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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 01-24-2008, 1:50 PM
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Default Right-handed/Left-eye dominant question

My shooting club, Richmond Rod & Gun Club, has a free once-a-month program for introducing kids to precision rifle shooting. The kids have to sit through an initial safety orientation/video, then the club loans them .22 target rifles, ammunition, shooting jackets, spotting scopes, etc. all free of charge.

I brought my 10-year-old son for the first time this month, and he loved it.

Here is my question...they determined that he is left-eye dominant, but right handed. The instructor, as well as the USA Shooting video, stated that he should be operating the gun as a left-hander.

I have taken my son shooting before, and he has no difficulty shooting as a right-hander and using his right eye.

I know that precision shooting is really more about trigger control, but am I going to mess him up in any way to let him become a left-handed shooter? My concern is that he wants to be more than just a precision-rifle shooter. He wants to compete in 3-gun, hunt, and maybe serve in the military. If he is clearly right-handed, but trains to use the rifle left-handed, is he going to have problems when using a rifle in the field?

I know they make left-handed rifles, but I am talking about fine and gross motor skills and how they affect the use of a rifle.

I am usually very open-minded, but something about this sits wrong with me. I appreciate the input.

Thanks,

Jim
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Old 01-24-2008, 1:56 PM
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They told me the same thing. I should be shooting left handed. I never even tried. I shoot pretty damn good with my right eye anyways. I have the tendency to want to shoot a handgun with my left eye. I tried both, and I am good with both. I won't change. Reminds me of "Flander's" lefty store on the Simpsons.
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Old 01-24-2008, 2:09 PM
taquito971 taquito971 is offline
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Try it out, maybe he'll learn something. What's the worst case scenario? My brother is the same way. Though he was probably supposed to be left handed, he writes right handed. He now shoots left handed and though it took some getting used to initially it's worked out for the best in the end. He now shoots nearly as well using either hand.

Brian
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Old 01-24-2008, 2:19 PM
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Originally Posted by taquito971 View Post
What's the worst case scenario?
Hi Brian,

That's exactly my concern. I want to pave the way for my son to be an instinctive shooter, but we don't have the time or budget to send 500 rounds downrange more than once a month to perfect being ambidextrous. I have no idea a) if this is something I should worry about in the first place, b) if I should blow off the left-handed thing and have him do it right-handed, or c) if I would cause him future problems by trying to teach him to shoot as both a right- and a left-hander.

I think I am mostly concerned about his because his natural instinct is to shoot right-handed (he is distinctly a right-handed kid). He really doesn't like shooting as a lefty, but I don't know enough to blow off the recommended form.

Thanks again for the thoughts,

Jim
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Old 01-24-2008, 2:24 PM
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Like many people on this board, I'm right handed, but left eye dominant. For the most part, I would say that it doesn't give me too much trouble.

The only real time it gives me trouble is shooting pistol. I have to really make a conscious decision to use one eye consistently. Most of the time I'll use my right eye, but every so often my left eye will feel more natural and I'll switch to it for a few rounds until I realize what I've done.

However, I shoot waaay more rifle than pistol. I've been shooting Smallbore and High Power matches at my range (Escondido Fish and Game Association in San Diego) for a few years, and the only real problem that I've encountered is eye fatigue. In order to devote all my attention to my right eye, I've found that I have to keep the muscles around my left eye very tense to keep it closed, which causes both eyes to fatigue. Over the last few months I've been trying to shoot with both eyes open. I got one of those funny shooting hats with the blinders on the side and built in eye patch and that helped quite a lot.

http://www.creedmoorsports.com/store...cat=261&page=1

Being able to keep both eyes open made eye fatigue basically non existent.

At this point, I don't think I'll ever shoot lefty. It would basically entail starting from scratch again because all the muscle memory I've developed would be totally lost.

Interestingly enough, there are still ways to use your left eye to shoot righty. A guy who shoots in the smallbore matches I go to (who is also on an international team) sometimes shoots with a guy who is left eye dominent but shoots righty. Although it may sound strange, he apparently has his sights mounted to the left side of the gun, not on the top. My friend said its funny to watch him shoot because he says it looks like he shooting at a target about ten lanes down from the one he's in front of.

