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View Full Version : help on how to shoot handgun with both eyes open


bryan28
04-27-2010, 12:13 PM
i am fairly new to handguns, been shooting for less than a year. for close range (10 yards) i can hit center mass reliably with both eyes open (by focusing on the target). however at 25 yards+ i need to close one eye to focus on the front sight.

those of you that are trained and proficient at shooting with both eyes, are you focusing on the target (as i do) or on your front sight? when i focus on the front sight, i get double vision and i'm not sure what i am aiming at.

any tips?

mif_slim
04-27-2010, 12:19 PM
target, then front sights. our eyes only have two focal points and so, the target is clear and the front sight, the rear sight isnt. Target aquizition is important, but how you hold the gun is just as important, also trigger finger plays a role in accurate shooting. But, for handguns, if your traning for SD, you dont need to shoot anything further then 25 yards, though it'll just be knowledgeable that you can hit something out that far, but...real SD happen 3-7 yards. So if your hitting center mass already, your doing great.

nrvnqsrxk
04-27-2010, 12:38 PM
If you're like me, opening both eyes gives you two sight pictures. A left one and a right one. Since my right eye is dominant, I know the left sight picture is the one my right eye is seeing.

You can also just train by squinting your non-dominant eye to note which sight picture is the one the dominant eye is picking up, then opening both eyes again.

For accuracy, you should be focused on the front sight post. Once you've gotten through around 100,000 rounds, you can start looking at alternative methods of aiming (i.e. focusing on the target and having the bullets go where you're looking), because by that time, you'll already have ingrained into your subconscious what a proper sight picture looks like and can do it properly even though the sight picture is blurred.

ZombieTactics
04-27-2010, 12:42 PM
Uhhh ... you really ought to be closing one eye anyway, IMHO.

smalltime
04-27-2010, 12:52 PM
Im still a noob but I do a lot of dry fire practice and I can only get a clear sight and target if I tilt my head toward my right shoulder and focus on the front sight. Something about the dominate eye wanting to take over the focus.

trickyvic
04-27-2010, 12:53 PM
First, you need to learn sight picture, stance, breathing, trigger control, follow through. All of these are crucial to achieving good marksmanship. Bring the target in as close as you need it, then after you get consistent, move the target further in small increments. I find that a lot of people are kinda embarrassed to shoot at really close distances.

When training I always focus on the front sight ONLY, not the target. I bring my my firearm up to the target, as I'm doing that I shift my focus to the front sight. At this point I can still see the target somewhat clear, I find this allows me shift my focus to the target easier should I need to.

Oh yeah, you can also train by covering your non-dominant eye (eye patch) This allows you to keep on both eyes open but allows only the dominant eye to focus on the sight picture.

acourvil
04-27-2010, 12:54 PM
I took a class recently, and one of the things that the instructor said was that while it is better to keep both eyes open if you can properly resolve the sight picture from your dominant eye, many older people are not able to do that. The explanation was that if you had not learned to sight with both eyes open by a certain age (I think it was mid-thirties, but I don't remember exactly), that it was difficult to impossible to learn it after that age. So he told us that if we had trouble with it to just close the non-dominant eye, or to use a patch over the safety glasses on the non-dominant side.

Bug Splat
04-27-2010, 12:55 PM
Uhhh ... you really ought to be closing one eye anyway, IMHO.

Why? There is lot more value in keeping both eyes open. I even learned how to shoot my scoped rifles with both eyes open. I can switch back and forth between my free eye and my shooting eye without breaking my cheek weld.

Using two eyes gives you twice to vision. Close one eye and you are now blind on one side.

BigDogatPlay
04-27-2010, 1:03 PM
Focus point is at the front sight. Having both eyes open is best for depth perception, as well as scanning your peripheral areas for potential threats / safety issues etc. Any cross dominant eye issues will be very noticeable when shooting with both eyes open.

Find an NRA certified pistol instructor local to you and get grounded in the basics. In some cases a blinder over the non-dominant eye will help to train and focus the dominant eye to where it needs to be.

5150bronco
04-27-2010, 1:05 PM
i like to switch between one and two eyes for practice.

with two eyes just line up sights with target and pull gun little closer to you. this is good for rapid fire in my opinion. just practice.

