Both eyes open versus dominant eye only


August 23, 2008, 09:54 PM
I have been recently trying to learn how to shoot with both eyes open, but after years of shooting dominat eye only, it sometimes is hard for both eyes to focus and determine a clear sight picture. But it seems like it could be an advantage if mastered. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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August 23, 2008, 10:35 PM
I try to shoot with both eyes open now and then but it seems like the sight picture gets blurry. I do a lot better with dominant eye only. It might be a personal thing but I'd be interested to know how others do it.

August 23, 2008, 10:39 PM
I also shot for years with my weak eye closed but over the past 3 weeks have moved to shooting with both eyes open.

I've done it mostly through dry fire, about 2000 repetitions so far. I started out with 10 pulls and giving the eyes a few seconds rest, also any time I lost sight picture I'd stop or blink a few times.

You can try closing the weak eye, acquiring the front site and then opening the weak eye, then after a while acquire the front site with both eyes open.

At first it was difficult and the target was out of focus more than normal but now it is pretty natural. There is a big improvement in peripheral vision and it also makes weak hand shooting easier.

August 23, 2008, 10:41 PM
If you are having problems, try placing a sticky note over the non-dominate eye. This will allow you to focus and keep both eyes open. After a while (a few hundred rounds) try taking the sticky note off.

August 23, 2008, 10:51 PM
Both eyes open is the only way to go. It allows the shooter to more easily see all aspects of a combat situation.

Mad Magyar
August 23, 2008, 11:21 PM
Both eyes open is the only way to go.
I didn't think there was any other way until I met some "bullseye" shooters firing slowly at a standing target. When you vary your practice routine with multiple targets and CQC scenarios: you'll have both eyes open!:)

August 23, 2008, 11:21 PM
Thanks!!! You guys have inspired me to keep working on it. Seems like it would be really useful in any type of USPSA or IDPA shooting.

August 24, 2008, 02:50 PM
right handed,left eye dominate,had a hard time doing SD drills with both eyes open.never could get a good sight/target picture.front sight wouldn't pop out at me.put some day glow orange paint on the front sight of my normal carry gun,S&W 3914,works like a charm.look at target,bring pistol to eye level,SURPRISE,there's the front sight.even when the front sight may be blured,you can tell when it's where it's suppose to be. jwr

August 24, 2008, 04:44 PM
Whatever way you shoot best is the way to go. However its worth putting serious effort into learning to shoot both eyes open as in a Self Defense situation tunnel vision is enough of a problem that closing one eye sure won't be helpful!

Hits count, misses don't, so ultimately go with what works best for you. No harm either in both eyes for speed events and close one for slow fire precision shooting.

I recently had Lasik mono-vision eye surgery and can see the front sight again which is a joy, I'm relearning iron sights (weaning off Red Dots) with both eyes open but still find it really helps to squint the left (far vision) eye under many lighting conditions.

Navy joe
August 24, 2008, 10:17 PM
Put scotch tape on your glasses over your weak eye. It blurs things out but does not obscure completely like a post-it not.

August 24, 2008, 10:19 PM
+1 on scotch tape, i've seen others do it.

August 25, 2008, 03:23 AM
It really takes lots of trial and error. I'm maybe half way there and still working on it. One thing I think I should mention is, shooting with both eyes open and focusing on the front sight means you are always going to have "blurred" vision, see multiple sights or multiple targets, etc etc. There isn't any little trick or anything that will make you have a single, clear sight picture as that is the physical reality of having two reference points of vision as opposed to just one. Sorry if I'm restating the obvious. The reason I mention it is I never really thought about it in that manner at first, so I kept focusing so hard on trying to obtain that singular clear sight and target picture with both eyes open. I guess I always knew that's not physically possible, but I don't think I really consciously thought about it in that manner. So ultimately you basically have to learn which of your multiple sight pictures and/or multiple target pictures to focus on. That's how I understand it at least. In my experience, it is entirely possible I might not know what the heck I am talking about. hahaha ;)

August 25, 2008, 06:08 PM
Here is my theory...

