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Old November 15, 2018, 01:42 AM   #1
bamaranger
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SWAT says:switch to off eye when cross dominant?

My boy has made the SWAT team with his department. The team is well thought of and run by good people. As a youth, I recognized he was cross dominant (so was his Grandad) and started him with long guns on his "off" left shoulder, using his master left eye. He's shot competitively, (long gun off left sholder) and thru his basic LE academy well . On his first day of dry practice with the team, he was encouraged to switch back to his right shoulder and his "off" eye as a basic presentation and technique by the team instructor and firearms people.

Speaking with bamaboy further, the logic is apparently that with a dot sight, it will not matter what shoulder he shoots from,and his manipulation of the carbine will be more fluid and faster. He runs the carbine well from the left at present....

I understand that shooting and running the carbine from either shoulder is important regards use of cover. But I have some instructor background myself, and have never heard of having a shooter switch to their off side, mainly to facilitate manipulating the carbine. Is there not an advantage to running a long gun with the master eye? Wouldn't shooting accurately, quickly and intuitively, be more important than a faster reload? Isn't good shooting secondary to quick reloads, especially since transition to the pistol is the primary response to shooting the carbine dry in an emergency?

What am I missing?
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Old November 15, 2018, 06:22 AM   #2
1stmar
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Should be shooting w both eyes open, eye dominance shouldnt matter especially with a red dot. Unless he is equivalent skilled (ambidextrous) i would think the firearm manipulation would be quicker and safer with strong side. You post is a bit confusing, they are instructing him for carbine (red dot) but you reference long gun as well. For carbine and red dot - strong side , if he is sniping - eye dominant side.
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Old November 15, 2018, 08:03 AM   #3
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If he is right handed, left eye dominant his weapon manipulation will be better using it right handed. IMNHO forcing someone to shoot as a matter of course with their off hand as primary is a mistake.

The SWAT trainer would be able to see the difference in his handling and I would defer to him.

I learned switching shoulders in the Army as a way to shoot around cover without exposing more of yourself than needed, I still transition shoulders when needed.

Slightly off topic, but when we used to do night ops in LE one guy would have a thermal, one a Night Vision and I at least always used my off eye to preserve night vision in my shooting eye.
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Old November 15, 2018, 08:53 AM   #4
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I'm left eye dominant and right handed. I shoot rifles and shotguns left handed, pistols right handed. It does make life a bit more complicated. I have found that with enough presentations to my right eye I can pick up the sight quite well. The problem is it feels unnatural to me. Even as a kid I aimed toy rifles this way and I actually do a number of things left handed (not sure if because of eye dominance or because I always had some left handed tendencies as a kid). If he puts some time into it, even practicing manipulations and presentations at home with a cleared weapon, I imagine he could get it to work. My question though would be does it really present that much of a benefit?

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Old November 15, 2018, 09:18 AM   #5
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Shooting long guns dominant eye, especially if taught from an early start position, is the best method. There are a lot of top tier shooters who are cross dominant, and do so. Rob Leatham is just one of them, and he is okay.

Left handed and right eye dominant, I shoot all of my guns right handed. I've done pretty good in multiple shooting endeavors. If he made SWAT, he was doing pretty good the way you taught him. An AR can be run equally well from either side. Shooting both eyes open is preferable for all platforms, so going to the offside eye will diminish that ability. Vision is probably the most important overall aspect of us as a shooter provided we can hold the gun in a proper stance.

My advice would be to try it and at least see how it feels.
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Old November 15, 2018, 09:25 AM   #6
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the logic is apparently that with a dot sight, it will not matter what shoulder he shoots from,and his manipulation of the carbine will be more fluid and faster
I wouldn't say which eye is dominant doesn't matter at all when using a dot sight on a carbine, but I would say it makes weak eye dominance much less an issue when shooting from the strong side.

As to the bold, that is false logic. If you started him out shooting from his weak side because of weak-eye dominance, and you started him as a boy, I personally believe it foolish to try and switch things up now that he is an adult after years of shooting. Especially given that he has shot competitions. Further, if he has practiced reloads his whole life as he currently shoots I believe it will be more awkward for him to switch back now. I do agree with practice from both shoulders for the purposes of utilizing cover, strong arm injuries, etc.

I agree with you bamaranger, bamaboy should continue to shoot weak side. For no other reason than, as far as gun handling is concerned, it's not really his weak side anymore if he has shot like that his entire life.
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Old November 15, 2018, 10:22 AM   #7
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^^^ IMO, this is the correct answer. ^^^
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Old November 15, 2018, 01:15 PM   #8
bamaranger
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more

Appreciate all comments. My use of the the term long gun applies to all shoulder fired small arms....rifle, shotgun, carbine. I'll add he shoots handgun with his primary/right hand running the trigger, but his left master eye is working the sights. Yes, both eyes open is the way, but there is a connection between the brain, hands and sights. If you don't think so, try shooting your guns with your "off" eye from your off side. My Dad missed a ton of game, primarily because he was cross dominant and never coached . Under pressure of a flush or game, his ability to point swing and hold was compromised, I am certain.

