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Most new shooters I meet have no idea which eye is their dominant eye.   I suspect most people in general do not know which eye is dominant.   This is most likely due to them having never had a reason to know it.  For a shooter eye dominance is an important thing.  I have always used the Miles or Porta Tests to determine eye dominance but whenever I have a paper towel roll handy, it has become my preferred method.  Keeps me form having to make sure they hold their hands correctly.🙂

 

 

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I have a nephew we had out shooting and he was missing bad. He was shooting right handed. So I had him do the test, found out he is right handed and left eye dominant . Had him shoot left handed and shot MUCH better.

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One of the first classes I taught for Suarez Int back in like 2006 I had a guy who came to class at the recommendation of one of his friends. He told me at the beginning of class that he had shot his whole life (in his 40s at the time) and was not very good and that he didn't really expect to be able to get much better and he was pretty well resigned to that fate. But his friend said he should really come to this class so he did. I thought that just sounded kind of sad but I told him I'd do everything in my power to help him.  

 I asked if he knew which was his dominant eye and he said he did not know exactly what I was referring to. I explained it and gave everyone in class the "eye test" and we determined that he was in fact right handed and left eye dominant and that is from where his problems stemmed . Once we determined that and had him get the gun in front of his dominant eye he was able to vastly improve his shooting. He had been aiming all these years with his non dominant eye and that is why up until then he was not a good shooter . At the end of class I thought he was going to cry for joy because he didn't expect it to happen but we had "fixed" his shooting and now he was shooting the way he should have been all these years. THAT is what makes an instructor's day. But it was all about what he was seeing .... not how he was applying the mechanics of shooting.

 

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I have a son that shoots right handed but is left eye dominant, he refuses to shoot left handed. I shoot and carry my pistol right handed, with right eye, but i shoot a rifle left handed and use left eye to aim. Something that to this day is odd. When I went through basic training back in 93 my Drill Sergeant was really messed up when he was giving everyone a test to determine which eye was dominant, my turn came up and first time went left eye, second time was left eye. This went on for multiple time until he finically just gave up and said fire however I felt comfortable n

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Posted (edited)

I am right eye dominant and shoot long guns right handed and handguns left handed and have never felt a need to change anything.  I shoot everything with both eyes open.  I often hear shooters given advice that a switch to the opposite side is necessary and I feel that this advice is terrible for most people.  However, eye dominance can pose a significant issue is when one is shooting long guns with both eyes open and a change may help. 

Edited by deerslayer

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3 hours ago, deerslayer said:

I am right eye dominant and shoot long guns right handed and handguns left handed and have never felt a need to change anything.  I shoot everything with both eyes open.  I often hear shooters given advice that a switch to the opposite side is necessary and I feel that this advice is terrible for most people.  However, eye dominance can pose a significant issue is when one is shooting long guns with both eyes open and a change may help. 

I'm oposite as far as eye dominance left eye dominant right handed. I've shot my whole life cross dominant with a handgun, and left handed with a rifle or bow. Never had any issues. In my case my right eye is significantly worse than my left.

I also coached shooting for years and found those that had cross dominance issues that shot poorly their eyes are nearly the same vision wise. This causes visual confusion and they need to train to get the dominant eye behind the sights. Particularly with a handgun. Once they did that they did just fine.

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What type of shooting did you coach?  Long-gun related dominance issues sometimes seem to be harder to deal with than when shooting a handgun.  Also, it helps if one eye is DOMINANT.  I've occasionally run across a shooter who has a barely dominant eye and can't decide which eye to use.  Those are harder to solve than the ones who are shooting cross-dominant.  Seems like a lot of them end up with a piece of clear tape on their glasses over whichever eye they are trying not to use.  

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On 3/4/2020 at 9:24 AM, Cruel Hand Luke said:

Once we determined that and had him get the gun in front of his dominant eye he was able to vastly improve his shooting. He had been aiming all these years with his non dominant eye and that is why up until then he was not a good shooter. 

 

So when he tried to aim before, were his sights and or target blurry?    If not, wouldn't he still be able to shoot lined up correctly?   Seems like the only probably would be if he wasn't able to focus the sights and target at the same time.  Not trying to argue, just educate myself. 

