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Pappabear
07-07-09, 03:52
I took my nephew shooting this past weekend. I have taken him rifle shooting and he does well for his experince level. He shot my AR15 just fine.

He is left handed and right eye dominant. He was hitting way low and off to the side. I think low and to the right? I mean 16 inches off from 10 feet- off! I had him try both eyes open, he could not do it. I had him try closing the left then the right ......he couldnt shoot it in the ocean.

He is a great athelete. Good hand eye control. Shoots skeet well, hit the 100 plate with an Aimpoint M4 red dot off hand, no problem time and time again.

Help me help him! What can I try?

Robb Jensen
07-07-09, 07:22
Have him shoot right handed if he's right eye dominant. The level of dominance varies in people. I'm left eye dominant and and primarily shoot handguns and long guns right handed. Only when I get really tired shooting does my right eye start to strain while using RDS optics. When shooting with highly magnified optics I shoot left handed because my right eye will strain very quickly.

BushmasterFanBoy
07-07-09, 08:56
I took my nephew shooting this past weekend. I have taken him rifle shooting and he does well for his experince level. He shot my AR15 just fine.

He is left handed and right eye dominant. He was hitting way low and off to the side. I think low and to the right? I mean 16 inches off from 10 feet- off! I had him try both eyes open, he could not do it. I had him try closing the left then the right ......he couldnt shoot it in the ocean.

He is a great athelete. Good hand eye control. Shoots skeet well, hit the 100 plate with an Aimpoint M4 red dot off hand, no problem time and time again.

Help me help him! What can I try?

I'm going to assume that since he's hitting with the AR and does skeet well that trigger control is not an issue. (Though shots low and to the left for righties/low and to the right for lefties usually indicates this) Even with sights misaligned, you can get much closer than 16 inches at 10 feet. I remember beginning to shoot handguns a few years ago, I was literally 3 feet off the target as close as 20 feet because of poor trigger discipline, but I had shot my .22 rifle well until that point.

If you can ensure its not trigger control issues, let him modify his stance slightly. I'm right handed/ left eye dominant, and I have no issues shooting pistols, I simply bring the gun in line with my left eye, its a very minor difference. As for both eyes open, let him do what's comfortable for now. You're building the fundamentals, and quite frankly, two eyes open is a lot easier to learn AFTER you're familiar with the sight picture and the way the gun points, etc. I spent years shooting one eye open, and two eyes open can be learned very quickly, especially after he is able to bring the gun up to his dominant eye quickly and is familiar with getting sights on target.

ra2bach
07-07-09, 11:53
I'm guessing this is trigger issues. a way to check this is to have him hold and aim the pistol with his finger out of the trigger guard. then you put put your finger in the guard and slowly press the trigger. if the shot lands where it's supposed to, his sight is fine.

rat31465
07-07-09, 12:04
My Father was also cross eye Dominant and I have a step-brother who is truly Ambidextrous.
While this can be a tough problem to overcome...use this as a training oppurtunity to teach the boy to shoot Ambidextrous.
He will develop a stronger side but will also retain the ability to shoot with either hand.
My weak hand pistol shooting needs work..but I shoot a rifle nearly equally well with my left hand side.

larry0071
07-07-09, 12:14
I am right handed and left eye dom, If I hold right handed with a rifle I can not hit the broad side of a barn at 10 yards. I have tried, but I just can not make a right handed hold and forced right eye to work. Let him try left and right hand holds and see if one falls naturally into place. I get shit all the time for the south-paw hold... but it is what works. For pistols, I can hold right handed and still use the left eye and have no negative effect. So I am lefty with long guns, righty with pistols, lefty with bow. Wierd huh?

Pappabear
07-07-09, 12:24
Thank you and keep it coming. I will try these ideas for sure. Also, I will have him shoot the .22 Ruger target pistol to make sure its not trigger control.

rat31465
07-07-09, 12:39
Thank you and keep it coming. I will try these ideas for sure. Also, I will have him shoot the .22 Ruger target pistol to make sure its not trigger control.

