Eye dominance when shooting

Eye dominance affects the accuracy and performance of 30% of shooters.

This article will discuss eye dominance when shooting, how it may be affecting your performance and your options for overcoming this common condition.

Eye dominance when shooting

1# What is eye dominance?

Eye dominance occurs when visual input from one eye is favoured over the other. This is a subconscious process which can greatly affect your accuracy and performance when clay and game shooting. 

For most people their dominant eye matches the shoulder they shoot from. In these cases, eye dominance is not an issue and shooting accuracy is not affected. 

But for around 30% of shooters, this is not the case. When your dominant eye does not match your shooting shoulder you are experiencing cross dominance.


2# How does cross dominance affect my shooting?

In order to shoot most accurately, you need to aim on target with the eye which is best positioned to view down the barrel of your firearm. When cross dominance occurs, you are primarily sighting on the target with the eye which does not look down the barrel. Refer to the image below.

When cross dominance goes unnoticed and your dominant eye does not match your shooting shoulder, your brain’s positional perception is dramatically affected. This results in a severe drop in accuracy and performance.


3# How to check which eye is dominant?

Contrary to popular belief eye dominance is not related to the eye with the best visual acuity, so knowing which of your eyes has a weaker prescription does not mean that will be your dominant eye. 

To determine your dominant eye, try one of these tests at home. If you are still uncertain, book into your local optician and request an eye dominance examination. 

Eye dominance: Test 1

Choose a ‘target’ several metres away from you, this could be an object such as a light switch or tree.

Make a triangle out of your hands by placing the tips of your thumbs and index fingers together. See the image.

With both eyes open lift your hands so that you are viewing your target centrally through the triangle, with arms extended. 


Shut each eye in turn and you are likely to find that the target is only centred when viewing through one eye, while through the other it appears shifted to the left or right.

Your dominant eye is the one through which you can see the target centrally. 

If the answer is unclear after this test, you could have central/middle vision. The second at-home test may help you to determine this.


Eye dominance: Test 2

Pick a ‘target’ at least several metres away, the further away the better.

Make a thumbs up sign with one hand and with both eyes open lift it so that your thumb is in line with the target.

Focus your vision on the target rather than your thumb and you should see two (somewhat blurry) thumbs! One of these is your thumb as seen by the right eye, the other as seen by the left eye.

Close each eye in turn (you should then see just one thumb). If your thumb obscures the target when one eye is closed, the eye that is open is your dominant eye. 


If target is located between your ‘two’ thumbs, you have central/middle vision.

Your dominant eye is the one through which you can see the target centrally.


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