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A trope starting to crop up in videogames, in which a firearm is clearly not designed to be used in the hand it's being held in; since almost all FPS protagonists are right handed, this has them holding left-handed guns. Or when wielding Guns Akimbo, a left-handed gun in the right hand and right-handed gun in the left.

In a real right handed gun, the ejection port almost always ejects spent casings to the right, away from the shooter. There's a good reason for this; spent casings are typically extremely hot and can be ejected with significant force; using a weapon in the "wrong" hand is potentially dangerous. Sometimes the gun won't simply be reversed; the controls present on the left (to allow the user to operate them with their thumb; safeties, fire selectors, etc) will still be present, as well as all the stuff from the right.

Several game companies have spoken out as to why this is reversed in videogames; mainly, it's for the Gun Porn effect. The left side of a right-handed gun is typically fairly flat and less visually interesting than the various moving parts, levers and controls found on the right; in addition, there's an opinion that ejecting brass across the screen rather than off to the side is more "dynamic." The only guns that tend to escape this treatment are belt-fed machine guns, since the belt is interesting to look at and makes for a nicely in-depth reload that would be harder to see with the weapon reversed, and revolvers, since a typical revolver's cylinder already swings out to the left for reloading and they don't have an ejection port. Any game using this trope is also likely to have a lot of superfluous yanking of the charging handle during reloads, because, well, it's right there after all.

Examples of Right-Handed Left-Handed Guns include:

Video Games

  • Counter-Strike may have started this trope. The modeler for the game was apparently left-handed and wanted to play the game like that. So he created anatomically-correct guns being used left-handed. However, since playing with a left handed gun is confusing for most of the right handed world, they added an option for a right handed model. Of course, to save time and resources, they basically mirrored the gun model.
    • It's particularly noticeable on the Steyr Aug (Bullpup), which is equipped with an asymmetrical scope, and thus using the scope would require holding it in a very awkward position indeed.
    • The German-exclusive weapons in Left 4 Dead 2 also have this issue, the weapons being pretty much directly ported from Counter-Strike Source.
  • STALKER does this, despite its attempts at realism. This includes using a left-handed SA 80, without explaining how the player character avoids breaking his jaw with the moving bolt handle. Then again, it's also not explained why it's being fired with the barrel cover still on.
  • The Play Station 2 and X Box game Black also does this, mostly in the name of Gun Porn; the weapons are also embellished rather heavily to play up the Gun Porn angle even more (the Uzi, for example, has a RIS rail immobilising the charging handle on top and another charging handle added to the side).
  • Duke Nukem 3D is one of the earliest offenders. In a USENET post, the developers admitted that a right-handed Duke wielding guns with left-side ejection ports wasn't very realistic. Gratuitous spent brass flying across the player's field-of-view was just that cool.
  • Averted, interestingly, in the grand-daddy of all modern FPS games, Doom: the marine in that game is actually left handed.
  • Far Cry 2 goes to a ridiculous extent with this, doing it even when it results in a horribly awkward animation (a Springfield with a lefty bolt) or really wouldn't matter (the upward-ejecting Desert Eagle has the barrel lock swapped). Even the PKM (which already ejects to the left) is mirrored, this time so the belt is more visible.
  • Zigzagged in the Bad Company spinoffs for the Battlefield series. Some weapons are modeled properly, while some are modeled weirdly.
    • A great example from an earlier Battlefield is in Battlefield Vietnam, where the Vietcong's bolt action rife is left-handed, requiring the player character to do a totally freakin' sweet action to work the bolt.
    • Postal 2 has a similar, strange example. When you find a sniper rifle on the ground, it has a right-handed bolt, but then once you pick it up and use it, the bolt is suddenly left-handed.
  • Strangely inverted with the Modern Warfare games - some guns have NO ejection port at all on their models, usually because they're on the right side of the gun, and even when aiming down the sight you wouldn't see that side of the gun anyway.
    • The top-tier shotgun in Call of Duty Black Ops is the High Standard Model 10 (HS-10). Its only attachment is Akimbo, ignoring the notice on the weapon that explicitly states "Do Not Fire From Left Shoulder."
    • Akimbo in general results in a combination of correct and incorrect models - the right-hand gun is modeled as it should be (or close enough, given the above), while the left-hand one is, to save on resources, usually just a reversed copy of the right one.
  • Even worse the MMO Fallen Earth. The bolt handle is on the left, yet the character uses the right hand to eject spent shells from rifles.
  • The Marathon trilogy contains examples of this trope played straight, and being intentionally averted: right-handed sidearms (like the standard issue magnum automatic) will have correctly displayed right-handed actions and ejection ports, but when you pick up a second from a fallen (right-handed) comrade, it will suddenly be left-handed. This effect is caused by the guns-in-hand animation being flipped on the X axis for dual wielding, instead of adding a memory-hogging second graphic set.
  • Halo: Reach's DMR ejects spent cases to the right, but the charging handle is on the left and visibly slides back and forth with each shot, putting the user's face in danger if he should ever look down the sight when firing.
    • In a neat aversion, your Spartan can unlock a piece of armor which makes your left arm robotic and switches your use to that arm.
  • Perfect Dark does like both Battlefield: Bad Company and Modern Warfare did later - some weapons are modeled correctly for right-handed use, while others would fit better for left-handed users. Grab a second one, and that one's model will merely be a flipped model of the first one.


