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The Yorkshire Gent

Is Eye Dominance Ruining Your Shooting? Don’t Let It!

Is Eye Dominance Ruining Your Shooting? Don’t Let It!

Shotgun shooting should be intuitive. See a target, follow it, give it the required lead and pull the trigger. Job done, clay dusted or game bird down and ready to be retrieved.

The problem is, for this to happen, you have to shoot where you look and this relies on three things being correct.

Firstly, the gun must fit you. Fundamentally, we’re all different shapes and sizes so that must be accounted for when choosing a shotgun.

Secondly, your gun mount must be accurate and consistent.

Thirdly, you must be shooting off the same shoulder as your dominant eye and that will be the topic of this article. By that, I don’t mean your true dominant eye (although that would be ideal) but the eye you choose to be your dominant eye in that situation. Let me explain…

We all have a dominant eye or central vision. Left eye dominant means that your left eye is more dominant and in a shooting scenario, your left eye will take over. Similarly, if you are right eye dominant then your right eye will take over.

If you have central vision then all sorts of things can happen. Believe me I know – I’ve been told by a number of shotgun coaches that I have the strongest central vision they’ve ever seen!

You WILL be one of the three. If you’re not sure (or it’s been a while since you last checked as your vision can change), then download the bonus test sheet that accompanies this article.

It’s simply a sheet that you print off and follow the instructions. There are then three visuals which you simply match with what you see and it will tell you whether you’re left eye dominant, right eye dominant or have central vision.

If you are not 100% sure of your dominant eye or whether it might have changed, please do this quick exercise before continuing with the article. You will then be able to jump to the relevant section to find out what you need to do in order to effectively work with your dominant eye and hopefully improve your shooting as a result.


Download The Yorkshire Gent eye dominance test sheet now and find out which eye is the most dominant or whether your vision has changed since the last time you tested.

Both Eyes Open or One Eye Closed?

Ideally, you want to shoot with both eyes open. Why? There are a few reasons:

  1. With one eye closed, the speed in which your brain can process information slows down
    1. In a shooting scenario, this means things like target speed and distance will take longer to calculate. As you well know, a split second can make all the difference between a hit and a miss
  2. Hand-eye coordination increased when both eyes are open. Balance also improves
  3. With one eye closed, the end of the gun is more sharp – ideally you want it blurred which will naturally mean more focus on the target which is absolutely where you should be looking. With the end of the gun in sharp focus, you’re more likely to aim it which isn’t how you should shoot a shotgun

This tweet by shooting expert Mike Yardley is spot on:

Right Eye Dominant – Right Handed Shooter

Congratulations! This is ideal. You can shoot with both eyes open and allow you brain the maximum processing power.

If you’re shooting with both eyes open but still missing then something else needs looking at – the fit of your gun or your technique. At least you can rule out eye dominance.

Left Eye Dominant – Right Handed Shooter

Ouch! Not ideal but it’s not the end of the world. You essentially have three options here.

  1. Shoot of your left shoulder
    1. This sounds extreme but many people have done it with great success. Many have done it with zero success but it might be something you try to see how you get on. The benefit of doing this is that you’re shooting off the same shoulder as your dominant eye meaning you can shoot with both eyes open
  2. Close your left eye
    1. Yep, it’s as simple as that. With your left eye closed, your right eye is the only one in use so by default has to be the dominant eye. The best way to do this is to try and judge speed and distance with both eyes open and then close your left eye before pulling the trigger
  3. Put a small thumbnail patch of translucent tape over the left lens of your glasses
    1. This will allow you to shoot with both eyes open but because it’s blurred over the left eye, your right eye will become dominant

Central Vision – Right Handed Shooter

That makes two of us! Welcome to my world…

The options here are the same as a left eye dominant, right handed shooter but not shooting off the other shoulder. That won’t help if you have central vision.

As somebody who has central vision, I’ve tried a number of products on the market including bright beads and patches but none have really helped.

I was hopeful that the bead would end my search for a solution but it wasn’t to be. Because I see two sets of barrels at almost the same transparency, the signals to my brain were all over the place and even though one set of barrels had a bright dot on top of them, it still didn’t help. For some people though, the beads so work well so don’t discount them based purely on my experience.

I spent a long time closing my left eye but it can be quite tiring after a while and I always felt that cutting my field of view in half wasn’t helping me.

My end solution? A small piece of translucent tape stuck onto my glasses which blurred my left eye. This meant I could start shooting with both eyes open. I have to thank the coach at the show I was at for this as once he added it to my glasses, I shot 10 clays from 10 shots – something I rarely did previously!

UPDATE: The tape did the job well but after chatting with a different and very experienced shooting coach, he suggested that it may have been too much of a ‘quick fix’.

I am now shooting with both eyes open and with nothing to take my left eye out of the equation (ie the tape has gone). As a result, I’m seeing a ghost image of the barrels which does take some getting used to. If you try this, it’s absolutely critical that you focus hard on the target.

I’ve found that it works best using the swing through method of shooting as it’s much more instinctive. If I need to shoot a target which requires a different method of applying forward allowance such as maintained lead, I’ll probably find it easier with the tape back on so that the ghost image disappears and I only see the one version of the barrels.

Having that binocular vision with both eyes open though gives me lots of confidence.

Left Eye Dominant, Left Handed Shooter

Exactly the same advice as right/right above. Congratulations!

Right Eye Dominant, Left Handed Shooter

The same advice as a left eye dominant, right handed shooter above. Either learn to shoot off your left shoulder, close your right eye or add a piece of tape to your glasses blurring out your right eye meaning you can shoot with both eyes open.

Central Vision, Left Handed Shooter

If you have central vision, the result will be the same regardless of the shoulder you shoot off. Either close your left eye or add a piece of tape to your glasses blurring out your right eye meaning you can shoot with both eyes open. See the advice for central vision, right handed shooter above for more information

So, if you have downloaded the sheet, determined your dominant eye and employed one of the above fixes then your eye dominance issue should be solved. If you continue to have problems hitting targets, something else needs looking at – gun fit and/or technique.

Good luck.