Teach 13 YO son to shoot RH or LH?


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Batty67
October 11, 2012, 04:39 PM
My 13 YO son, I just discovered, is left-eye dominant but right-handed. I suppose this makes some sense given he's batted left-handed since tee ball (he plays on the big diamond now) and does all two-handed sports like a lefty...and very well. My Dad and both brothers are all LH. I'm a confirmed righty.

Anyhow, I'm ready to start him on the Ruger 10-22, but should I have him shoot left-handed or right-handed? Is it really even a choice? Pros and cons? He's very coordinated and strong, and I suspect when I teach him how to shoot a pistol he'll shoot right-handed and just cock his head over further.

Thanks.

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pikid89
October 11, 2012, 04:41 PM
on a rifle, he really ought to shoot with his dominant eye, especially if he is going to be using iron sights. If he MUST shoot strong body side/ weak eye side, he might need an eye patch over his strong eye

Skribs
October 11, 2012, 04:56 PM
Speaking as a LE/RH, left-handed shooting is definitely the way to go, even with handguns.

Sharps-shooter
October 11, 2012, 05:00 PM
I agree completely with skribs. I can shoot right handed, but nowhere near as well. Still probably good to let the kid try it out and see what works for him, though.

USAF_Vet
October 11, 2012, 05:03 PM
My step daughter is right handed / left eye dominant, and she shoots left handed. I'm a lefty, but that had nothing to do with it, she got behind the rifle, Anderson handed shooting was more comfortable.

Put him behind the rifle and see where he is comfortable.

WardenWolf
October 11, 2012, 05:08 PM
I'd say left-handed. He's already used to doing most stuff as a lefty, so he's effectively ambidextrous by now. He should have little to no trouble handling it left-handed. That said, it's ultimately whatever he feels most comfortable with. I'm left-handed, and only shoot rifles left-handed, but I'm fully ambidextrous with pistols. I usually shoot pistols right-handed, though, simply because most pistols' controls are only set up for right-handed use.

jacob2745
October 11, 2012, 05:15 PM
If it is any help i am left handed/right eye dominant and have always shot a rifle right handed and never had a problem. I just recently switched to righty with handguns without any trouble.

1KPerDay
October 11, 2012, 05:19 PM
Right handed, left-eye dominant here. Teach him to shoot long guns lefty. :)

Quat
October 11, 2012, 05:19 PM
I am right handed and left eyed, I shoot rifles and shotguns left handed and pistols right handed.

Salty1
October 11, 2012, 05:35 PM
I shoot everythng right handed except for longuns, when in basic training many years ago they tried making me shoot righthanded and I just could not accuratly do it, once they let me do it my way I was able to hit everything I aimed at. Back then the AR's (initial release) did not have the brass deflectors that they have today and many a hot round ended up down my back. The bottom line is that if shooting from the left side feels natural to him let it go, it is more important for the rifle to feel natural to him and be accurate with it than it is from what side he is shooting from. Last year I bought my first left handed rifle, a Tikka 30-06, to hunt with so I could operate the bolt faster otherwise everythig has ben right handed. My 10/22 has yet tosend any hot brass down my back so you should be good to go......... enjoy and have fun...............

hso
October 11, 2012, 05:53 PM
Two schools of thought -
Long guns are predominantly designed for RH shooters so effort should be put in starting out to shoot a long gun right handed even of Left Eye dominant. Acquiring LH firearms can be challenging and expensive so the motivation is more about adapting to what is readily and less expensively available. Brass ejection, bolt handles, etc.

Shooting to accommodate dominant eye or hand makes for greater accuracy and comfort in learning to shoot well. If you're cross dominate then the need is to find out whether you shoot "better" from left or right depending upon what is less difficult to do. Long guns usually are shot to the dominant eye, but not everyone has a problem shooting to the other eye when using a long gun.