Most interesting to me are Tunnelrats remarks concerning "unnatural" and 5whiskey regards shooting/loading in that manner his whole life. My stance exactly.

Bamaboy is not ambidextrous, but his hand eye coordination is very high, and he is a skilled and accomplished martial artist as well. His ability to watch a technique, than apply those motions with his own hands/feet is quite astounding. I have little doubt he can run the carbine well off his right shoulder. I just think he will shoot better off his left,......and "running" the carbine is second to shooting it well. ...seems to me anyhow

In the long run, he will decide, he's a big boy now after all.

I gave the whole cross dominant thing a good bit of thought when he was a kid and elected to go "off" shoulder.

Just hope I didn't start him wrong and now he's behind the curve.
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Old November 15, 2018, 01:52 PM   #9
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"...shoot rifles and shotguns left handed, pistols right handed..." The way everybody should be. snicker. It makes no difference whatsoever. I've been shooting and teaching all kinds of assorted battle and hunting rifles, SMG's and MG's left handed with no fuss of any kind for eons. Telling a shooter to change sides is an antiquated training idea that goes back to the early 20th Century. (My ma was a southpaw and was ordered by the nuns to change or else. They of course were extremely superstitious and thought being left handed was evil.) Telling an experienced shooter(most new cops have never seen a real firearm outside a movie house) like your son to switch is bad training. Pure and simple.
"...with his department..." Might be some kind of daft "Will this guy follow orders?" thing going on. Even the guys who apply for SWAT are rarely "gun guys" before being hired. They rarely shoot recreationally any more than regular cops do either.
"...primarily because he was cross dominant and never coached..." Nope. He just missed. Eye dominance has nothing to do with hunting shots.
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Old November 15, 2018, 03:47 PM   #10
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I am left handed right eye dominant

I shoot pistols left handed and generally use the drift method and continue to use my right eye. Its only for shots 25 yards or greater that I tend to close one eye and force my left eye to do the job.

I shoot rifles right handed
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Old November 15, 2018, 04:29 PM   #11
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Good to hear I'm not alone. Every so many classes I run into someone with the same "ailment". People that are "normal" always seem to stare at us in wonder, and I guess it does look odd, especially when you do a transition to a pistol and reach with the opposite hand.

I've wondered for people that are cross-eye dominant, do you find it might be easier for you to do things with your "wrong" hand than people that are same hand same eye? I've always had the ability to use my left hand pretty well, and after shooting I wondered if it might be in part due to eye dominance. I also don't know if this was because both my maternal grandmother and my father are left handed, so maybe it has nothing to do with eye dominance.

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Old November 15, 2018, 04:55 PM   #12
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As we know the brain is not fully developed until 25, and there is this thing called myelination, yes, I do believe cross-dominant people, especially those who use their weak side as a result, have a better overall kinesthetic intelligence than those who do not. I know that pilots for some aircraft do better who do not have a strong dominance for one side, and typically cross dominant folks have a lower washout rate due to vision and offside task issues than those with a strong dominance on one side. Middle infielders and point guards are two more places where strong dominance to one side is detrimental.

A lot of it is in the brain and how the two sides are developed, stimulated, and trained, especially in the years from 12 to 25. Being left handed, but without any real dominance except for the right eye, I am sure that it was because of baseball, soccer and shooting in my teens and twenties that allowed that development. I can still pitch, hit, shoot from both sides pretty evenly. Due to repetition, I can throw a little harder from the right side that the left even though I am left handed. I am not sure I believe that there is such a thing as a "naturally ambidextrous" person as all that I have spoken to that might be in that camp used their off side in some sort in their youth.
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:12 PM   #13
bamaranger
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left side

I continue to run this issue past folks whose opinion I respect. One fellow. who's been there and done it, commented that when he was in the business, somebody that could run the carbine well off the left shoulder on their team was considered an attribute. It simplified doing doorway entries, a right hander was not crossed up when going down the wall, just give the left well to the guy that used his left shoulder.

Too, the right handed rifle aspect of the AR can be addressed with hardware, ambi safety and bolt latch..........I dunno.

Maybe this is a case of ......."all swordsman are right handed"........but I hope not.
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Old November 19, 2018, 12:53 PM   #14
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Lefties on teams, especially baseball and SWAT do serve some benefits as long as the team leader understands and uses properly.
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Old December 24, 2018, 05:11 AM   #15
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I'm cross eye dominant -- right handed with a left master eye. I've always shot long guns off the right shoulder and used my right eye. I shoot handguns with the right hand. I can use either eye shooting handguns.

Everybody's eyesight is different and everybody's situation is different.

