View Full Version : Proper way to aim a shotgun ????

March 8, 2009, 08:29 AM
Hi I'm new to shooting with a shot gun or any gun for that matter. My problem is when I'm trying to aim and keep both eyes open, (I can't wink with my left eye), it's almost like I'm going cross eyed and seeing two barrels or just blurry. Can't figure out what I'm doing wrong, anyone have any suggestions ??

March 8, 2009, 09:07 AM
Possibly, if you are having trouble hitting the target, black out the left lens of a pair of cheap shooting glasses. Once you have become habitual in pointing on target both eyes open may not bug you.
Just an idea... may or may not help you.

March 8, 2009, 09:09 AM
Try shooting it from the other shoulder.

To me it sounds like you are describing a cross dominance issue. I suffer from the same issue and stayed away from shotguns for years because of it. I finally bit the bullet and learned to shoot lefty and it wasnt nearly as daunting as I had expected.

March 8, 2009, 09:21 AM
First off, you don't aim a shotgun, you point it. Your eye is the rear sight, so if the stock doesn't fit you properly, you won't hit what you're looking at.
As Dalecooper51 said, you may be left eye dominate. Find an experienced shotgun shooter and ask him to help you with these issues.

March 8, 2009, 10:36 AM
Greetings joejoe2222, and welcome aboard

+1 for dalecooper52

Perhaps you are left-eye dominant and trying to shoot right handed. Search the archives for "dominant" and you'll find several threads on the condition.

March 8, 2009, 11:21 AM
Thanks for all the advice, I'm going to try a few of the procedure's mentioned.

March 8, 2009, 05:33 PM
Eye dominance issue is an easy test -

with both eyes open - point a finger on your right hand at a light switch. Without moving the finger - close your left eye ( is your finger still pointing at the switch - or did it move ). If its still pointing at the switch - they you are right eye dominant - and should shoot right handed. If it moved you may be left eye dominant - or "cross firing" sometimes left dominant, sometimes not.

But in terms of shooting shotguns - virtually all of the competitive shooters I know - shoot with both eyes open. Keeping both eyes open really helps with depth perception. If you're new to this stuff - it may be a matter of just having a little patience. I have a lot of vision problems ( with blurry vision as I've gotten older) - but I still shoot shotguns and handguns, for that matter, -with 2 eyes open.

March 8, 2009, 08:27 PM
I'm crossed eye dominant , sometimes, I think , but anyway a small piece of scotch tape on your lense will still allow you to shoot with two eyes open, but blurr out one of your barrels when it counts. after a while you won't even notice it.

March 8, 2009, 10:36 PM
Do you wear glasses? You may want to see an optometrist. The symptoms that you exhibit do not suggest right or left eye dominance. It may be something that you should check into now instead of waiting. You may have something called a weak eye in that it does not focus properly giving you the blurred vision or two barrels. It can be corrected I believe pretty easily. This is something that both of my nephews have had problems with.

March 9, 2009, 08:47 AM
I have recently returned to shooting a shotgun after many years, so maybe the experience of another "newbie" can help. I used to hunt dove and ducks and back then I tended to "aim" the shotgun in about the same way I did a rifle. But I have now learned that does not work well at all for shooting clays - things happen too fast and I need both eyes. So now I will briefly close my left eye from time to time to make sure I am sighting down the barrel, but I swing the gun and take the shot with both eyes open using only the end of the barrel to "point" the shot instead of aiming. I am right eye dominant, but looking down the barrel the left eye view SEEMS more prevalent because the barrel blocks much of the right eye view. But this does not seem to matter if I use the end of the barrel as the reference and just don't worry about what the left eye is seeing.

You might try temporarily blocking the left eye with something just to check that the right eye is really in control. But if you are left-eye dominant, I don't think my approach would work.

March 9, 2009, 11:23 AM
Shotguns are different in that - to take a shot - you have to hard focus on the leading edge of the bird (not the barrel at any time) - you "feel" the lead - you match the flight path and speed of the bird maintaining a constant lead - pull the trigger - and then smoothly follow thru and stay in the gun. Pulling the trigger is not the end of the shot - its only a part of it. If you stop a gun, when you pull the trigger you will be behind almost everything you shoot at. You have to follow thru.

So when you say "aim" to clay or bird shooters - we have to go down all these other paths - hard focus, feel the lead, stay in the gun and follow thru - which is very different from a rifle at a stationary target.

The beads on a shotgun ( mid rib ) and at the end of the barrel - are only there to indicate whether your gun is mounted properly to your shoulder, make sure you didn't cant the barrel one way or the other as you mounted - then you forget they are there, and never look at them / your vision and focus is to one side of or above the barrel - depending on which way the target is moving.

March 9, 2009, 12:49 PM
Shooters without a dominance problem may experience cross firing, too. It typically happens on long crossing shots. If you swear you saw the proper lead on the target you just missed, but your buddies say you weren't even close, you may have cross fired.

One solution is to block the vision of the offending eye. This may be done with anything from a small dot, on the off-eye glasses lens, that prevents the off-eye from seeing the front bead to a partial patch. The object is to block the barrel end while maintaining peripheral vision for target acquisition of the off-eye.

For the well disciplined shooter, closing the off-eye may work. I know an elite level Skeeter who calls for the target with both eyes open and as soon as he detects the target he closes his off-eye. It's not as easy as it sounds (one more thing to go wrong), yet he's shot many 400x400s using the two-to-one eye technique.

March 10, 2009, 12:53 AM
We have a person here that cannot wink his left eye, and has blurred vision. Both of which could be related to a host of vision problems. This person needs to see a specialist. Then if he is eye dominant, the veteran shooters can give advice. Giving advice on eye dominance may be covering up another problem that should be looked into by a specialist.