In A New Hope Detention Center Shoutout scene Luke is clearly shooting with his left hand. Later in this same video at 4:51 he makes a leftie shot more clearly.

Leftie shot (photo)

In The Empire Strikes Back while following Boba Fett, Luke holds a gun (and subsequently shoots) with his right hand. Needless to say, while fighting with a lightsaber he also uses his right hand. Right hand (photo)

So why did he shoot with his left hand in A New Hope?

  • 11
    Because he's holding the communicator in his other hand?
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 16:48
  • 32
    In reality Mark Hamill is left-handed. Lucas either probably just didn't notice. Either that or Hamill was holding the gun in his right hand but the image was reversed when it was printed for final cut. That happens a lot.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 16:51
  • 14
    From a filmmaking perspective, I suspect it's because Leia needs to snatch the gun out of his hand. If he has it in his right hand, she'd have to reach all the way around him to get it.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 17:06
  • 12
    "Though in the original Star Wars trilogy he shoots a pistol and swings a lightsaber right-handed, he eats and writes left-handed. He can be seen eating left-handed in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) when in Yoda's home, throwing the skull left-handed to defeat the Rancor in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) - m.imdb.com/name/nm0000434/trivia
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 24, 2019 at 17:08
  • 27
    In the first image, he has his back against the wall with a small barrier directly on his right side. It would be rather difficult for him to shoot with his right hand from that position, much like when you want to shoot along the edge of a pool table in the direction where your weaker arm is against the table.
    – Kai
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 5:09

3 Answers 3


Luke is pretty consistently shown to be ambidextrous (having the ability to use both hands without favouring one) throughout the original trilogy film series.

In A New Hope he totes a gun and shoots with his left hand while on the Death Star.
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He operates a control panel with his right hand
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He ladles food onto his plate with his left and then passes a heavy jug from his right hand to his left to pour.
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He uses a screwdriver with his right hand.
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He handles the lightsaber with his right hand.
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He favours his right hand for throwing a grenade in Empire Strikes Back.
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He eats with his right hand in the swamps of Dagobah, as well as pulling a gun with his right.
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But then eats with his left hand a few minutes later.
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He favours his right hand for reaching out with the Force.
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He totes his gun in his right hand on Cloud City.
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He throws a skull with his left hand in Return of the Jedi.
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He salutes Jabba and catches his lightsaber with left hand.
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He calls the lightsaber to his right hand and fights almost exclusively with his right.
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It's not clear if this was an intentional directorial choice, a goof (reversed plates meant that Fett's antenna swapped sides repeatedly during the Skiff scene and Luke's lightsaber would repeatedly jump from his left to his right hip, for example) or whether Lucas simply didn't notice or care that his main actor (who's left-handed in real life) was using his hands interchangeably.

  • 17
    One of our readers / users could contact Mr. Hammil and ask. It would be awesome to get his two cents. Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 13:55
  • 46
    Note that a lot of us lefties are a lot more comfortable using our right hands if a situation arises where that would be more convenient than a typical right-hander would be using their left. In a world designed for right-handers, we have to learn to be flexible sometimes.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 15:26
  • 2
    I suspect Luke would learn to duel with his right hand because that's probably what the forms are based around. Perhaps a highly skilled leftie would be at an advantage in an equally matched duel; but Luke was never in an equally matched duel in the OT. Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 18:32
  • 10
    @AzorAhai - ...or OOC, most likely Mark's fencing instructors only felt comfortable teaching him right-handed. Teaching it left-handed is much more complex, and I could see where they wouldn't want to get into all that just for the sake of a movie. (IC, change names to "Luke" and "Obi-Wan" and this argument still mostly holds. Remember his training was being rushed.)
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 18:49
  • 6
    @Adamant - I've watched a bunch of candid vids and he strongly favours his left for dominance; youtube.com/watch?v=Z-sVuNB4eGY - signing / youtube.com/watch?v=K-bENZW7Jyw - holding a mic, etc
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 7:18

During the Detention Centre shootout, Luke is taking cover on the right-hand side of the corridor (from his perspective) and the alcove he's using for cover would make it harder to fire his blaster right-handed. He's trying to stay behind that little bit of bulkhead as much as he can to avoid the incoming Stormtrooper fire, so holding the blaster in his right hand would mean having to lean farther out to get a shot off and making himself more of a target.

In Cloud City, you can see that Luke's hiding behind a wall at a left-hand turn (his perspective), so naturally he wouldn't need to shift his sidearm to another hand since he'd still be in cover if he decided to lean out and shoot at Fett and the Imperials.