SkiDevil
04-27-2010, 1:26 PM
i am fairly new to handguns, been shooting for less than a year. for close range (10 yards) i can hit center mass reliably with both eyes open (by focusing on the target). however at 25 yards+ i need to close one eye to focus on the front sight.

those of you that are trained and proficient at shooting with both eyes, are you focusing on the target (as i do) or on your front sight? when i focus on the front sight, i get double vision and i'm not sure what i am aiming at.

any tips?

TrickyVic provided some good advice. Presuming that you have all of the fundamentals down then learning to shoot a pistol with both eyes open is not that difficult. It just takes a fair amount of practice and repetition to ingrain it into your subconscious.

When you refer to 'center of mass' then I will assume that you are training/ practicing for a Self-Defense type shooting/ scenario. If that is the case then training past 25 yards is not really necessary.

If you train to shooting at a silhoutte type target out to 25 yards that is more than adequate. When you master that distance, then you can start moving-out to 50 yards and further.

FWIW, just as someone else already mentioned. The typical shooting is measured in feet and NOT yards. It is very common for many shootings to occur inside of 7 yards, which is 21 feet. Although, shootings do occur at greater distances it is not typical but training for the possibility is not necessarily a bad idea.

The best suggestion/ tip that I could impart is for you to locate a competent trainer/ training school and obtain professional training on how to use a pistol for self-defense.

I personally almost never shoot any of my pistols with one eye closed. The exception for me is if I am shooting in a target shooting competition of 100 plus yards.

Also, consider purchasing a .22 conversion kit for your pistol or better yet a reliable .22 pistol such as a Ruger Mark II/III so you can practice a great deal more without spending a fortune.

SkiDevil

P.S. If you have a particular interest in the statistics of shootings (distances, rounds fired, etc.) the U.S. Department of Justice and the F.B.I. compile data on shootings.

throwbricks
04-27-2010, 1:33 PM
target, then front sights. our eyes only have two focal points and so, the target is clear and the front sight, the rear sight isnt.

This violates the laws of physics, unless each of your eyes is focusing in a separate object, which would make you some kind of mutant.

Sinixstar
04-27-2010, 1:43 PM
Im still a noob but I do a lot of dry fire practice and I can only get a clear sight and target if I tilt my head toward my right shoulder and focus on the front sight. Something about the dominate eye wanting to take over the focus.

Don't tilt your head.
Your body will naturally follow your head. If you're leaning your head to the right, your shoulders will naturally want to slump right, twisting your back, and your hips.

Get your body and your head in a good position, and bring the gun up to where it needs to be for you to get a good picture. Keep your head up, facing forward - and use your arms to bring the gun up/over where it needs to be to get your focus on the sights.

Sinixstar
04-27-2010, 1:49 PM
The easiest way I found to train my eyes in order to keep both open was fairly simple.

During dry fire practice - or even just for purposes of training your eyes - bring your gun to your shooting stance. Close your weak eye, focus on the front pin as you would if you were about to fire. Concentrate on that front pin as hard as you can, and slowly open up your weak eye. Your picture will prolly get hosed as your brain tries to figure out what's going on. Close your weak eye, and repeat. The point here is to concentrate on focusing solely on your dominant eye's picture.

It takes awhile - but at some point you'll feel it starting to work. After enough time/practice over the course of a couple weeks, you'll find it easier to go to your dominant eye's view kind of on command.

Something else that can help with this - as an alternative to an eye patch, is a cheap pair of sunglasses. Pop out the lens of your dominant eye - leaving the weak eye shaded. You'll still be able to see - but not nearly as well.

The other thing that i've found is - as I said in the previous post - it's really important to bring the gun up to the line of sight of your dominant eye. This is going to make life a LOT easier when you're doing this.

trickyvic
04-27-2010, 1:59 PM
Something else that can help with this - as an alternative to an eye patch, is a cheap pair of sunglasses. Pop out the lens of your dominant eye - leaving the weak eye shaded. You'll still be able to see - but not nearly as well.

I think this is a terrible idea because;
1) You should NEVER shoot without proper eye protection, leaving one eye unshielded is a BAD idea.
2) Popping one lense out would completely mess with your depth perception.

Sinixstar
04-27-2010, 2:00 PM
I think this is a terrible idea because;
1) You should NEVER shoot without proper eye protection, leaving one eye unshielded is a BAD idea.
2) Popping one lense out would completely mess with your depth perception.

