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Ar-15 sights, Cannot shoot with both eyes open

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Sentryau2, Aug 29, 2013.

  1. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Well-Known Member

    Ive always shot with one eye closed, and I do very very well however I started trying to aim with both eyes open and its impossible. I do mean physically IMPOSSIBLE for me to aim with both eyes open. I've tried squinting, putting tape over a pair of non magnified shooting glasses and all the neat little tricks. I still cannot, I've tried to practice for about a month now and I'll ive accomplished is reaching a new level of frustration. I have not tried this with any low powered optics 1-3x I'm gonna go have my eyes checked out. Could anyone give me any tips. Is shooting with both eyes open THAT advantageous? How much easier would it be with a low magnification optic vs iron sights?

    When I open my left eye, the sights jump, or dont line up and it is not possible to line them up. I have tried shooting from the left shoulder and its blurry and unnatural feeling. I passed the visual requirement for having a driver's license, tho I dont know what the standard is. I am RIGHT eye dominant, so I'm not sure what my problem is.
  2. tuj

    tuj Well-Known Member

    1. Using a 1x optic (not low-powered, but 1x only), will put up better scores versus irons, same shooter, especially of non-Master ability. There's a reason even the Masters use red dots on their pistols in bullseye.

    2. You can see the red dot with both eyes open and your dominate eye will superimpose the dot on the target. This can help you if you are a new shooter, getting used to focusing from the dominate eye.

    3. Are you positive you aren't cross-dominate? It happens.

    4. Off-hand, magnification is only as good as your hold. Probably at 3X you'll be fine, but you might find you shoot better at 1x because the magnification magnifies wobbles as well as the target. Depends largely on range to target and the position you are firing from. Using a scope requires correct eye relief and this can be tricky if you are having trouble learning to shoot with both eyes open. Red dots do not have an eye-relief issue.

  3. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    If you have never done it before, and have shot with only one eye for many years, it takes a little practice.
  4. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    A 1x reflex optic will be the best for shooting with both eyes open. Personally, I can't shoot both eyes open with magnified optics that are much above 1.5x as my brain locks my vision onto the magnified image and ignore my unmagnified eye.

    It took me a year of regular practice to be able to shoot comfortably left eyed.

  5. crazysccrmd

    crazysccrmd Well-Known Member

    There is no need to keep both eyes open using iron sights. Just shoot with one eye shut like normal. With a reflex sight you aren't focusing on something, you are just looking through it with the dot superimposed in your field of vision. Same pretty much goes for a magnified optic.
  6. tuj

    tuj Well-Known Member

    The advantage to shooting with both eyes open is that it gives you a wider field of view to work with and it lets in more light to your eyes to see the target.

    Try this experiment; hold your left arm out about 45 degrees forward from your body. Now while looking straight ahead, close your left eye. Your left arm will disappear from your field of view. Better to have a wider field of view to pick up additional information.

    Even if you shoot with a dot, you normally shoot it with both eyes open.

    Now my wife has trouble like you do seeing iron sights without closing one eye. So I have her try and practice both ways and switch back and forth. Switching between 1 eye and both helps the dominate eye take over easier when you go to both eyes.
  7. herrwalther

    herrwalther Well-Known Member

    I shoot rather awkward with a red dot or 1x optic compared to the traditional wisdom. I am right eye dominant. When shooting with a red dot I scan with both eyes open, when I see a target I close my left eye which allows my right eye to focus through the sight more, fundamentals and squeeze, left eye opens back up for the next shot. Rinse repeat.
  8. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    You are either cross dominant or left eye dominant. I know you don't think you are, but based on your description that is precisely the case.
  9. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Well-Known Member

    I'm cross-eye dominant (left eye dominant and right handed) and I have the same problem with open sights. While it is advantageous to keep both eyes open (field of view/situational awareness) when shooting in the practical world, I really haven't found that briefly closing the non-sighting eye while shooting is a real problem to concern yourself with. For years I've been told how bad my form is for closing an eye when shooting open rifle sights, and I'm quite often told this by people that I can cleanly and consistently out shoot.

