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In this post, we will do a short presentation about eye dominance and how it affects handgun shooting.
We will focus on cross dominance and eye neutral.

But first some facts:

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard someone referring to a “dominant eye”, whether that’s in a sporting setting, optician’s context, or another situation entirely. Contrary to popular belief, your dominant eye doesn’t always have better vision than your non-dominant eye. Essentially, it just means that this particular eye relays information more accurately to your brain’s visual cortex than the other eye. The cortex is responsible for processing visual information. It’s made up of bands of neurons that respond preferentially to input from one eye or the other. It’s this preference that determines the eyes’ dominance, not the visual acuity of each eye. The dominant eye simply has more neural connections to the brain than the non-dominant eye.
Eye dominance can be changed in some cases. However, it usually requires a significant period of time/training (it’s easier to learn how to work around it).

  • 65% of people have a dominant eye that is the same as their dominant hand. That is, if they’re right-handed, their dominant eye is their right eye (or left eye if they’re left-handed).
  • 18% of people are cross dominant, with their dominant eye different from their dominant hand. Interestingly
  • 17% of people have no identifiable dominant eye (eye neutral).

Finding the dominant eye:

  1. Pick something to look at in the distance – ideally five or more meters away. Examples could be a clock or a mark on the wall.
  2. Hold both of your hands out in front of you. Overlap your fingers and line up your thumbs to create a small triangular gap between your hands.
  3. Lift your hands and focus on the target looking through the triangular gap in your hands. You should be able to see the object in this gap.
  4. Take turns closing your eyes while keeping your hands in the same position. With one eye, the object will remain visible through the small gap in your hands. With the other eye closed, however, the object will seem as if it has shifted and be hidden from your view.
  5. Results: The eye which is open on its own and allows you to still see the object is your dominant eye. The eye with which it appears that the object has shifted from view is your non-dominant eye.
    If neither eye being closed produces an image where the object is centered, you might have mixed ocular dominance/eye neutral.

Eye Neutral

Eye neutral or mixed ocular dominance occurs when a person doesn’t have a dominant eye. It has nothing to do with the eyes. It’s usually due to genetics or age. It’s our brain’s option on what eye it wants to look at the best in a particular moment. Our brain is switching from left to right eye or the other way around.
In shooting, if a person has a good stance and good grip the eye problem (in this case eye neutral) will be seen on the target as “shotgun” shooting (big group) but if you look closer you will see it’s basically two separated groups and that is due to eye issues.

  • A right-handed shooter will usually have one group in the center and the other one to the left (red).
  • The left-handed shooter will have one group in the center and the other one to the right (blue).

The solution for eye neutral si simple: we need to take one eye out of the equation and “force” our brains to use the other eye.
How do we do that?

We still need to take the non-dominant eye out of the equation and we do that by rotating our head 10 degrees (don’t take this literally) to the left if we are using our right eye or rotating the head to the right if we are using our left eye (both eyes are open).

Cross Eye Dominance

Cross eye dominance is having a dominant eye on the opposite side of your dominant hand. Like eye neutral, it has nothing to do with the eyes. It’s usually due to genetics or age. Our eyes degrade with years and the brain decides it sees better on the other eye. In shooting this will be seen on the target as a group on the right or the left side of the center (your aiming point).

A right-handed shooter will usually have a group to the left.

A left-handed shooter will usually have a group to the right.

There are many solutions like; moving the pistol to your dominant eye, training your non-dominant eye, or learn to shoot with your non-dominant hand. All this takes a lot of training and like we mention before its easier to work around it so that’s why we recommend the following:
– Aim the gun from the center of your body
– Rotate the head “10 degrees” (don’t take this literally) to the left if you are right eye dominant
– Rotate the head “10 degrees” (don’t take this literally) to the right if you are left-eye dominant
– The non-dominant eye needs to be taken out of the equation (but don’t close it)
– Don’t tilt your head (rotate!)

If you have any question about eye dominance lets us know in the comment section, FB or IG. Next time we will talk about eye dominance when shooting a rifle.

Stay safe and keep training