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10 hours ago, deerslayer said:

What type of shooting did you coach?  Long-gun related dominance issues sometimes seem to be harder to deal with than when shooting a handgun.  Also, it helps if one eye is DOMINANT.  I've occasionally run across a shooter who has a barely dominant eye and can't decide which eye to use.  Those are harder to solve than the ones who are shooting cross-dominant.  Seems like a lot of them end up with a piece of clear tape on their glasses over whichever eye they are trying not to use.  

I'm marginally right eye dominant and left handed. I grew up shooting rifles left handed but switched to right handed when I got into handguns. Everything is made for right handed people so it's just easier.

I cannot shoot handguns with both eyes open and use the sights. I get double vision when I try. I can point shoot well enough in close, but have to close one eye beyond about 10 yds. 

I try the tape on shooting glasses trick with my boys (bb guns). They don't like it, but it seems to help. 

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Posted (edited)
On 4/13/2020 at 7:07 AM, Trekbike said:

So when he tried to aim before, were his sights and or target blurry?    If not, wouldn't he still be able to shoot lined up correctly?   Seems like the only probably would be if he wasn't able to focus the sights and target at the same time.  Not trying to argue, just educate myself. 

What we normally see from cross eye dominance is "seemingly random bullet placement". I'm not sure exactly what his targets used to look like before because I discovered the eye dominance issue before we ever fired any rounds. So he was starting out "corrected" when we started shooting. 

The easiest way to explain what cross dominant folks see is if you are right eye dominant hold the gun in your right  hand in front of your right eye pointed at the light switch or some other object. . Now close your right eye and it will look like the gun moved to the right of where it was when you had your right eye open. So now when you move it back to the left to "correct " your aim you actually are pulling the gun left off the target. I hope that makes sense. So they are really aiming the gun either left or right (depending on the eye)  of where they think they are aiming it.  

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke

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Posted (edited)

Strong right handed, strong left eye. I can't hit the broad side of a barn left handed and have trouble manipulating the firearm so I shoot right handed but push my right shoulder out and bring my right arm across to center the handgun in front of my left eye. I suppose if I practiced shooting lefty a LOT I could eventually get better at it, but my current method works for me.

 

@Cruel Hand Luke, is that what you mean by "getting the gun in front of the dominant eye"?

 

Rifle and shotgun are a whole different animal. I shoot right handed, but have to close my left eye or wear glasses with a sticker over my left eye.

Edited by monkeylizard

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Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, monkeylizard said:

Strong right handed, strong left eye. I can't hit the broad side of a barn left handed and have trouble manipulating the firearm so I shoot right handed but push my right shoulder out and bring my right arm across to center the handgun in front of my left eye. I suppose if I practiced shooting lefty a LOT I could eventually get better at it, but my current method works for me.

 

@Cruel Hand Luke, is that what you mean by "getting the gun in front of the dominant eye"?

 

Rifle and shotgun are a whole different animal. I shoot right handed, but have to close my left eye or wear glasses with a sticker over my left eye.

Yes.

You either bring your eye behind the gun by turning your head (in your case think touching your chin to your right shoulder so your left eye is now behind the extended gun ) or by bringing the gun across the centerline of your body in front of the dominant eye. With a pistol you can cant the gun a little to get the sights tilted toward that left eye without having to move the gun quite as far and still maintaining a locked wrist. Or you can split the difference and tilt the head a little and bring the gun across the body a little. If at all possible I want to maintain a locked wrist for better control, and to avoid "limp wrist" malfunctions. 

Truth be told that is what I do when I'm shooting left handed. I'm naturally right handed and right eye dominant so when I shoot with my non dominant hand (left)  I cant the gun inboard about 30 degrees to the right , bring the gun in line with my sternum , and then turn my head very slightly to the left to get my right eye lined up behind the sights. (This is a lot easier to show in person than to explain...😉)

Edited by Cruel Hand Luke
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Posted (edited)

Thanks. Now that you mention it, I do drop my chin down and right towards my right shoulder too which brings my left eye over a bit.

