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EYE DOMINANCE, by Dave McCracken

One of the most common questions I get asked is about this. It goes, "How can I tell which is my dominant eye?".

Other questions about this include "What's eye dominance and why is it important?".

And, "I just went 1/25 for my first round of trap. What's wrong?"...

Here's the deal...

The eye is the rear sight on the shotgun. If it is in the right position and other things are done right, the shot works. If one is trying to use the off eye to make the shot, it won't. You have to point the shotgun where the target is going to be when the shot cloud gets there.

People are Right Handed or Left Handed. A few are ambidextrous. People are also Right Eyed or Left Eyed, and oft the master hand and master eye are on different sides. Except for wingshooting, it matters little. There, it matters greatly.

A theory which makes sense is that one eye comes into focus before the other, though the difference is small fractions of a second.As a child develops, it learns that one eye focusses first, and it uses that eye for judging distance, speed, etc.

Dominance can change. Fatigue, age, illness and, stress are some factors. It can also change for a shot. Imagine a RHRE shooter dealing with a left to right crosser. The left eye picks up the target first and.....

Many of us are not strongly dominant and some inexplicable misses can be laid at this door. Some of us plateau because we are shooting with mixed dominance. If our eyes wrestle for command, we'll never reach our potential.

There's no cure. There are things we can do that mitigate the problem.

First, let's find out if we're mixed. Focus on the top corner of your room where two walls and the ceiling meet. Point at it with your strong side index finger. Now close the eye on your other side.

If the finger stays put, Huzzah! You're not cross dominant. If it moves off the reference point, Houston, we have a problem.

OK, now some adjustments we can make to live with mixed Dominance.

First, we can swap to the other side to shoot. This works best for newbies, but Mike Bittman, past World Champ Vet SC competitor did it. After not progressing shooting from his right side, he went back to square one and started over as a southpaw It took a year, but he's now better than ever. And better than most.

Next, shutting the other eye. This works soso, but we lose ranging ability and depth perception when we do. I learned this way, and have been overcoming it gradually.

"Blinking", where the off eye is shut momentarily as the shot occurs is a variant.

Fiber optics that only can be seen from directly behind them are another tool that may help.

The Hull Elf has one that has a little fence on the left side to block off that eye's view. I think these may contribute to aiming but some folks swear by them.

A dot placed on the off side lens in just the right place to block the view is another way. Some folks use tape or grease.

Keeping a hard focus on the very front of the target helps.

There's other stuff that may help, from custom stocks more crooked than a Joshua Tree to hypnosis.

Dave McCracken has been shotgunning longer than many shooters have been alive. He regularly posts on TheHighRoad.org and TheFiringLine.com. This article is reprinted here with his permission; reprinting or redistributing this article without his permission is expressly prohibited.





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