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Old October 20, 2014, 05:30 PM   #1
Kimio
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Cross eye dominance? Some questions.

While attempting to do some dry fire drills and practice keeping both eyes open with open sights, I found that I have a significantly easier time focusing my left eye over my right.

I'm right hand dominant, so I found this interesting. I've read about this before, and apparently, due to this natural dominance, I should start training by shooting with my left hand (which is super awkward to say the least).

How crucial would you say would it be for me to shoot with my dominant eye? Is this just unfamiliarity perhaps, and I should be able to "train" my right eye to be able to focus on my irons? Or should I just go the more practical route and try to train my "hands" to shoot left instead?
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Old October 20, 2014, 05:50 PM   #2
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimio
While attempting to do some dry fire drills and practice keeping both eyes open with open sights, I found that I have a significantly easier time focusing my left eye over my right.

I'm right hand dominant, so I found this interesting....
Roughly 30% of the population is cross dominant. That's pretty much been our experience in our monthly NRA Basic Handgun classes.

Here's an easy way to test for eye dominance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimio
...should start training by shooting with my left hand ...
Yes, but not because of eye dominance. One should ideally be able to shoot with either hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimio
...How crucial would you say would it be for me to shoot with my dominant eye? Is this just unfamiliarity perhaps, and I should be able to "train" my right eye to be able to focus on my irons?...
There are advantages to shooting with both eyes open -- depth perception and wider field or vision. And you will want to use your dominant eye to align the sights, because it will take over anyway. Fortunately, this in manageable with a handgun.

One of our instructors is cross dominant (right hand/left eye). He brings his pistol up and, with his head erect, turns his head slightly to the right so his left eye aligns the sights. Since I'm right eye dominant, I do the same sort of thing (except turning my head slightly to the left, now that I've learned the trick from him) when I shoot with my non-dominant (left) hand.
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Old October 20, 2014, 05:58 PM   #3
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I am not an expert on this subject but I do have over 60 years of experience with the same condition. My dad also had the condition. I learned to shoot long guns left-handed very early. I shoot compound bows left-handed (of course with a peep sight in the string only one eye can see through the peep when the bow is at full draw.) I shoot hand guns right-handed with both eyes open. My dominant left eye controls my aim with a hand gun.
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Old October 20, 2014, 06:07 PM   #4
Kimio
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To specify, I was actually trying to do this with a rifle, and not a handgun. Should I even bother doing this with rifles, or is this typically a handguns only technique?

Edit: I just tried what you suggested Frank, and it does appear that I am right eye dominant. This puzzles me, as I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble focusing my right eye when aiming with both eyes open as opposed to my left.

hmmm, not sure what to make of this.

Last edited by Kimio; October 20, 2014 at 06:18 PM.
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Old October 20, 2014, 06:30 PM   #5
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Is it really a problem ???

During our Hunter Safety Classes, It's easy to spot students that have this condition. We take time to run the test and explain what is happening. It's pretty surprising to note that this condition is seldom found or explained, during a routine eye exam and most students are not aware of this. I explain that it doesn't have to be a problem. ....

Given the proper training and allowing the mind to reprogram itself, it can be corrected but I have to ask; is it really a problem ???

Recently have been working with my wife and sure enough, turns out she is cross-eyed dominant and we are working past it. I also have a friend that has trained himself to shoot with both eyes and actually switch dominance. ...

Be Safe !!!
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Old October 20, 2014, 06:53 PM   #6
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I'm right handed and left eye dominant. My father started me shooting when I was twelve. I had been playing with toy guns for several years before I started with the real thing. First day at the range my father tried teaching me how to shoot on my right side. Imagine his surprise when his right-handed son informed him that it felt better to shoot with my left - both handguns and rifles. Being left eye dominant I had literally trained myself to use my left hand since it just felt more natural. Dad shrugged his shoulders and purchased me a left handed Safariland holster for my S&W Model 17 a few weeks later. I've never tried to change though I do sometimes shoot with my right just for the practice.

Thirty four years later I still shoot with my left. I've been a police officer for 14 years and I carry my Glock 19 on my left side and I carry Remington 870 lefty model. But I write with my right hand. Weird.
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Old October 20, 2014, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimio
To specify, I was actually trying to do this with a rifle, and not a handgun....
Cross dominance is much more of a problem with a long gun. One could try tape on the lens of your shooting glasses on the dominant eye, or close the dominant eye, making the non-dominant eye do the work. Or you could learn to shot off your non-dominant shoulder.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimio
...I just tried what you suggested Frank, and it does appear that I am right eye dominant. This puzzles me, as I'm not sure why I'm having so much trouble focusing my right eye when aiming with both eyes open as opposed to my left....
Some thoughts:
  • Some people have dominant eye that is only weakly dominant. Eye dominance can then shift, especially if fatigued.