Edited by monkeylizard

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I have a feeling this thread is going to have a big impact on my shooting. 

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7 hours ago, Cruel Hand Luke said:

What we normally see from cross eye dominance is "seemingly random bullet placement". I'm not sure exactly what his targets used to look like before because I discovered the eye dominance issue before we ever fired any rounds. So he was starting out "corrected" when we started shooting. 

The easiest way to explain what cross dominant folks see is if you are right eye dominant hold the gun in your right  hand in front of your right eye pointed at the light switch or some other object. . Now close your right eye and it will look like the gun moved to the right of where it was when you had your right eye open. So now when you move it back to the left to "correct " your aim you actually are pulling the gun left off the target. I hope that makes sense. So they are really aiming the gun either left or right (depending on the eye)  of where they think they are aiming it.  

I don’t understand this.  I’m a cross-dominant shooter and if I close my dominant eye and correct my aim, the sights are still lined up on the target whether I move the gun or move my head.  I’m just using my other eye.  If the sights are not lined up on the target, I didn’t correct anything.  

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On 4/12/2020 at 9:16 PM, deerslayer said:

What type of shooting did you coach?  Long-gun related dominance issues sometimes seem to be harder to deal with than when shooting a handgun.  Also, it helps if one eye is DOMINANT.  I've occasionally run across a shooter who has a barely dominant eye and can't decide which eye to use.  Those are harder to solve than the ones who are shooting cross-dominant.  Seems like a lot of them end up with a piece of clear tape on their glasses over whichever eye they are trying not to use.  

Small bore 4 position 50ft

Most of the guys shot anysight and it was always interesting to put a blinder on them and see the results. Those with good eyesight sometimes shot irons better than optics.

The real problems showed up when there was a big difference in eyesight between left & right eyes then they had to switch sides, or when the sight was very close to the same between eyes and they saw double thats where the blinder helps.

Closing one eye is tough when shooting for an hour or more to get through the course of fire.

Handguns are easier to deal with generaly I agree.

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17 hours ago, deerslayer said:

I don’t understand this.  I’m a cross-dominant shooter and if I close my dominant eye and correct my aim, the sights are still lined up on the target whether I move the gun or move my head.  I’m just using my other eye.  If the sights are not lined up on the target, I didn’t correct anything.  

OK let me try this again. If you are right eye dominant put the gun in your left hand and with both eyes open , and with the gun under your left eye point the gun (or even just your finger) at something small across the room. You might even be seeing "a double vision image" of the gun but go ahead and aim the gun as best you can without closing your right eye.

Now close your dominant (right) eye. Look and see if the gun (or your finger) is still lined up with the object. What looked like it was lined up with BOTH eyes open (but with gun under non dominant eye) may very well now have "moved" when you closed the dominant eye and you are looking at the gun now only with the eye that is lined up behind it and you see that the gun is now pointed RIGHT of where it APPEARED to be pointing when both eyes were open.

Now start over with the gun in left hand and go ahead and close the right eye so you have target , front sight, rear sight and LEFT eye all in line. Now open your right eye and see if it looks like the gun (or guns if you are seeing a double image) moved. If it did look like it moved then with both eyes open move the gun so it looks like it is lined up again. Now close your RIGHT eye and use your LEFT eye to see if the gun is still lined up with the target. It most likely is not. 

The "problem" is that with a cross dominant eye and with both eyes open you are essentially looking across your body (or at least across your face ) with your natural dominant eye vision and you are seeing the gun from an angle and not actually looking directly down the gun from back to front.

Think about a right triangle. For a cross dominant person the A leg is the arm holding the gun, the B leg is your body and the C leg-the hypotenuse is your line of vision with your dominant eye. But if you close that eye you are now looking up the A leg with your non dominant eye and it is in line with the sights and the target and is most likely allowing you to see that your previous aim was slightly off from where it looked like it was . 

Now you can close your dominant eye and aim with your non dominant eye directly in line with the gun but we really do not recommend closing an eye (nor are you likely to) in a reactive "get your gun out and get to work RIGHT NOW" type situation. 