Thats probably the best advice anyone will ever give you...just let him get in the trigger time. If he has a true interest in shooting...he won't let something as trivial as being cross eye dominant stop him and he will work out the problem himself.
The real tough part is keeping him from getting discouraged in the beginning.
Try some reactive/fun targets like the metal spinners. Or shooting Hi Ho crackers....there is something addicting about seeing those things blow apart when hit...plus when your done the birds have something left to eat.

K.L. Davis
07-07-09, 12:41
Eye dominance is a preference toward one eye, it is often likened to right or left handedness... but this is not really an accurate comparison. The eyes are both controlled by both hemispheres of the brain... but each hemisphere takes control of part of the field of vision -- and there is a preference, a "strong side" to vision. The separate images from our binocular vision, is combined in a perspective that is called the cyclopean eye, or the "mind's eye"... in this point of view the image appears to be uniocular and to be located slightly behind our real eyes, the cyclopean eye will favor one side... this is the dominant side.

There are degrees of dominance, just as with handedness... and there are people that are "ambidextrous" in that they have no dominant eye. Studies in sports and athletics research into cross-eye dominance have lead to new theories in both sports and gun fighting, especially with handguns... but there is a lot of research that indicates that eye dominance switches without any fuss, depending on the angle of attack -- as little as a few degrees is believed to cause the switch, test show that it is the apparent image size that triggers eye dominance in these cases (when an object is off to one side, the eye on that side will have a slightly larger apparent image, because that eye is really closer to the object).

This belief is interesting when one looks at some of the more effective (but not well known) styles of gun fighters that tend to favor an eye forward method of fighting...

FromMyColdDeadHand
07-07-09, 12:50
Running the risk of sounding dumb in public, I have always had a hard time shooting two eyes open, so I've been a 'pirate' shooter, almost unknowingly keeping my left eye closed. With two eyes open to me, when focused on the target, there are two ghosted guns of about equal intensity. If I focus on the front site, there are two equal targets. Depending on point of focus, I shoot with the gun on the left and at the right target :) both eyes open, trying not to shoot ;) one eye closed. I wear glasses, but my left eye is stronger than my dominant right eye, which might explain why neither seems overly dominant.

Been practicing since I took a class and realized how much I was one eyeing it. Static shooting and the Steel and bowling pins I've shot I haven't missed the binocular vision. Been doing a lot of draws and sight picture aquisition practicing. I think that is the only answer, I think. My brain is starting to ignore the other images it sees.

ToddG
07-07-09, 14:07
Cross dominance is not a problem unless we make it into one. If we absolutely insist the student holds his gun in exactly one spot, or positions his head in exactly a certain way, etc., then yes we can be forcing him to screw up.

If you have him hold the gun in his dominant hand and aim the gun at the target, he's done. It's not more complicated than that. Start from a bench with sandbags or a similar rest. Eliminate recoil issues, etc.

If it helps, have him close the non-dominant eye. While closing one eye is less than ideal, there are certainly some talented shooters who do so and manage quite well.

As for a left-handed shooter getting low-right hits with a handgun, that would generally be seen as indicative of trigger jerk possibly combined with recoil anticipation. Unlike others in this thread, I would not immediately assume that someone who can handle a big heavy AR -- especially if it has a tuned trigger -- would automatically be able to do the same with a handgun.

Personally, I'm opposed to the "learn to shoot with the other hand" approach. As KLD pointed out, eye dominance switches at various times for various reasons ... handedness does not, as a general rule. So take advantage of the dexterity you've got in your strong hand.

Hunter Rose
07-07-09, 23:02
I've always found this topic interesting, since I am right handed but left eye dominant. As with most things, I think the internet makes it into a bigger deal than it is.

Shooting rifles, I have an aimpoint, so problem solved. Shooting pistols, I cant the gun slighty to the left or cock/turn my head slightly to the right. Perfect form, maybe not, but it works for me, and in shooting IDPA find I am still as fast or faster than my "correctly dominant" blessed friends.

