View Full Version : Which eye?

July 21, 2006, 05:29 PM
I'm not a practiced shooter but, the times that I have gone I use my dominant right arm and my right eye.

I'm leaving for Basic training in about 2 months and want to get some practice in before I go. I'm wondering if you all think it would be better to go with my right eye which seems more natural or my left eye which sees 15/20 vs my right barely 20/20 and a bit near sided?


July 21, 2006, 10:07 PM
Normaly right eye goes with right armed and same for left, there are some people that are crossed but there rair.
The main advantage with learning to shoot with both eyes open is wider field of view, better depth preception and dont get tired eye.
Its hard to do but easy to practice. And you can do it with an unloaded gun.
Start out with a pair of glasses or sun glasses and put a post it note over the side that is your week eye. This will make it ease to keep both eyes open yet still sight down the sights with your strong eye. Practice this by changing what your pointing at and after a while it will become easy.
Then remove the post it note and try again with both open. Some times its easer if you slightly close the weak eye untill the sights are locked into your strong eye and you can then open the weak. Once you learn to do this without thinking about it, its amazing how much better your over all sight picture becomes and the big advantage will be when some one else is shooting at you.
Good luck and thanks for joining.

July 21, 2006, 10:24 PM
Unless you're going to Marine Boot Camp, you don't have to worry so much about shooting with both eyes open. You're not going to do any pistol work either way, and the Corps is the only service I know of that has incorporated combat shooting into the rifle qualification course.
Your time behind the gun is going to be all about marksmanship - aiming, breathing, trigger control. Ozzie is right, you should learn to shoot with both eyes open, but Boot Camp isn't the right time nor the right place to work on that.
You're going to be spending your time learning how to shoot, because they're going to assume you know nothing... so figure out which eye works better for you while you're laying out on the firing line.

If you're going Army then don't worry too much about it. IIRC, you only have to make it out to 300yds with iron sights. If you're between 20/20 and 20/15 then you're not going to have a problem with either eye. If you're going MC then you'll have the 500m line to deal with (iron sights, of course) but even then 20/20 is statistically perfect vision so you'd still be fine.

You're worrying about the wrong things :)

July 22, 2006, 07:59 AM
Just didn't want to disappoint myself and not get expert marksmen. Figured since I haven't been "formally" trained yet it'd be better now to get used to shooting with my left eye if that would give me an advantage over my right eye.

I guess the front sight is still pretty close on an M-16 so being a little near sided in my right eye shouldn't matter to much.

As for worrying about the wrong things I'm trying to prepare myself for it all, working out, studying, memorizing, anything i can get good at before I get in should give me a better chance to finish in the top 10% which is my goal.

It may not mean much to other people but I don't want to leave basic without my expert marksmen ribbon :) It's just to bad I can't quailify on the M9 too that bronze star on the ribbon looks cool ;)

July 22, 2006, 11:49 AM
Whether or not you get Expert or not will largely depend on your ability to follow directions...and how good your marksmanship instructors are. I can't speak to how they teach marksmanship in the Army, so someone else will have to answer that.
The idea is that with the M16 marksmanship is a science - you just have to do everything the same way every time. As long as you are consistent in whatever you do, you can get the rounds on target.

The fewer bad habits you have for them to break you of the better off you're going to be. Focus on the basics - aiming, breathing, trigger control, sight alignment, sight picture.
Don't gaff off your "snap-in" time...take it seriously.

Arizona Fusilier
July 22, 2006, 06:02 PM
"Ribbon"? "Bronze star"? Did they change things since I got out?:confused:

We used to have qualification "medals", marksmen, sharpshooter, expert, blah blah. Did they change that? Is there someone "in" right now that can verify this?

Are my qualification medals antiques? Should they appear on e-Bay soon?:o

July 22, 2006, 06:24 PM
The bronze star device is usually only given to certain ribbons in lieu of a second award... I haven't heard of putting one on a marksmanship badge, though.
Quick - we need someone who speaks Army... :p

July 22, 2006, 07:26 PM
I used to shoot right eye dominant, I went to using both a while back, my shots improved and speed improved since.

July 23, 2006, 02:02 AM
ive never heard of shooting w/ both eyes opened in general...so i tried it. it worked w/ my scope but its rather difficult w/ open sights. is it possible w/ open sights?

July 23, 2006, 09:57 AM
Unless they have changed things since I went through, you will have your dominant eye determined by the DI. If your right eye is dominant, then you will be taught to use your right shoulder. If they find that your left eye is dominant, then they will teach you to use the left.

