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Understanding Eye Dominance and Why it Matters | How to Shotgun

how to shoot a shotgun May 25, 2023
Understanding Eye Dominance and Why it Matters | How to Shotgun

Welcome to the first installment of our "How to Shotgun Series". Eye Dominance is the tendency of the brain to prefer visual input of one eye over the other. You may immediately think that this is a simple topic and you already know your dominant eye, but there's a whole lot more to it than that. Shooting flying targets or birds with a shotgun is all about hand-eye coordination. Shooting well will be a challenge if you don't understand the eyes. Don't forget to join the conversation on the TFL COMMUNITY! Let's go!

What is Eye Dominance?

  • In the simplest terms, eye dominance is the tendency of the brain to prefer the visual input of one eye over the other. Understanding how your body was built is very important to improve the way you use this data to shoot better. 
  • The main point we're trying to make today is that shotgun shooting is different from other hand-eye coordination sports. In most other hand-eye sports, your dominant eye isn't nearly as important. When you mount a shotgun, you either need to mount it on the left or right side, making the eye on the side, in essence, your rear sight.
  • It is important to be conscious of your eye dominance so you can shoot a shotgun to the best of your ability. You may be thinking that you know for certain your dominant eye and what we're doing here is of no benefit. That's valid and may be true. However, what you may not know is that eye dominance is not always as simple as left or right eye dominant. We'll get into that in a minute.
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How Do I Know Which Eye?

  • There are several ways to figure this out. One test would be to have both eyes open (of course) and point at an object in the distance. Once you're focused on the object, alternate closing your eyes (right, left, right, left) and pay attention to where your hand is in your field of view. If your hand appears to move relative to what you're pointing at, then the eye that is open when your finger doesn't appear to move is your dominant eye.
  • Another way to tell is by creating a tringle by overlaying our hands. With both eyes open, frame an object in the distance using the triangle you created between your eyes. Extend your arms fully in front of you with the object in focus. Slowly bring your arms toward your face while keeping the object in sight the whole time. As you bring your hands back to your face, you'll come back to one of your eyes. Whichever eye you land on is your dominant eye. Both of these tests give you an indication of your eye dominance but there can be more to the story than simply left or right eye dominant.

How Do I Know If I Have A Center Shift?

  • We're going to be doing something here called the BOB and STEVE test. (FYI...we totally made up the name of this test.) 
  • In this hypothetical test, Bob is going to be the observer: Determining where Steve's focal point is. To do this, Bob is going to put his finger right in line with his iris with his hand resting on his face. We want Bob's pointer finger as close to his dominant eye as possible. The tip of his finger right below his iris is going to be Steve's target.
  • Now, Steve will stand a good 10 feet or so away from Bob with both eyes open and begin to point at Bob's finger alternating hands. Bob the observer is going to pay close attention to where Steve's finger lines up on his face with every point. In a normal scenario, Bob will witness Steve's point line up with his dominant eye, regardless of which arm he is using. If Steve is strong right-eye dominant, when he points, his finger will come up to his right eye every time. 
  • If Bob were to see that every time Steve pointed, his finger was on the right side but somewhere between his right eye and his nose, then Bob could deduce that Steve has a degree of center shift.  

So Now What?

  • Well, we'd recommend you try this Bob and Steve test just for the heck of it with a buddy to see how accurate you think your dominance is. If you find out something different from how you thought your eyes were working, we'd love to hear your findings!
  • Now that you understand that knowing how your eyes work is important, we'd advise you to act accordingly! If you've been comfortably shooting right-handed but find out you're left-eye dominant, you'll need to consider what to do about it.
  • The upcoming videos in this series will dive deeper into how you can put these fundamentals into practice if your dominance is different than you thought. So stay tuned!

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on, so live the #targetfocusedlife 

Stay Target Focused,


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