So instead of closing an eye we either turn our head to get the dominant eye behind the gun or move the gun across the body to line up the front sight and rear sights with the dominant eye. Or split the difference and move both the head and the gun a little towards each other. 

 

 

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19 hours ago, deerslayer said:

I’m a cross-dominant shooter and if I close my dominant eye and correct my aim, the sights are still lined up on the target whether I move the gun or move my head.  I’m just using my other eye.  If the sights are not lined up on the target, I didn’t correct anything.  

Correct. Closing an eye, whether it's the dominant eye or the other one, THEN aiming will result in a true aim with either left-handed or right-handed shooting. Parallax, our eyes seeing the same object from two different angles, is removed when we go one-eyed.

To rephrase what CLH added above, aim first with BOTH eyes open then close one eye, then the other. One will remain aligned with the sights and target, and the other will not. It's a demonstration of what the cross-dominant shooter experiences when not compensating by moving the firearm and/or head to align the sights with the dominant eye.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Cruel Hand Luke said:

OK let me try this again. If you are right eye dominant put the gun in your left hand and with both eyes open , and with the gun under your left eye point the gun (or even just your finger) at something small across the room. You might even be seeing "a double vision image" of the gun but go ahead and aim the gun as best you can without closing your right eye.

Now close your dominant (right) eye. Look and see if the gun (or your finger) is still lined up with the object. What looked like it was lined up with BOTH eyes open (but with gun under non dominant eye) may very well now have "moved" when you closed the dominant eye and you are looking at the gun now only with the eye that is lined up behind it and you see that the gun is now pointed RIGHT of where it APPEARED to be pointing when both eyes were open.

Now start over with the gun in left hand and go ahead and close the right eye so you have target , front sight, rear sight and LEFT eye all in line. Now open your right eye and see if it looks like the gun (or guns if you are seeing a double image) moved. If it did look like it moved then with both eyes open move the gun so it looks like it is lined up again. Now close your RIGHT eye and use your LEFT eye to see if the gun is still lined up with the target. It most likely is not. 

The "problem" is that with a cross dominant eye and with both eyes open you are essentially looking across your body (or at least across your face ) with your natural dominant eye vision and you are seeing the gun from an angle and not actually looking directly down the gun from back to front.

Think about a right triangle. For a cross dominant person the A leg is the arm holding the gun, the B leg is your body and the C leg-the hypotenuse is your line of vision with your dominant eye. But if you close that eye you are now looking up the A leg with your non dominant eye and it is in line with the sights and the target and is most likely allowing you to see that your previous aim was slightly off from where it looked like it was . 

Now you can close your dominant eye and aim with your non dominant eye directly in line with the gun but we really do not recommend closing an eye (nor are you likely to) in a reactive "get your gun out and get to work RIGHT NOW" type situation. 

So instead of closing an eye we either turn our head to get the dominant eye behind the gun or move the gun across the body to line up the front sight and rear sights with the dominant eye. Or split the difference and move both the head and the gun a little towards each other. 

 

 

Yes I get all that, but I'm not sure what you are trying to say.  There is no "problem" with shooting cross-dominant.  Rotating one's head a couple inches to the left or right is a minor adjustment that cross-dominant shooters do, but after that, everything is the same.  Are you referring to cross-dominant shooters who don't know they are cross-dominant?

Edited by deerslayer

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1 hour ago, monkeylizard said:

To rephrase what CLH added above, aim first with BOTH eyes open then close one eye, then the other. One will remain aligned with the sights and target, and the other will not. It's a demonstration of what the cross-dominant shooter experiences when not compensating by moving the firearm and/or head to align the sights with the dominant eye.

 

But why on earth would a cross-dominant shooter not compensate?

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Posted (edited)
48 minutes ago, deerslayer said:

But why on earth would a cross-dominant shooter not compensate?

