Firearms

How to Shoot with Both Eyes Open

How to Shoot with Both Eyes Open

If you’ve ever shot a gun, you understand the importance of mastering your vision for proper aim. Understanding how your vision can impact your shooting ability is crucial for any shooter, yet not every shooter takes the time to truly understand the fundamentals of how your eyes affect your aim.

There are plenty of things to learn about how to use your eyes when you shoot, such as shooting with both eyes open, why you should aim with your dominant eye, and more. Let’s get into it!

Why Learn to Aim with Both Eyes Open?

Whether it be thanks to the imagery seen in Hollywood movies or just bad training, many beginner shooters choose to shoot a handgun with one eye closed. However, if you’re looking to be the most accurate shooter you can possibly be, this is a habit that needs to be left behind.

There are several advantages that come from shooting with both eyes open, and once you can see the effects that the practice has on your shooting, you’ll be more willing to adopt this method.

Field of Vision and Situational Awareness

When you close an eye, you greatly cut back on your field of vision and eliminate half of your peripheral vision.

While this may not seem like a big deal when it happens in a controlled environment, it can be incredibly dangerous out in the field. When you’re out in a potentially dangerous environment, you’re going to want access to all the information you can get, and this isn’t possible to do when half of your field of vision is obstructed.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you’ll need to act quickly and decisively with a firearm, you’ll want to make sure you’re able to shoot with both eyes open. Take the time to learn how to do this so that it becomes second nature when hunting or in any moments of crisis.

A More Relaxed Shooter

When you keep both eyes open, you’re naturally relaxing yourself and your muscles. Although it may feel like closing an eye doesn’t take much toll on your muscles, it does cause other parts of your body to tense up, which can lead to all sorts of problems when shooting. You may be more inclined to flinch through the shot, your aim may suffer and you won’t see the results you’re hoping for on a target.

Shooter looking at rifle

When you shoot with both eyes open and with a calm, relaxed face, you minimize the chance of any additional movements or unwanted recoil in your shooting process, which will lead to more consistent shooting in the long run.

Train Yourself to Shoot with Both Eyes Open

Learning how to shoot a pistol with both eyes open can be a challenging process, especially if you’ve spent years of your life shooting with an eye closed. It can be hard to correct a bad habit, so make sure that you are patient with yourself and trust the learning process.

The first thing you will need to do is figure out which eye is your dominant eye. A vast majority of people have the same dominant eye as they do dominant hand; most right-handed people’s right eye is dominant and most left-handed people’s left eye is dominant. However, seeing as this is the most important step in the shooting process, it’s important that you confirm this before you pick up the gun to learn.

There are plenty of easy ways to determine which eye is your dominant one, but this one from All About Vision is the easiest.

  • Extend your arms out in front of you and create a triangular opening between your thumbs and forefingers by placing your hands together at a 45-degree angle.
  • With both eyes open, center this triangular opening on a distant object — such as a wall clock or doorknob.
  • Close your left eye.
  • If the object stays centered, your right eye (the one that’s open) is your dominant eye. If the object is no longer framed by your hands, your left eye is your dominant eye.

Why Should I Aim with My Dominant Eye?

It’s important to understand and utilize your dominant eye because that is what will give you a better chance of success. Your dominant eye provides you with a more accurate look at the world in front of you, while your non-dominant eye is used to fill in details and add more to your peripheral vision.

You want to use your dominant eye because your body will react better to the information coming from your dominant eye. Your dominant eye helps in so many ways in terms of spatial recognition, and it’s a crucial tool at any shooter’s disposal.

But with all of that being said, it’s still important that you use your non-dominant eye to your advantage as well. But how do you aim with both eyes open?

How to Aim with Both Eyes Open

Now that you know which eye is your dominant eye, it’s time to put the rest of the process together. Next, we need to figure out your focus habits. In a safe environment, hold your pistol like you usually would and close your non-dominant eye.

Take aim like usual (but before you move to the trigger) open your closed eye. As you open your eye, take notice of what your vision looks like. Do you see two pistols or two targets? If your focus is on the sights of your gun, you will have two targets in view, and if you focus on the target, you will have two guns in view. You can continuously blink your non-dominant eye to determine your focus.

You can refer to the images in this blog post to see a visual representation of this process.

After you’ve learned this process, it’s time to start shooting. Try this focusing process while aiming your gun and fire your shot with both eyes open. This may be disorienting at first, which is why it’s important to get plenty of practice with this method.

What you’re doing when you’re practicing this is training your brain to take in all the information with both eyes — not just your dominant eye. If you’ve shot with only your dominant eye your whole life, this will be quite the adjustment. But the more you can train your brain to shoot using this method, the more comfortable you’ll feel and the more consistent your shooting will become.

Practice Makes Progress

Like all things worth learning in life, developing good aim and getting comfortable with your gun takes plenty of practice. The more time you can spend learning the ins and outs of your gun, trying different shooting techniques, and practicing aiming with your dominant eyes, the better off you’ll be at the shooting range and out in the field. The more you can practice, the more progress you’ll make as a shooter.

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