Eye dominance is a common topic of discussion among gun owners. It can affect everything from grip to sight and optic use to accuracy. Then, when you add cross-dominance, it becomes a much larger issue (but not an insurmountable one). Navy SEAL Jason Pike made a video to discuss ways of dealing with eye-dominance and cross-dominance as a handgun shooter and how to find solutions to make you a better shooter.
What is Eye Dominance?
It definitely helps to understand what eye dominance is. Basically, it refers to which of your eyes provides a bit more information than the other. According to Healthline.com, it is the eye “that provides slightly more input to the visual cortex of your brain and relays information more accurately, such as the location of objects.”
The ability to see where things are is more than slightly important in life in general, but as a shooter, the precision involved matters a great deal. Not only do you need to process where your sights are but also how they relate to the location of your target. Then there’s point of aim versus point of impact and countless other factors.
It isn’t uncommon to be cross-dominant, and that’s really what Pike discusses in this video. That means you are, for example, left-handed but right eye dominant like Pike.
There are two head positions Pike frequently sees in shooters who are cross-dominant The first one is with the head tilted down so that the dominant eye is lined up with the sights.
He says, “It is definitely possible to train your eye to shoot in that manner, but it is not a position we normally operate from as humans. From the time we start walking, we walk upright with [our] eyes horizontal to the ground.
The second head position he sees in cross-dominant shooters is head vertical, eyes horizontal from each other, with the head twisted to the left or right. This is a problem because the for most people, the muscles behind the eyes are not strong. So, even though a person might begin to look at something with the eyes, the head will quickly follow so that the eyes are never in a strained position.
To understand why these head positions can be awkward and less than ideal as a shooter, Pike suggests you go outside and look at the horizon with your head upright and eyes level as you normally would. Then try tilting your head to one side. He says you will notice your eyes move as you do this, making it more difficult to focus steadily and precisely.
To find out what could happen if you turn your head while shooting, he suggests trying to move your eyes up, down, and to either side. You might notice a feeling your eyes are being forced to work harder which means doing that will also make it harder to shoot accurately, not to mention comfortably.
Find out what else Pike has to say about cross-dominance and his corrective training method using eye protection in the video:
How Do I Know if I Am Cross-Dominant?
In How to Determine Eye Dominance and Deal with Cross-Dominance, Savage Arms provides the following guide:
- With your palms facing out, make a small triangle window between your thumbs and forefingers (about 2-3 inches across) and hold your arms straight in front of you.
- Focus on a spot a short distance away like a light switch or doorknob through the window in your hands with both eyes open.
- Close your left eye. Did your target move out of view? Or can you still see it? If you can still see your target with your right eye open, you’re right eye dominant.
- Close your right eye. Did your target move out of view? Or can you still see it? If you can still see your target with your left eye open, you’re left eye dominant.
Being cross-dominant doesn’t mean you cannot still be a fantastic shot. All you need is to learn how to work with it and you’re good to go. Resources like this video provided by Jason Pike are a good way to find out what works for you so you can be the best shooter possible.
Are you cross-dominant? Tell us about it in the comments section below.