I have never understood the "learn to shoot left handed argument". Maybe if I were 10 and learning to shoot it would work, but I have been right handed for many years and don't see myself ever being as proficient at manipulating a weapon left handed as I am right handed. I also don't think the gains are worth the trade off.

My 2 cents.

SGT D USMC
07-08-09, 02:24
I have two sons, both are right hand, left eye dominant. One could not close his left eye comfortably and shoots a rifle left handed. The other mearly closes his left eye and shoots right handed. They both love to shoot pistols. I once read an article in the american rifleman on this subject that claimed that if you were going to shoot competivily in longer matches , shooting with the dominant eye would be less tiring than shooting with the dominant hand.

I was a military hipower competter for several years. I had always learned to shoot both eyes open ( Iron sights) but during the years I changed to letting my left eye do what ever it wanted to do , usualy this was open but not as wide open as my shooting eye. In theory this may be good as I believe that keeping the non shooting eye open is to cause less tension than holding it closed, so why not just elemenate nonshooting eye tension by just letting it do what it wants?

he went into younder village and never returned

FromMyColdDeadHand
07-12-09, 14:36
IIRC from high power shooting, if you close the off sight eye, you get an issue where the sight eye and off-sight eye are seeing greatly different levels of light and your pupil response will be in between? I used to put a small patch of scotch tape (cloudy) on my left eye lens so that when I mounted the rifle my brain only had the right image to work with, but my pupils where optimized for the range lighting. Plus, with more light, the smaller the pupil, the deeper your depth of field (focus).

Todd - is the scotch tape technique ever used as a training tool in handguns to help people with sight aquisition? I think they do this is skeet and trap too IIRC.

Telecomtodd
07-12-09, 15:15
Wow. Time to put my rifle shooting coach hat back on.

First folks, this kid is trying to shoot a rifle, not a pistol. Completely different discipline.

Second, right handed shooters who are left eye dominant MUST CONTINUE TO SHOOT RIGHT HANDED. Switching sides won't help a darn thing except frustrate the kid and he'll walk away from the gun - isn't fun any more.

There are shooting glasses with the left side white and the other clear that work for this type of thing. Masking tape on an old pair of shooting glasses is another cheap way to do it. Even an eye patch (arrrrrr!) will work.

Top level olympic, NRA, and AMU shooters have been doing this succesfully for many, many years. However, he'll never clear a room or do other non-straight-ahead-type shooting, at least with iron sights.

One thing you didn't mention - does he wear eyeglasses? That could be another thing to look for. Some prescription glasses have distorion at the sides of the glass that will kill accuracy for shooters. I'm a bifocal wearer - same situation, only worse. I wear a pair of Jaggis - some of the most non-stylish glasses you can find: <http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=894444> The Jaggi glasses allow the wearer to adjust the eyepiece whereever they need it. My left side holds a white blinder, a vertical plastic piece that blocks my left eye's vision. With a single vision lens, I can easily see through aperture iron sights on my Anschutz target rifle or my M4.

Another thing - if he is borderline and needs glasses, he'll have similar complaints. Watch him while he looks for a sight picture - if he seems to be "all over the sight" trying to get a good glimpse from slightly different angles, I'd have him get an eye exam. I can name a handful of kids I've sent to opthamologists over the last couple of years who could shoot 200% better once they could see the target picture!

If he already wears glasses and is using contact lenses, note that his sight picture may be blurred in the same way that some glasses-wearing shooters see distortion at the edge of their glasses. One of my sons could shoot kneeling better than some of his prone scores - because his head/eye was aligned more straight-ahead than in prone position. This isn't crazy stuff - I've seen two juniors go to ugly shooting glasses and their scores have gone up considerably. One won the Whittington Cup at Perry last year (high junior prone national champion, 6400 score series shot over 4 days). That young man now shoots for NC State's team.

We teach stuff like this to about 350 Boy Scouts and 50 junior club members per year at our local gun club. I'd bet this young man's shooting will rapidly get better once he gets a handle on using a proper blinder or getting a pair of glasses.