  • One's dominant eye might need some vision correction. If you already wear glasses, maybe the prescription needs adjustment. If don't wear glasses, you might want to get your eyes checked.
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Old October 20, 2014, 11:04 PM   #8
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Yep, I'm a coke bottle wearer. Vision is positively terrible, pretty much legally blind without my specs :P

It'll be some time before I can ask for a new set of lenses though, likely during my next mandatory optometry check up.
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Old October 21, 2014, 02:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Some thoughts:
Some people have dominant eye that is only weakly dominant. Eye dominance can then shift, especially if fatigued.

One's dominant eye might need some vision correction. If you already wear glasses, maybe the prescription needs adjustment. If don't wear glasses, you might want to get your eyes checked.
Pretty much my experience. I shoot long guns left handed and handguns either (predominantly right though). I shoot scopes and red dots with both eyes open, and if I'm straining overly hard, I can actually see the left eye go out of focus in favor of the right. I am left eye dominant, but apparently only weakly so. I can shoot red dots and scopes on either eye with them open, but with irons I have to close the left eye and it is very straining to shoot with the right eye. I just re-trained myself to shoot rifles left handed and now right feels wrong.

I also have astigmatism in both eyes with a minor one in the left eye and a pretty major one in the right eye. I do wear glasses but only since I was 12 and I wonder if that doesn't have to do with my dominance.
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Old October 21, 2014, 06:33 AM   #10
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Instead of bifocals, I use a "mono-vision" system with contact lenses. My dominant right eye is focused for distance, driving, etc. My left eye lens is adusted for a shorter focal distance for reading, etc. This creates a cross dominance because my right eye can't focus on the handgun sights. I just tilt my head slightly to sight with my left eye. On long guns, it's not a problem with a scope or red dot sight. A peep sight helps some when using the irons.
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Old October 21, 2014, 07:24 AM   #11
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I am right handed, with dominant right eye, (though I have far better vision in my left eye.)

I can shoot well right or left handed, but when i shoot left handed I have to close my right eye.

It is far better to learn to shoot with the hand that matches the dominant eye from the beginning. Its tough to switch later. The only way I know of to make teh non-dominant eye take over is by closing the other one.
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Old October 21, 2014, 07:31 AM   #12
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I'm cross-eye dominant. With a rifle, it is hard. I have to squint my dominant eye in order for the right eye to pick up the vision through the scope or sights. However, when I pistol shoot it is easy. I just shift the pistol ever so slightly to my left and my left eye just naturally picks up the sights.
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Old October 21, 2014, 08:40 AM   #13
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Pistol: just shoot right handed, it shouldn't matter. You will compensate without realizing it.
Rifle or Shotgun with slugs: You can shoot on the weak side, but will have to squint extra and your accuracy will suffer. It's doable (I did it for years before I realized I was cross dominant) but you will eventually be more accurate if you take the time to learn to shoot lefty.
Shotgun: Clays or bird hunting:You won't be able to hit the broadside of a barn if you try to shoot on your weak side. It was my horrendous accuracy while bird hunting that made me realize I was cross dominant.

Learning to shoot lefty after being raised shooting righty was challenging and very awkward at first, but more than worth it. Learn to shoot lefty.
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Old October 21, 2014, 09:33 AM   #14
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If you're right eyed dominant but see sights better with the left,
You may be cross-eyed or wall eyed.
Not cross eyed dominant, but actually slightly cross/wall eyed, where the two eyes see in different paths.
And the dominant right eye doesn't look straight ahead when sighting the gun.
As previously said, a different head orientation might cure the problem.
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Old October 21, 2014, 01:45 PM   #15
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Cross-dominant also. Pistols or rifles don't present a problem for me, as I turn my head slightly to the right when firing pistols, and most of my rifles have optics. Shotguns, however present a problem. Not so much for me as my HD shotgun has ghost-ring sights. Shotgunning games, however, are trouble, as depth perception is paramount, and I haven't had the time to perfect this as of yet.
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Old October 21, 2014, 02:18 PM   #16
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"...it can be corrected..." Has to be incorrect to need correcting.
Long guns left, handgun right with a left master eye myself(story I've been using is it lets me use my carbine and my sabre at the same time. snicker.). Hasn't ever been an issue. Shot expert in the CF.
Mostly it depends on the kind of shooting you're doing. Proper one handed, stand on your hind legs, bullseye shooting, you just move your back leg over to bring the sights over, to be in line with the target. Both eyes open and concentrating on the front sight.
IPSC/IDPA and other games, both eyes open but concentrating on the target.
"..."train" my right eye to be able to focus on my irons?..." What type of iron. The typical crappy iron put on commercial hunting rifles(very similar to those really crappy sights on AKs and SKS'), you should change to peeps. Then you'll be looking through the rear at the front, but you should never be looking at any sight.
Dominant eye doesn't matter much with long guns, unless you're trying to shoot right handed with a left dominant eye. That ain't the same issue. That requires practice shooting with the non-dominant eye. Or training yourself to shoot the other way.
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Old December 16, 2014, 03:32 PM   #17
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cross dominant master eye

I shoot handguns from the Chapman stance (modified Weaver) and just slightly shift my head to the right to line the left eye up with the sights. Doesn't affect binocular sight or peripheral vision or any of that. It's not a big deal for most shooters.