Try reading the post before you comment. I wasn't talking about shooting. I was talking about practicing and training your eye BEFORE you shoot. Unless your definition of 'dry fire practice' is different from mine?

trickyvic
04-27-2010, 2:09 PM
Try reading the post before you comment. I wasn't talking about shooting. I was talking about practicing and training your eye BEFORE you shoot. Unless your definition of 'dry fire practice' is different from mine?

Wow, settle down. I read the post and only the part of "repeatedly closing your eyes" was what I understood as practiced during "dry fire." Since I perceived it this way, I didn't want the OP to go out shooting with one of his lenses out. I responded to your comment for the safety of the OP, it wasn't about YOU so don't take it personal.

billped
04-27-2010, 2:10 PM
Try reading the post before you comment. I wasn't talking about shooting. I was talking about practicing and training your eye BEFORE you shoot. Unless your definition of 'dry fire practice' is different from mine?

In trickyvic's defense, your writing structure does not make it completely clear that you were still talking about dry-firing. i.e. "dry firing" opens one paragraph and the sunglass comment is two paragraphs down.

I read it the way you intended, but others may not.


Bill

9mmepiphany
04-27-2010, 2:14 PM
when you cover, or obscure the vision of, your non-dominate eye, what you are trying to train your brain to do is recognize which sight picture you want it to focus on. what your goal is, is to see through both eyes while only looking through your dominate eye at the sights.

i always shoot with both eyes open, you just have to only see as much as you need to confirm sight alignment

TMC
04-27-2010, 2:36 PM
There is no "right" way when it comes to shooting both eyes open or one eye closed. You have to do what works best for you. I shoot one eye closed and as a Master class action pistol shooter it works for me. I know lots of faster guys who shoot both both ways. Its not an old guy thing either, check out BJ Norris, one of the fastest guys in the sport and in his early 20's. When it comes to speed and target acquisition I will keep both eyes open until just before breaking the shot and then close my left eye (right hand shooter) get a clear look at the front sight and then press once or twice (depending on what I have to shoot). If the targets are far apart and out of my immediate vision I will use both eye to acquire the next target and then repeat the above process, if targets are close together I'll leave one eye closed and just engage the next.

Like other have said good fundamentals are key. If you're new to shooting read up on the proper stance and grip. Keep your head straight up, don't lean it over to one side.

Here's some video of me shooting one eye closed, it works fine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J48WQJ_obVc&playnext_from=TL&videos=Zfcc9NoKd64

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwq9eLI_ZBM&feature=related

bryan28
04-27-2010, 2:52 PM
thanks for the tips i'm starting to get the idea of what i'm supposed to do:

focus on the front sight. have two field of visions but train my brain to only concentrate on the dominant field.

one more question: i am right handed and right-eyed. is my left eye supposed to look forward (doing the same thing as my right eye) or is also supposed to look at the front sight (it would be looking to the right)?

Sinixstar
04-27-2010, 3:17 PM
thanks for the tips i'm starting to get the idea of what i'm supposed to do:

focus on the front sight. have two field of visions but train my brain to only concentrate on the dominant field.

one more question: i am right handed and right-eyed. is my left eye supposed to look forward (doing the same thing as my right eye) or is also supposed to look at the front sight (it would be looking to the right)?


You basically want to be looking at the target with both eyes, but focused on the sights using your dominant eye. Make sense?

If you try to focus on the sights with both eyes, you're not going to be able to find your target.

Sam
04-27-2010, 3:30 PM
I shoot one eye closed and have only been instucted as such.

nrvnqsrxk
04-27-2010, 3:35 PM
thanks for the tips i'm starting to get the idea of what i'm supposed to do:

focus on the front sight. have two field of visions but train my brain to only concentrate on the dominant field.

one more question: i am right handed and right-eyed. is my left eye supposed to look forward (doing the same thing as my right eye) or is also supposed to look at the front sight (it would be looking to the right)?

Your left eye is used to be aware of the environment using peripheral vision. It shouldn't be used to focus on anything, really. Unless you're gifted and are able to look in two directions at once :)

Just focus on the front sight post, with your left eye open for peripheral awareness. And know which sight picture is being used by your dominant (right) eye.