Shooting a handgun is easier to address for cross dominate shooters since the handgun can be fired strong hand index knuckle top instead of horizontal (not gangster sideways, but the index knuckle at "12 o'clock") to roll the sights in line with the dominate eye.

hso
October 11, 2012, 05:53 PM
Two schools of thought -
Long guns are predominantly designed for RH shooters so effort should be put in starting out to shoot a long gun right handed even of Left Eye dominant. Acquiring LH firearms can be challenging and expensive so the motivation is more about adapting to what is readily and less expensively available. Brass ejection, bolt handles, etc.

Shooting to accommodate dominant eye or hand makes for greater accuracy and comfort in learning to shoot well. If you're cross dominate then the need is to find out whether you shoot "better" from left or right depending upon what is less difficult to do. Long guns usually are shot to the dominant eye, but not everyone has a problem shooting to the other eye when using a long gun.

Shooting a handgun is easier to address for cross dominate shooters since the handgun can be fired strong hand index knuckle top instead of horizontal (not gangster sideways, but the index knuckle at "12 o'clock") to roll the sights in line with the dominate eye.

MutinousDoug
October 11, 2012, 06:16 PM
I'm a lefty but right eye dominant so I shoot RH however, I shoot vintage rifle matches with a guy that is left eye dominant and shoots all the service rifles lefty and well. He shoots the rapid stages (10 shots in 80 seconds with a reload) without issue. With a bolt gun He does shoot a 1903 rather than an '03-A3 because the A3 rear sight interferes with lefty bolt operation; the '03 rear sight is far enough forward to be out of the way. From that, I infer that operating a bolt gun with a scope may present a challenge. Still, a left handed rifle is like a left handed guitar: hard to find and hard to sell.
I guess there might be a use for Col. Cooper's Scout Rifle after all...

CoRoMo
October 11, 2012, 06:16 PM
Acquiring LH firearms can be challenging and expensive...
...operating a bolt gun with a scope may present a challenge.
Not to derail entirely...

Difficulty/expense of obtaining southpaw guns aside...

My boy is likely going to be RE/LH from the looks of things. If he ends up shooting RH due to the sight dominance, do you guys think he might still benefit from a left hand action on say, a bolt action rifle so that he can manipulate the action with his strong hand?

I guess what I'm asking is: Would a RE/LH shooter prefer a LH action? (regardless of which shoulder they use)

Keaner
October 11, 2012, 06:56 PM
I've gotta agree completely with Skribs, teach him LH shooting!

I'm RE/RH, but my girlfriend is LE/RH. She'd been shooting for a while before we met (and is a darn good pistol shooter!), but hated shooting rifles to the point where she'd shoot a magazine out of something, then switch back to one of my pistols.

She got the idea (on her own) of switching to LH, and now shoots my Henry Lever .22 everytime we are out (barely shoots pistol anymore!), extremely accurately. She enjoys it now (whereas she used to nearly hate it!) and is really good at it.

Heck, after I'm finished shooting and ready to go home, she still gives me the old "5 more minutes!" bit on that .22 :)

Skribs
October 11, 2012, 07:44 PM
HSO, if you have a rifle with a brass deflector, it *shouldn't* affect lefties too much. I have no problems with either of my shotguns.

CoRoMo, I don't use bolt-actions, and that is a primary reason. I am severely left eye dominant, and not too particularly dextrous with my left hand (although I could probably learn). It requires an entirely different grip to cycle the bolt with your support hand.

oneounceload
October 11, 2012, 08:40 PM
I'll disagree with hso - have him shoot from his dominant side for rifles and shotguns - guns aren't any harder to get. I am LH and use both LH and RH rifles and shotguns with no issues.

Actually, as a LH I find RH bolt guns easier to operate

76shuvlinoff
October 11, 2012, 09:23 PM
My left eye - right handed daughter was completely frustrated with a rifle until the light bulb went on and I switched her to lefty shooting.

I'm a lefty myself, she embarrassed me.


.

Brian Williams
October 11, 2012, 10:48 PM
Teach him to shoot a handgun with both hands and teach him to keep his head straight up and not cocked over to see the sights, move the gun to line up the sights not your head.
For long gun shooting learn with the best eye.

Batty67
October 11, 2012, 11:04 PM
Thanks for all the input. It is highly appreciated!

