How To Shoot With Both Eyes Open

Read on to find out how to shoot with both eyes open.

There are plenty of benefits to shooting with both eyes open, especially when shooting shotguns and handguns. However, doing so is easier said than done and most people have to fight very hard to overcome the natural tendency to close their non-dominant eye when shooting. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to make it much easier to shoot with both eyes open.

Obscure The Vision In Your Non-Dominant Eye

One obstacle that many shooters must overcome when trying to shoot with both eyes open is the natural tendency of the non-dominant eye to attempt to focus on the sights. With both eyes trying to simultaneously focus on a single point at close range, some people experience double vision, which is obviously bad for accuracy.

A popular trick that many competition skeet and trap shooters use is to place a piece of translucent tape on their shooting glasses covering their non-dominant eye. This allows them to keep the eye open and enjoy all of the benefits of doing so, but prevents them from using that eye to focus on the sights. The same thing can be accomplished by smearing a bit of petroleum jelly on the shooting glasses over the non-dominant eye as well. Either way, it is good training for keeping the non-dominant eye open, yet unfocused on the sights.

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Dry Fire

Dry firing your firearm is a great way to practice a number of skills essential to good marksmanship, especially trigger squeeze and sight picture. This can also be an effective way to train yourself to shoot with both eyes open. While dry firing a rimfire firearm is not recommended, it is perfectly fine to dry fire the vast majority of modern centerfire firearms. If you still don’t feel comfortable doing it, buy some snap caps for your chosen firearm and conduct your dry fire using them.

Prior to dry firing any firearm, double check to make sure that it is unloaded and make sure that your target (or what is directly behind it) will safely stop any bullet fired by your chosen firearm. Once that is complete, practice acquiring a good sight picture. Bring the sights up to your line of sight (do not bring your head down to your firearm) and focus on that front sight. The front sight should be perfectly in focus while the target and the rear sight should both be slightly fuzzy.

While you are doing this, pay particular attention to keeping both eyes open and only focusing on the front sight with your dominant eye. If necessary, use your shooting glasses with the tape over the non-dominant eye. After you get a good sight picture with both eyes open, squeeze the trigger, making every effort to keep both eyes open the entire time. Then, lower your firearm and do it all over again. It might take hundreds of repetitions to get it down right, so repeat this drill over and over. If you train yourself correctly, those skills will carry over to the range and you should then be able to shoot comfortably with both eyes open.

A good intermediate step between dry firing and shooting full powered ammunition is to shoot with a rimfire rifle or pistol. The relatively low recoil and noise produced by air guns and rimfires will help reinforce good shooting habits (such as shooting with both eyes open) and help ease the transition to shooting full powered cartridges.

Blink Your Non-Dominant Eye

If you’re still having problems, one simple thing that I find helps me is to blink my non-dominant eye when aiming. Don’t blink both eyes, just your non-dominant one. For some reason, this seems to “reset” the eye and keep it from focusing on whatever it was focusing on prior to blinking, in this case, the front sight. Usually, this is something that works if you have trained your eyes reasonably well, but experience a slight relapse while shooting at the range.

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