A revelation


March 30, 2003, 11:39 AM
Just got back from the range and boy am I excited.....I had been talking with a fairly experienced shooter about my frustrations with my consistency and after going through many of his suggestions, it seemed as if I were doing things pretty well.

His final idea was that perhaps I was cross dominate in my grip and sighting eye. So off I went this morning to the range to conduct some experiements.

I ran 20 rounds through with a right trigger grip and a right eye sighting. Pretty typical round for me......at 25 feet, everything on the page (should say it was a small target) ...a couple in the 10 ring, the majority in the next couple of rings and a few floaters.

I then put 80 rounds with a right hand trigger/LEFT eye configuration and while I was shooting to the left of center somewhat....I was punching most shots into a nice 3-4 inch group.

I know that these aren't spectacular results by the standards of many here, but for me, a new shooter who has been frustrated by a total lack of consistency, it was a super dose of reassurance.

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March 30, 2003, 10:17 PM
Many of us are cross-eye dominant and it can be frustrating, as you well know, until you figure it out. Happy shooting.

March 30, 2003, 10:43 PM
There is a fairly simple test to determine which is your dominant eye. Look at a distant target with both eyes open, say 25 feet away. Extend your arm and cover the target with your finger. Close one eye. If the target is still covered by your finger, the eye that is still open is your dominant eye.

If when you close an eye the finger jumps and the target is no longer covered, the eye you closed is the dominant eye.

March 30, 2003, 10:48 PM
Have you tried this method to see which eye is dominant?

Pick a spot on the wall such as the light switch.

Extend your arms in front of your face with your hands touching.

Place your hands together (slightly overlapping) so that you make a small hole near the base of the thumbs.

Look through that hole at the light switch.

While looking at the switch, slowly bring your hands towards your face until they touch your face.

The hole formed by your hands will be over one of your eyes. Do it twice just to make sure, but that is your dominant eye.

March 30, 2003, 10:50 PM
There's a simple test for eye dominance.

1) With both eyes open, point your index finger at some object on the far side of the room. Point it like you're aiming.

2) Close one eye. If the object is still lined up with your finger, the eye that is open is your dominant eye. If they're not lined up, your other eye (the closed one) is dominant.

I'm not so sure about handguns, but wingshooters are usually told to "take your lumps and learn to shoot with the hand that matches your eye dominance".

Like most, I'm right-handed and right eye dominant. I feel sorry for you if you're mismatched.

Wayne D
March 30, 2003, 10:51 PM
This is easy to check. Look at an object across the room. Extend your arm and hold your thumb up covering the object. Now close your left eye. Is your thumb still covering the object? If it is you are right eye dominant. If your thumb appears to move off the object, then the left eye is dominant.

Wayne D
March 30, 2003, 10:55 PM
I gotta learn to type faster.

Jim March
March 31, 2003, 01:14 AM
I'm another cross-dom, right hand and left eye.

A couple of years ago I volunteered at a kiddie airgun range the local NRA Member's Council had set up at an "Outdoor Expo" in the SF Bay Area.

This one father had a pair of kids ages 5 and 7 or so, and both were having problems due to cross-dominance. I explained to the father what was going on, showed him how to check for it using the "small gap brought in towards the eye" method.

I then suggested he check his quarterbacks. He grinned. He was John Gruden, at that time head coach of the Oakland Raiders :D.

Now, when handgunning, it's quite possible to swing the left eye over even when shooting basically right-handed.

Long-guns, different story...I almost wonder if a stock could be set up made of synthetics or even aluminum tube and cut out radically enough to allow the same sort of eye-switch, with a cheekpiece WAY offset to allow a cheek weld?

Either that, or a wildly offset scope mount...?

Failing that sort of thing, switching to left-hand holds is the only choice.

March 31, 2003, 08:41 AM
There is such a thing as a cross dominant stock, Jim. I saw it in a book, can't remember off hand but it was one of those stock fitting things like the British used to do. From the top the wooden stock had a big S curve in it. It would be much easier nowadays with synthetics to make such a radical shape. In those days they had to bend it.

BTW, saw your picture in SGN. Good work you're doing! :)

March 31, 2003, 09:07 AM
When I started to shoot (rifle), I was made to wear a patch (like a pirate) over my dominant left eye to "strengthen" my right eye. Two years of this did not work. While I am right handed, I now shoot rifle and shotgun lefthanded, and I shoot the pistol with my right hand but "cock" my head to the right using my left dominant eye. When I began shooting PPC, I had an instructor who believed in shooting with both eyes open. I tried this and it works. I would recommend this to PPC and IPSC shooters but bullseye shooting requires the right hand and left eye configuration. Quantrill

March 31, 2003, 09:10 AM
I'd hate to be cross dominant, it would make shooting a bit hard since I prefer long arms.

March 31, 2003, 09:26 AM
The funny thing is......using the "thumb/object across the room" test I am definitely right eye dominant! However, I can't think of a reason to explain why I shoot better with my LEFT eye.

Being left-handed, I only consider myself such because I write and shoot a basketball with that hand. I do everything else right-handed including shoot, baseball bat, bow, etc.

Maybe on further reflection I should suck it up and just practice with my right eye some more.

March 31, 2003, 09:59 AM
I'm left-eye dominant, but am functionally ambidexterous. Though I write right-handed, both hands can do almost everything equally well.

With long guns, I shoot left-handed. It's a pain trying to find a bolt action for myself. With handguns, I shoot with my left-hand being my strong hand. Being that my right hand is equal to my left hand though, for all practical purposes I have no "weak-hand" with pistols. Pretty lucky I think.

Jim March
March 31, 2003, 04:32 PM
BigG: that must have been Clayton Cramer's article? Which issue did it come out in? I'll have to score a copy...:D

Re: the "pirate's patch" idea:

At another of those kiddie airgun scenes, we did the "patch" on this one kid and he was just all over the paper...and then when he looked downrange, he had to LIFT the patch on the left eye to see the target.

I had a conversation with his grandparents about getting his eyes checked - he did not up to that point wear glasses.

Standing Wolf
March 31, 2003, 05:23 PM
Two more tricks an old-timer shared with me, both of which have helped considerably:

1. Dry-shoot your guns regularly—and be sure to use dummy rounds.

2. Next time you go to the range, take along some sheets of blank white paper, and shoot one of those for every bullseye target. Sounds weird? You bet! Just be prepared to be amazed.

March 31, 2003, 05:26 PM
Here's a weird one:

I just did the finger/distance test and discovered that I am right eye dominant. Unfortunately, I also have a moderate to severe nystagmus, which makes my left monocular vision better than the right. Shooting with both eyes open my vision is OK but not good, closing one eye acuity drops severely. Pretty screwy...

March 31, 2003, 06:50 PM
When I do the eye dominance tests, I'll be right-eye dominant one time and left-eye dominant the next. With both eyes open, I cannot cover up a spot across the room with my thumb -- I'll see either two thumbs, or two spots, or both.

Figure it just means I can switch eyes at will and shoot just as badly either way.


My face in the mirror isn't wrinkled or drawn.
My house isn't dirty. The cobwebs are gone.
My garden looks lovely and so does my lawn.
I think I might never put my glasses back on.
-- Source Unknown

March 31, 2003, 07:03 PM
Jim: Yup, Clayton Cramer's article. Now this is tricky. I've got a subscription, the issue is dated April 1, 03. Underneath it says "Same as newsstand issue April 14". Anyway, it's Vol 57, Issue 10, 2003.

Again, great job!

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