ElvenSoul
04-27-2010, 3:37 PM
Stand < 10' from the target using only the front sights. Do this until you feel comfortable then move out to just under 20'. Then do the same thing at just under 50'. About the best I can do is just under 50' using both eyes.

konata88
04-27-2010, 4:15 PM
I close both eyes and just visualize the front sight on the target. :)

Just kidding. I'm in a mood. :)

9mmepiphany
04-27-2010, 5:30 PM
I close both eyes and just visualize the front sight on the target.
don't give away our secret from the ancient scrolls to the Zen of Shooting ;)

bryan28
04-27-2010, 6:55 PM
You basically want to be looking at the target with both eyes, but focused on the sights using your dominant eye. Make sense?

If you try to focus on the sights with both eyes, you're not going to be able to find your target.

yes this makes perfect sense. i am trying it and I think I can get used to this. thank you everyone

huckberry668
04-27-2010, 7:33 PM
put a piece of tape over your non-dominant eye to start training. Large enough to allow your dominant eye to focus easily but small enough that you can still see the surrounds. you can also use a piece of tint over the non-dominant eye.

Personally, I practice dry firing at home with both eyes open while aiming at the target.

Sajedene
04-27-2010, 8:25 PM
Good luck! I'm still getting used to shooting a blurry target but as long as I know my iron sight is on it then I am good. :)

Preacher
04-27-2010, 11:39 PM
NIce shooting TMC!!!

goathead
04-27-2010, 11:45 PM
some times

Sobriquet
04-27-2010, 11:48 PM
I was taught in a critical stress incident, your natural reaction will be to have both eyes wide open. I practice shooting with both eyes open.

When I shoot, I just concentrate on the vision out of my right eye. If I think about it, I can kind of choose which eye I want to look out of in terms of eye dominance. Watch TV and practice holding your right thumb up like it was the front sight post. Get used to driving your strong hand out and picking up the thumbnail as it comes on "target." Don't get in the habit of sweeping your hand up or down - punch out to the target.

till44
04-28-2010, 9:11 AM
It'salready been said but, in a stressful situation your body's reaction is to keep both eyes open, you probably won't even use you sights but will simply point shoot. That only works out to a certain distance though, which is different for each shooter depending on their proficiency.

It all comes down to practice and more practice. Eventually you'll develope muscle memory of where your hands and the sights need to be in order for you to get a good sight picture with both eyes open.

At 25 yards I definately need (and think most people do as well) to shut one eye though to get good shot placement.

Capt. Speirs
04-28-2010, 9:40 AM
target, then front sights. our eyes only have two focal points and so, the target is clear and the front sight, the rear sight isnt. Target aquizition is important, but how you hold the gun is just as important, also trigger finger plays a role in accurate shooting. But, for handguns, if your traning for SD, you dont need to shoot anything further then 25 yards, though it'll just be knowledgeable that you can hit something out that far, but...real SD happen 3-7 yards. So if your hitting center mass already, your doing great.

Are you sure you don't mean feet? I had an LEO come in and in conversation he told me that FBI statistics show that most encounters are less than 6 feet and 14 to 23 shots are exchanged before the itís over. He said it had to do with adrenaline and lack of training under the influence of adrenaline. His department now trains under stress with simunitions.

BigDogatPlay
04-28-2010, 10:46 AM
Are you sure you don't mean feet? I had an LEO come in and in conversation he told me that FBI statistics show that most encounters are less than 6 feet and 14 to 23 shots are exchanged before the itís over. He said it had to do with adrenaline and lack of training under the influence of adrenaline. His department now trains under stress with simunitions.

LEO gunfights are indeed typically very up close and personal affairs. The 14 to 23 shots thing is a parley of the move to semi-autos over the past couple decades along with fewer instances of one on one, toe to toe gunfights.... IMO. Far too many LEOs out there still get into spray and pray mode when the flag drops and fire discipline goes out the window. That can only be overcome with training. Force on force using simunitions is cool and all, but there are other ways to train as well.

More and more often there is more than one officer firing in an OIS situation these days, which also helps account for a higher average round count IMO. When I first was breaking into the business in the 1970's, the average number of rounds fired was three and a high fraction and the distances involved were most often six feet or less. Use of revolvers by LEOs in those days was nearly universal.