Sniper's Hide Bullet Point Episode 18 - Shooting with Both Eyes Open
We have been fielding a lot of Bullet Point questions, not to mention topic suggestions, so thanks everyone for reaching out with your questions and comments. Remember you can always private message me in the Sniper's Hide forums at SHLOWLIGHT.
Shooting with Both Eyes
A lot of people were taught to close one when looking through their scopes. Most people believe this helps them focus on the target when it is exactly the opposite. The fact of the matter is, we want to use both eyes, especially if you are military or law enforcement. Closing one eye not only increases the strain on the face and eye muscles, it cuts off all the information from that side when shooting. While it is preached to military and law enforcement it can be a safety issue for competitive shooters too. You want to see what is around you, plus it's our relaxed state. Our brain is much happier with both eyes open.
Cross Eye Dominance
So the next question is, what about Cross Eye Dominance, which is the number one reason for closing the off side eye. Welcome to the club, as I am right handed and left eye dominant. I have an astigmatism in my right so naturally my left has defaulted to my dominate side. Now, I do practice and shoot left handed, this actually works very well for me, but I am much more natural shooting right handed the majority of the time, so I continue to shoot this way. Being ambidextrous I can also write left handed, but manipulating things like my magazines is much easier right handed.
So how can we fix a Cross Eye Dominant Shooter ?
How I managed it was to get prescription shooting glass. Correcting my vision on my right has helped a lot. It balances the scales a bit. I still had to train my left eye to let my right take over and part of that was to close the close left momentarily so the right could acquire the sights, then I am able to open my left and it will not corrupt my sight picture. If I don't wear my prescription shooting glasses or if I am very tired it is much harder to keep the left eye in line. But after years of training it does work.
The other solutions many employ, aside from closing one eye, is to cut off the information from the dominant eye. They sell patches and devices to limit the vision from the off eye while keeping it open at the same time. Some of these devices will attach to your shooting glasses and are very popular in several of the shooting sports. The key element with most of them is, you keep that open to reduce the strain on the face and eyes.
Properly Setting up the Scope
The next step is to properly adjust the diopter on the scope. This also helps corrects some vision problems by adding or subtracting magnification from the optic to account for your eye. It also properly focuses the reticle. When we address the scope we should have an immediate crisp and sharp reticle to look at. This is normally done by setting the parallax to infinity and looking at a plain background like the sky or solid color. One caveat with this is to never stare at the reticle when adjusting it as the eyes will refocus and adjust themselves. So you want to look at the reticle, turn away, and adjust. Then look back to check your progress. If you have issues with a splitting reticle or one that goes out of focus this could be an indictor of eye problems too so consider prescription shooting glasses. Many will start with the diopter dialed all the way and work it's way out, if you feel you need this much adjustment. Finally make sure the scope is on max power and the erector (Turrets) are centered so not to cause any issue.
Think about it this way, guys like Jeff Cooper were right handed and left hand dominant, so it's not something you should be afraid of. Understanding the issue and with the proper training you can easily over come this when shooting a precision rifle. I do it every day.
Thanks for watching,