View Full Version : Shooting with both eyes open - question?

January 30, 2011, 09:37 AM
I want to learn to shoot shotgun with both eyes open. In the past, I keep both eyes open until I am ready to pull the trigger, then I close one eye.

I have tested myself and I am right handed/right eye dominant. I can easily shoot both eyes open with my handgun and my scoped rifle. No problems.

The problem is with the shotgun. I think my eyes have problem due to the longer barrel. I actually see two barrels. It is like I am getting a sight picture from each eye that alternates back and forth.

I tried using scotch tape on my glasses and this problem went away instantly.

My question: will practicing with scotch tape dry firing and live firing eventually train my eyes so that I do not need the tape anymore?
70extreme is online now Report Post Edit/Delete Message

January 30, 2011, 11:11 AM
I used tape for a while because I'd sometimes cross-fire the low house bird at Skeet's Stations 2 and 3. Relative to the other targets, they are long flyer. I think my subconscious got bored watching. I moved my hold point out, so I wouldn't be swinging so long, and the problem went away. I know an elite level shooter who method is to keep both eyes open until he acquires the target and then he closes his left eye. He prefers this method to tape. I also know other shooters who've been using tape for years.

I was never conscious of seeing two barrels. The shooters I've talked with about cross firing problem didn't see two barrels, either. Like me, they just know their lead looked good but, mysteriously, they'd missed. It's when their squad mates tell them that they were yards away from the target that they realized that they were cross firing. Have you recently re-checked you eye dominance? If you're an older shooter, it might be something like a cataract that's disturbing your dominant eye. So, the answer to your question is a definite maybe.

Sir Loads-A-Lot
January 30, 2011, 12:59 PM
I have had and known many competitive shotgun sports shooters with eye dominance problems. One lady All American trap shooter shoots with one eye closed and never tried to change to both eyes open. Going away trap targets are easier to get used to one eyed shooting than sporting clays and skeet that require vertical and horizontal target tracking, leads and just plain having to react to different depth perceptions quickly. I have been using a Decot dot on my glasses for over 30 years. I wouldn't be able to shoot without them. A doctor once told me that a persons eye dominance can change from eye to eye quite frequently. Back in the 70's I had eleven 99's shooting registered trap in one summer and couldn't put my finger on the reason I missed that 1 target until I found out I cross fired. My dominance had been flipping now and then. I started wearing a dot and never looked back. I have since found out that women have more of changing dominance problems than men. Give the dot a good try for awhile, but I suggest you don't use tape. The uneven edges of tape are a distraction. Get the colored dot that matches your glasses. Good luck.

January 30, 2011, 03:34 PM
That is exactly what is happening to me. I am cross firing. I hestitate to use tape or a dot because I don't want my shooting to be dependent on a mechanical crutch. What happens if I don't have my glasses?

Does the tape or a dot become unnecessary as your eyes get trained?

January 30, 2011, 04:52 PM
You don't need tape or a special dot. Another method is to obscure the front bead from your left with a dab of natural oil.

Mount your gun with your right hand and support the forearm with something (like the top rail of a gun rack). Rub the base of your nose with your left index finger, close your right eye, and then touch your left lens in alignment with the front bead. The little bit of skin oil won't be a hindrance to your overall vision, but will prevent cross firing. Also, is very temporary and virtually unnoticeable.

January 30, 2011, 05:50 PM
The natural oil thing makes sense. But, I want to even avoid that because I do not want to learn to depend on a method that relies on any mechanical crutch. What if I need to fire my HD shotgun? I can't call timeout while I get my glasses and smudge them up.

January 30, 2011, 07:10 PM
You are cross eye dominant! Period!! If you want to keep both eyes open, there are some "cross eye dominant" eliminator front sights available.

Hope this helps.


You can buy these here, for a lot less, but check out this entire site.

