The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 26, 2010, 01:17 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2009
Location: So Cal
Posts: 334
Dominant Eye disagrees with my Shooting Style

I took a hunter safety course earlier this year and found out something a little troubling about me. I've always been the weird kid who writes, eats and bats left handed, but does absolutely everything else right handed. Throw, shoot baskets, punch, cut with scissors and most importantly shoot. However at this course they taught us how to tell our dominant eye and low and behold, my left eye is dominant. Shooting rifles is no problem as I keep my left eye closed, but shotguns and pistols I try to keep both eyes open as I should. I have noticed I am much much less accurate with pistols and shotguns relatively speaking. I understand rifles are more accurate in general but I'm talking about overall. Easy shotgun shooting like trap is an adventure for me. Plinking with pistols at 10 yds is also interesting to say the least. Is there anything I can do to help my problem or does it even affect me as much as I think it does? I'm sure others have this problem and I'd like to know some tips on how to get around it. Thanks.
LloydXmas250 is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 05:22 PM   #2
Jim March
Senior Member
Join Date: February 14, 1999
Location: Pittsburg, CA, USA
Posts: 7,413
Do you shoot handguns from a Weaver or Iscoceles stance?
Jim March
Jim March is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 05:38 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: June 16, 2008
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 10,826
Disregard which is yourdominant eye. Wear an eye patch, for tape up the dominant eye part of your shooting glasses,

If you can only see out of one eye, then its your dominant eye.
Kraig Stuart
USAMU Sniper School Oct '78
Distinguished Rifle Badge 1071
kraigwy is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 05:43 PM   #4
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 4,354
"If your eye is your problem, pluck it out! Better to....".

Yea I know who said that but you are going to have to find a way to get the left (eye) to work with the right (hand) as plucking it out is gonna hurt.

You might try cocking the head to one side abit so the left eye gets behind the sights.
“To you who call yourselves ‘men of peace,’ I say, you are not safe without men of action by your side” Thucydides
Deaf Smith is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 05:56 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2009
Location: So Cal
Posts: 334
I've tried leaning my head over but with the shotgun it's tough especially with the recoil. I will probably just cover the glasses on that eye. I would just like to shoot with both eyes open. Guess it's just not meant to be. I shoot with shoulders squared. Can't remember if that's weaver or isosceles. Thanks for the tips.
LloydXmas250 is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 06:16 PM   #6
Junior member
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
Either relearn how to shoot with your dominant eye on your dominant side, or you can wear a "fuzzy dot" on your lens.

The only issue with relearning - you need to make sure your eye dominance doesn't change - there are folks whose eyes switch dominance now and again.

Several folks I shoot sporting clays use some form of dot to blur their off dominant eye, making their weaker eye do the work
oneounceload is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 06:24 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2009
Location: So Cal
Posts: 334
What do you mean by fuzzy dot? Literally a fuzzy dot or is this some kind of thing specific to shooting? Is it supposed to just blur vision in that eye or completely blind that eye?
LloydXmas250 is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 07:11 PM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: December 1, 2009
Posts: 422
If you shoot right handed and close the left eye, your right eye should be seeing the correct sight picture. Even though your left eye is dominant the right eye should give you the correct sight picture because the left eye is closed. Try this with the shotgun and you should get the same results that you get with the rifle.

