqueros, crossdraw. I have arthritis in my wrists (I know, I'm a whiner) so about 4 years ago I decided to give double duelist a try. After two summers of frustration because my left hand is so much slower than my right I went back to my crossdraw and shooting both pistols with my right hand. Since then I've been working on using transitions to cut down on my stage times. A friend who shoots duelist with a crosssdraw recommended practicing holstering both guns with my left hand, which leaves my right hand free to transition to my long guns and I've found that doing things that way works quite well for me. My leather is a Ted Block Ol' #4 rig, and the angles of the holsters is perfect for holstering with my left hand. Something else to think about...

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If you are going to shoot DD. For most it takes some work and practice.

It also helps to have the pistols set up to help. 

 

And in my opinion DD is the way to go. BUT. You can be pretty fast just shooting with

your strong hand only. 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Charlie MacNeil, SASS #48580 said:

I've been shooting Classic Cowboy category for a lot of years, first with a pair of 75 Remingtons and for the last 8 years or so with a pair of OM Bisley Vaqueros, crossdraw. I have arthritis in my wrists (I know, I'm a whiner) so about 4 years ago I decided to give double duelist a try. After two summers of frustration because my left hand is so much slower than my right I went back to my crossdraw and shooting both pistols with my right hand. Since then I've been working on using transitions to cut down on my stage times. A friend who shoots duelist with a crosssdraw recommended practicing holstering both guns with my left hand, which leaves my right hand free to transition to my long guns and I've found that doing things that way works quite well for me. My leather is a Ted Block Ol' #4 rig, and the angles of the holsters is perfect for holstering with my left hand. Something else to think about...

Seems like an interesting idea, have any videos I could watch where this is used?

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I shot with my right hand for years. I had tried double duelist but my left hand was pretty stupid.  About 2 years ago I tried double duelist again. I was slow at first but with practice I improved so much that my times are much faster. It also gives me some options with transitions. I was worried about aiming with my left since I am right eye dominant, but I learned that if I tilt the left pistol gangster style I can see the sights and shoot accurately.

 

Would I be faster with my right if all we were talking about was shooting the gun? Yes, but the transitions to pull the left pistol and transition to the right hand really cost you seconds. Better for me to be shooting with the right and have the left hand on the left pistol ready to pull as soon as the last round leaves the right pistol. And there is the looking cool factor.

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On 10/21/2021 at 6:10 AM, El CupAJoe said:

Seems like an interesting idea, have any videos I could watch where this is used?

Sorry, no videos. The best I can do is try to describe my technique, so here goes: Stage instructions: pistols first, followed by shotgun then rifle, moving left to right. Start with left hip turned forward, at least somewhat toward first target. At the signal, draw the left gun with right hand. Engage targets with five rounds. Move gun to the left, grasp over the top with left hand, fingers on the outside, barrel tilts down toward holster. As left gun is moving to holster, right hand draws right gun. Engage targets with five rounds. Again pass gun to left hand, freeing right hand to pick up the shotgun. I tend to swing my right hip forward a skosh as my left hand is moving the gun to the holster. As right pistol goes into the holster, move left hand to shotgun shells and pull two (I shoot a hammer double). 

 

I'm not sure whether or not this makes any sense, but it's the best I can do. My rig is a Blocker Ol' #4, and both holsters ride in front of my hip bones. I got rid of most of my pot belly a couple of years ago (keto diet) which makes it relatively easy to reach across my body to holster the right hand pistol with my left hand.

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I have shot nothing but duelist for the past 25 years of SASS shooting.  Frontiersman, Frontier Cartridge Duelist, and Duelist.  I have used cross draws and two strong sides passing the gun from weak to strong hand and double duelist.  When the hands and fingers are working there is only about a half-second difference between passing the gun and double duelist.  A half-second times 12 stages is six seconds.  However, IF you are marginally slower with the weak hand or marginally less accurate it can quickly become a wash.  One miss and the time savings is erased.  I just got back from Bordertown.  On Saturday my "weak" hand thumb started feeling crunchy and a couple of stages were pretty iffy.  Wound up with a miss for the match on the next to the last stage with my weak hand pistol.  One miss in a tight match and game over.

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