Sir Loads-A-Lot
January 30, 2011, 07:21 PM
The only other suggestion I have for you as someone that has the problem is to talk to only shooters with the same problem and how they fixed it. Most shooters that haven't experienced it have no idea what you are going through but still offer their opinions. If you take a good look around the clubs, you will find a lot more shooters wearing the dots than you might think. It is an easy fix. You have to wear shooting glasses anyway, so what is the big deal of putting a little dot on one lense to help you enjoy the game?

January 30, 2011, 07:27 PM
If you are shooting competitively you should always have your glasses on, just tape them. I been shooting that way for years and it doesn't seem to go away. When I play at clays, I don't always have my shooting glasses ( usually my sunglasses) and I might crossfire sometimes. HD situation is alot different than the clays field, your target isn't flying 55mph from the side of you. close your eye.

January 30, 2011, 11:59 PM
If your looking at the clay, as you should, instead of the bead, both eyes shoud be open. If your focusing on the bead, your probably missing clays.

January 31, 2011, 11:25 AM
i agree with olddrum1,,the focus should be the bird,,not the bead or barrel

i see the bird and the barrel is in the peripheral vision

and both eyes are open for all my shooting sports,,,trap skeet,,sporting clays,,cowboy,,combat,,bpcg,,hunting,,always both eyes open

my .02


January 31, 2011, 11:42 AM
Meadow industries sells a cross fire eliminator, like a little fence you stick on that lets only your right eye see the bead. this along with a very small truglo bead should do it.


January 31, 2011, 12:14 PM
Does this mean I can't shut my eyes before the scary boom?

January 31, 2011, 12:57 PM
This post will likely spur some heated debate but there is a school of thought that believes that you shouldn't see either the barrels or the bead and further that eye dominance is immaterial. Google "instinctive shooting" and decide for yourself. As an 'off shoulder' dominant shooter myself who was never really curious about shooting technique and the science behind, but at the same time humbly claims to be a fair shot, once I started reading a bit about hunting (and here you will likely find the happy compromise in that clay shooters will be the ones who disagree but hunters are the ones who will likely argue for the theory) I came across these theorys and together with my success rate as a hunter, became a proponent of one.

January 31, 2011, 01:22 PM
Does this mean I can't shut my eyes before the scary boom?

Like sneezing, many folks actually DO shut their eyes for a millisecond or two involuntarily.......I think keeping mine closed has helped my scores!:D

January 31, 2011, 01:55 PM
and yes, you should never see the bead or the barrel ...as you execute a shot on a moving target with a shotgun ....be it clay or feather ....

( and if you do, it is almost certainly a lost target....or lost bird ) ....

I'm lucky no cross-firing here ....just blurry dominant eye vision ...which sucks ...but I still shoot with both eyes open ...

January 31, 2011, 02:11 PM
So, are you saying that you just "point shoot" a shotgun?

January 31, 2011, 02:47 PM
Blame yer brain. Muscle memory is a good thing unless its a bad thing. You can retrain your eyes which are controlled by many muscles. It takes a little time and patience. The scope gives your eyes and brain an easy, clear choice. Find a safe place to shoulder and aim your shotgun at a fixed target. Focus on your target and relax, keep your focus on the target and shoulder you shot gun, bring the sight to the taget and stop. This is where the patience comes to play. Focus on the barrel, sight and target that are in line and hold....focus on the target and that sight picture. Then relax and repeat. Practice this atleast 10 xs. a day until it is a natural sight picture. This should train or retrain your eye muscle memory. If not then I would suggest re-doing your eye dominance test... if it's still the same get some oil for your eyes as previously mentioned.

January 31, 2011, 02:55 PM
No, you don't "point shoot" a shotgun .... you feel the lead, track the bird on line with sustained lead at the same speed the target is flying .... hard focus on the leading edge of the bird ( and nothing else ) ....pull the trigger and follow thru ...staying on line ....as the shot is executed.

Then you shift your eyes, find the next target - and then move your gun ...to the next target. Insert the barrel in front of the next bird ...online /at same speed - feel the sustained lead ...pull the trigger - and follow thru again...

Point shooting - is the idea of - picking a spot ...( hoping the bird flies thru it ) and you shoot at the spot ...no follow thru, no lead ....anticipating the bird will go thru it ....it isn't very sucessful....

