Every shooter has an aiming technique that works for them. Locking in on a target for the perfect shot is crucial for military, hunting and range applications, so taking the time to figure out which is your dominant eye positions you for top performance.
Eye dominance in aiming is a popular subject, as it pertains to everyone who picks up a gun and determines how they use it. The information below will help you understand this term and explain how to tell which eye is dominant for shooting.
Eye Dominance Explained
Eye dominance in shooting refers to the eye your brain favors. Your brain's dominant eye features more neural connections linked to the visual cortex than the opposite eye. Thus, your dominant eye gives your brain a clearer image of what is in front of you.
Human eyes are roughly 3 inches from each other, meaning your right and left eye will each give you a slightly different perspective of your surroundings. When you use both of your eyes, your brain pieces together information from both sides of your face to help you gauge the position of objects and achieve depth perception.
Most of us favor one eye slightly over the other, but there is a small percentage of people who have no dominant eye.
Why Is Eye Dominance Important in Shooting?
You need to see clearly to make accurate shots, so the eye that's better equipped to do so will naturally take the lead when you're aiming at a target. Therefore, shooters should position their dominant eye just over the bore of a gun while sighting the target for best results.
Figuring out whether your right or left eye is dominant makes it easier to get familiar with your firearm and shoot consistently. Using your weaker eye could lead to wasting ammunition or spending more time than necessary to reset your stance between shots.
Additionally, eye dominance in shooting is important from a safety standpoint — you must be able to clearly see your target and what is behind it to ensure bullets impact where intended. Lining up your shot with the wrong eye will compromise your potential for accuracy and may leave you unprepared for recoil.
Fortunately, it only takes a few moments to figure out which eye you should use for shooting.
How to Tell Which Eye Is Dominant for Shooting
You can choose from two methods to determine your dominant eye:
Eye Dominance Test Method One
One popular method for finding your dominant eye in shooting involves using your hands to direct your vision. Follow the steps below to try it:
- Hold your arms straight out and use your index fingers and thumbs to make a triangle you can see through.
- Find a distant target that fits in the gap in your hands. You should have your palms facing the target.
- Use both of your eyes to look through the triangle opening.
- Close one of your eyes and keep your hands stationary. If the target is still mostly centered in the gap, you've found your dominant eye. If not, open your opposite eye and see where your target is positioned within the triangle.
Eye Dominance Test Method Two
The second method for discovering your dominant eye requires you to make a triangle with your hands and bring them toward your face. Follow these steps to verify your dominant shooting eye:
- Look at a target in front of you.
- Extend your arms out, making a triangle with your thumbs and index fingers.
- Focus on the target, with both of your eyes peering through the opening in the triangle.
- Slowly bring your hands closer to your face, keeping the target centered in the triangle. You will end up with your hands against your face and obscuring one eye. The eye you're still using is dominant.
What Is Cross Dominance and How Do You Deal With It?
Most people are aware of their dominant hand. In many cases, a shooter's dominant hand and dominant eye are on the same side, but this isn't true for everyone. For example, you may find yourself as a left-eye dominant, right-handed shooter, which is known as cross dominance.
Those who are right-hand and right-eye dominant or left-hand and left-eye dominant can fire a gun from the same side shoulder. When your dominant hand and dominant eye are on different sides, you must consider the type of firearm you're using and adapt your approach.
Cross Dominance and Firing Handguns
There are two methods to firing a handgun with cross-dominant hands and eyes. Cross-dominant shooters should hold small pistols in their dominant hands for method one. As you bring your handgun to the firing position, have your dominant hand cross the midline of your body to meet your dominant eye.
Method two also requires you to hold the pistol in your dominant hand. Once you're in shooting position, slightly shift your head to line up your dominant eye for an accurate shot.
Cross Dominance and Firing Long Guns
Firing a longer rifle or shotgun as a cross-dominant shooter is a bit more complex. It's impossible to use your dominant eye and hand simultaneously due to the shapes of these guns, so you have to choose one or the other to make your shot.
When using your dominant hand, you can place a piece of tape to obstruct the dominant eye lens on your protective eyewear. This helps your brain focus on the target with your non-dominant eye aligned at the bore of the gun.
If you prefer to aim with your dominant eye, you should hold and fire the rifle or shotgun with the hand opposite your dominant one. It may initially feel strange to pull the trigger with your weaker hand, but practicing this strategy is the key to perfecting your shot. You may also find that learning to shoot with your off hand allows you to use it more effectively for other applications.
Most guns are made for right-handed shooters, so being willing to adjust which eye or hand you use will give you access to the widest variety of firearm options.
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