Blind in right eye, need help shooting again


July 19, 2010, 10:31 PM
Hello fellow members, 2 years ago I had 2 brain procedures to remove a very large skull base tumor which rendered me blind in my right eye and loss of peripheral in my left. I recently went to the range and could not hit the target with my AR15, although I did hit the target with my 45 cal. The range officer said that my AR15 days were over.

I am 49 and I would hate to give up my favorite hobby, someone at the range suggested that I buy a shotgun especially for home defense. I'm asking if anyone has heard of or know any techniques, optics I could learn and use to continue my shooting.

Any assistance you could afford me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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July 19, 2010, 10:39 PM
I think a laser sight would help you more than anything.

July 19, 2010, 10:53 PM
Time to invest in left-handed long guns.

A close friend lost the vision in his right eye. Due to a previous machine shop accident, he does not have enough fingers on his left hand to shoot a left-handed long gun. He now hunts exclusively with handguns.

Shooting a handgun, right-handed, you can index enough to sight with your left eye. Many left eye dominant, right handed pistol shooters use this technique.

Buy yourself a Red Ryder and a carload of BB's. In the privacy of your garage or basement, practice shooting from your left shoulder until it becomes comfortable. Then move on to bigger guns.

A left-handed AR might be a little too pricey, but the many break open guns, like the Thompson Encore are user friendly form both sides. There might be a Citori in your future.

Don't give up. This sport is too much fun to quit. Best of Luck!

July 19, 2010, 11:12 PM
Try shooting left handed or try rolling the AR to the left to bring the sight in line with your left eye. It sounds crazy, but since 3 gun shooters are putting angled mounts for reflex sights for close in work their telescopic sights are being rotated to the left so why not try it?

July 20, 2010, 12:22 AM
The range officer said that my AR15 days were over.

I'm a southpaw and semiauto rifles are ambidextrous. I don't understand why your AR days are over.

You can still see out of your left eye but it's the peripheral vision that's negatively impacted? It's time to invest in a good quality scope for your AR and learn to shoot left handed. I've fired lever actions, semiautos and right handed bolt actions rifles, left handed with no problem.

It just takes getting used to. Don't let anybody tell you you can't do it.

July 20, 2010, 12:47 AM

Long time lurker, have never posted to any internet forum before but felt that perhaps I could help wiith some personal experience.

About 1 1/2 years ago I lost my right eye to diabetic surgery that became infected and was mishandled by the doctors. Long story short lost my entire eye and now wear a prostetic eye. Currently 54 years old.

Like you pretty bummed thinking perhaps shooting days were over. Just decided that I was going to overcome this "challenge" and enjoy shooting not knowing if I would ever hit the target again or not,

Started shooting with my old Rem pump .22. Felt very akward the first time I held the gun to my left shoulder and tried to pull trigger with my left finger. But with practice comes familiarity and after awhile it no longer felt strange, and I was starting to actually hit the target. I was ready to graduate to a centerfire caliber but didn't feel ready for .308. 30-06, etc. .223 sounded just right and I had always wanted an ar but had never gotten one. So after doing my homework and making sure that the brass would not smack me in the face I purchased a standard right hand DPMS 20" a4. Excellent rifle, love it. Actually when looking at it in the store the first time I shouldered it without thinking and thru force of habit I put it up to my right shoulder. Wow nice sights I said to the sales guy. LOL!!!

Again first time at the range it felt akward to shoot the ar left handed. I don't think it will ever feel as natural to shoulder any gun as it did when shooting right handed, just the way it goes. I don't ever notice the brass coming out in front of my face. The gun ejects the brass at about 4 o'clock and I have never been hit once.

My wife, God bless her, (she certainly deserves it after going thru the pain and 5 surgeries always by my side) felt bad for me and also allowed me to purchase my first semi auto shotgun recently. Again the Mossy ejects the shells out at 3 o'clock and again I don't even notice. One thing though the length of pull seems longer when I shoot left handed as opposed to right hand. I have noticed this with all of the long guns.

As far as shooting hand guns I still shoot right handed like I always did just now use my left eye. This works for me quite well. With alot of practice I am starting to get ok again. Actually just in the last week or so it seems like it is coming together. But alot of practice went in to it.

I still don't handle the recoil as well as I did right handed. The shotgun beat me up alittle the first time but again I think with practice I will adjust.

I once watched a video of a guy playing guitar with his feet because he had no arms or hands. God gives us alot of talent and ability that we don't even realize we have. Sometimes we just need the circumstance to come along that makes us "dust off" those abilities and put them to use.