EDIT: Several comments have indicated that Mark Hamill is left-handed, while I've also seen that Luke may be intended to be ambidextrous with a preference for one hand or the other depending on the action. But in terms of in-universe actions, Luke's simply taking best advantage of his cover the same way that Han and Chewie are shoving themselves up against the wall in the Detention Centre. As a side note, you'll sometimes see Stormtroopers carrying their blaster rifles left-handed; this was because the Sterling submachine guns used for the blank-fire props have a VERY awkward horizontal magazine that sticks out of the left side of the gun and makes it difficult to hold in the typical "Stormtrooper Ready" position, even with a chopped-down 10-shot magazine.

  • 15
    This. I don't really see how it would even be physically possible to shoot right handed while taking cover like that.
    – terdon
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 0:36
  • 5
    It's physically possible, but would be awkward while you're trying to avoid getting hit yourself. Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 4:24
  • 4
    @SpaceWolf1701 indeed. I'm right handed, and in such a situation it would be easier for me to just shoot left-handed than to try to contort myself. Also, the situation in the Detention Centre is what we would call today Urban Combat. Urban combat de-emphasizes sharpshooting at long distance (in which dexterity matters a lot) in favor of squeezing off lots of basically-ok shots at close to medium range quickly and using cover effectively. It's also happens to be a textbook environment for submachine guns (SMGs), and the E-11 blaster prop is actually based on the Sterling SMG. Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 13:40
  • @RobertColumbia Quite true. I'm right-handed also and would do the same, though if I had my choice I'd be on the other side of the corridor with a different blaster rifle. Han and Chewie are lucky enough to be in cover where it's easier to shoot, although I think Chewie was waving around a DLT-19 at that point which would be handy in that situation because of its high fire rate but even more awkward than the E-11s. And aye, I did mention the Sterlings in my answer, including the unfortunate position of the magazines that led to many Stormtrooper extras holding them left-handed. Commented Feb 26, 2019 at 20:43

Valorum's answer ably points out the ambiguity of Mark Hamill's ambidextrousness. This could be caused by:

  • The director telling him to use his right hand in some scenes (for composition/framing) and not caring to in others - in cases where Mark using his left hand might either block or not make it clear whatever action he's performing
  • The film being mirrored to make him look right handed
  • Mark really being ambidextrous

As a left-handed person myself, who has some shooting experience with hand-guns and rifles, I can say with some certainty that left/right handedness doesn't always correlate to which hand you hold the weapon in. When I hold weapons, my right hand is the trigger-holding hand, and my left is the support hand. For racquet sports, I'm fully left-handed as there's no dependency on eye dominance.

I am left handed, but right eye dominant. There's various aspects of this eye dominance that come into play when shooting


Different types of dominance

Most adult men have one eye that directs their pointing, right-handers tending to have a dominant right eye and the bulk of southpaws a dominant left. When they point at a distant object with both eyes open, they will line up with one eye rather than the other. The dominant eye, the fingertip, and the selected mark, will all be points on a straight line. Shooting is easier and has more effect if you can shoot with both eyes open.

Binocular vision facilitates the estimation of distance, speed and angle and helps one to gain the full benefits of natural hand to eye co-ordination. If you doubt it, try catching a ball with one eye shut. But, do not believe those who say simplistically that everyone should shoot with two eyes. It’s not as simple as that.

Eye dominance terminology

  • Absolute dominance in the eye looking down the rib – keep both eyes open and focus locked on the bird, the bird and nothing but the bird.

  • Predominant dominance (one eye is predominantly but not fully dominant) in the eye looking down the rib – keep both eyes open with appropriate cast, or, squint an eye as the gun comes to the shoulder or otherwise block the vision to it.

  • True cross-dominance (eg right-handed but left eye dominant) – squint/close opposite eye, block vision to it, use a full crossover stock, or change shoulders.

  • Intermittent or occasional cross-dominance – probably caused by poor focus discipline or bad gun fit. Consider what rib picture you can see when the gun is mounted at 45 degrees with normal cheek pressure.

  • Central vision (neither eye dominant) – close eye opposite rib, block vision to it, consider acquiring a semi-crossover stock.

  • Indeterminate dominance – both eyes fighting for control, close eye opposite rib or block vision to it.

Stormtroopers obviously suffer from any one of the last three variants of eye-dominance.

  • Great point with eye dominance, never thought of that. I doubt, though, this being the reason here, as Hamill supposedly didn't even aim that much, more of pointing the gun in the right direction Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 10:51
  • 1
    In many films involving weapons, cast members get some form of training to learn how to stand/aim etc. I'm not sure if this was the case in the older SW films or not. The cast members used weapons in a vaguely convincing manner, so I assume there was some such training at play.
    – user71418
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 10:55

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