For handgunning, try looking through the sights to the target with both eyes open. Practice this until you get tunnel vision from the rear sight to the front sight and onto the target. It should work.
TenRing is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 07:54 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2009
Location: So Cal
Posts: 334
Yeah. I know that I can close one eye and then the other is dominant but I'd like to shoot the shotgun as I should with both eyes open. It's more relaxing for me with both eyes open better my accuracy is way down. Closing the eye gets so old and strains it. I'll probably end up covering the eye with either a patch or glasses.
LloydXmas250 is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 08:23 PM   #10
Junior member
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
These folks use some high $$$$ shooting glasses so they're not going to use vaseline or similar to smear their lens. The "fuzzy dots" are a peel-n-stick type of device that they will place in a particular location on their lens of their glasses. It makes their weaker eye on their strong-shooting side do the work instead of having their dominant eye on their off hand take over. With shotguns on clay targets, it makes the difference between hitting and missing
oneounceload is offline  
Old March 26, 2010, 10:26 PM   #11
Senior Member
Join Date: October 6, 2009
Location: So Cal
Posts: 334
I'll have to look into that. I don't know why but when I close an eye shooting trap I feel stressed and enjoy myself a lot less. When I open it I feel relieved and relaxed yet I hit 50% less. I hate being weird.
LloydXmas250 is offline  
Old April 1, 2010, 07:56 AM   #12
Rob Pincus
Join Date: October 9, 1998
Location: Hotels
Posts: 3,666
Eye dominance is a non-issue for pistol shooting guys.

The proof of this is all of the Tests that are used to determine eye dominance. The reason that your "thumb covers the spot" or your can "see the dot through the hole" when you use any of the Hand At Extension methods to determine eye dominance is because your brain automatically puts your hand/thumb/hole/whatever in front of your dominant eye. The same thing happens with your pistol as long you are over-thinking it and trying to do something on purpose.

With a Long Gun eye dominance is a very big deal because of the Stock being attached to your body. When the stock is against your torso, only one eye can actually be behind the sights/optics, if you have mounted the gun on the "strong" side with your "weak" eye, you will have a potentially harder time using the sights. If you have a significant difference in visual acuity, it might be worth mounting the gun on your "weak" side in front of the "strong" eye in some cases. The good news is that the four points of contact you get with a long gun (foregrip, trigger hand, butt of stock and cheek weld) can mitigate some of the lack of coordination you get from having your weaker hand as the primary control.

Unfortunately, the relevance of eye dominance in long gun shooting has ubiquitously been mis-applied to pistol shooters.

Rob Pincus is offline  
Old April 1, 2010, 08:28 AM   #13
twice barrel
Join Date: November 11, 2009
Posts: 98
Learn to shoot left-handed when its the most appropriate. Don't fight your dominant eye. Shooting is a hand-eye coordinated effort. You can become accustomed to function left-handed but you cannot change your dominant eye.

Besides, there are times when its an advantage...archery and batting come to mind.


twice barrel is offline  
Old April 1, 2010, 12:45 PM   #14
Join Date: March 26, 2010
Posts: 40
I have a somewhat unique perspective on this. I used to be right eye dominant. In 2002, I had a detached retina in my right eye, which was surgically repaired. This left me with approximately 20/400 (uncorrected) vision in that eye, (corrected to 20/20 on a good day...20/40 on a bad day). As part of recovery from that surgery, I had no usable vision from my right eye, for about 8 weeks, as that is how long it took, post-operatively, for the eye to fill back up with fluid. Until it filled back up, I could only tell light from dark, or see fuzzy bubbles when it was part full. Super creepy. I don't recommend it.

When I could see again with the eye, it took a long time for my "stereo vision" to come back. I would get headaches/double vision, as I had gone months without two eyes working together.

Since then, either my dominant eye changes on a daily/random basis, or I have no definitively dominant eye. I've done every "dominant eye" every "shooter joe" will tell you at a gun club, and my eye doctors own test. I can test twice, 5 minutes apart, and get a different result.

I just shoot what feels comfortable to me. I shoot sporting clays, right handed, both eyes, and consistently shoot in the upper 60%-lower70% range (which is better than I ever shot pre-op).

I bought my first pistol in February, and have wondered how I should shoot it. I have tried different things in several shooting sessions. I always shoot pistol two-handed, right hand as my strong (trigger) hand. I have tried, but cannot get comfortable shooting left-side strong.

What I have been able to do, is shoot right side strong, over either my left, or right eye. The difference between how I shoot each way, is negligible.

