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Ask the Instructor: Cross Dominance

Question: I am 63 years old and only took up shooting in the last few years.I am left-eye dominant and shoot sporting clays and skeet right-handed, and I wink my left eye. I do just ok with this method but would like to shoot better. Would a gun fitting or lesson benefit me?

Answer: While you should always shoot off the shoulder on the side of the more dominant eye, it is theoretically possible to overcome the biased sight picture caused by the dominance of your non-dominant-side left eye. Many shooters who start shooting at an early age (as a teenager or 20-something), shoot often, and shoot a high volume of targets can successfully train the brain to recognize the correct subconscious sight picture, provided that they are willing to put in the necessary time and effort. However, in my experience, a shooter’s ability to train the brain and correct this problem is highly dependent on one’s age and the volume, frequency and type of shooting one does.

Given what you have told me, I doubt you will be successful at overcoming this issue. Assuming that you will continue to shoot off your right shoulder, you will need to occlude your left (more dominant) eye. You have two choices to consider. Either: 1) occlude your non-shooting eye with a dot, about 16mm in diameter. The dot must be precisely positioned such that it is between your left pupil and the front bead of the shotgun when fully mounted, or, 2) wink your left (non-shooting) eye just prior to the completion of your mount and shot execution. With the “winking method,” you should acquire the target with both eyes open, then close the non-shooting eye just prior to completing your gun mount. In general, the dot works better for target shooters and the winking method works better for game shooters, but this depends on the person. Your gun fit might also be the issue, so I strongly recommend that you set up a lesson with an instructor to determine the course of action for you.

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