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Old January 7, 2009, 11:49 AM   #1
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Rifle shoot with left eye dominate

I have mostly shot handguns so I know how to over come shooting right handed being left eye dominate, but I wonder if there is a way to shoot a rifle this way. Problem I have is I cannot close my left eye without squinting my right and due to old age my right eye is not a sharp as my left. I guess optics would be a choice but would like to hear any other advice.
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Old January 7, 2009, 12:05 PM   #2
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adapt and over come, a little practice and patience it took me years to master it but I did I have left eye dominance as well but I also have the advantage of being ambidextrious nice quality to have but all in all I still favor the left over the right still today 43 yrs later
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Old January 7, 2009, 12:29 PM   #3
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I have overcome that problem (at least partially) by learning to close my left eye. For me, that is kind of hard because my right eyelid is the one that wants to close first. Everytime I actually think about it (maybe a few times a week) I'll deliberately close my left eyelid just to keep that little muscle working. If I forget for a while, then I find it hard to do it at the range.
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Old January 7, 2009, 02:35 PM   #4
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I'm left eye dominant. I'm left handed as well. I solve this by shooting left handed -- well, except for handguns which I shoot abmi.

That does mean that I don't do right handed bolt action rifles -- they might as well be single shots, so why bother?
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Old January 18, 2009, 03:28 AM   #5
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I have the same thing going on- dominant left eye, right handed. Can't shoot clay birds worth a darn- really NEED both eyes open for field of view, but for rifle, got in the habit of closing the left eye ( not much of a task when using a scope or peep sight ). I did know a guy years ago who set out to teach his brain to be "right-eyed" instead- he did this by putting opaque adhesive tape over the left lens of his shooting glasses so he could not focus "left eyed" on his handgun sights while practicing. Do not know how it turned out for him, but seemed like a sound theory- adaptive compensation, like becoming right -handed for a "lefty" who had a stroke and lost use of the left one. Guess it would take some time!
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Old January 18, 2009, 03:44 AM   #6
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I've worked with this problem as an Shooter/Instructor/PMI for years. The first time I saw this problem dealt with the solution was to change the motor skills of the shooter by making him shoot left handed. When I was young and didn't know any better this seemed to make sence. (My apologies to anyone I ever told to do that in my younger days).

Know I know a lot more about motor skills and stress reactions.

Here is the way to over come it naturally with a little time and patience.

22lr a bench and your target about 5 feet in front of you. Sounds silly but it allow your focal plains to be close enough as to let your brain learn to identify sights, target and motor skills. Then move your target back five feet and so on. People are different so some may retrain your eyes/brain quicker than others so don't set a limit just a goal.
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Old January 18, 2009, 04:23 AM   #7
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the army fixed me! i can now fire either hand either eye! being stuck on the right side of a belt fed right hand ejecting machine gun may have helped too!
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
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Old January 18, 2009, 04:58 AM   #8
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Tacman - To be clear - you now recommend that left eye dominant/right-handed people learn to use their right eye?

I will soon be teaching my son, so I am debating the solution.

Tape over the left eye of your shooting glasses seems like a good option to try.
"Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys." -Jeff Cooper, The Art of the Rifle-
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Old January 19, 2009, 03:32 PM   #9
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I'm left handed (and left eye dominant). I shoot handguns left handed and rifles right handed. I shot small bore rifle competitively for four years. Everyone shot right handed. We solved the problem by using a "blinder". This was simply a 4"x4" square hung over the sight that blocked the vision in the left eye. Kind of like wearing an eye patch.
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Old January 19, 2009, 05:05 PM   #10
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ive found that keeping both eyes open helps me, except for high power scopes.
There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death, and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time."
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Old January 19, 2009, 05:23 PM   #11
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Tacman - To be clear - you now recommend that left eye dominant/right-handed people learn to use their right eye?
My guess is that it depends on the shooter. There are different kinds of "right eye" dominant. Personally, I am right eye dominant and left handed. I shoot right handed. Not a problem.

Here's the catch, however. I really COULDN'T effectively shoot left handed. I'm not just left eye dominant, I have a lazy eye (amblyopia). The nerves just don't work normally and the brain doesn't process what I see with that eye. I can shoot using that left eye, but shooting at 50 yards would seem like shooting at 300. The world is very fuzzy when viewed from that left eye.