Basics!

SGT D USMC
07-12-09, 15:16
in reply to FROMMYCOLDDEADHANDS:
I have been out of the competition loop sense the 1980's. I had never heard the explanation you gave for keeping both eyes open ( to help keep adjusted to the light) This sounds very poisitive to me. I never shot in what I considered too much light (military match iron sights).

I am fasinated about eyes in rifle competition. I have a few theorys myself, however they may be outdated now or be common knowledge.

he went onto younder villiage and never returned

Telecomtodd
07-12-09, 15:24
Sarge - for rifle shooting, both eyes are only useful when looking down the barrel at a distant sight (like a red dot) to get spatial comparison to the target. Otherwise there's really no good reason other than to relax your eye muscles in your non-sight eye. Scrunching up your non-sight eye eats away at your energy reserves - competitive rifle shooting is very much an endurance sport.

Since my endurance capabilities are very low due to health issues, I'm reduced to having to be able to gain a very fast yet accurate sight picture. Before medication, I also suffered from tachycardia - fast heart rate. I was timed coming off of a competition at 140 bpm - and that was on scope day - I was trying to fire every time the darn figure-eights in my scope settled on the bottom. It was then that I completely stopped competing and moved to coaching!

Ttwwaack
07-12-09, 16:55
OP, you are talking about pistol shooting, correct? If so, I think Todd hit this one on the head.


I've had this monkey on my back from time to time to. I used to shoot shotgun competitively and had the problem in skeet on slow crossers, in purticular Station 2 and 3 low house. Tried the one eye, 1/2" circle of tape covering the front bead, (on the 'non' dominent eye lense), turning more to the left ect. Solution, take the target sooner or relax as it comes out and get aggressive. Never had the problem on a sporting course where the presentations and shooting stations are changed weekly because it forces me to shoot aggressively.

I don't know if the textured scotch tape 1/2" circle will work for pistol shooting. I am of the school of thought that the tape is a crutch or learning tool to help the shooter identify the problem and when it is occurring. It is up to the shooter to fix the problem by realizing when it will occur and how to prevent it from occurring. Some additional training such as eye excersizes and dry fire will also be needed.

Eyes are very important in the competitive shooting sports. Most of the time it isn't the eyes or a dominance problem, we just need to train ourselves on where to focus them. I had an old timer once tell me once to look at the clay target so hard I could tell him how many rings were on it and which way it was spinning. Never saw a target the same since.

There is alot of information out on the web concerning eye training for sports and a few shooting websites, international shooting foundation and shooting USA. If the problem is still giving you trouble after your own remedies and professional instruction, seek out a sports optomologist who can help you with diagnosis and training. I almost sought one out myself.

Telecomtodd
07-12-09, 17:08
One parting shot - blinders are also widely used in bullseye competition, too.

Lastly, switching from strong hand to weak hand is great if you are an experienced shooter trying to practice for CQB or CCH, but really useless for target shooting.

Just my view from the coach's pit.

ToddG
07-12-09, 23:02
Todd - is the scotch tape technique ever used as a training tool in handguns to help people with sight aquisition? I think they do this is skeet and trap too IIRC.

I've seen it done and folks have said it helps them transition from crushing the eye closed to learning 2-eyes-open shooting, but I've never actually watched someone do it successfully. Like I said, the best way to deal with cross-dominance (with a pistol) is simply to scooch the gun over a bit in front of your head.



First folks, this kid is trying to shoot a rifle, not a pistol. Completely different discipline.

This is the handgun section of the website, and the OP stated the kid does fine shooting a rifle. Therefore, I think most of us are assuming the OP is asking about how to shoot a pistol when cross-dominant.

CoryCop25
07-13-09, 03:32
I had a student about three years ago who was having trouble shooting right handed with his left eye dominance. He tried shooting with his left hand and he was worse. I had him hold with his right hand and rotate his pistol counter clockwise until the sights lined up with his left eye. Problem solved (for him).