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Are You Shooting with Both Eyes Open?

Via wikimedia

Are there any benefits to shooting with one eye closed? Possibly not.

How many of you do the “target shooting squint?”

You know what I am talking about. You get up to the firing line, bring the gun up, close your non-dominant eye and and do that mashed face squint with one open eye down the sights at our target.

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That was probably how we were taught to shoot, but does it really give any advantage? Some say they are more accurate. Some say it’s easier to see the target. Is that really the case?

If we think about it for a minute, in a stressful situation, our bodies go through many chemical and physical changes. Our blood pressure, heart rate and breathing increases. Our hearing diminishes and we develop tunnel vision. All these things factor into the concept that if we close one eye, we are placing ourselves at a disadvantage. We won’t see as well, we will get fixated on the target faster, lose peripheral vision and our bodies will shake. All of this can lead to us to be off target with our shots.

With long range target shooting, closing one eye can also lead to facial fatigue and tire out your eyes faster, making you less able to see small subtle changes and be on the scope longer.

Via wikimedia
Via wikimedia

Open your eyes

Shooting with both eyes open allows us the use of our peripheral vision and to be more situationally aware of what is going on. If you can’t see around you, you don’t know what other threats could be nearby.

At first, shooting with both eyes open can be challenging and down right weird. Humans have binocular vision, and our brain can process two images, turning them into one. When you place an object like a rifle scope or pistol sight close to your eye, your brain will superimpose the images and you will see two images with the reticle and the target far off.

With practice, you will be able to train your brain and eyes to naturally take over and see the image from both your eyes, and you won’t have that double vision.

Finding your dominant eye

Shooting with both eyes open can be a little tricky if you are not sure which is your dominant eye. Finding your dominant eye is fairly easy.

  1. Pick a point on the wall about 10-15 feet in front of you.
  2. Raise your hands in front of your face and place one hand over the other with palms facing outward away from you and with your fingers spread creating a triangle or circle with your thumbs and fingers.
  3. Look through the hole created by your hands and slowly pull your hands back towards your face.
  4. When you reach your face, your hands should be covering one eye and you should be seeing through the hole with your other eye. The one not covered is your dominant eye.
Via PetaPixel

When I do the above exercise, I find that my right eye is my dominant eye.

Once you have established your dominant eye, take time to practice and develop the muscle memory to leave both eyes open.

Other Training Articles You Might Like:

5 Common Mistakes New Shooters Have to Avoid

5 Ways to Stay Calm and Focused During Shooting Competitions

Tap, Rack and Reassess: Clearing the Type One Malfunction

Do you shoot with both eyes open? How does it work for you?


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Are You Shooting with Both Eyes Open?