With people who don't have a lazy eye, there is still very different degrees of eye dominance and vision in the non-dominant eye. If someone is 20/20 with both eyes and they adapt easily to shooting with the non-dominant eye, by all means teach them to do so. I do like shooting right handed. No hassling with trying to adapt my left-handed shooting to a weapons and holsters that are designed for right handed people

There are some people that have no eye-dominance, using both eyes or switching from one to the other. That's fun to deal with as an instructor.

Keeping both eyes open is an admirable tactic for most shooters-- better peripheral vision and field of view--, but it doesn't do anything to overcome a cross eye dominance problem (left eye dominant and right handed).

Everyone should practice shooting with either hand and either eye and your goal should really be to teach your youngster to be ambidextrous.
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Old January 19, 2009, 05:43 PM   #12
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my brother lost his right eye in the vietnam war, and he had trouble trying to shoot left hand and just could not work the action very good left handed, i took a right hand 98 mauser that was sporterized that i paid 150.00 for and never used to a good friend who did stocks and had hin schollept out the cheek piece out untill he could shoot right hand but allow his face to be far enought over to use his left eye to sight, may look a little funny but it works and he shoots as well as he did befor losing his right eye. eastbank.
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Old February 16, 2009, 12:21 PM   #13
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Blind in right eye

I hate this. I have fought with it for a while. I had lazy eye as well. It is straightened out, but I never gained the ability to use my right eye for anything but peripheral. It just does not focus and has no strength.
On my 10/22, I can lean over it = no recoil.
On anything larger, I just use what vision I have in the right eye.
I crank the eyepiece as far as it will go and throw on glasses.
The target is still fuzzy, but I can tell where the center is, sides, etc.
It is not fun, but works and I can still shoot.
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Old February 16, 2009, 01:09 PM   #14
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Ha! One of my first questions here on TFL was on this very topic. My younger son and girlfriend are both right handed, left eye dominant. They were driving me crazy trying to crane their head across the gun to shoot right handed, but with the left eye. That's fine with a 22lr, but anything that recoils would punch them in the face, and going forward, it just won't work!

The advice I got was to have them learn to shoot left handed, but I was feeling very sympathetic about the situation because I figured I was asking them to do something I could NEVER EVER learn to do myself. But, I was curious, so before I even approached them I gave it a try. After all, what if something happened someday - what if I lost my dominant eye? This isn't something I spend much time worrying about - just sayin' - what if?

Yep, it's quite weird just starting out, but I think you'll be surprised how fast you can adapt. And the result of me asking the question here was a surprise benefit. The next time I'm up a tree and a deer comes in on my off side, I think I'll skip all that awkward twisting around and go lefty, now that I know I can!

If I can do it, I think anybody could do it.
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Old February 16, 2009, 01:36 PM   #15
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I'm right handed and left eye dominant. I learned to shoot at camp when I was about 11 years old. The first thing the instructor did was have us figure out if we were right or left eye dominant, and then that's how we shot. I can count on one hand the number of times I've shot a rifle right handed and it just feels completely wrong. Frankly, I don't know how you guys do it.

Honestly, I see it as an advantage rather than a disability. I'm using my dominant/stronger arm to support the rifle. Shooting semi-auto I can see if brass gets caught in the chamber of fails to eject properly without having to readjust the rifle.

Bolt guns are harder, but I recently bought a few left handed models and problem solved.
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Old February 16, 2009, 01:52 PM   #16
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I am RH/LED. I have always fired long guns left handed it just felt natural to me. I have practiced closing my left eye enough that I can now close it without squinting my right eye but it still doesn't feel natural to shoot RH.

When I got to basic training I had a drill sergeant who insisted I fire RH because . After I fired a 6 on my first attempt at qualification RH I was allowed to fire LH and fired a 27.

I once saw a Soldier who was firing RH but had their head titled almost 90 degrees to get the left eye on the sight. This Soldier couldn't zero her wepon for anything. When we couldn't get her to close her left eye we had her try firing LH and she was good to go.

You have to do one of two things, learn to close your left eye or learn to shoot LH. I recommend trying both and seeing what works for you.
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Old February 16, 2009, 03:25 PM   #17
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Not only are there different degrees

of eye dominance, but there are different degrees of handedness, too.

If you're like me, very strongly left-eye dominant, and VERY right-handed, shooting leftie won't work.

I've tried it. It's simply unsafe.

So I shoot one-eyed.

Shotgunning, I've been working on seeing the bird with both eyes, then closing my left as I establish my lead. If I keep both eyes open as I point the gun, I see two crossed barrels and three birds.

I'm near sighted in one eye and farsighted in the other, and I switch eyes right about were the end of a gun barrel is.

I still manage to fill the game vest.

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