1911 guy
October 12, 2012, 12:22 AM
I'm going through this with my 8 y.o. son right now. He's right handed and left eye domonant. Right about the time I was getting frustrated with him for "not paying attention" because the sights are way off line, the lightbulb went off in my head. I showed him a left handed stance and he started hitting the target. Then I showed him how to work the bolt shooting off hand.

LJ-MosinFreak-Buck
October 12, 2012, 12:42 AM
Well I'm left-eye dominant but shoot right handed using the right-eye. Been doing that since I was a kid.


~On The Road Again...~

exavid
October 12, 2012, 12:50 AM
I'm very much a left hander and have only owned two rifles in the past 55 years that were left handed. I fired thousands of rounds through my old 1903 Springfield by reaching over the action to operate the bolt. Worked fine for me. Best bet is to let your son try both and see what works best for him.

Stress_Test
October 12, 2012, 01:10 PM
Both!

Never hurts to learn how to shoot with either hand and off either shoulder.

I always practice pistol shooting with both left and right hands (I'm right-eyed). I shoot long guns right hand but I've tried my Mossburg 590 off my left shoulder too. Didn't feel too good because I can't square up behind it as well off the left, but nice to try it now and then to keep the feel.


I keep meaning to work on shooting with my left eye but I always forget to try it when I'm at the range!

Browning Guy
October 12, 2012, 02:09 PM
My son is left eye/right hand also. He shoots handguns with right hand, shifting it slightly to left eye, but shoots rifle left side. They encouraged left side shooting at Parris Island. He can shoot shotgun from either shoulder (slightly better left than right). It comes in handy when ducks blind side him from an unexpected direction while sitting in boat or canoe.

Mike OTDP
October 12, 2012, 02:25 PM
How dominant is the dominance? I'm mildly right eye dominant...but can switch over to my left eye very easily. But I do one-handed tasks right-handed, so I shoot that way.

(two-handed tasks like swinging a bat I do left-handed)

mljdeckard
October 12, 2012, 03:15 PM
Try both, but you're probably going to see that left-handed works better.

Red Cent
October 12, 2012, 05:37 PM
At that age, long guns left handed. After a years and years of competition shooting, right handed with a handgun is easy.

Le/rh - me too.

Texan Scott
October 12, 2012, 05:42 PM
My wife is cross-eye dominant. That's why she shoots WITH BOTH HANDS. :neener:
Let the boy shoot both ways. MAKE him shoot both ways, then let him settle into whatever works better for him.

J-Bar
October 12, 2012, 08:05 PM
Allow him to choose. How do you like it when someone forces you to do something?

Texan Scott types faster than I !

harmon rabb
October 12, 2012, 08:14 PM
If it is any help i am left handed/right eye dominant and have always shot a rifle right handed and never had a problem. I just recently switched to righty with handguns without any trouble.

I'm left handed right eye dominant as well, shoot righty, zero issues.

Fotno
October 12, 2012, 08:48 PM
Two schools of thought -
Long guns are predominantly designed for RH shooters so effort should be put in starting out to shoot a long gun right handed even of Left Eye dominant. Acquiring LH firearms can be challenging and expensive so the motivation is more about adapting to what is readily and less expensively available. Brass ejection, bolt handles, etc.

Shooting to accommodate dominant eye or hand makes for greater accuracy and comfort in learning to shoot well. If you're cross dominate then the need is to find out whether you shoot "better" from left or right depending upon what is less difficult to do. Long guns usually are shot to the dominant eye, but not everyone has a problem shooting to the other eye when using a long gun.

Shooting a handgun is easier to address for cross dominate shooters since the handgun can be fired strong hand index knuckle top instead of horizontal (not gangster sideways, but the index knuckle at "12 o'clock") to roll the sights in line with the dominate eye.

^^^^Good counsel here.