I'm not sure if that answered your question or not, but hopefully it helps a little bit.
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Old 01-24-2008, 2:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryff View Post
"...and maybe serve in the military."
If there are serious aspirations for .mil service, he only has one choice. Shoot and shoulder right handed.

However, my advice is let him decide what is comfortable for him. He has many years ahead of him to hone and perfect his shooting techniques.

I am right handed and was right eye dominant until I lost my vision in my right eye from an injury. After my injury I had to learn to shoot using my left eye. For me pistols were the easier change, as all I had to do was drift the sight picture to the left a bit. I still grip the weapon with my right hand. Now I find myself using more of a C.A.R. stance instead of a Weaver/Isosceles stance.

Rifles on the other hand felt completely foreign. I now had to shoulder and squeeze the trigger using my left hand. It took quite a few trips to the range to get comfortable shooting rifles "southpaw", but today it is second nature. (I still have a hard time shooting pistols with the left though )

ETA: For those not familiar with the C.A.R. System - http://www.pointshooting.com/carmag.htm

Last edited by SigShooter; 01-24-2008 at 2:31 PM.. Reason: Added C.A.R. System info
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Old 01-24-2008, 3:04 PM
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....

Last edited by Mac; 03-23-2008 at 3:01 AM..
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Old 01-24-2008, 3:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac View Post
Tell us what they did at the course.
Did they make him shoot lefty.
What test did they use to determine eye dominance?
did they make him close one eye when aiming?
They made him shoot lefty.

They had him hold his hands together at arms distance, and create a hole between his hands and focus on a specific point while looking through that hole (roughly like a movie director does with his hands to simulate framing a shot, except the hole was smaller). Then he pulled his hands slowly back to his face while maintaining focus on that specific point. Whichever eye the hole ends up over was determined to be the dominant eye.

They also had him hold his hands out extended in the same position, then stood downrange from him and looked back at him through that hole. Whichever eye they could see they determined to be dominant eye.

They did it so fast and casually, that I had them do it again to be sure.

They didn't tell him to close his right eye when aiming, but I think he did.

Jim
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Old 01-24-2008, 3:42 PM
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....

Last edited by Mac; 03-23-2008 at 3:01 AM..
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Old 01-24-2008, 3:55 PM
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I'm right handed but left eye dominant. I shoot pistol right handed with my left eye, but shoot long guns left handed with my left eye. I started out learning like that when I was a kid, shooting scoped and iron'd .22 bolt actions in a shooting club at San Leandro. They told me it's easier to retrain the body than it is to retrain the brain/eye, so that's how I learned.

I've been shooting like this ever since so it feels completely natural to me and it feels awkward even trying to use my right eye. I have no problems shooting long guns lefty, but a pistol in my left hand feels awkward. Likewise, trying to shoot a long gun righty is also awkward. Either way, I'm happy with my shooting skills so I can't complain.

I think what it ultimately comes down to is what feels more comfortable to him, retraining his eyes or retraining his body. Even more importantly, whatever he chooses, is to practice practice practice so it becomes second nature.
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Old 01-24-2008, 4:58 PM
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+1 with Lumpia, im the same way, but i have no problem shooting a rifle right handed. Always been more natural lefty with a rifle, but as of late iv started shooting righty to get more comfortable with it . Is say let him do what comes natural and let him play with it later.
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Old 01-27-2008, 1:23 PM
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I am also right handed and left sighted. When firing a rifle with both eyes open I have a hard time even seeing the sights. The solution that works for me is using a scope. That way there is enough difference in what I'm seeing for my brain to figure out to use the right eye.
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Old 01-27-2008, 2:18 PM
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Sounds like the NRA approved way of shooting (I'm an NRA rifle, shotgun, pistol certified instructor).
Doesn't mean it is the right way to do it.

Its called cross eyed dominance. I can tell you that it really slows some people down a lot. Others it doesn't seem to effect at all.

