Question: Eye Dominance


October 7, 2003, 03:43 AM
Hello Everyone,

Looking for some advice as well as suggestions.

I am going to be taking a buddy of mine shooting for the first time this weekend. He is left handed and right eye dominant. Does it make more sense to teach him to shoot righty? Should he shoot lefty and just use his right eye?

What would seem to be the general opinion on this subject? I would really appreciate any and all suggestions you all may have.

Thank you guys (and gals) in advance,


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Gary H
October 7, 2003, 03:54 AM
Shoot right.

October 7, 2003, 04:35 AM
I believe I'd start him out using his strong hand (left) unless he's ambidextrous. A good training routine is going to call for both strong and weak hand shooting, so eventually he'll settle on what he's most comfortable with anyhow.

October 7, 2003, 10:11 AM
Thank you guys.

Figured that he would eventually start to shoot with his weak hand as well. My main concern was trying to get him off to a good start.


October 7, 2003, 10:33 AM
I'm also cross-eye dominant, though right handed. I find strong hand with a "weaver" stance works best for me. Holding the gun to my left side allows me to sight with my dominant (left) eye.


October 7, 2003, 10:54 AM
Thanks, great info!

I guess I will have him shoot left handed and try the weaver with the pistol over a little bit to his right eye.

Great stuff guys


October 7, 2003, 11:28 AM
As long as he gets a good sight picture: rear, front n target...
Doesn't matter.

I know world class shooters that shoot wrong eyed.

In your case I would start him usin his best hand.

Sam, either eyed and neither handed.

October 7, 2003, 11:45 AM
Have a friend who's cross-eye dominant. He shoots strong hand Weaver and kinda puts his cheek against his shoulder to aim. Outstanding shooter.

That's with a pistol, with a rifle, I's start him out shooting from the dominant eye side.

October 7, 2003, 12:25 PM
I'm right handed/ left eye dominant. I would recommend letting your buddy shoot w/ whichever side he feels most comfortable.

Gary H
October 7, 2003, 01:03 PM
I disagree with all the posts above and here is why.

Why not start out doing things right? You are speaking of a new shooter and not someone who has been shooting for some time. First, make sure that you really know which eye is dominant. I just spent a good while trying to find out why my wife was constantly missing the target when shooting quickly from the holster. It turns out that it was a combination of a bad hand-grip issue and the fact that she had started to use her left eye while shooting her revolver with her right hand. My father is left handed, but right eye dominant. He started shooting right handed and quickly picked things up. He can now shoot more easily with both eyes open.

IF you start out this way and your student is totally uncomfortable with this approach, then forget it and have him shoot left handed. You don't want to make his/her first shoot be the last, but don't assume that you can't start out the right way..without at least trying it. The major advantage to shooting from the dominant eye is the ability to keep both eyes open in a defensive environment. It is harder to go back and untrain shooting skills.

October 7, 2003, 01:23 PM
I'm a crossed up freak of nature myself.

Handguns Strong hand strong eye. Its very easy.

Long guns, I shoot with my dominant eye, ususally. I find I shoot about the same either way with long guns.

I can't do squat with my weak hand when shooting handguns.

October 7, 2003, 01:50 PM
Lots of great info in this thread to consider.

Being a lefty myself, I think that one advantage of shooting handguns righty is that he will have a much better selections of holsters in the future. Also an easier time using handguns designed for a right handed world.

Gary you touched on my main concern, I don't want to make his first shoot his last.


October 7, 2003, 02:04 PM
If you shoot two handed Isoc or Weaver, you can easiliy change the sighting eye just by turning your head very slightly. Don't need to move your arms or feet or body. I'd start him out with strong hand and dom eye because he will shoot better that way.

Pappy John
October 7, 2003, 05:22 PM
Have a friend who's cross-eye dominant. He shoots strong hand Weaver and kinda puts his cheek against his shoulder to aim. Outstanding shooter.

Sounds just like me....
except for the "outstanding" part.

Andrew Wyatt
October 7, 2003, 10:23 PM
have them shoot right handed, as eyeness counts more than handedness.

