Optic training: shoot with both eyes open

by Guest Author | October 5, 2013

Shooters that close one eye lose their ability to distinguish depth of field, and objects appear flatter. When both eyes are open (or your non-dominant eye squints) it is easier to establish distance and path of the target.

Shooting with both eyes open gives you a much crisper and brighter natural field of view. The dominant eye focuses and does the actual sighting through the restricted area of the peep sight, and the other eye fills in the gaps in the picture like a set of focused binoculars.

When both eyes are open, additional light is transferred to your eyes enabling more peripheral vision, which helps with hitting a moving target like a duck or clay bird.

Training the eye
Jerome Atkins, owner of Atkins Archery near Essex, is an accomplished archery hunter who has taught new and experienced shooters. He personally finds shooting with both eyes open helps his success rate when bowhunting for moose and deer.

Here’s his advice on how to train to shoot this way.
1. Stand about 1 to 2 yards away from the target.
2. Open your dominate eye to get a good sight picture then try to open the other eye or squint if unable to open it fully.
3. Gradually increase the distance from the target keeping your non-dominant eye open.

With practice, you will eventually train your eyes to remain open when shooting.

Securing the basics
Shooting with both eyes open isn’t the only thing that will improve your accuracy, having the basics down — like stance and grip — are important as well. Eye control is part of the shooting process. Knowing how it all comes together is the key to good shooting.

Identify the dominate eye

1. Lock your hands together at arm’s length and make a small triangle by your thumbs (overlap the back of your hands).

2. Focus on a target through the triangle made with your hands.

3. Close one eye. If you still see the object with your left eye open, you are left- eye dominate. If you still see the object with your right eye open you are right-eye dominate.

Experienced shot gunners use an instinctive method to take advantage of a body’s natural pointing abilities. Your brain and body already know how to hit a flying target, so capitalize on those natural abilities and allow your subconscious to coordinate your eyes and hands to act as a unit and make the shot.

Take a normal stance, with your non-dominate foot forward. Grip the stock with your dominate hand as you normally would. With your other hand, the one holding the gun’s forearm, extend your index finger and point it in line with the barrel, either directly under the forearm or alongside. Both positions work so pick whichever is more comfortable.

Pointing with your index finger is important because you will use it to point at the target, the shotgun simply becomes an extension of that pointing. Your dominant eye must lie directly in line with your shotgun’s barrel for this to be effective.

Practice is a big part shooting accurately.

Learning how to shoot with both eyes open will make you a better shooter and hunter. Archers will find it easier to follow an arrow’s flight to the target and shot gunners will see the clay break or game drop. Knowing you hit the mark instills confidence in your shooting skills.

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