Learn to Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Handgun shooting with Eyes Open

Before you can become an accomplished shooter you have to know which eye is the dominate one. You may naturally assume that if you are right handed then your right eye is the dominate one; this may not be the case however. If you are right handed but left eye dominate then this is called cross dominance and you may not even be aware of it.

The dominate eye looks directly at an object and you can easily determine which eye is dominate. Extend your arms palms out and form a triangle with both hands by overlapping your fingers and thumbs. Pick out an object in the distance and now close your right eye. If you can still see the object you are left eye dominate. If you cannot see the object then of course you are right eye dominate. 

Keep in mind, over the years your eye dominance may change, so it must be checked, as you grow older.

If you are right handed, but left eye dominate then you may not be shooting as well as you could be. You have to know this to be able to advance your shooting capabilities. You simply cannot shoulder the weapon right handed and crane your neck to look through the sights with the left eye.

If you cannot shoot left handed even though the left eye is dominate then you can close the dominate eye to force the other eye to perform or cover one lens of your shooting glasses with something to block the view. This is why you should learn to shoot with both eyes open and this is particularly important if you are cross dominate.

Keeping both eyes open when shooting gives you better peripheral vision. This is ideal when shooting clay pigeons, for example, because you can catch the launch out of the corner of your eye and of course you can carry this technique over when you are hunting game birds in the field. In a tactical situation you can spot other shooters advancing on you or when they move positions.

If You Can Shoot with Both Eyes Open Then You can Shoot with Either Hand

When first attempting to switch hands, your muscles will want to take over, so it will take a conscious effort to override muscle memory. You will want to close one eye and this will present a problem, but all it takes is practice shooting with both eyes open and switching hands.

Of course as most of you know shooting a pistol is easier when using the weak hand because the pistol can be lined up on target with the dominate eye with less head and body movement.

When shooting with both eyes opens most people would see two sight pictures if they are shooting with the weak hand or even with the strong hand. This is normal and the mind must be trained to ignore one of the sight pictures. Your brain automatically pays greater attention to the visuals from the dominate eye, so your brain has to be trained. Again this takes considerable practice and patience.

Why It Is Important To Be Able To Shoot With Either Hand

You shoulder your weapon on the right shoulder each time, but what happens if you need to shoot around a corner that is on your right shoulder, can you switch to the left to fire around the corner effectively? No you cannot unless you have practiced. You see in the movies of course where the shooter sticks the weapon around the corner and sweeps the area. This is Hollywood’s version of things but not reality.

One hand or arm may be injured or you may be carrying something so you may need to be able to shoot effectively with either hand.

As stated earlier, if shooting with both eyes open you can better see what is happening around you whether you are hunting or find yourself in a firefight, you need all the help you can get in either situation.

It is important that you practice dry firing before going to the range to shoot live ammunition. Some people simply cannot train the mind to ignore the double images. In most cases however, after hours of practice you will see just one and this means you can effectively shoot with both eyes open and with either hand.

One of the problems you will encounter is the ejection port. Hot brass can strike you in the face when shooting left handed but some weapons can be adapted to deflect the brass. Bolt actions could be another problem when switching hands as well.

You may never see a need to ever switch hands but it only takes one time when you cannot switch, because you have never trained yourself to that gets you in trouble.