Shooting With Both Eyes Open Or One Closed? [Visual Illustration]

In this guide, let's discuss shooting with both eyes open, 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 max situational awareness.

Here is some visual illustration.

One Eye Open

aiming with one eye open

Shooting with one eye open works for most shooters on their dominant eyes, and it feels the most natural for shooters, and it's taught for many years to most people.

When aiming with one eye open, the optic frame and mount is in focus, and it's slightly blurred.

Here are its pros and cons

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Pros

  • 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

Cons

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

How To Shoot With Both Eyes Open - For Max Situational Awareness

aiming with two eyes open

Aiming with both eyes open can look like this

One of the main advantages for aiming with both eyes open is to maximize situational awareness, especially when heart rate is rising, adrenaline is pumping and pupils are wide open.

[See through POV experience] The optic frame doesn't really obscure things if eyes are focused on the target.

The eye aligned with the optic sees the reticle, and the other eye can kinda see the side of the optic at an angle in the peripheral. When two images are combined, the brain processes it and gives the shooter a see through POV experience.

Try it out...

Pros

  • 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 (Very advantageous for pistol aiming)
  • 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.

Cons

  • 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)

Ying Xu

I was a former US Air Force ICBM operator, and now I'm a veteran creating fun firearm accessories content. I also work as the search engine expert for BadAssOptic.com