I'm 47, left eye dominant and right handed; so I've been dealing with this all my shooting life. I tried for years to shoot rifles left handed, but despite all that effort I still shoot rifles better when I shoot right handed, and close my left eye. I always shoot my handguns right handed.

woerm
October 12, 2012, 09:48 PM
My oldest is left eye/right handed. after I taught him basic marksman ship (rifle) with a Cricket .22 and how to use scopes etc I got him a left handed Savage.

I figure it is more important to have the gun fit than have to work around it.

He does fine (note he rips off my M1 carbine most of the time at the range and it's about as non-southpaw as it gets but he has fun with it). Will start working on pistols later he really good with the carbine but the Savage is dime size groups (w/ that scope I get a single little hole on the paper).

coolluke01
October 12, 2012, 11:54 PM
I am left eye dominate and right handed. I never knew I was left eye dominate until I really started to try and shoot with both eyes open. I had been taught to close my left eye when shooting from the beginning. I am thankful for that. Shooting left handed brings up a host of problems, some of which have been mentioned. It's simply a right handed world and it requires more effort and often expense to get things made for left handers.

With some practice I can now shoot my handguns and long guns with eyes open right handed. It's not even remotely difficult anymore and I do it naturally.

I would encourage anyone new to shooting to learn to shoot right handed and save themselves difficulty in the future. This may not be possible for everyone as some are unable to have the coordination to do things with their weak hands. But it can be done. Just for the heck of it, my younger brother taught himself to eat left handed when he was 10. He still does it to this day. This is a fine motor skill and shows that anyone should be able to learn to do things well with their weak hand. I believe the same thing goes for eye dominance.

1911 guy
October 13, 2012, 01:28 AM
Why make things more difficult than they need to be? And closing one eye brings up another barrel of fish. Whenever I tried to close one eye like I'd seen the Duke or Jimmy Stewart do, I was soundly slapped upside the head. I was extremely grateful to my Dad for that many years later. Just learn how to run the gun with the dominant eye first, weak hand manipulation is only an issue for us "geezers" with habits. To a kid learning the first time, it's no big deal.

wtr100
October 13, 2012, 08:56 AM
teaching a lot of boyscout merit badge I have a lot more luck putting a blinder over the dominate eye or even having them close it that I do getting them to do the fine motor skills with the weak hand to use the dominant eye

TACOJOE
October 13, 2012, 10:07 AM
hey yall first post, been lurking some time. I am a leftie for most finesse applications but a rightie for some strength things. I am left eye dominant and therefore shoot rifles left handed, but I shoot pistols right. who knows why just feels right to me.

AirForceShooter
October 13, 2012, 10:13 AM
let him figure out what is more comfortable to do.
I'm right eye dominant but cressed dexterity.
I shoot rifle righty aa
and pistol lefty.Baseball as a righty and tennis as a lefty.

Sometimes even I get confused.

Good part is I can swing a hammer or use a screwdriver in either hand:what:.

AFS

12gaugeTim
October 13, 2012, 10:42 AM
I'm the same as your son. I shoot long guns left handed, but handguns right handed.

mavracer
October 13, 2012, 11:05 AM
I'd suggest he try to learn to shoot lefty if he has problems switch.

royal barnes
October 13, 2012, 11:12 AM
I'm left eye dominant and shoot a long gun left handed. Handguns are equally accurate from either hand. Let him try both ways. If he does better left handed with a long gun so be it. I have never shot a left handed bolt rifle and find that I have no trouble operating the bolt with my right hand and keeping the left on the pistol grip near the trigger. Teach him to shoot a handgun with either hand.

holdencm9
October 13, 2012, 04:26 PM
I guess I'll be the one to go against the grain and say, make him change his eye dominance (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocular_dominance#Treatment).

It really isn't that hard, didn't you see Fire Birds with Nic Cage? :)

But seriously, when I was a kid in scouts and first shooting a BB gun, I got SO frustrated because I was left-eye dominant and right-handed. When they figured out what I was trying to do, they said, just close your left eye. I did that for awhile, and eventually my brain just decided, "okay, you are right-eye-dominant now." I now shoot handguns and long guns with both eyes open, right-handed, right-eyed, no problem. I can now do the Miles test or Porta test or what-have-you and am very firmly in right-eye-dominant territory. When I get behind an AR, my right eye instantly finds the front sight through the aperture sight, without even thinking.

