The notion eye dominance is important to shooting is over rated. On the other hand, is seeing your sights important…absolutely and that is the point.

Seeing is the key

Many times I hear folks talk about eye dominance or ocular dominance as it relates to shooting. How important it is to be a good shooter. Honestly, it has very little to do with being a good shooter. There is an eye preference, a tendency to prefer from one eye or the other. However, the more important question is can the shooter see their front sight. Do they know specifically what they are looking for or the object of their focus. When using binocular vision there is an effect of parallax. In this case the brain relies on the dominant eye for precise positional information, something important in shooting. The real question is when shooting does knowing which is is dominant really matter.

Show me the how and what

Some will try and get a new shooter or novice shooter to identify their dominant eye as if the key to being a marksman. Instead of worrying which eye is dominate they should be worried with the subject of their focus. In other words, when it comes to their focus, it is more valuable to provide instruction on the how and the what. Not knowing what to focus on is the most common sighting error we see in classes. I spend a great deal of time helping students focus on the square shape over the round shape within their front sight. That is the what, as for the how I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve. My go to tip was showed to me by my shooting coach when I was on the junior national pentathlon team (yah, that’s a whole other story). He would have me stretched a piece of string out about 10 yards with knots at various distances. I would start with the knot furthest and in a specific sequence work through all the other knots. These days I take a different approach and have the student extend their arm, then focus on various features of their arm leading to their finger tip. I ask them to intently focus on these features to the point they could describe them to me and it helps. It is awesome when a student comments how they walked down their arms to the sights as what helped them draw their focus to the front sight post.

Down the road with binocular vision

Do I want students shooting with both eyes open, using binocular vision. Of course, but I find it more valuable for the new shooter to learn principles of marksmanship and work towards binocular vision. When it is determined a student is having difficulty with both eyes open my solution is simple. Close the eye opposite of the gun hand. If they are a right handed shooter, then close the left eye. By eliminating the eye dominance issue all together the student is able to concentrate on the principles of marksmanship. Learning the how and gaining confidence in properly using their sights seems so simple. But, believe it or not many beginner and even intermediate students have difficultly with this seemingly simple task.

When we minimize distractions and increase concentration as it relates to sight focus the results speak for themselves. You don’t need to know what eye is dominant, worry about that after you have perfected seeing your sights.

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Trident Concepts
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