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Both eyes open, or one eye open?

6483 Views 30 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  posterboy7
I am "cross eye dominant"...

I shoot righty, but my left eye is dominant.

Thus far, I have always shot pistols with both eyes open.

Do you guys shoot with both eyes open or with only one eye open?

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I too, am cross-eye dominant, and though I havn't shot long enough to be totally ingrained, I shoot both eyes open, mainly 'cause it's more comforatable, but also for the idea that it's better to have both eyes open in a SHF situation than to have half your periphreal vision cut out.
.02 from limited experience...
What's up with that. Anything that requires aiming, I'm a lefty, otherwise I'm right handed, hell I'm goofy footed on a skate or snow board too. Both eyes open for me.
Wow! What memories you bring back.

Way back when, I used to skateboard goofy footed, too. Right foot planted on the board and using the left food to generate thrust.

I can shoot rifles lefty and righty quite well. My eyes don't have a problem being "cross eye dominant" with a rifle.
Both open for general self-defense practice, one eye open (right eye, right hand) for target practice, and just plain goofy...
I've always been a one-eyed shooter....until just recently. I'm taking a USPSA/IDPA class that emphasizes isoceles stance and the proper grip. Since I'm changing everything anyway (I'm a Weaver guy who overlaps his thumbs!) I figured I might as well go from one eye to two. I've only been trying it for the past week or so, but the transition hasn't been too hard. The biggest thing is convincing myself that my two-eyed sight picture is the same as my "old" one-eyed picture. Every once in a while I close my left eye just to verify. So far, it's been 100% on the money.

Who says you can't teach old dogs new tricks??

My wife has the same issue with cross eye dominance (right handed/left-eyed). A master-level IDPA shooter instructed her to make sure she lines up the gun with her dominant eye, and an Isoscoles stance works the best for this situation, so when extended her arms are just a bit to the left to get the sights in line with her left eye without tilting her head. The key to this is consistency and repeatability - remember the gun comes up to the dominant eye, not the other way around and your head should be square with your shoulders forward.

He also advised her to shoot with one eye (the dominant one). He says that tactically it is better to have both eyes open but when it comes time to break the shot, there is no mistaking sight alignment with the weak eye closed. So the idea is to use both eyes in assessing targets or moving around but when it comes time to shoot drop the weak eye enough to get a clear sight picture. BTW - he's retired British SAS and can shoot like nobody's business, and has had to do it in real life many times.

I asked another master-level shooter if he shot with both eyes and he says he also drops an eye just before the shot breaks.

As for me, I trained for years in the Leatham/Enos/Barnhardt style of both eyes on the front sight. I personally find that my dominant eye has a much stronger sight picture, so much so that I can actually shoot a peep-sighted rifle with both eyes open. So when I'm shooting IDPA matches I usually shoot with both eyes open out to about 12-15 yards, and beyond that I drop my weak eye to get a clear sight picture. Also when shooting while moving I find hits come more consistently when dropping an eye to prevent sight picture confusion. This is especially important using the Steyr's standard Tri/Trap sights as there is a lot of "air" around the front sight so alignment is fairly critical for longer shots.

IMHO, shooting with both eyes open comes down to - as in most physical tasks - your individual biomechanics.

Here is an interesting link for both-eye shooting training:

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In a life-death situation, you are required to return fire rapidly, accurately, and discriminately. Closing one eye when assesing targets will cut down peripheral vision and convince you to settle down. Closing an eye can be compared to using a scope, and you don't use a scope unless all hostiles are well downrange. Dropping a weak eye would be useful after the target has settled slightly, you are decided on a direction, and you are aligning the shot.

You want to stay active and mobile, so keeping both eyes open, and both hands on the pistol is probably your best bet.

If you're hunting, I would imagine you just do whatever feels most comfortable.

I don't know if it's a weird eye problem or common. But if I try to shoot with both eyes open I either see double images of my pistol or the target, depending which one I'm focusing on. I have to shoot with one eye closed. Anyone else have this problem?

Ive had several cross-dominant friends, and they all use different tricks. Ive seen everything from chapstick on glasses to eyepatchs to shooting weak-handed. All seemed to work.
For me, it depends on what Im doing. Pistol is almost always both open. Same with shotgun. Anything fast. Precision shooting, I go back and forth, depending on how my eyes are acting. Sometimes I cant get my left to focus through the optic strong enough, so I'll drop my right for a better sight picture. Its all preference.
In a defensive situation, if you have the time or discipline to drop an eye and align your target, I will be very impressed! At 21 feet Im drawing and throwing 12 rounds downrange. At that range you shouldnt need to line it up.
Talk about bringing a thread back from the dead :shock:

I shoot left handed (though I do everything else right handed) and am right eye dominant. I've found that isosceles with both eyes open works well for me. I don't have any problems with seeing double or anything, though...
hahaha. I didnt even notice it! That is funny though!
I'm cross-eye dominant I guess. Mostly I'm just confused. I throw right handed which I guess means that's my strong side, but do almost everything else left-handed, shoot rifles and shotguns, eat, write, et c. (BTW, if you're in an Arab country and you're a lefty, don't eat left-handed. That's the hand Arabs use to wipe with so you're telling the Arab cook, "Your food tastes like sh*t" which is not a good way to survive a meal. Learned that during Navy service in the Middle East in '60s-'70s.)

But for some reason, my natural tendency is to pick up a pistol with my right hand, so until recent months, I always shot right-handed but had to align my left eye to get a good sight picture. Since I bought my M357A1 last December, I'm working on both eyes open with the pistol in my left hand, but when the shot is critical, I still close my right eye. No doubt both eyes open is best, particularly in a self-defense situation, but I'm a real slow learner.

When I visited Pittsburgh recently and went to the range with BigTaco, I found myself closing my right eye all the time because I really wanted to outshoot that guy! Didn't work. Maybe when I get better with both eyes open...

P.S. Thanks jng1226 for the Wayne Frazee drill. Maybe that will help me get over my "amphibious" confusion. :mrgreen:
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I'm right-handed and left eye dominant. I have tried both eyes open, but have not been able to manage it so far.
It may be a matter of practice. Now that I'm awre of this, I seem to be getting a little better with both eyes open. But here's something wierd. with both eyes open and my left hand up in firing position, my left eye appears to be the dominent one. With the right hand, it's the right eye. Strange.

Some people are not strongly dominant (ambi-dominant?).
shooting with both eyes open

Fellow Steyroids,
In my experience in shooting with both eyes open, I discovered that practicing it with a red dot sighted piston is the most natural and fast way to get used to it because you do it with both eyes open wether you 're left or right eye dominant. A 22 rimfire pistol will do the job.

Happy shooting !

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