Shoot With Both Eyes Open Or One Closed?

In this guide, lets's discuss shooting with both eyes open or closed, and their pros and cons.

Most new shooters aim down the sights with one eye open, and experienced shooters prefer to shoot with both eyes open for very valid reasons which we will discuss in this article.

Why do they do this? and What’s the most effective approach?

One Eye Open

Shooting with one eye open works for most shooters with their dominant eyes, and it feels the most natural because we cannot comfortably converge our focal point from our two eyes to align the sights.

It's comfortable and much easier to shoot with one eye open, and it's taught for many years to shooters ranging from competitor shooters, law enforcement and military.

Here are its pros and cons


  • Close non dominant eye to prevent the brain from getting distracted in order to properly align the sights
  • Work for magnified optics
  • Works for cross eye dominant shooters
  • Better accuracy and bore alignment with shotgun bead sights


  • Not practical when fight or flight mode kicks in
  • Not for "shit hits the fan" real life situations
  • Loss of situational awareness

Both Eyes Open - Most Practical For Combat

One of the main valid points are for shooting on the move and for defensive applications where the shooter gets the maximum situational awareness by having two eyes open because the heart rate is rising, adrenaline is pumping and pupils are wide open.

At moments like this, closing one eye is just not practical, and this is where using a modern holographic or reflex optic will make a day and night difference.


  • Maximum situational awareness. 1 eye looking through the optic and the other assess the environment
  • Both eyes can focus on the target plane without sight alignment
  • Faster target acquisition
  • Works extremely well with parallax free red dot sights
  • Works with bindon aiming concept (Only on low magnification scopes, track target with both eyes open, then switch to dominant eye to fire)

Use a sight with a bigger size dot helps a lot for fast acquisition and appears much crisp than a smaller dot.


  • Cross eye dominant shooters generally struggle with it at first
  • Requires training to get used to
  • Doesn't work with shotgun bead sights (Put a red dot on a shotgun)
  • Doesn't work with magnified optics
  • Doesn't work well with iron sights (Highly recommend using a red dot sight, click here to learn more)

Tyler Brown

Tyler grew up in a firearm family, and now he runs his own firearm business in the Midwest. 4 years of experience managing an FN dealership with tons of firearm business & product knowledge