October 7, 2003, 11:55 PM
If he has a dominant eye problem, you'll never be able to tell him how to shoot. He'll have to figure it out for himself, as everybody seems to handle it differently. I shoot right handed, am left-eye dominant and must close my right eye while shooting. This works best for me, but not everybody else with my configuration. Weak handed shooting is not an option for me, unfortunately.

Chris Pinkleton
October 8, 2003, 02:21 AM
Didn't know this was so common.....

I'm right-handed, left-eye dominant.

I shoot right-handed with pistol, but this doesn't work too well with open sights on rifle & shotgun. Left-handed is just too strange right now ... training to fix the situation.

Andrew Wyatt
October 8, 2003, 02:28 AM
I shoot pistols right handed and rifles left handed, I'm right handed and left eye dominant.

October 8, 2003, 02:39 AM
I read somewhere that cross dominance existed in about 25% of the population.

For a pistol it is no big deal. Just grip with the dominant grip and shoot with the dominant eye. This means the gun will have to shift about 3" to the strong eye. So if he's left handed and right eyed that means he grips lefty, but shifts the gun to the right so that he can sight with the right eye. No need to cock the head, crank around, or do anything unnatural. Just move the gun over. Nice n' easy.

Matt Burkett has a good writeup on this issue. Might want to take a look at his site.

Gets a bit more messy with long guns. I don't know the answer there.

October 9, 2003, 06:21 AM
This is sooo interesting.... I'm right handed and definately left-eye dominant. Never had a problem shooting - never occurred to me. The interesting thing is that when I was a little kid I was totally 100% ambidexterous. In first grade I would start writing and then when one hand got tired I'd switch hands, and you couldn't even tell the difference. But my teachers decided I "should be" right handed, so I've been right-handed ever since. Never tried shooting with my left hand, but I think it would feel really weird. Maybe I'll give it a try.

October 9, 2003, 06:54 AM
Never tried shooting with my left hand, but I think it would feel really weird. Maybe I'll give it a try. Yes, please do by all means and if it isn't too much of an imposition, let us know how it turns out. I have somewhat of a pet theory about this, and I'm curious to see if it's on the right track. I don't want to skew the results so I'll wait until later to expand on it.

October 10, 2003, 09:38 PM
I suffer from this and I just shoot strong hand, weak eye. I just keep the strong eye closed.

He can start this way to learn the basics and create his own style after he's more comfortable. This method shouldn't develop any bad habits as you can readily change out of this natural stance.

October 11, 2003, 01:19 PM
Yes, please do by all means and if it isn't too much of an imposition, let us know how it turns out.

Will do! Got a trip to the range planned for Oct. 23rd (so sad that I have to plan two weeks in advance for a couple of hours of playtime!) and will report back. I'm curious myself now.

Gary H
October 11, 2003, 01:30 PM
If you don't mind closing one eye, this thread goes away. Why worry about dominant eye. There isn't a dominant eye with one eye closed. The only advantage to shooting same sided is with both eyes open. The only real need for both eyes is in a tactical situation. Retraining your weak arm can be a bear, so don't try shooting same sided when you have cross-dominance unless you are concerned about keeping maximum situational awareness in a threatening environment. Eye-handedness is an issue that can be ignored during the first few shoots, but long term shooting habits are tough to undo. The ideal, with both eyes open, is same-sidedness. I'm co-dominant, with the eyes equally contributing to what my brain sees. This can be a real problem...

October 11, 2003, 03:57 PM
I am left eye dominant, and right handed. I grasp my handgun with both hands and use the isosoles position.

Texas Bob
October 11, 2003, 07:28 PM
As with ANY new shooter, start your friend at "close range." Explain to him, he will have to find what works "naturally for him." How does he hold a pool cue? I am right handed, but left eye dominate, so I shoot a pistol right handed, however I find it very natural for me to shoot pool, or a long gun left handed.

October 11, 2003, 08:02 PM
TexasBob has a very good point -- before you have a long discussion with this person about how they SHOULD hold the weapon (safety aside, of course) or what eye-dominance and handedness means, just let him hold the gun like he would intuitively... I found what works best for me without ever having given any thought to this, and without anyone telling me how to do it. IF he has a hard time, or can't shoot well, show him some alternatives that might work better.