Sorry for so much rambling for the setup to my question...
Shooting something, like a pistol, which is shot from outstreched arm (as opposed to a shouldered rifle), is there any reason not to shoot right handed, over the opposite eye?
BeerSleeper is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 08:27 PM   #15
David Hineline
Senior Member
Join Date: December 23, 1999
Location: South Sioux City, Nebraska
Posts: 704
I shoot handgun right handed in front of my left eye. I shoot longguns left handed.

How hard is that.
David Hineline is offline  
Old April 4, 2010, 08:39 PM   #16
Senior Member
Join Date: December 25, 2008
Location: maine
Posts: 234
A small piece of scotch tape will work, properly placed it will only block the bead/sight on the dominate eye. You'll need to give it some time to become comfortable with it. after awhile you don't even notice it, until you shoot without it.
mwar410 is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 07:36 AM   #17
Senior Member
Join Date: May 27, 2006
Location: Ozarks
Posts: 1,834
I am left eye dominant and right handed. I shoot everything right handed, but I use my right eye with long guns, and my left eye for hand guns. Shooting with both eyes open has never worked for me at all.
"A Liberal is someone who doesn't care what you do, as long as it's mandatory". - Charles Krauthammer
jhenry is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 08:43 AM   #18
Join Date: March 16, 2010
Posts: 58
I'm also left eye dominant/right handed.

I have no problem with pistols at all. I simply tilt my head to the left so that my left eye is looking down the barrel. I've never had a problem with hitting my target with fairly tight groups.

With rifles, I always shoot strong side and use a blocker attached to the sights to block my left eye. Also no problems.

Now shotguns are an entirely different story. I'm still trying to figure out what to do there. I can hit the target, but never dead on. Closing my left eye skews the sight picture. Maybe I'll try the fuzzy dot method...
DZcarry is offline  
Old April 5, 2010, 12:31 PM   #19
Join Date: March 26, 2010
Posts: 40
What does one do with one's eyes, when shooting a handgun, if one intends to shoot according to "proper shooting form"?

I've been shooting one eye open.

I shoot shotguns both eyes open, I find the depth perception helps my shots, and I've done it so long that way it just feels natural.

I can't get comfortable shooting handguns with both eyes open, but I haven't tried much. Until this thread, I never realized closing one eye might actually be improper technique.
BeerSleeper is offline  
Old April 6, 2010, 09:28 AM   #20
Join Date: January 7, 2010
Posts: 56
Every person adjusts a bit differently to any given situation, so you have to determine which solution works best for you. I'm right handed, left eye dominant, and I've found the best solution is to shoot (handguns) left handed. In my opinion, the problem with shooting cross dominant is that head position will vary more than if you shoot inline. Another consideration is that if you have to respond to a situation quickly, you will naturally sight with your dominant eye. That being the case, it makes sense to practice using your dominant eye and develop shooting skills with the hand that matches that eye.
dfe2240 is offline  
Old April 6, 2010, 10:55 AM   #21
Old Grump
Member in memoriam
Join Date: April 9, 2009
Location: Blue River Wisconsin, in
Posts: 3,144
What does one do with one's eyes, when shooting a handgun, if one intends to shoot according to "proper shooting form"?
Quick and simple answer is you are a bifocal creature. This means that you have two eyes facing forward as opposed to a bird or reptile with an eye on either side of the head. Your eyes move in and out to focus on an object and in this case the object is the front sight. You want the sight in focus because its easier to keep it centered in the peep or notch of your rear sight. If you bull gaze which means your focus is down range midway between the target and the front sight you will see both objects but neither clearly and your groups will show it with a wide dispersion.

Unfortunately it is harder to focus on an object with just one eye, not impossible but harder and the tendency is to look beyond the front sight. Some people can't get over the false double image using Two eyes and have to close one eye or use a patch but this isn't practical while hunting or a defense situation so I strongly recommend learning to use both eyes.