Anytime you look at the barrel - you tend to stop the gun ...and it doesn't work very well on moving targets...

January 31, 2011, 03:44 PM
Point shooting in this thread seems to be akin to the term I know as "spot shooting", defined as BigJim mentioned - finding a spot and hoping the target will be there. I have seen a few folks of Master-class capability do it now and again on particular targets at that time - but as he said - it is not successful because it is not consistent.

There are several methods for hitting sporting clays - some are better than others in certain situations, but all should be mastered for the ultimate success. I find myself doing more "Move, Mount, Shoot", where I have the gun down - my eyes are tracking the target and as I start to move my body to the intercept point, I am mounting the gun - once it hits my shoulder, it is fired and my body/arms perform the follow through. When all parts of the execution are performed correctly, this tends to be the most successful method. HOWEVER, when all of the segments are not performed flawlessly, it can be frustrating. Many use a modified version of this by using what is called a "soft mount" - Basically the gun is in the shoulder pocket, but your head is off the stock watching the bird. When you get to your insertion point, your head goes on the stock and the rest of the MMS method follows - this works VERY well - it allows both of your eyes to focus on a target, especially one crossing

January 31, 2011, 04:31 PM
I like the "soft mount" idea ...gun in shoulder pocket, drop muzzle to see the bird ..... ( Bobby Fowler Jr - perfected this technique ) and teaches it on his DVD's ....

but if I know I have a "pure" Trap or Skeet style target ..... I'll pre-mount just like I would on a Skeet or Trap field ....

But OneOunce is right .... while I shoot "Sustained Lead" 95% of the time at least .... you have to be able to execute a "swing thru move" or a "pull away" move ...if a target beats you ....and gets below your barrel or something goes wrong in your shot execution. But with "Sustained Lead" its a lot easier to make adjustments in lead or break point ....without guessing a lot ...because you have a starting point / with what you did on the last pair ...that didn't work. Evaluate ....and make a change ...and then shoot the next pair ...

Sir Loads-A-Lot
January 31, 2011, 05:21 PM
My question: will practicing with scotch tape dry firing and live firing eventually train my eyes so that I do not need the tape anymore?

This was the original posted question. Does anyone have an answer for him? Only shooters that have the problem should really answer.:confused:

January 31, 2011, 05:54 PM
I think Zippy13 answered him ....but there were other questions asked as well ...so the discussion went a little further ...

I don't think it is a yes or no answer ...I think its a maybe .../ he'll have to try it and see in my experience.

January 31, 2011, 06:42 PM
I've been shooting with tape on my left lense for years now and the cross domainence doesn't seem to be going away. If I'm smoking targets, I really don't care what's on my glasses.

January 31, 2011, 06:44 PM
you can always flush a spot shooter out with that slow pull.:D

January 31, 2011, 07:04 PM
Now that's just plain mean .....slow pull a guy like that ....:D

Creek Henry
February 6, 2011, 12:49 PM
You can actually train yourself to change your eye dominance. It just takes consistant practice.

The easy way is to make a circle with your fingers and hold it up a couple of feet from your eyes. Notice that the left image will be seen in the right eye. Now, hold you hand up and focus on the left image. FOCUS. Then drop your hand for second then throw it up again and focus on the left image again.

After doing this for a couple of weeks, you will automatically focus on the left image. Then practice mounting your gun and focusing on the correct sight image until it happens automatically also.

It just takes practice and anyone that says this cannot be learned is wrong.

February 6, 2011, 02:00 PM
You can actually train yourself to change your eye dominance. It just takes consistant practice… It just takes practice and anyone that says this cannot be learned is wrong.

The OP's problem isn't which eye is dominance. He's right eye dominant; but, like many other shooters, he experiences occasional cross-firing. For me, the problem vanished after I shortened my swing time. For others, the problem persists. The OP wanted to know if, practicing with tape on his left lens, would the problem cure itself. Big Jim confirmed my answer of maybe.