  • This promotional poster shows Captain Jack Sparrow dual-weilding a pair of flintlock pistols, one left-handed and one right-handed. Similar to cartridge ejection, the side the mechanism is on ejects a plume of smoke and sparks. Bearing that in mind, closer inspection shows he is holding them in the wrong hands - i.e. the left-handed gun in his right hand and vice versa. While this may be Rule of Cool, Fridge Brilliance is in effect when you consider that, from this position, firing both guns simultaneously would send a blast of smoke forwards. It is entirely within Jack Sparrow's Badass Obfuscating Stupidity Confusion Fu Technical Pacifist nature to use this type of trick to create a smokescreen and quite completely surprise whoever he's facing.

Real Life

  • The loading gate on a Colt Single Action Army revolver is on the right-hand side; a right-handed shooter has to transfer the gun to his/her left hand to reload. By the way - Samuel Colt was left-handed.
    • Could also be a throwback to the American Civil War, when revolvers were used in the left hand, and the right one was used for handling reins or a sabre.
      • That's the real reason. Pistols were historically used by cavalry far more often than by infantry (and even nowadays, plenty of soldiers will tell you that, ounce for ounce, a couple extra grenades beats a pistol any day of the week). The SAA was originally intended for use by cavalry, and the .45 Long Colt cartridge, much like the massive Colt Walker, was intended to be powerful enough to bring down either man or horse with one shot.
  • The German Walther P38/P1 9mm automatic pistol, the standard service sidearm of the German Army during World War Two and the West German Bundeswehr from 1958 to about 2004, is unusual in having its extractor and ejector both on the left side of the breech; most autopistols have the extractor on the right side (including every other pistol Walther has ever made). As a result, the P38/P1 invariably ejects its "empties" straight out to the left, or up and to the left, the opposite of pretty much every other pistol in the world. No one at Walther has ever been able to adequately explain why this one pistol was built this way.
  • There are some guns that by extension, avert this trope due to their design.
    • Ease of changing parts: The Steyr Aug for example, requires a quick change of the bolt and moving the ejection port cover to the other side.
    • Direction neutral design: The P90 feeds from the top and ejects rounds downward. The F2000 ejects rounds forward before they go out to the right, making the problem moot.
      • An almost direction-neutral design is the WWII Bren light machine gun. It also feeds from the top and ejects rounds downwards. However, the sights and forward grip are necessarily offset to the left (otherwise the magazine would block the sights).
    • The German army G36 standard assault rifle is designed to be used by both right- and left-handed soldiers. The ejector is on the right side of the weapon, but a good distance away from the optics, so that a left-handed shooter won't be hit in the face by the casings. It also has a symmetric grip, the safety-switch on both sides of the grip, and a unique charging handle that can be quickly grabbed and pulled from either side, so that it can easily be operated from the left hand. It is, however, more difficult for a left-handed soldier to carry the rifle, as it misses a hole for the carrying belt on the right side of the weapon, but this is mainly to avoid interference of the belt with the ejector. The XM8, UMP, and MP7, all based on the G36's action, are much the same.
    • In US Navy use, earlier models of the Heckler & Koch MP5 were often modified with a "Navy trigger group", which added a second selector switch to the right-hand side of the grip. Later MP5 models have ambidextrous fire controls straight out of the factory.
  • Fire a Napoleonic musket on the left hand side and you'll find a quite large amount of gunpowder explode in the pan centimetres from your eyeball.
  • AK series weapons have an ejection port on the right side that is far enough away from the shooter so that you can shoot it lefty. Whilst all the controls are on the right, it's easy enough to operate them with the right hand whilst keeping the left hand on the pistol grip.
  • The M16, while not deliberately ambidextrous, is quite easy for a left-hander to use.
    • The Canadian C7 redesign featured a number of improvements over the M16, including an ejector port deflector and ambidextrous controls for left-handed shooters. These features were eventually worked into the M16A2.
  • For years, Remington has been making left-handed bolt-action guns, and Model 870 shotguns.
  • Played straight in real life: The M1 Garand and Short Magazine Lee-Enfield from World War II both had scopes that were mounted to the left of the receiver, rather than above like most other scoped weapons, so as not to block the insertion (or, in the case of the Garand, ejection) of their clips when the user needed to reload.
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