He doesn't have to even close his eye all the way, just lowering his left eyebrow and keeping his right eyebrow high helped me. Or scotch tape over the left lens of his safety glasses.

I think a 13-yo would be better served over his lifetime to learn to shoot RH/RE. It will save him a lot of headaches down the road I think. I really don't believe eye dominance is as ingrained as handedness. And I even think handedness is not as set-in-stone as people think. If you are forced to use your non-dominant hand such as people who have lost limbs (http://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=gradschool_diss), you find out that after a period of intense frustration...eventually you can get the coordination and dexterity in your non-dominant hand pretty close to what your dominant hand used to be. The same goes for eye dominance, and it is wayyy easier to switch eye dominance at 13 than handedness at 31.

IMHO

CB900F
October 14, 2012, 09:42 AM
Batty67;

My daughter is left eye/right handed. As I was teaching her to shoot, we discovered her cross-dominance situation. When we switched her to using her dominant eye for aiming, her accuracy improved a solid 10%. I went to a Ruger 10/22 at that point in order to avoid all the bolt-working mechanics & just let her get used to shouldering the gun on the left & working on shooting.

Now then, I'll strongly disagree with those who advocate going with the flow, it's a right handed world, you can't get lefty guns, yadda-yadda-yadda. My short reply involves what's found on the ground in the bull pen. And I ain't talkin' baseball.

As a left/left shooter I participated in NRA 50' indoor competition for some few years. I was young, the program had no left hand guns, and my family's ability to afford a left Anschutz for me was only rivaled by our ability to fly to the moon on gossamer wings. That experience has greatly influenced my current battery of firearms. As soon as I could, I started getting left hand guns & I've never looked back.

If you want a left handed gun, it's perfectly possible to get one. You may not be able to buy it off the rack the same day you walk in the shop, but if the shop won't help you get what you want, you're shopping in the wrong emporium. Careful shopping will also keep the price differences to a minimum. There's no need to feel gouged when obtaining a left-handed bolt gun. The old adage that a left gun isn't worth squat when being traded in, but is a rare and therefore expensive property when being sold is also a canidate for the south end of a north bound bull. Simply explain that at the present time it's your money. You get to spend it to get what you want, at the price you wish to pay. If the dealer in question wishes to obtain your money, that attitude needs to be corrected. I've expressed those sentiments to several manufacturer's over the years, and have also seen them respond to the growing left hand market. FN/Winchester is the current hold-out, which surprises me. Generally speaking, the European's have a much more enlightened attitude towards left handed guns.

Speaking of which, you may have to modify the "I'm only going to buy American" stance if you're going to get the gun or caliber you want in a left handed action. There is such a thing known as cutting off your own nose in order to spite your face. The only reason not to get the left hand gun you want in today's world usually boils down to either being lazy, or wanting a caliber that simply isn't, or hasn't, been made on a left handed action. But then, you always wanted a custom gun anyhow, didn't you?

900F

BluesDancer
October 14, 2012, 01:22 PM
I'm Right Eye dominant and a lefty when it comes go firing firearms - and I fire pistols lefty and long guns righty.

By that logic, if your son shoots pistols righty, let him do that. Ideally your son would shoot long guns lefty, in line with his eye dominance. However, he probably doesn't want brass hitting him in the face (for weapons that might tend to do that). Therefore it might be a good idea to teach him long guns, both lefty and righty.

There's no disadvantage to knowing how to handle firearms with either hand (long guns or pistols)

My .02...

Bozack
October 14, 2012, 07:55 PM
I am a left hander and right eye dominant and my cousin is the opposite. I shoot, and have always, right handed. It was just natural for me. My cousin we changed when he was having trouble with a scope one day. I shoot rifles completely right handed. Lefties have more ambidextres tendencies and can adapt to right handed ways easily. No need to make things more difficult for anyone. I do shoot handguns with both hands and archery left handed do to a shoulder injury.

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