You notice it most when shooting bullseye in a 2 or 3 day match. The squinting one eye shout causes noticeable tension on that side of the face, neck and shoulder and by the end of the day it is affecting your stance, your balance and it is fatiguing. When you are 23 you barely notice, by the time you earn you first gray hairs it is very noticeable.

Not critical in a life or death situation when 2 or 3 shots is the norm or you are in a pitched battle from behind cover for an hour but fortunately most of us won't have that situation in our normal day to day lives unless you are in a uniform. Learning the two eye shooting method will help your shooting

To the OP, incorporate one hand strong side, weak side and two hand weak side and strong side into your shooting routine. Continue to shoot with both eyes open but make the adjustment needed to make the dominant eye be the one to see the sight when shooting two handed. It will be like learning to write with the off hand wearing boxing gloves at first but it will get easier and you never know when you just may need that off hand for shooting. You already have an advantage doing some skilled things left handed so you know you can do it. Can't help you with the shotgun, you need a shot gun coach. My forte is rifles and pistols at long ranges.
Good intentions will always be pleaded for any assumption of power. The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern will, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters.
--Daniel Webster--
Old Grump is offline  
Old April 6, 2010, 11:25 AM   #22
Join Date: April 5, 2010
Posts: 20
I'm left-eye dominant and shoot right handed. The following works well for me, ymmv:
  • Modified weaver stance
  • tilt my head slightly till the left eye is slightly closer to the front site
  • keep both eyes open
  • focus on the front site

Closing an eye makes me tired and gives me a headache.

That's with handguns of course. One reason I mostly shoot handguns is the eye dominance issue. I never could get comfy with a rifle for any length of time.
Hewhois is offline  
Old April 8, 2010, 10:06 AM   #23
Join Date: February 7, 2009
Posts: 17
Eye Dominance

BeerSleeper had the best and correct answer, although he probably did not realize it. While the one eye was not functioning, the other took over. Exactly the same as closing one, or covering one, the result is the same. The eye which is doing the observing, becomes the dominant eye. During the down time, the original non dominant eye learned to, or in this case had to focus. He is correct, he now is the owner of equally dominant eyes. This is non problematic, you have the best of both worlds. You can shoot bilaterally with any weapon with both eyes open, with practice. Left side, the left eye will focus, right side, the right eye. You do not need something such as this to occur to accomplish this. You can train your current non dominant eye to focus as well as what you now consider your dominant eye, just depends on how much you want it. You can start with a patch or something, or just close the dominant eye while bringing the sights into focus with the open eye, then gradually/slightly open the closed eye while continuing to focus with the one you are training. Eventually, either will focus as you need it and no, it will not change in the middle of something, unless however you redirect your focus. Now, having said all that, I agree with Rob, you are training the brain to focus with the eye on the side you have the weapon on. To an extent I also agree with his statement about eye dominance not being an issue for handgun shooters. The one problem I see with that statement, while not a true dominance problem, is needing to use the sights from behind cover at those times when it would be most appropriate. If you have not trained using the eye on that side of your cover to focus on the sight, then you will have a tendency to move your head further out to focus with the other eye, or you will want to close an eye. Neither is the optimal choice. Dry fire/practice will work for this for both handgun and long gun. StaySafe
mddevildog is offline  
Old April 8, 2010, 12:14 PM   #24
Senior Member
Join Date: April 3, 2009
Posts: 240
I first learned about Eye Dominance watching the movie " Firebirds" with Nicholas Cage.

In the Movie ( Yes I know it's a movie ) but basically , they had to retrain his mind and strengthen the muscles in his right eye by forcing him to do many various tasks with his left eye covered. Over a brief time of training like this in all kinds of aspects ( not just firing pilot simulations ) he was able to use his right eye at will.

There are times when I feel like I can manually switch which eye I am seeing out of but it's a deep thought process to make it happen.

I'm sure Google has lots of suggestions on this kind of issue.
Enoy21 is offline  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09605 seconds with 7 queries