What if you don't have a "dominant" eye?


December 16, 2007, 10:44 PM
I've tried for years to learn to shoot with both eyes open. The best I can manage is a mild squint so that one eye focuses on the sights and the other can detect motion towards the other side otherwise I see one clear front sight blade and two, equally un-focused, targets that "sit" about the same distance on either side of the front sight and neither of the "two" targets "snaps" into focus with the sight.

I also shoot left hand/left eye and right hand/right eye almost equally well.

So I'm not complaining, I shoot fine, but it seems weird that I never run into anyone else who has a similar issue. Does anyone else out there have this sort of a situation? Is there such a thing as being ambidextrous with your eyes?

(Edit - I was saying sight when I meant TARGET, re-worded so my issue is more clear)

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December 16, 2007, 10:52 PM
Have you tried this basic test?
It's important not to think about the test while performing it or you could subconsciously bias yourself.

December 16, 2007, 11:06 PM
Is there such a thing as being ambidextrous with your eyes?

Yes, but keep in mind that eye dominance CAN change over time.

I'm left eye dominate, but shoot (both shotgun, rifle and pistol) with both hands.

I learned to shoot Rifle and Pistol Left handed in the Army, because I didn't want to have any bad habits as I went through BRM and really learn to shoot "The Army Way".

I started shooting shotgun left-handed when my daughter started shooting shotgun, 4+ years ago, just to make it even. Now she outshoots me no matter which hand or eye I use. :uhoh: :o

What I find works is a piece (about 1/2" long) of scotch tape in the center of lens over my non-shooting eye, when shooting shotgun clay games. I can keep both eyes open without screwing up my peripheral vision. I've seen other people use small dots (like those small garage sale price stickers).

Just remember the tape/stickers go on the lens of yoru shooting glasses, not in your eyes. ;):D


December 16, 2007, 11:12 PM
I don't have a dominant eye. I have to shoot with one eye closed. If I shoot with both eyes open, the double-images of the gun, or target, are so confusing I have to pause to sort them out.

It wasn't always like this. I used to be right-eye dominant, and shooting with both eyes open was an not too difficult option. I am right handed.

When I shoot with my left hand, I sight with my left eye. It's easiest that way.

December 16, 2007, 11:28 PM

In the words of Larry The Cable Guy "I apologise God, I just couldn't help it". :D

You could also be blind.


Pat McCoy
December 17, 2007, 12:24 AM
Everyone has a dominant eye, however it matters little in pistol shooting (in shotgun shooting your eye is your rear sight so it's very important, and in rifle shooting ususally shooters get better results because they see better from the dominant eye, but sometimes the eyes are so close that the "dominance" switches when occluding the eye with the rear aperture sight).

Your problem with seeing two front sights has nothing to do with eye dominance, but is caused by looking at the TARGET instead of the front sight.

Next time you shoot and have double front sights, lower the gun and have a friend hold up a pencil approximately where the front sight had been. Look at the pencil. You will see only one, becasue you are looking at the PENCIL (not downrange at the target.

If you are aging, and never had this problem before, it is just a matter of the normal aging process and the loss of accomodation (ability to shift focus quickly) in the eye. Just one of the things that makes it harder to shoot well as we age.

December 17, 2007, 01:02 AM
Whether you have a dominant eye or not, looking at the target will result in seeing two front sights, and looking at the front sight will result in two targets. If you have a dominant eye, one of the multiple images will seem to capture your attention, and you will be able to line things up.

If ZeSpectre says he doesn't have a dominant eye he is probably right. It does happen.

December 17, 2007, 06:48 AM
Your problem with seeing two front sights has nothing to do with eye dominance, but is caused by looking at the TARGET instead of the front sight.

folks have been telling me this for years but that's not what I'm talking about. What I mean is that if I focus on the front sight, with both eyes open, I see two targets and I can feel my eyes both fighting to "take control" of the image and neither wins so nothing ever indicates which target to work with. To allow one eye (or the other) to take over I have to squint a bit and then I have just one, clearly focused, sight in the picture.

(again an edit -in bold- to correct where I was mis-speaking).

December 17, 2007, 08:16 AM
Yer special is all. You seem to have the Chuck Norris Gene. When it comes to reading, you don't read, your eyes just force the book to give them what they want.