October 12, 2003, 01:11 PM
I'm right handed, and left-eye dominant. I shoot long guns left handed and handguns right handed.

It works, but this summer, champion shooter Doug Koenig gave me a tip that just makes the problem go away.

For a right-handed, left-eyed shooter like me, DON'T tilt the head, or hold the gun crooked in the hand.

Get a standard grip so that the line of the barrel extends backward straight down the arm.

Just before drawing or brining the gun up to eye level (keeping the head upright and the eyes level), move the head slightly to the right. That is, point your nose about 5 degrees right of the line to the target. Then raise the handgun. The sight will line up with the eye. It's simple, easy, and I've been doing it the hard way for 40 years.

No wonder Koenig is probably the best handgun shooter (maybe all-round shooter) in the country, and maybe on the planet.

October 12, 2003, 04:43 PM
I took my buddy shooting today. What a beautiful day to be at the range.

Before any shooting took place we went through all sorts of handling/safety procedures. We spent a good amount of time just going over everything.

He ended up shooting about 200 rounds of 9mm out of the CZ 75b. He had a blast! Started him out shooting at 7 yards, which is the distance we shot at all day. First two magazines he shot left handed, second two magazines he shot right handed. Amazingly his shooting was way better with his weak hand/dominant eye then shooting with his strong hand. He was able to get some pretty decent groups for his first time ever shooting. I think that since he has never shot a handgun before (having no favoring tendencies) it made it really easy for him to decide which felt better an down right obvious as too which way he shot better.

I know for me (left handed) that when I shoot righty it seems kinda awkward, because I have been shooting left handed for many years. I favor that side and I am a lot more comfortable as well as confident in shooting that way. When I shoot right handed (which I try to do often) it works, but just always feels wrong. The advantage for a new shooter I think is that neither way feels wrong, just new.

So in conclusion and most importantly we have another new shooter to welcome into our community. He is already looking forward to going to the range next weekend with me.

Again, thanks for all of the suggestions,


October 14, 2003, 03:44 PM
Again...what's the weaver stance? Right handed, left eye dominant here.

October 14, 2003, 05:02 PM
There are some good pics of both Weaver and Isoceles here (

October 15, 2003, 12:21 AM
I'm left handed as well, but have always shot right handed. This makes shooting a rifle MUCH easier. Pistols are less of an issue, but still have him grip the gun with his right hand, support with the left. BTW I am right-eye dominant, that is why I'm making these suggestions. If he was left eye dominant then shoot left. Do the test several times for eye dominance so you are sure before shooting.

My wife is also cross eye dominant and has a very hard time shooting a rifle because she wants to hold it right handed and move the gun and her head until she is looking out her left eye. She also can't wink, but that is another problem.

Shooting a pistol for her works a little better, I have her shoot with both eyes open and hold the gun in an isoscoles (sp?) stance.

If all else fails take a shot gun, he might have fun hitting the target with that.

October 15, 2003, 07:20 AM
I'm going to chime in and say that if the shooter is new and right-handed, he should shoot right-handed. This is in regards to pistols only.

I'm right handed and left eye dominant. I adjusted and shoot fine. Lets face it, the world is made for right handers. Semi-autos shoot their brass to the right, revolver cylinders open up to the left, etc.

The only clear cut answer is a left handed person with left eye dominant. In that case, shoot left. All other combinations should attempt to use their right hand, even if its just to try it at first.


October 15, 2003, 10:30 AM
Tom G. is right. Y'all are making this too complicated. Shoot with your dominant hand, and hold it properly - no twisting, shifting, etc. Just turn (twist, not bend) your neck slightly so that the proper eye lines up with your properly held gun. Doesn't work with long guns.

“If a man is going to try to kill me by taking the time to use two hands and focus on the sights of his handgun, it just means that God loves me best.” - Bill Jordan

October 18, 2003, 02:16 PM
I'm left eye dominant and right handed.

I shoot pistols right handed and left eyed.

I shoot long guns Right handed and right eyed.

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