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Old August 22, 2008, 02:13 PM   #1
LateNightFlight
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Left Eye Dominant - Right Handers

I have two people who would like to shoot with me but have a perplexing issue when it comes to shooting. Both my younger son and girlfriend want to bench shoot in the right-hand position, and are right handed, but want to crane their head across the stock to look with their dominant left eye. It's weird looking but fine if they're bench shooting the .22. Both of them have shot some surprisingly good groups in this monstosity of a position, but this obviously won't work going forward, especially with anything that recoils.

Can they train themselves to shoot with their right eye, even thow they complain about how awkward and difficult it is now? Or, would it be better for them to learn to shoot with their hands and body positioned like a lefty? Or, <gulp> should I just take them fishing more often?
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:53 PM   #2
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I believe the prevailing wisdom is to learn to shoot with the hand that matches your eye. With rifles this means shooting left handed if your left eye is dominant even if you are right hand dominant. With handguns it's easy to shift the gun to use your left eye even if you are right eye dominant.

There is also the issue of the degree of eye dominance. If the eyes are close it is possible, with training, to switch dominance from one to the other.

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...3/ai_n27320034
http://www.northcarolinasportsman.co...ils.php?id=519
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Old August 22, 2008, 02:55 PM   #3
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Cross-dominance isn't really an issue when shooting pistols with two hands -- keep using the dominant hand. But when shooting rifles and shotguns, they will likely have better results shooting on the side of their dominant eye.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:07 PM   #4
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I am blind in my right eye and am right handed. While in 4H and the Boy Scouts as a boy, I was taught to shoot rifles and shotguns left handed and pistols right handed. It has worked out very well for me ever since.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:10 PM   #5
MrNiceGuy
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i am right handed and almost blind in my right eye.

with handguns i shoot right handed and use my left eye with great results, but for rifles i must now shoot them left handed.

i'd say if you're dealing with handguns, dont try to switch them and make them uncomfortable just so their shooting style looks more pleasing to your eye. but when dealing with rifles, they will need to learn to shoot with their dominant eye
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:21 PM   #6
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I agree with all of the above. I'm Left eye dominant but right handed. I shoot pistols w/right hand left eye, rifles left hand left eye. Getting them a L-hand rifle (bolt action) may help train them to shoot L-handed.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:24 PM   #7
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My brother is left handed but has a dominant right eye. This has made it possible for him to become an excellent shot. He's one of the best I've ever seen. He shoots right handed which means he has his dominant hand holding the barrel of the rifle and that means he holds it much more steady than I can. I can out shoot him all day with a handgun but he's twice the shooter I am with a long gun.

The point of this is that I think you should get those people to shoot left handed. They will have the same advantage my brother has and it is a huge advantage. I'm sure it will take some time and pulling a trigger with your non-dominant hand is surely harder than using your dominant hand. But holding the barrel steady is the thing that separates the good shooters from the bad. Try holding a rifle left handed (if you're right handed) and you'll see what I mean. It's awkward if you've been shooting right handed all your life but if you work on it just a bit you can see that any shaking of the barrel will be reduced. With practice I believe they can learn to be excellent shooters left handed. I know it's a lot of work and it may not work out but trying to use your non-dominant eye to aim or trying to get your nose across the butt to use your other eye isn't going to be easy either. If you do try to use your dominant eye you're subject to get banged in the head with a scope or the butt too.

My brother also does some things right handed so this might have been much easier for him to learn. He throws right handed for example but he writes left handed. Technically he's ambidextrous so I'm sure that helped him a lot. But still it may work for the people you know.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:25 PM   #8
Jermtheory
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im right hand/left eye dominant.

the only time its an issue for me is on a rifle with irons or a non-illuminated ret/crosshair optic.

i find using an illuminated reticle or red dot solves the issue in my case.it only seems to work on very low powered or non-magnified optics with illuminated rets though(havent even tried an illuminated ret over 4X).where im focusing on the target with both eyes and not on the crosshair/front sight with my weaker eye.

if the only concern is bench shooting with a non-illuminated scope(non-defense or "dynamic" shooting)...

is simply closing the off(in this case stronger) eye too uncomfortable?

if so,you could try having them wear glasses with a peice of tape blocking the strong eyes view of the target.
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Old August 22, 2008, 03:32 PM   #9
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With long guns, shoot to the eye as most posters have said. I went through this training my wife - right handed, left eye dominant. With handguns, no problem. With long guns, go to the other side. I took my advice from the shotgunning legend Bob Brister, whor wrote about it fairly thoroughly in his book "Shotgunning: the art and the science." Very good book that I highly recommend.
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Old August 22, 2008, 05:46 PM   #10
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I'm a fan of keeping both eyes open, however, when left eye dominant and shooting right handed, close your left eye then it will work. I did that to some students in my sniper schools and it worked pretty good.
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Old August 22, 2008, 09:17 PM   #11
LateNightFlight
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Wow! Not only did you guys build a consensus, but you did it quick!