    Nevertheless, if you have the issues I have and are truly concerned about it, try using something like an Eotech holographic sight, or something similar. I shoot those both eyes open, and my work rifle wears one currently (I do like the situational awareness and low-light advantages it gives me, particularly when clearing houses/buildings where armed bad people dwell).
  10. jmr40

    jmr40 Well-Known Member

    Another vote for left eye dominance. If you've closing one eye it doesn't matter which is the dominate eye. To shoot with both eyes open it will be impossible if you are mounting the rifle on your right shoulder if you are left eye dominate.

    My brother struggled with this in his early 20's. He finally started shooting lefty. He struggled at first learning how to shoot from the "other" side, but once he mastered it he learned to shoot much, much better than he ever did from the right side. He can shoot easily with both eyes open now.
  11. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    And eye dominance varies from person to person. Some can switch easier than others.

  12. Sentryau2

    Sentryau2 Well-Known Member

    No I've tried shooting from the left shoulder I can do it, but I dont shoot as well when I shoot from the right shoulder.
  13. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Well-Known Member

    That doesn't mean that you aren't left eye dominant. It just means that you are right handed.... But most likely left eye dominant.
  14. oldguy870

    oldguy870 member

    No big deal. Shoot with one eye closed. Two eyes open is not the only or even the best way for some people to shoot. Most people preach about shooting with two eyes open because they think they are supposed to.

    Keep both your eyes open until right before you shoot. Close one eye and make your shot. After you take the shot, open the other eye. You will not loose all your situational awareness because one eye was closed for 0.5 seconds.

    That is the way I shoot shotguns, rifles, and handguns. My skeet scores are always in the 20s. It works.

    If I could shoot two eyes open, I probably would. I can't. So, I don't.
  15. FrostyHL

    FrostyHL Member

    Theres some easy ways to tell your eye dominance. I'm cross eye dominant so deal with this as well.

    Make a peep hole with your two hands (like a little triangle), and stare at something across the room. While staring at the object with both eyes close one eye, if the object doesnt appear to move that's your weak eye. If you close your dominant eye your hand will appear to move and you wont see the object anymore.

    Another method is to make the same peep as above but do it with your arms fully stretched out, looking at an object across the room with both eyes through the peep. Slowly start bringing the peep closer and closer to your face while remaining staring at the object, eventually you should end up with the peep at your dominant eye.

    Hope this helps
  16. coloradokevin

    coloradokevin Well-Known Member



    I'm right-handed and left-eye dominant, and while I can certainly shoot left-handed, I shoot better and quicker when shooting right handed. As such, I shoot with my physical strong side, and my non-dominant eye. But, I'm still left-eye dominant... and I still have the issues that the OP described when shooting with open sights. Which brings us back to some of the options I mentioned:

    1) Close an eye when shooting

    2) Choose a sight (like an Eotech or similar) that allows you to more easily shoot with both eyes open
  17. oldpapps

    oldpapps Well-Known Member


    First, look at the attached photo.

    What is the first thing (strange) you see? That lace-on cheek pad is on wrong. Nope. Next, inch high riser? Why?

    I shoot right handed but I am left eye dominant. For me to squeeze my best out a shot, I park my chin on top of that cheek pad, cock my head over and have a great left eye alinement with the scope.

    When shooting a pistol, I just off set my pistol's position, moving my sights to line up with my left eye. I do this naturally. I went through the Missouri Hi-way Patrol Academy and Kansas City Regional Training Center and no one noticed. When I receiving training to be a firearms instructor with the FBI, I was found out. I didn't try to change. If it works, don't fix it.

    Do/shoot what is natural and comfortable. Be more concerned with target acquisition and sight alinement and breath control and trigger squeeze and so many other much more important things.

    Remember, train/practice what and how you want to shoot. For in real life, you will do how you have trained. Like the Kansas Trooper found with empty brass in his pocket. In times of stress, we do what is normal/trained into us. (I don't know that this story is true. It was passed about in a Firearms Instructor's school to prove a point. OMG! COPs used to carry revolvers! Yes I did, but I wouldn't now.)

    As long as you get the results you want, pull that elbow down to your waste, close both eyes, stand on you head....

    Attached Files:

  18. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    How much shooting have you done left handed?

    I was crap at it until about a year of practicing off and on.

  19. jim243

    jim243 Well-Known Member

    Seeing an eye doctor may answer your question. The muscles of each eye are working differently, one eye will be stronger than the other. You may have a slight case of "cross eye" and that might be what is causing the problem.

    Time for glasses?? Mine was when I turned 29, I am 69 now (LOL).

    Good luck

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