If you are going to practice prior to entering basic, you should figure out which eye is dominant and practice from that side. You should practice using a weapon with an aperture sight, and with both eyes open.

You will be shooting from the prone, seated, and standing positions. The qualification for badges will probably be in foxholes and supported. You might qualify from the prone. We did quals on the pop up range, so having both eyes open was a big advantage in target acquisition.

Practicing ahead of time may also not help you at all. They will teach you their way to shoot and if you are doing something "wrong" then you will be back to square one.

Most of the range instructors preferred teaching people with no weapon's training because they had no bad habits to correct. You will be amazed at how many women and guys, with no prior gun handling, qualify as expert because they listened to the instructions and put the training they got to use correctly.

July 23, 2006, 11:46 AM
When I went thru basic training way back in 98 they're going make you learn "the army way" of basic rifle marksmanship. Most of the No-Go's or failed to qualify were those who hunted and "practiced" proir to basic. Don't worry, they're going to teach you waht you need to know. I never shot a gun before enlisting and managed to qualify expert.

July 27, 2006, 02:32 PM
I speak fluent Army.

Current qualification standards.

First table: 20 rounds in 2 minutes from a foxhole with sandbags. Pop-up targets from 50-300 meters in 50 meter increments. Longer up times at longer ranges.

Second table: 20 rounds in 2 minutes prone unsupported, same targets.

Alternate course is same firing conditions but paper targets at 25M sized to simulate longer distances.


38-40 hits Expert
33-37 hits Sharpshooter
26-32 hits Marksman
25 and below Unqualified

It went up a couple years ago, you used to be able to qualify with 23 out of 40.

The qualification badges are just that, badges. They only go on your dress uniform. I'll see if I can find a picture.

July 27, 2006, 02:43 PM
The badges look like this:
The bar hangs under the badge indicating the weapons with which you qualified.

Arizona Fusilier
July 27, 2006, 10:35 PM
Whew! O.K. Mike40-11! That's what I remember!

And I consistently qualified expert every time I picked up an M16 (well, maybe the old standard of 36+:p ) shooting right-handed, left-eye dominant, by closing my left eye, like I have since I was a 12 year old Boy Scout.

Never had a D.I., or anyone else, analyze my eye-dominance.

I can honestly say, the Army never really taught me to shoot.

July 28, 2006, 06:20 AM
I have run across a few individuals that are right handed / left eye dominant, and vice versa, but it's the exception rather than the rule. Most of them seem to cope with it without difficulty, it's only a rare individual who needs coaching on it.

July 28, 2006, 10:59 PM
The bronze star is used on the ribbon of some medals or ribbons to denote multiple awards. Other devices are used as well, depending on the specific award. For example, service medals such as the Southwest Asia service medal use bronze stars to indicate how many campaigns a Soldier participated in (A Soldier awarded the SWA and who served from begining to end during Desert Shield/ Desert Storm/ Provide Comfort would have 3 campaign stars)

Other awards use different devices. The Army Commendation Medal uses bronze palm leaves to denote additional awards.

Army Marksmanship awards are called "badges", not medals and are awarded in 3 grades: Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. You attach a hanging device to indicate which weapons you qualified with at each level. If you shoot Expert with the M16 and qualify Marksman with the grenade you'll wear two marksmanship badges. The Expert badge will have a Rifle device hanging from it, and the Marksman badge with have a Grenade device.

Usually in Initial Entry Training (Basic) you only qualify with the rifle and the grenade. Tankers qualify with the M9 pistol as well. MPs also qualify with the M9. Infantry shoot many weapons for familiarization, but I don't think they actually qualify with anything except the M16 and Grenade. I might be wrong on that. No matter your MOS you will have the opportunity to qualify with several other weapons when you reach your duty unit. Even cooks qualify with .50 cal machineguns, AT4 antitank rockets, and M240 GPMGs.

Attached is a picture of the Army Expert Marksmanship badge with Rifle device:

The bronze star device is usually only given to certain ribbons in lieu of a second award... I haven't heard of putting one on a marksmanship badge, though.
Quick - we need someone who speaks Army...

July 30, 2006, 12:38 PM
I imagine you are asking about shooting rifles. If it's a handgun, both eyes open.

July 30, 2006, 06:33 PM
I'm left eye dominant/right handed. I shoot rifle left handed and pistol right handed with my left eye. Spent 12 years in the Army and always qualified Expert, and more then half the time shot Hawkeye (40 out of 40).