I have known many left handed people who shot with their right hand, for example.

There isn't a doctrinaire answer to this frequently asked question I don't think -- you just have to experiment to find out what works good for you.
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Old December 24, 2018, 08:28 AM   #16
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He can become “better” in a particular configuration with practice in that configuration.
I’m left handed. / right eye dominant and made the transition to right shoulder when I couldn’t find the long guns in left handed a few decades ago. I’ve practiced enough and can shoot long guns left or right but prefer left/ stronger arm supporting the barrel.
Handguns are either with practice.
I’ll throw a vote in for “what he finds works best for him”.
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Old December 30, 2018, 09:58 AM   #17
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I think it is important for a shotgun/rifle/crossbow turkey hunter to have the ability (if practical) to transition shoulders while sitting down for a shot.
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Old December 30, 2018, 03:20 PM   #18
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I am ambi-dominant. I can switch my eye dominance to either eye, with concentration.

It's a curse. When I get tired or distracted, my eye dominance toggles back and forth. That's why I have a little circle of cloudy scotch tape on the left lens of my shooting glasses such that I can't see the sights but the amount of light going to each eye is the same.

To top it all off, I can close my right eye only, but can only barely close my left eye only by scrunching up my face and mostly closing my right eye. It doesn't work. Both eyes open!

Recent evidence shows that last week, I can't hit a pheasant using the normal stance I have used for years shooting skeet and trap. If some fella has time to shoot twice as much at the range to equally practice both sides, more power to him.

As it is, I have at least 100 times the practice of most fellas I meet in the field. Nice guys, good hunters, and most admire my Ithaca Model 37 (which is a beauty) for it's old walnut, not that it's an ambidextrous pump gun. I only shoot it right handed.
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Old December 31, 2018, 03:45 AM   #19
bamaranger
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hardware

Just an update....bamaboy installed some ambi type hardware on his carbine. The hardware change allows him to run the AR platform in a conventional manner, but from his left shoulder. His manipulation of the carbine now appears backwards from any right handers, but he utilizes the same motions only lefthanded.

He can now run the safety lever, mag changes and bolt latch without the awkwardness associated with running the right handed AR, left handed. Some practice with the new arrangement has him up to speed with the right handers on his team, and all hands seem satisfied. And he will continue to shoot the rifle from his "off" left shoulder, with his dominant left eye.
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Old January 2, 2019, 08:53 PM   #20
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I am right handed and left eye dominant. Never had a problem shooting a long gun using my non-dominant eye.

Even did well at SOTIC with it.
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Old January 3, 2019, 02:06 AM   #21
bamaranger
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fortunate

I would say you are very fortunate.

My Dad was cross dominant, and missed a ton of game shooting from his non dominant eye and dominant shoulder. HIs misses were primarily on sudden, shoot now instances where things were happening quickly. He really struggled with flushing pheasants and passing doves. I know some others who cannot manage the rifle off their dominant shoulder unless they use a patch on the dominant (opposite) eye.

Perhaps this cross dominant thing occurs in degrees........some folks stricken more than others.

Regardless, good for you.
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Old January 3, 2019, 10:11 PM   #22
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Perhaps this cross dominant thing occurs in degrees........some folks stricken more than others.
I wasn't a doctor so cannot comment outside of my own experience. My experience is my own and not meant to disparage anyone else's.

In my experience in SOF...it was never an issue nor did we attempt to convert guys to running a long gun southpaw style. That is not to say guys did or did not do it just that that was never put forth as a technique nor were southpaws valuable or invaluable. They were just the same as everybody else. I find it difficult to see the specific value due to the fluid nature of initiative based CQB.

That is not the only techniques out there so to each his own.
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Old January 3, 2019, 10:18 PM   #23
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I guess what I am saying is if I saw a guy waiting to pull cross coverage or waiting for a situation to develop that is his southpawness offered some slight advantage while Dominate, Eliminate, Control...search the living, search the dead, search the room...

And guys were locking down red zones and other danger areas, stacking, and flowing....

I would kind of have some questions for that southpaw as to what is the best use of his time, LOL.
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Old January 7, 2019, 12:59 PM   #24
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I'm totally right side dominant but right arm is gone at the shoulder. After 40 years my right eye still takes over about 20% of the time costing time when acquiring sight picture so I just shut the thing and shoot with my left eye. 80% isn't good enough.
As to gun handling with the off hand, no excuses. Practice cures all.
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Old January 10, 2019, 03:49 PM   #25
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I'm totally right side dominant but right arm is gone at the shoulder. After 40 years my right eye still takes over about 20% of the time costing time when acquiring sight picture so I just shut the thing and shoot with my left eye. 80% isn't good enough.
Even shooting pistol with "both eyes open" I put some muscle tension on my non-dominant eye.

It has never been an issue and you adapt. What matters is grouping, speed, and shot placement.

Not how the bullets got there.
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