Eye Dominance

When I talk about eye dominance, I am not talking about some BDSM game. I mean which is your strong eye and which is your weak eye. eye dominance

When you look at things your brain is processing information from your right and left eyes.  One of your eyes in most dominant or strong and this is the eye that your brain uses to track objects with. The other eye, your weak eye is what the brain uses to determine how far away an object is. Approximately two-thirds of the population is right-eye dominant and one-third left-eye dominant and there is a very small percentage is neither right or left dominant. (Wikipedia)

You can see that this is true by trying to focus both of your eyes on an object for a period of time. It is going appear double because of the difference between your eyes.

This is important when you shoot because (even if you shoot with both eyes open) you can only use one eye to sight the gun. Most people are dominant with the same eye as their strong hand i.e. if you are right handed you mostly likely are right eye dominant. Now this isn’t always so. You will find people who are right hand and left eye dominant or left hand and right eye dominant. This is called cross dominance. My son is left handed and right eye dominant. The trick is know what you are and adjust accordingly.

Determining Your Dominant Eye

Pick something about ten feet in front of you.  With both eyes open, point your index finger of your strong hand at the objeeye dominancect. Keep your finger pointed at the object and slowly close one eye and then the other.  With your dominant eye, your finger will not more.  When you have your weak eye open, the object will appear to have moved and your finger will appear to have moved.

If you find your are strong handed and strong eyed on the same side you have it easy, just shoot normally.

Now if you have cross dominance you will have problems sighting the weapon normally. Many cross dominance shooters don’t know they are cross dominant and end up shooting with only one eye open. Cross dominant shooters when they hold rifle or shotgun like they see other people do it will see double vision because of the sighting of the non dominant eye. The barrel may appear crisscrossed with two sights at the end. This is one reason they end up having to close an eye to shoot.

How to Shoot with Cross Dominance

Now there aren’t any silver bullet solutions to having a strong hand, weak eye on the same side. Here are some solutions I have come across:

  • Try shooting with your weak hand. You will get a much better sight picture.  It is going to feel really strange at the beginning and you will need a lot of range time to get good at it. Some shooters will shoot a rifle or shotgun with the weak hand and shoot a pistol with a strong hand.
  • With a pistol, try tilting the weapon 15 to 45 degrees towards the inside of your body.  This will give your strong eye a better sight picture.  Now I am not talking about the gangsta tilt, but a slight tilt just enough to allow your dominant eye to catch the sights.
  • If starting out or training someone just starting out with cross dominance have them use their dominant eye.  They will have much less frustration.

What are your thoughts on eye dominance and shooting? Let us know in the comments.
Photo Credit: gabbyfranco via Compfight cc

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