Another fact that the NRA doesn't like to admit is that your eye dominance can change. For instance I am right handed and right eye dominant. But every once in a while I get up crocked from bed worng or something and I end up being left eye dominant. It happens to us all, usually we don't notice it because most of us don't shoot every day.

I can tell you this with great confidence. If he feels comfortable shooting right handed, let him shoot right handed. I have LEFT handed friends who are left eye dominant (they never served in the military) who pick up a rifle and shoot it right handed with their right eye becasue it is comfortable for them.

If he is comfortable shooting with his right eye, let him shoot something nice and cheap feed to practice with. 22's are nice and they are pretty cheap to buy/feed. Practice is everything.

You need to watch him though. If he starts to crane his neck over the stock and use his left eye to shoot, have him try shooting from the left side. Not a big deal if he does shoot left handed. Even the military accepts it now.
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Old 01-27-2008, 2:27 PM
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I am right-handed left eye dominant, but I can't say that it makes that big of a difference for me. I shoot rifles from both shoulders. It just depends on how I'm feeling or what I'm shooting. The best thing to do is have him get used to shooting from both shoulders because then he'll be ready for anything!
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Old 01-27-2008, 2:36 PM
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I am also right handed and left eye dominant. I shot right handed most of my life but as I got older it became more of a issue. I can still shoot rifles & pistols right handed, but, shotgun became a major issue. If you plan on your son doing wing shooting you might want to get him used to left handed shooting now. I had to change at age 38 and it was hard to do. I allways wondered why I had trouble with passing shots when I was younger. My wingshooting has improved greatly since the switch as I have depth perception now.

Best of luck to you
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Old 01-27-2008, 2:41 PM
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I am right-handed left eye-dominant just like your son. To this date I have not have a problem as far as precission goes with resting the rifle on my left shoulder and squeezing the triger with my left finger....
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Old 01-27-2008, 3:11 PM
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He'll shoot better with his dominant eye.

It's not hard to learn the other side once he learns the fundamentals.
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Old 01-27-2008, 4:24 PM
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i have the same problem. Im left eye dominant and im right handed. I learned how to shoot using my right eye though...it just takes time.
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Old 01-27-2008, 5:07 PM
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If he learns to shoot lefty, even though he's right handed, it will feel a little awkward at first but would/should quickly become "natural" for him. A firearms instructor that I know also has cross-dominance issues. He shoots with his weak hand so that he can use his dominant eye. It feels normal to him because that is the way he shoots.
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Old 01-28-2008, 7:27 AM
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Default Another option: offset scope mount

I have the same left-eye-dominant/right-handed issue. Here's what I'm doing: using a scope mount that offsets to the left. The Russian POSP scope mounts 1/2" to the left, for instance, to let you continue to use the irons when necessary. Or you can "roll your own": http://www3.sympatico.ca/shooters/ScopeMount.htm

Just a thought. Not claiming any expertise, but this works for me. YMMV.
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Old 01-28-2008, 7:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gryff View Post
Here is my question...they determined that he is left-eye dominant, but right handed. The instructor, as well as the USA Shooting video, stated that he should be operating the gun as a left-hander.

I have taken my son shooting before, and he has no difficulty shooting as a right-hander and using his right eye. If he is clearly right-handed, but trains to use the rifle left-handed, is he going to have problems when using a rifle in the field?

I am usually very open-minded, but something about this sits wrong with me. I appreciate the input.
Jim, If you have the time and feel like it, the Manteca Sportsmen also offers a free kids shoot first Friday of every month (6pm). We have regulars from 8-18 that come regularly. He can shoot left, or right handed. He can shoot his own rifle, a clubs .22, and everything is provided. You should have him shoot however he is comfortable.

Something to keep in mind. Often we teach 'modified weaver' for rifle, shotgun, pistol. Modified weaver (as opposed to other methods), allows for movement work later on. Once you learn how to shoot one way, its easier to transition to the others without learning a whole new stance. Train 1 way so its easier for other venues.

My .02
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