Many thanks for the excellent replies. Since I had two people with this opposite hand/eye dominance feature, I figured it probably wasn't unheard of, but I hadn't imagined this many people would have the matter in hand. So, again, thanks to all for your experience, links and answers. Greatly appreciated!
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Old August 22, 2008, 09:51 PM   #12
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"...especially with anything that recoils..." Yep, they'll get smacked hard. Have 'em to try shooting with both eyes open, but without the contortions. No scopes.
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Old August 22, 2008, 11:23 PM   #13
Mike40-11
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Looks like you already have your answer, but I'll chime in anyway. Right handed but lost sight in my right eye. Obviously, I now shoot long guns left handed. It's not as hard as you think it is to switch over. Took me a fair bit of practice and I still automatically pick a rifle up in right hand position until I consciously think about it, but it works. Sat out in the back yard with the kids' pellet guns for quite a bit to start.
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Old August 23, 2008, 02:06 AM   #14
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I have a similar type of issue. Im right handed, but left eye dominant. With handguns I started out holding with my right hand and aiming with my left eye. That didnt work out too well. Fortunately that wasnt too difficult to correct. Rifles, on the other hand, are a different story. I hold and aim like a lefty. It just feels natural. I've tried a few times to shoot right handed, but it just feels too strange. I havent been shooting for that long soo Im not sure if I should just go with what feels natural or try to correct my setup...
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Old August 23, 2008, 03:25 AM   #15
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I really don't see what the big deal is here. I'm right handed but LED. I shoot my long guns right handed and just close my left eye when I look through a scope. When I'm using open sights, I still use my right eye but keep both eyes open. Works well enough for me to hit targets at 1000 yds with a vernier sight on a Sharps 45-70. It's all about making your brain do what you want to do.
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Old August 23, 2008, 12:20 PM   #16
Jermtheory
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Quote:
I have a similar type of issue. Im right handed, but left eye dominant. With handguns I started out holding with my right hand and aiming with my left eye. That didnt work out too well.
may i ask why?

thats what most cross-dominant shooters do with pistols.some pretty impressive names fall into that group.
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Old August 23, 2008, 12:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Many thanks for the excellent replies. Since I had two people with this opposite hand/eye dominance feature, I figured it probably wasn't unheard of, but I hadn't imagined this many people would have the matter in hand. So, again, thanks to all for your experience, links and answers. Greatly appreciated!
It happens often enough that it is covered in the training classes for NRA instructors. Any instructor who has taught more than a few classes has had a cross-dominant student.
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Old August 23, 2008, 12:56 PM   #18
WINSTON THE WOLF
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I am right handed left eye dominate. But I have learned to shoot with my right eye with a rifle.
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Old August 23, 2008, 04:42 PM   #19
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I, too, am a cross-dominant freak of nature (right handed, left-eyed) and as others have said, it's really not an issue with handguns.

I tried going to the "shoot long guns left handed" route as that's what all the bastions of wisdom told me to do, I just couldn't get the knack of it. So I shoot right-handed and close my left eye - works with all sight types and while my vision in my right eye isn't as sharp as my left, it's enough to get it done.

To enlighten you a little on the condition: it has to do with how your brain is wired, and which eye it receives "information" from first - it's not really possible to retrain this (it's theoretically possible, but would require years of keeping your dominant eye closed, and even then results are extremely unpredictable). The biggest downside to not favoring your dominant-eye side with long guns is that using the sights with both eyes open is impossible - I frequently use this as an excuse not to buy all the fancy tactical stuff like EOTechs and Aimpoints that are constantly espousing this as a key feature.

And as with most things, it's easier to make the switch the younger you are - I volunteered with a youth shooting camp a couple of years that frequently converted 12-14 year olds to shooting left handed within a matter of hours or, at most, days. By the time I identified that I, myself, was cross-dominant I was at least 18 and I just can't get used to shooting lefty...
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Old August 23, 2008, 04:53 PM   #20
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Have to agree with JAXX

Right handed and left eye dom.

With a rifle just shut the left eye or squint left eye slightly. (I have a coworker who can't blink or squint one eye at a time worth a damn, weird.)