I’ve instructed in firearms on and off at the local regional police academy since 1988 and in the ANG as a combat arms instructor for 10 years and as an LEO since 1982. It is my observation that about 20% of the population have a cross dominant master eye.

When shooting rifle, I fire from the right shoulder, close my left eye, and shoot with the right eye. Some people (10%?) can't independently close one eye or the other and leave the other eye open (often can't close the master eye) and I'm not sure what the solution is for those folks when they're shooting a long gun. Some people have a greater natural tendency toward bilateralism/ambidexterity than others, and some can fire off the weak shoulder with some ability, but most people can't do that.

I know a minority of instructors try to take a cross-dominant shooter (right handed -- left master eye, for example) and try to teach them to shoot left handed. That's worked well for some shooters and not at all for others . . .
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Old December 16, 2014, 04:44 PM   #18
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I've found {at least during daylight hours} that I can train my mind to have my right {20/20} master eye too focus on the target, yet my left {20/40} eye to focus on the iron sights; melding into one sight picture with good clarity of both sights and target.
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Old December 16, 2014, 05:39 PM   #19
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Quote:
Some people (10%?) can't independently close one eye or the other and leave the other eye open (often can't close the master eye) and I'm not sure what the solution is for those folks when they're shooting a long gun.
I was almost in that boat. Very hard for me to squint my left (dominant) eye while keeping the right fully open. However, I found that with lots of practice (not with a rifle - just sitting watching TV) I slowly started to gain control over the muscles in that left eyelid. It still isn't a natural feeling thing, but I can at least shoot better.
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Old December 16, 2014, 07:47 PM   #20
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I am also right handed and left eye'd.
I shoot right handed, and align the sights with my left eye.
It does not seem to be a chore to do this.
I try not to do something that is less than a natural instinct, so I will not be too worried about trying to mix things up with left hand or right eye.
I am pretty sure that any encounter that I have will be pretty close to arms length anyway. I am not shooting at anyone across the street unless they are shooting at me.
By now you have been accustomed to deal with what you have the way that works best for you. If you try to shoot like someone thinks you should shoot, it may not work for you.

Last edited by DannyB1954; December 16, 2014 at 07:56 PM.
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Old December 16, 2014, 09:02 PM   #21
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I am left eye dominant and have shot as a righty my whole life. I do struggle sometimes because I have to close my dominant left eye and focus with my right eye which really fatigues my eye after a while of shooting. I thought about learning to shoot lefty but it just feels odd to me.
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Old December 16, 2014, 09:15 PM   #22
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Here is a little device that I use on my bow since I shoot that righty as well. This let's you keep both eyes open and has really improved my archery. I may buy one for my rifle scopes and see if it helps.
http://www.topbowarchery.com
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Old December 17, 2014, 09:28 AM   #23
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I am left eye dominant and primarily right handed. 33 years in Law Enforcement and 25 plus as a firearms instructor. I shoot handgun right handed and long gun from the left side. People can adapt and be successful!

Back when I first started, my instructor (A multi-time Champion shooter in Wisconsin) told me to continue to shoot right handed as I was predominantly a righty. Too many years of muscle memory with the right side to switch hands, unless I was willing (and able) to have / take the time to completely retrain to be a lefty. Unless a person has the time and means to do so this is extremely time consuming and possibly costly. Most L.E. agencies will not devote the time and money to do so and as a new cop starting out, it was not financially or training-wise feasible.

His concern with switching to "weak" hand is that it could create a multitude safety issues. Something as simple as inadvertently placing your gun side forward while conducting a contact, because you write with your right hand or when implementing defensive / arrest tactics, short of deadly force, again placing your gun side toward the contact.

What works for me may or may not work for others. Just remember, whatever you decide to do....make sure you train repeatedly using proper techniques!

Good Luck!
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Old December 17, 2014, 12:10 PM   #24
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I write left handed. I shoot pistol mostly right handed, left eye dominant 99.9% of the time. I also shoot (for example, when shooting around cover) right hand, right eye, then easily switch off when changing sides to my support hand and shoot left hand, left eye dominant. It took some training to get on sight and accurate with my right eye but now it's an either/or for me as the situation dictates. (Also if I don't put my hair up or wear a hat and my hair blows in my face, I can easier adapt what eye has a clear shot rather than wasting time trying to battle with all of my hair. I know in a SD situation, chances are, my hair will be down and the BG won't wait for me to get my hair out of my face to clear my dominant eye).

For rifle, I shoot right side, right eye. (I have a Tavor and would rather not eat my brass trying to shoot it without the lefty conversion kit).
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Old December 17, 2014, 09:28 PM   #25
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Take a look at Hickok45 on YouTube. I used to communicate with him in 2008, when he had maybe 80,000 subscribers. He shoots right handed and is left eye dominant and closes his right eye when shooting. I know this because I asked him in an email and he verified that he does close his right eye when shooting. If you've ever watched his videos, you know he is an exceptional shooter. He cocks his head to the right, as Frank Ettin referred to in an earlier post, to align his dominant left eye with the sights.

He also shoots long guns quite well right handed. It can be done. It's a matter of adapting to your circumstances.
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