Hope this helps. :)

July 20, 2010, 01:14 AM
I'd suggest rigging an offset scope mount, so you can shoot right handed using your left eye

What? You think every right-handed shooter has a good right eye? Using the GG-1131 offset light mount and some Weaver rings, the Leupold scope is offset almost 2.75 inches to the left, allowing for right-handed shooting while sighting with the left eye. The customer didn't want to shoot left-handed-- he had his reasons. The point here is; there are options.

Now we can hear the protests: "Won't the offset result in horrible aiming error?"
Nope. With a 200 yard zero on this nice old Remington model 700 in .30-06, the POI will be offset to the right of POA ~2.75" at the muzzle, 1.4" at 100 yards, and none at 200 yards. At 400 yards, the POI will be off to the left of POA by ~2.75". With a 300 yard zero, the POI is off 2.75" R at the muzzle, none at 300 yards, and 2.75" L at 600 yards. So you either use a fairly long zero (which works great for a .30-06 anyway) or you zero at 100 yards with POI ~2.75" Right, and always aim ~2.75" Left of desired POI. GI snipers used an offset scope on the M1 Garand (which loads clips in, and ejects the empties from, the top of the receiver and can't have a scope in the way) quite successfully back in W.W. II.

July 20, 2010, 07:35 AM
If you want to continue shooting rifles right-handed, you'll either need offset scope mounts like Cosmoline posted or just high scope mounts. I don't know if they're still around, but I've got a set that are made so you can see iron rifle sights thru them or use the scope mounted higher. These scope mounts are high enough that I can shoot my rifle right handed but focus with my left eye.

If shooting irons is really desperately important to you, try it left handed. It's a little inconvenient, but you don't have to give up shooting your AR.

July 20, 2010, 07:52 AM
as for the 45 (45 acp pistol, I presume)
the suggested laser would seem a good candidate

but thinking a large diameter (or open style reflex) red dot may do just a well, pretty popular in some of the speed on steel competitions, you could just "cant" your hold to the left ~45 degrees the way many left eye dominant guys do.. and some of those guys even wear a patch over right eye on purpose

any cheap red dot (before investing in a classier make/model) would do for a trial run, to find out if not too awkward
they are generally easier set up on revolvers, though, if not averse to wheelguns

July 20, 2010, 08:00 AM
My 17 y/o daughter is just learning to shoot. She is right handed, but left eye dominant. And that's the way she shoots! The kid picked up a Walther P22 and hit 190 targets out of 200, first time she's ever fired a weapon! Try it. All you can do is something else!

July 20, 2010, 08:13 AM
theres a notion
picking up a modestly priced 22 rimfire handgun, style of choice, adaptable to a variety of mounted sights, might let you try out some options without breaking the bank, before deciding what feels best for your centerfire(s)
some optics/sights can be pretty pricey, once you get into the good stuff, and rimfire can get you a lot more practice rounds in for your dollar, whilst learning to adjust

July 20, 2010, 10:13 AM

At least regarding handguns you don´t need any sort of special sights whatsoever. Like Cmiller and oldfool said, a .22 pistol is your best ally!

Just shoot it, and shoot it, and shoot it, and shoot it. Then shoot it some more. You´ll get better and better, naturally. Like competitive swimming, golf, aerobatic flying, and so many other pursuits where precision is key, theory and instruction will take you just so far and then it´s all practice.

Buy .22s by the brick, shoot a couple of Mosquitos and P-22s* until they wear out, and you´ll be a better man with a handgun than 99% of us THR members. There´s just no doubt about it.

* My favorite .22 auto recommendations henceforth, as they are both on the Chicago police "unsafe" list!

July 20, 2010, 10:21 AM
Don't have advise for the AR, but when I was suffering an advanced pre-op right eye cataract, I tried unsuccessfully to shoot left handed. Instead I learned to simply lean my head over as close to my shoulder as possible so the left eye lined up with the right held pistol sights.

Took a slow learner like me about three reps to get it down.

Offset scope sounds the way to go for the long gun.

July 20, 2010, 03:45 PM
I started shooting left-eye for pistols a year or so ago, due to a bad contact lens perscription. As far as pistols go, you can cock your head a little more to the right and shoot a pistol without modifying your stance, grip, etc. Just takes a little bit getting used to lining up the other eye.

[EDIT= I got the perscription corrected. I just kept shooting left-eye anyway. Haha.]