1 eye, focus on front sight = good for target shooting and long range shots.

2 eyes, focused on your target = good for combat shooting and rapid acquisition.

The second method is like anything else and just takes some time to get used to. A good way to train is to put some tape over your shooting glasses on your weak eye and keep both eyes open. Focus on your target and learn to isolate the view of your dominant eye. When you remove the tape and try shooting this way, you will notice that you see 2 guns when you have 2 eyes open. If you are right handed (and use your right eye) then you should use the gun on your left to line up your sights and shoot on. Remember, if you use 2 eyes, you must focus on your target, not on the front sight. If you don't do this, not only will you have 2 guns in your view, but you will also have 2 targets to figure out. Always focus on your target when using 2 eyes.

Confused yet? I know its tricky at first but with time and a bit of practice, it becomes very "normal".

August 25, 2008, 06:25 PM
I made the switch a little while ago.

Part of the problem was simply the physical habit of closing one eye. The ol' tape trick was useful in that it helped break that habit, but beyond that I felt it only taught me to shoot with both eyes open as long as there was tape on my glasses. In other words, tape wasn't training my brain to interpret confusing visual images. Fortunately, your brain hates confusing signals, so for me, the trick was to get rid of the tape, and practice, practice, practice at home with dry fire drills without tape. It'll take a couple weeks, but eventually, your brain figures it out and all will be well. have to force your brain to do it.

August 25, 2008, 06:42 PM
have to agree with Wally on his comments. You do what you do best, You do what you feel most comfortable with..combat scenarios's whatever in the hell that is will not be a concern to 99.995% of those carrying. FWIW IMO

August 25, 2008, 07:41 PM
There isn't any little trick or anything that will make you have a single, clear sight picture as that is the physical reality of having two reference points of vision as opposed to just one. Sorry if I'm restating the obvious.

This is just wrong. You need to see an ophthalmologist if you can not focus both eyes on a single point at arms length and see only one of the object you are focusing on. As you get older the ability to focus on an object at arms length or nearer starts to diminish at about age 35 and continues to get worse until about 65 for most people when it stops getting worse as its about as bad as it can get, but you should still be able to see a single blurry opject. This is called presbyopia and is fixed with reading glasses for close vision.

You cannot focus on both the front sight and the target at the same time, this is true, same for your eye as your camera.

(Actually I can, because of Lasik, my left eye focuses from infinity to about 4 feet, my right eye focus is from about 2' to 6', but this doesn't work very well because of parallax -- a consequence of have two eyes spaced apart. After 8+ months post-surgery I'm still experimenting with what works best in a given situation but any of what I try is better than what I had pre-surgery!)

When you are young enough you can switch the focus distance fast enough to think you might be able see near and far at the same time. I lost this ability by about age 30.

With iron sights you will shoot most accurately when you focus on the front sight and align the blurs of the rear sight and target about this focused point -- either one eye shooting or two. With red dot optics you look thru the dot and focus on the target.

When you focus on the target with iron sights you are "point" or "instinctive" shooting, which can be highly effective form 3-7 yards with moderate practice and up to 15 yards or so with serious practice.

For SD, I practice point shooting from 3-7 yards and don't even bother to raise the gun at eye level, shooting as soon as I feel pointed on target after the draw. You are trading accuracy for speed here, no doubt about it. If you have a safe place to practice it, its worth doing. An Airsoft gun can be a good training aid here.


August 25, 2008, 07:55 PM
I think what he is getting at is that if you have both eyes open and focus on the front sight, you will have doubling of the target's image.

August 25, 2008, 08:37 PM
The doubling of the out of focus target only happens if the target is very close to the sights, its pretty negligible by time the target to sight distance is 10 times the eye to sight distance. Although it can be very apparent with dry fire practice in a small room.

When the target is this close, you don't have time to aim!


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