Grizzly Adams
December 17, 2007, 11:23 AM
As a teenager I lost the sight in my right eye for a time and had to learn to shoot lefthanded. I was already switch-hitting, and could shoot basketball lefthanded so it wasn't that difficult to do. Once I regained sight in my right eye I found that I no longer had a dominant eye so I just continued to shoot with which ever hand the game (i.e. deer, etc.) came up on.

Give it a try, you might find you can eliminate your weak side!

Pat McCoy
December 17, 2007, 01:35 PM

Lay something just out of reach and look at it. Do you see one item or two?

If you see one you are focusing on the item, if you see two you need to get to your eye doctor immediately.

Looking at the sights is the same thing, but you have to really look at the sight and ignore everything beyond.

You may well have eyes which are very close in dominance, but that has nothing to do with near or far focus.

December 17, 2007, 04:20 PM
A "mild squint" is always good - it intimidates the bad guys and impresses the ladies. ;)

December 17, 2007, 07:00 PM
I was born a lefty, but when I went to write lefty I got hit with the chalkboard pointer. So I learned to use the right hand, but I work better with the left. So I can say I am about equal, but I screw up if I leave both eyes open. I dont have a dominant side so I have to remind myself at the range to close one eye. The difference is about 6" on the target up and Right so I can tell when I have forgotten to close one eye.

December 17, 2007, 07:40 PM
I have an eye dominance problem too. My right eye SHOULD be dominant, (I am also right handed) but my right eye seems to degrade in sight quicker than my left as I was growing up. By that I mean when I go back to the eyedoctor a for the yearly checkup, he would end up doing the equivalent of adjusting the left lense 1 step stronger and the right lense 2-3 steps stronger. With both eyes at 20/20 after about a day or so my right eye would regain dominance, but after a few months, my right eye would be 18/20 and my left, getting better vision, would start to become dominant.

Robert Hairless
December 18, 2007, 12:37 AM
ZeSpectre, sounds like some kind of diplopia. It would be worth seeing a good optometrist to find out.

December 18, 2007, 01:40 AM
These days the Army teaches to shoot with both eyes open. Now have them try to undo twenty years of bad work on me. It is hard to overcome all that muscle memory. It just dosen't happen easily. If I shot a handgun as well as you did though I would not worry in the least about it.

But if you want some free advice on how to break some muscle memory...

Start by shooting both hands rapidly without really focusing on the target. Not emptying a magazine in a couple of seconds but controlled pairs at a hurried pace. Don't worry about hitting the target just worry about hitting the backstop. You might want to move in close (under 7 meters). Shoot at least five magazines focusing on keeping your eyes open and not hitting the target. If you are doing it right you won't hit much.

Now shoot five each hand closing your normal firing eye so that you are shooting with the opposite eye. Again you should not hit much. Stop and drink some water.

Repeat with both hands except now you should be thinking how much easier it is to hit with both eyes open instead of the wrong eye. good luck

December 18, 2007, 10:37 AM
My experience is similar to Ze's. When I concentrate on the front sight only I then see two blurry targets in the distance.

Pat McCoy
December 18, 2007, 12:16 PM

Not the same problem as ZE, as he says he cannot focus on the front sight and sees two of them.

Yes, two targets, one a little sharper than the other, will be seen. The front sight should be sharp and in focus, held in center of rear sight, and placed on the less blurry of the two targets.

Keep the sights well aligned while you operate the trigger and you will have good groups on the target.

December 18, 2007, 01:37 PM
Pat McCoy...
I misspoke earlier, I kept saying two sights when I meant two targets. What I see is as you describe, one clear front sight, two blurry targets. BUT neither one is really any more clear than the other so there doesn't really seem to be a good indicator as to which one is the "correct" image for me to be using. So I shoot the "left" target with my left hand and the "right" target with my right hand and it seems to work well. I just haven't ever had anyone else describe the same situation to me so I wondered if I was just some oddball or something.

February 8, 2008, 10:01 AM
I'm left eye dominant but right handed, is that bad?

February 8, 2008, 02:50 PM
I have the same problem. If I focus on the front sight with both eyes open, I see not only two targets, but two rear sights. Neither is clearer than the other. It's hard to line up the sights on the target.

I could probably train to get around it, but shooting with one eye closed works, and I can concentrate on other things.

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