I never did work on shooting a rifle that way, though. I would recommend a rifle designed for a left-handed shooter. Might also try a red-dot or holo-sight?

July 21, 2010, 12:12 AM
Crossover gunstock.

July 21, 2010, 11:06 AM
The left havnded shooting would be your best option I think. A good friend of mine got hit in the eye with a snowball when we were younger and had an eye patch for a few months. He taught himself to shoot left handed and it worked well. I don't have experience with the crossover scope mounts but I would think that would be challenging with accuracy. For the AR, they make shell deflectors for the receiver for left handed shooters. You could try that. Good luck!

July 21, 2010, 09:45 PM
A retina problem forced me become a lefty with long guns. As Killchain points out, handguns are easier to adjust to, but long guns work best by becoming a lefty. I have no problem with any right hand gun and you'll be surprised how quick you make the transition. BTW, that RO sounds like a smacked arse, unless he also happens to be an ophthalmologist :)

July 21, 2010, 10:25 PM

The good news is that your meningioma was probably surgically cured and you are still with us to have this discussion. I am not blind, but have a macular defect on the right, somewhat the opposite of your left eye situation -- I see pretty well in the peripheral vision of my right eye, but if I look down a gunsight, the center of my field of vision is a blur. And, I am right handed.

Job 1, whatever you do, is to take damned good care of what you have left. Be religious about wearing shooting glasses -- probably don't have to tell you that.

Fixes like an off-set scope mount or cross-over stock will work, but will limit you, most likely to one or two "special" rifles, which can be OK, but . . .
The ultimate solution is going to be to learn to shoot long guns left handed. I made the switch 2 or 3 years ago. I started with ambi stocks and ultimately made the switch with the purchase of my first true LH target stock on an air rifle -- something I suggest you consider. You can set up a 10-meter range at home, maybe even indoors. 500 rounds of .177 pellets are typically less than $10 bucks. And the only way you will successfully make the switch to LH shooting is practice, practice, practice.

As for a military-style .223 for LH shooting -- you can shoot an AR (or in my case, a ValMet) lefty, but you will get some blow back you will feel on the right side of your face. In my case, the thing I worry about there is my right eye. The other great option (I have always wanted one) is a Styer Aug as they can be set up to eject right or left.

Good luck in the pursuit of your recovery as a left-eyed marksman. It can be done. All it takes is the will to do so and a lot of patience and practice. Without your peripheral vision in your left eye, you are going to need good light and probably a good scope, but with good light, I suspect you will find that diopter sights are still an option, too.

A few of my favorites:

July 21, 2010, 11:10 PM
Thank you all. You all gave me such great information and personal experiences. After reading every reply I felt this great overwhelming feeling of confidence and hope and that nothing is impossible. I had not given up on my favorite hobby, I just needed help and suggestions on how to adapt to a new way of shooting and thankfully I received an abundance of help from my fellow members.

I consider myself very fortunate to be a member of a website with such caring and helpful members who took the time to read and seriously respond to my post I have indeed been blessed. Thank you.

July 22, 2010, 12:15 AM
I lost my right eye when I was 7. I had already had 2 years practice at archery and w/ a rifle but mostly bb/pellet guns. So despite the early age I still had some habits to overcome. I am 33 now and shouldering a rifle to the right just feels... weird, like holding a pen in my left hand. I primarily shoot a pistol right handed, but I have become fairly ambidextrous. My AR is a standard RH gun and I honestly have zero complaints about shooting it left handed. I admit I had the benefit of losing my eye when I was very young, but the greatest advantage I had was a really great step father who put a pellet gun in my hand as soon as the bandages were off and basically told me that if I learned to shoot left handed now, I would never feel like it was a handicap. He was right. Best of luck to you, you CAN overcome this.

July 22, 2010, 12:19 AM
A good friend of mine is blind in his right eye (born that eye is green, the other is brown).

He is right handed but has learned to shoot right handed guns left handed...practice, practice, practice.

July 22, 2010, 06:05 PM
cannot say it better than OP did
but no matter the flame games and woobie wars, there is NO other gun forum in cyberspace that does it with the class that you people do it with when it matters

it is a privilege to be here

July 22, 2010, 07:13 PM
Could a real bright set of sights help? It helped me get rid of a flinch with a snappy SW40 caliber.

Basically the gun sight is the direction to the target, the more efficient the sights the easiest the target acquisition.
Mosin nagant with super phosphorescent
hipoint c9 same super phosphorescent a ghost ring too
It might be something to ease the task, it helped me a lot:)

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