Understanding eye dominance is important for overall shooting accuracy and firearm motor skills.
In this guide, we're going to teach you:
- How to determine your dominant eye for shooting
- How to diagnose & fix if someone has an eye dominance issue
- What to do if you're cross-eye dominant,
- Answer a few common questions to improve your skills.
All shooters should understand this concept before starting high-volume training for building consistency to prevent bad training scars later down the road.
What Is Eye Dominance
Eye dominance is the brains’ preference to take information from one eye over the other. It's also called Ocular dominance as well as eye preference or eyedness.
Why Should You Aim With Your Dominant Eye?
Aiming gunsights with your dominant eye on the side of your dominant hand gives the shooter best accuracy and control.
Aiming with non dominant eye opposite of your dominant hand is very awkward when shooting a rifle, and most shooters can quickly notice this problem.
The Fastest Way To Determine Your Dominant Eye
- Find an object 10 - 20 feet away to focus your eyes on
- Form a triangle opening with your hands so you can clearly see the object through the hand triangle with two eyes open
- Slowing bring the triangle towards you while keeping the focus on the object
- The hand triangle opening will naturally get close to the dominant eye
Or Use a CD by looking through the center hole.
When you do this, please don't over think it or consciously try to counter your bias.
How To Diagnose & Fix Eye Dominance Problems
More often than not, for someone who thinks they struggle with eye dominance issue really the problem is how they align the sights.
- Blurry sight picture
- Sights not aligned while focused on the front sight
- Seeing double with both eyes open
- Keep both eyes open and tilt the chin over to the dominant eye - The best solution
- Switch hands to dominance eye side - Bad advice because you're using your non-dominant hand & dexterity and gross grip motor skills are lost
- Use offset optic (tall mount)
- Close one of the eye - Bad for situational awareness
- Train other eye to be dominant
How To Deal With Cross Eye Dominance
Your dominant eye is usually the same as your dominant hand, but some people have cross-eye dominance where their dominant eye and hand are opposite.
Some people are right eye dominant at far distance and left eye dominant at close up.
Physiologically speaking, the brain is trying to process the info from both eyes at the same time, and the solution is either close one eye or tilt your head slightly to the side so only one eye is focused on aiming and the other for situational awareness.
For shooters with cross-eye dominance, It's important to shoot with your dominant hand for maximum gross motor skill instead of switching to a non-dominant hand that feels very awkward.
Most people go about their day doing 99% of the things already with their dominant hands, and it would be much easier to control the gun with a dominant hand and adjust to aim with the non-dominant eye
Ultimate Fix - Use a red dot so the shooter can keep both eyes open. One eye focuses on the target and the surrounding, while the other sees the reticle superimposed on the target.
Shooting a pistol
There are tons of tips out there, but the truth is that it doesn't really matter which eye you use as long as the sight picture alignment and shooting fundamentals are good on a flat range.
For force on force and real life situations, the shooter will find themselves aiming and shooting with both eyes open because stress kicks in.
Shooting Behind Cover From Left Or Right:
Better to use left eye to minimize body exposure when cutting the pie around the cover
Use right eye to minimize body exposure when aiming behind cover from left to right
Regardless which dominant hand you have, when you close one eye, now you're forced to use the other eye to aim as long as you don't compromise the shooting posture by moving the gun over to the dominate eye.
Tilt your head instead of moving the gun.
However, it makes a big difference when shooting a shoulder fired shotgun with front bead sight.
Shooting a shotgun
If you're crossed eye dominant and shooting right handed, the left eye is looking down on the sight off center, which will make you point the gun at the wrong spot.
So in this situation, it's important to train with your dominate side eye along with your dominate hand.
Or change sides if your weak side dexterity is good.
What we recommend: Stick with your dominate hand and just train the other eye if you're crossed eye dominate.
There are also curved stock to offset non dominate eye closer to the sights, but the available options are still very limited.
Shooting a scoped rifle
If you're crossed eye dominant while shooting a scoped rifle. All you have to do is operate the rifle with your dominate hand and train your non dominant eye to aim regardless the optic distance to the eye.
When using a reflex sight, the same principle applies.
Remember: If it doesn't feel natural for you to aim with your non-dominate eye while using your dominate hand. Just close your other eye.
Is It Rare To Be Left Eye Dominate?
Approximately 70% of the population are right-eye dominant and 29% left-eye dominant.
Please read this study done by Vision Research
Is It Possible To Switch Your Dominate Eye?
It's possible to switch your dominate eye temporarily by using an eye-patch over your current dominant eye, or use glasses where the dominant eye has obscured vision.
Some shooters are able to “train” their other eye to become dominant.
Can I Shoot Right Handed When Left Eye Dominant?
If you're left eye dominant but right hand dominant, it's best to shoot right hand for maximum dexterity and train the right eye to aim.
It's much easier to train using your non-dominant eye to aim than to reprogram the brain to use the non-dominant hand.
What Does It Mean To Shoot With Both Eyes Open On A Red Dot Sight
Aiming with two eyes open while using a red dot sight allows the shooter the following benefits:
- Wider situational awareness
- No front sight & rear sight alignment required because parallax free reticle
- Focus on the target & superimpose the reticle on top
- Flexible head movement behind the optic even in improvised shooting positions
What Does It Mean To Be Right Handed But Left Eye Dominant?
Right handed but left eye dominant or vice versa, means cross eye dominance.
Does Astigmatism Affect Eye Dominance?
Most people have some sort of astigmatism because our eyes' curvature isn't perfect, which leads to blurry images. The chances are if one of your eye is better than the other, you would mostly likely to use that good eye for many things you do.
For detailed medical research data, please check out this study published on PubMed.gov
As the content creator of badassoptic.com, My background in the firearms industry and shooting sports gives me the experience to recommend tried and true products and keep away subpar ones.