Knowledge. You don’t know what you don’t know and can’t compensate for a problem you’re not aware of the nature of. Folks just think they can’t shoot, not that there is a bio-mechanical reason  

 

Edited by Chucktshoes

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Posted (edited)

^^^ This x 1,000. Most people have never heard of eye-dominance, much less cross-eye dominance. The standard mechanics often taught to shooters are for right-handed, right-eyed shooters. If I followed the common instruction like keeping both eyes open, squared shoulders, eyes straight ahead then I'd basically be playing Spray N Pray. When I first started shooting I was closing my left eye to get a clear sight picture. then I was reading here on TGO that I should shoot with both eyes opened. I kept trying it but I was sooooo bad that way. I eventually went back to closing my dominant left eye. then I took a shotgun class out at the clay range off Briley Pkwy and the instructor did the triangle hands eye-test as shown in the OP. Sure enough....cross dominance. He put a sticker on my left lens and it has been super-helpful. After that I was able to figure out a way to make an adjustment on handguns too to get the sights in front of my left eye while keeping both eyes open.

It's waaaaay more noticeable on rifle/shotgun to me, and more challenging. The image entering my left eye is the frame, fore grip, and barrel of the left side of the rifle/gun. Compensating on a long gun is basically impossible with both eyes open and unobstructed. If I don't close my dominant left eye or use glasses with a sticker on the left lens I have to really pay attention and align my sights and target using the weaker image coming in to my brain from my right eye. I can usually manage that when bench shooting a rifle at a static target to get me to within minute-of-badguy inside say 100 yards, but it's too slow for action shots like clays or anything longer or smaller than a 2'x4' target inside 100 yards. When shooting scoped, it's like I have two completely different images and I have to pay attention to the one with the cross-hairs but my brain fights me the whole time.

For a cis-vision ( :) ) shooter, get on your rifle and notice how you can see the left side of your rifle with both eyes opened, but it's not what you're focused on. It sort of just disappears and you mostly see the sights and targets unless you pay attention and actually try to focus on the left side image. It's the reverse for cross-dominant shooters.

Edited by monkeylizard
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Well maybe that clears some of the confusion if we are talking about a shooter who doesn’t know.  If someone is unaware of eye dominance issues, all that makes sense.  However, there are some who insist that shooting cross dominant is hopelessly flawed and the only solution is to switch hands (again, talking handguns here).  Some consider cross-dominance a problem even when the cross-dominant shooter is not having problems.  I have heard of a couple trainers in the past (can’t remember who) who would force students to switch hands as a rule, not after working with the student.  This is asinine.  Switching hands to cure eye dominance issues should be a last resort in most cases.  

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, deerslayer said:

Switching hands to cure eye dominance issues should be a last resort in most cases.  

I couldn't agree more. Not only is it a WHOLE lot easier to employ some simple bio-mechanics to reposition the handgun instead of trying to remove genetic dominance reinforced by decades of life, most handguns are configured for right-handed shooters and can't easily be converted to lefty models. Forcing left-handed shooting will severely limit the choices of handguns and to me, would take all the fun out of it. It's no fun to keep doing something over and over again and still suck at it. I don't think after years of shooting lefty I'd every get as good as I am shooting righty with a shift to my left eye. I'm no Hickock45, but I do alright.

Switching hands might work well for some, especially someone who has some reasonable coordination in their off-hand, but someone who insists shooting off-hand is the first and only solution should be forced to sit down and transcribe the Encyclopedia Britannica using only their off-hand. By the time they get to volume D they might write mostly legibly, but it will never look as good as their dominant-handed writing. Or maybe play piano but reverse the octaves played by each hand. Good luck with that.

I'm not a doctor, neuroscientist, or an instructor but I know what works for me. If someone hadn't told me about cross-dominance I never would have figured it out.

Edited by monkeylizard
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Posted (edited)

I shoot handguns left-handed.  Over the years, I have found many right-handed guns to be quite lefty friendly.  A 1911 (with ambi safety) is a perfect example. In fact, when certain guns started being offered with ambi mag catches and slide releases, I thought, “why would I do that?  It works better set up for right-handed shooting.” A couple right-handed friends have set up their ambi guns for a leftybecause they discovered that they preferred dropping a magazine or the slide with their trigger finger the way I do.


Being about 60% left-handed and mildly ambidextrous, I could switch hands and may eventually be as good right-handed.  But it wouldn’t make sense unless I had to.  I guess that’s a southpaw’s life in a right-handed world.  

Edited by deerslayer

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