With handguns I do the same or cant the gun slightly to use my left eye.

NOTE: I'm on the waiting list to get my eyes surgically switched.

Second NOTE: Doing anything left handed is an abomination.
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Old August 23, 2008, 05:25 PM   #21
Sixer
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Quote:
I have a similar type of issue. Im right handed, but left eye dominant. With handguns I started out holding with my right hand and aiming with my left eye. That didnt work out too well.

Quote:
may i ask why?

thats what most cross-dominant shooters do with pistols.some pretty impressive names fall into that group
Probably because Im just a terrible shot, regardless of which eye I use.
I still practice a bit both ways but find it more comfortable when drawing from my right side to use my right eye. That way I dont have to tilt further right to get my aim. Just personal preference I guess...

Last edited by Sixer; August 23, 2008 at 05:26 PM. Reason: .
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Old August 23, 2008, 07:54 PM   #22
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Well starting target shooting again after a long hiatus, this thread brought back a lot of memories. With a pistol I'm not really aware of what I do. When I was younger and shooting with the Army ROTC (during the early 70's which is a story for another post with all the libs that I was surrounded with on campus) at Seton Hall in NJ, they finally gave up and simply stuck an eyepatch on me.

Now that I am starting up again after a long illness (neurosarcoidosis with a growth between my optic nerves and pituitary), I have trouble with balance, which ruins me for most all sports. No problem with target because I can sit and hold my head still. I went on a Gunbroker binge with some great deals and bought an 1894 CS .357 lever, a 6.5 barrel Ruger Blackhawk and a Taurus 66 6" .357. Also went to a shop and will be getting a Savage 99 in .17 HMR with a Nikon scope.

My next problem (for another post) will be how to get back to using my Browning BPS (about 25 years old but mint) for trap or skeet where depth perception and open eyes are critical for success. BTW this is an incredible site and as a newbie I can't believe the depth of information that is able to be accessed here.
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Old August 23, 2008, 08:16 PM   #23
Jermtheory
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Quote:
The biggest downside to not favoring your dominant-eye side with long guns is that using the sights with both eyes open is impossible - I frequently use this as an excuse not to buy all the fancy tactical stuff like EOTechs and Aimpoints that are constantly espousing this as a key feature.
not true...necessarily.

as mentioned,with the Aimpoint or other illuminated optics that are designed for you to focus on the target rather than the sight...for me it becomes a non-issue.with open sights(irons) on a long gun,it's difficult for me,but not impossible.i do close the dominant when shooting at longer ranges with a non-illuminated scope(standard black crosshairs)...but thats the only time.

i did alot of research on this when i first discovered it was an issue for me.as well as trying various ways to deal with it.

the truth is that its such a varied and nuanced problem,that there really is no "right answer".

i know alot of folks who ...

switched their shooting side.

trained themselves to get the proper sight picture with the off eye.

tried different equiptment and found an option that worked.

used work-a-rounds...from tape on their shooting glasses partially blocking the dominant eye,to slightly squinting(but not closing) their dominant eye,or even adding a blinder of some sort further down the rifle to obscure the dominant eyes view of the front sight and target.

it appears results vary wildly for different indivuals,shooting styles,types of shooting,and the degree of dominance in both hand/eye.

Quote:
Probably because Im just a terrible shot, regardless of which eye I use.
I still practice a bit both ways but find it more comfortable when drawing from my right side to use my right eye. That way I dont have to tilt further right to get my aim. Just personal preference I guess...
another example.
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Old August 23, 2008, 08:38 PM   #24
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I have the same afliction also, right handed/ dominate left eye. I actually "learned" at a young age, like 50 years ago to shoot left handed. I also have the problem, I can close my right eye (wink) but for some reason, I CANNOT close my left eye unless I close both at the same time.
I met a gal in Tucson several years ago that shot Trap right handed and beat most of the men, a couple of weeks later she was shooting "port sided" I asked why and she said she was left eye dominate. Strangely enough, it took har a couple of weeks to get into the groove and beat most of the men again.
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Old August 23, 2008, 09:00 PM   #25
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I finally switched to shooting rifle lefty about 3 years ago. It was a little awkward at first, but now the hardest part is remembering which arm to strap the sling onto. The trick is to stop shooting right handed.

Anyway, big improvement almost right off the bat. My scores had been firmly mired in the upper Expert category; now I have a Master classification and am very close to going Distinguished.

If the only reason you can muster for not shooting with the dominant eye is that it feels awkward, then you're holding yourself back.
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