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Trap and eye dominance.....

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by fjolnirsson, Mar 24, 2006.

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  1. fjolnirsson

    fjolnirsson Member

    Jan 21, 2004
    Oregon, in the Willamette Valley
    Does eye dominance matter when shooting trap? I'm right handed and left eye dominant. Will I need to shoot left handed in order to hit anything? The thought just occurred to me, don't know why. I shoot handgun right handed, haven't tried rifle, but I do fine with right handed shotgun otherwise...
    There's a trap range near me, and I thought I might give it a try. Seems fun.
    Also, any trouble with using an 870 police model for trap? It's not going to be for competition. I figure if I get really "into" it, I can buy a trap gun.
  2. RM

    RM Member

    Jan 18, 2003
    Eye dominance definitely matters when it comes to trap. I had a great deal of trouble shooting trap before I realized this. Fortunately, there are a number of solutions to the problem. Probably most common is to use scotch tape to cover your shooting glasses over the dominant eye. This is a good choice. I recommend sticking the tape to your finger numerous times to make it less sticky before putting it on your glasses. Otherwise, it may be difficult to remove and damage the finish on your eyewear. You can also close your dominant eye when shooting, which I find uncomfortable. And you may want to try the Unidot sight system- inexpensive and works very well. I highly recommend it. (I don't know the website- do a search on "Unidot" or Midwayusa sells them, also.) Learning to shoot left handed is also an option. This may require alot of work and practice.
    A Remington 870 is fine for trap. Keep in mind a longer barrel is better. If the Police model has an 18" or other very short barrel, it is probably not a good choice. Most dedicated trapshooters use 30" or 32" barrels. One option is to buy another barrel and use your same gun.
  3. stormspotter

    stormspotter Member

    Jun 11, 2004
    Trap and eye dominance

    Even thought I am right-handed and right-eye dominate I still use a dime size piece of black electrical tape, on my left lens, to help focus better with my right eye. Even though I don't "see" the front bead or target with my left eye, being able to keep it open seems to help me pick the target up faster.

    Trap guns have a straighter stock to shoot about a 70/30 pattern to compensate for the rising bird.

    Visit a local club and you will probably find a few trap shooters who will let you shoot a round with their gun. Asking for a few pointers and thanking in advance goes a long way.

    You will probably get some "you need and XYZ brand that costs $$$$$ to be any good" but my Remington 870 Competition will run 25 straight, if I do my part, with the best of them.

    Try a round or two and you may be hooked for life.


    HSMITH Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Trap is one shooting pursuit that can be shot well with one eye, one of the very few........

    Put some tape over the dominant eye and continue, or switch sides. IMO, if you want to take it to upper levels switch sides and use both eyes. If just a hobby one eye is all you need.
  5. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Member

    Jan 29, 2003
    Cross-eye dominance issues are an issue when shooting any shotgun, with the possible exception of shooting with rifle-type sights.

    There are a number of ways to deal with it (assuming Right Hand/Left Eye):

    1) Ignore it. Shoot right-handed with both eyes open.
    2) Shoot right-handed, but close your left eye.
    3) Shoot right-handed with both eyes open, AND put a smudge or something on the left lens of your shooting glasses.
    4) Shoot left-handed.

    I've basically ranked these in order of easiest to hardest to accomodate. Unfortunately, they are also in reverse order of effectiveness. If you think you can do it and haven't developed a ton of muscle-memory, then shooting left-handed would be the best way to go.

    Short of that, I'd recommend putting a small piece of Scotch tape on the left lens of your shooting glasses. The idea is to make it impossible to see the end of the barrel with your left eye while the gun is mounted. You're still able to see enough to pick up targets and your brain kind of fills in everything, but it will help your brain focus on the image coming from the right eye.

    Closing an eye can work, but shotguns are best shot with both eyes open. Trap can be done this way, and done effectively, but it doesn't seem to work as well for other games such as sporting clays.

    Ignoring it and just shooting right-handed is a good way to get frustrated. It's not that you won't hit anything, but you're unlikely to post very good scores and consistency will be a significant issue.

    There are some other options (such as certain fiber optic sights) and even funky cross-over stocks. My wife was going to try a fiber-optic sight -- by Unidot -- but has decided to use the tape instead. She has gone through steps 1-3 above, and her shooting suffered with the first couple options.

    My son is RH/LE, and I'm simply getting around it by teaching him to shoot long-guns left-handed. It may not be the simplest option, but it really is the best in the long run.
  6. kudu
    • Contributing Member

    kudu Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 17, 2003
    north central indiana
    Agree with Trapper, another quick fix for the glasses, is use some chapstick to smudge them where you focus out your left eye. Or a smudge of vaseline will do the same thing and won't leave sticky gum on the lenses like tape will
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

    Sep 8, 2005
    I'm going to buck convention and tell you what worked for me, as a right-handed shooter with left eye dominance.

    I tried shooting left handed. Despite the fact that I'm semi-ambidextrous and a goofyfoot (left-footed) surfer, that didn't work. So scratch that.

    I tried patching my left eye. Shooting trap without depth perception is not something I want to do ever again if I can help it. Scratch that.

    I tried scotch tape, dots, etc. It's really screwy having the bird pop in and out of view as it flies, and you still lose depth perception when it counts. I know it works for some people, but not for me. Furthermore, are you going to go hunting with scotch tape on your glasses?

    So, the answer for me was LEARN TO SHOOT with the eyes and body I was given. I took a .22 target pistol with iron sights and I went to the local indoor range and shot a few bricks through it, while forcing myself to shoot both-eyes-open, using my right eye on the sights. No need to shoot slow. With a couple extra mags, you can go through a brick in a couple hours if you learn to load the mags fast. You're training your eyes, not your shooting hand, so don't worry if they're not the best groups you've ever shot.

    Oh, it was frustrating at first. I had always shot pistol left-eyed, and pretty accurately. I had to FORCE myself to use my right eye on the sights. But after a brick or so, it started to work. And after three or four bricks, it was no problem.

    If my eyes get screwy again, I pull out the pistol and a brick of cheap .22s.

    Now I can shoot both-eyes-open, with no special glasses, with full depth perception, and no skill-robbing changes from range to field.

    That's what I recommend if you can do it and have the patience. It's been worth it for me.
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