My personal opinion is dominant eye is more important then dominant hand. Comfort is the key. The more comfortable and natural your firing position, the better your accuracy. So if your strain to use an unnatural eye, it will affect your accuracy.

If you want some insight into how the Army does rifle training, take a look over this:

M16A1, M16A2/3, M16A4 and M4 CARBINE



July 30, 2006, 07:25 PM
Im right handed and left eye dominant, when I shoot pistols I shoot both eyes open using primarily my left eye, when I shoot rifles I close my left eye while using my right eye to aim, but keep em both open to scan.

Ive always hated the Army's approach to marksmenship, when I was in it was all about just qualifying, doin the minimum to pass. Hopefully if you get to a good unit/platoon you will get lots of range time to practice different techniques and firing positions, not just the foxhole and prone, and that is what will turn you into a better shooter. My advice for basic training would be to use that time to really learn your weapon and characteristics and physics of it and the the bullet it fires, and to just get the basics down, breathing, sight picture, trigger control etc, but by all means if you can qualify expert, then go for that topgun award.

Mike in Michigan
July 31, 2006, 01:18 PM
My gun club sponsors an annual kid's day open to the public.
I work as RSO on the rifle range assisting the kids to put some .22 rounds down range safely. Every year, I run into several kids that are cross dominant eye vs hand. Most of these kids have little or no experiance with firearms. If I see them climbing over the stock to use the off-eye, I get them to change grip to the other hand and every one of them improves their ability to hit the targets.
Since I am also crossed up, I know from personal experience I can shoot better leftie in spite of the perceived oddness.

July 31, 2006, 02:39 PM
I speak from several years in the army. The current way that the army teaches to to keep both eyes open. I have seen it done other ways however there is two main problems with closing one eye. 1 you lose half of your vision. If there are muliple people coming at you it is a bad idea to give up your vision. The second main problem is that closing one eye throws off your vision your brain is set up to look though both eyes. So it doesn't know what to do when you close one of them, Therefore it over compensates.

These are the things that I have learned in the army.

August 3, 2006, 07:33 PM
Wow I didn't think this thread would live so long. I never said what service I joined to avoid any bias opinions about how little I would shoot in the USAF

But I am Joining the Air Force. I went to the Army offices and the only thing they could offer me besides a nice sign on bonus was to fly choppers. But they told me only a small percentage get into high school to flight school program so, I got a job in the AF doing F-16 Avionics. Hey if I can't fly at least I get to work on them :)

Unfortunatly I just read on about.com that the lackland air force base has a "short" range.

so I'm thinking 200yds right? wrong ... 25yds!! ... Apparently they use smaller targets to simulate longer distances. Which sucks because that doesn't allow you to get used to compensating for bullet drop and wind.

To make matters worse we get there in the morning, learn how to field and clean the guns, go shoot and are back by late afternoon. Less than one freaking day shooting, it's crazy talk I tell ya.

So practicing is no longer an issue really I doubt I'm going to be missing much.

And I wanted the badge for personal pride, kind of a perfectionist; but I doubt shooting from one distance from 3 supported positions at 25 Meters/yds will mean anything to me anyway.

But thanks for the replies everyone, if anyone has been through AF basic training let me know if any of that is wrong please!

August 3, 2006, 07:50 PM
To make matters worse we get there in the morning, learn how to field and clean the guns, go shoot and are back by late afternoon. Less than one freaking day shooting, it's crazy talk I tell ya.

I know how you feel. I went into the Navy in 85. Our fire arms instruction consisted of firing 7 or 8 rounds out of some sort of .22cal 1911 (Colt Ace?)on an indoor range. The instructor told us "I don't care if you aim and shoot slowly, or just point the thing downrange and pull the trigger as fast as you can" I remember a couple of guys hitting the ceiling and/or the floor, no one seemed to care at all. Oh, we also had M1's with the bolt's welded shut for close order drill.

Luckly I got assigned to the Marines as a Corpsman. Did a ton of shooting there. They even tried to teach me to hit a target (one of those green plastic ones that looked like the head and shoulders of a guy) from 500yds with an M16A2. Even got to shoot a LAW rocket once! Eventually I qualified (at USMC not USN Standards) as a "Sharpshooter" with the M9.


August 21, 2006, 06:35 PM
when i shoot right handed i use right eye, when i shoot left handed i use left eye..
i have tried useing both eyes, but man does it mess me up.. pistol shooting talking here. is there anything that makes this any easier?:confused: