Ask Kirsten Weiss: How Do You Train A Right-Handed Left Eye Dominant 9-Year-Old to Shoot?

Ambi-eye dominant Kirsten Weiss (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“I want to teach my nine year old son how to shoot,” BigEb tells TTAG’s columnist, “but I learned this weekend that he’s left eye dominant but right handed. Are there any methods or techniques to cope with this issue or help train/retrain his eye sight?” “First let me tell you a little secret,” Kirsten replies, ignoring the fact that TTAG is read by well over 60k people per day. “I’m not sure this is a word, but I’m ‘ambi-dominant.’ There. Now it’s a word. I started my competition career being right eye dominant but, for whatever reason in recent years when I’ve tested it, my left eye takes over whenever it wants . . .

Click here to read the rest in TTAG’s Free Fire Zone forum.

comments

  1. avatar Sam C says:

    I’m cross-dominant (right hand/left eye). I was pretty much just taught to shoot with my left eye closed.

    1. avatar Pat Chiles says:

      Same here. I’ve tried shooting left-handed and just can’t manage the ergonomics. Keeping my left eye closed works fine, though my eyes get tired after an hour or so at the range. Using an eye patch helps a lot.

      1. avatar SD3 says:

        Hickok45, as well. You’re in good company.

    2. avatar SD3 says:

      Is that all wh@res make these days?

  2. avatar Dracon1201 says:

    I am the same as this right hand / left eye dominant. I learned to shoot rifle ambidextrously, so that didn’t matter, and I shoot pistol in a weaver style setup using my right hand grip, in front of my left eye.

  3. avatar Kory says:

    I’m an instructor with the Appleseed Project. When we test people we tell them they have two options if you are cross-dominant (left-eye, right-hand or right-eye, left-hand):
    1. Shoot with your dominant eye and opposite handedness.
    2. Shoot with your handedness, close your dominant eye.

    We prefer the first option over the second and I have personally seen people miss lots of targets until they switch their handedness and then nail everyone.

    For the stubborn folk, they make eye patches to cover your dominant eye, but why do that when people should really learn to shoot with both sides?

    1. avatar RLC2 says:

      /Thx Kory for your work. Impressed with what I saw at Appleseed at local range. ANOTHER good tip from real world experience and why I come here.
      THX KIRSTEN! Posted response in forum. My daughter is at that age where she is more likely to listen to a peer/ coach…invaluable!
      THX TTAG! For getting the word out via another good role model on what works.

    2. avatar Meridia says:

      My problem lies in the fact that my left eye doesn’t work at all.

      If I was left handed, I’d be screwed. Lol

    3. avatar 16V says:

      Or just do whatever works for you.

      I’m predominately righty, but my left eye is far better. This means precisely sweet FA. One learns to squint a little and use both eyes at the same time. That works just fine for me to pull a 23/25 on skeet shooting from a chest carry position.

      Spare us the propaganda – you get the best results when you let the student figure out what works for them to the achieve the goal.

  4. avatar jim says:

    I’ve got my own odd take on this… my mom was one of the last of the one-room country schoolteachers, and in the early ’60s when I started showing evidence of being left-handed she tried to get me to switch to “normal.” So I’ve always been bit confused – bat right-handed and catch left (and never was much good at either,) eat “Continental style” (knife in left (dominate) hand and fork in right, no changing), never could figure out to hold a golf club. With guns, I’m right-eye dominate and shoot long guns right handed with no problems. However, with handguns I am a much better shot left-handed but aim with the right eye. My advice for the kid? Buy a couple of spring-loaded BB guns (a Red Ryder and a Daisy Peacemaker-style pistol) and let him figure it out for himself.

  5. avatar Karl says:

    How about if you are about to have laser eye surgery and you shoot right-handed? One of my eyes will not be corrected as much as the other so I will still be able to read without glasses. Which eye should be corrected the most, left or right?

  6. avatar IdahoPete says:

    A friend’s son had this problem – we discovered it when he was about 7 yrs old, trying to shoot a muzzleloader at a black-powder rendezvous. What worked best for him was learning to shoot left-handed. He is a pretty good shot today (went to West Point, now a LtCol in the Army) and still shoots left-handed. This may be harder to learn as you get older. I like the BB gun idea – let the kid figure out which way works best for him.

    1. avatar Mark says:

      You have a good point given that a top-eject lever action is probably the simplest solution to a left-handed rifle.

  7. avatar Don says:

    Put a piece of scotch tape on the left eye of your safety glasses. It will handicap the left eye just enough that your brain will automatically switch to your right eye.

    1. avatar Dan Zimmerman says:

      That’s what I do. Works well for shooting trap, skeet and clays.

  8. avatar asdf says:

    I’m left eye dominate but right handed.
    Pistols I shoot right handed with my right eye closed, and rifles I shoot left handed. I tried shooting pistols left handed but never could get use to it.

  9. avatar Evil Oculus says:

    I am also right handed, but left eye dominant. I was taught to shoot in the military, and was nearly always the best shot in my platoon. The thing is, eye dominance doesn’t matter one bit when one of the eyes is closed. So long as your son has good vision in his right eye, he can hit his targets as well as the next kid.

  10. avatar Ray says:

    I had the exact same problem when I was a child. I couldn’t naturally close my dominant left eye, so Mom got me a .25 cent eye patch from the pharmacy. After a few months, I was able to close either eye at will. I went on to get my NRA Expert badge in smallbore and US Army Expert on M16/M60/.45 I can shoot with either hand, but being a righty, I much better and more comfortable that way.

  11. avatar stilloldduck says:

    Guys…thanks SO much for all the advice. I’m cross dominant, too, and my right eye is just not very good anymore. I’m TRYING to learn to shoot my rifles left handed (not a real issue with my handguns); but, so far, I’m what would charitably be called a “work in progress”.

    I’m always pleasantly surprised (sarcasm alert) with how helpful and kind a group of anti-social, uncaring, mean-spirited gun whackoes can be when asked for their assistance. It’s almost like they’re decent people who just like guns and prefer retaining their right to own them.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      The best people in the world are gun owners.

      1. avatar RLC2 says:

        Yup. That’s been my experience as a noob at the range…only have to ask and people share most generously. Hope to pay it forward myself…when I know what I’m talking about…:)

  12. avatar Jacknine says:

    As a change topic, sort of, make sure he gives baseball a chance as well.

    The best hitters are opposite eye dominant, try hitting a baseball right handed with your right eye closed (or reverse of course)

  13. avatar Nick says:

    I am right handed/left eye dominate I shoot both eyes open and a good technique to use when training is put some scotch tape over the non dominate side of his eye pro. Eventually he will build the muscle memory to automatically site with his dominate eye then you can remove the tape and he will be able to keep a much broader picture when engaging targets.

  14. avatar Rambeast says:

    From my ffz post…

    I am very much right handed (writing, playing guitar, using a mouse) but I have a stigmatism. Everything out of my right eye is blurry at all distances. I naturally shouldered rifles lefty. Same with handguns, bows, and shotguns. To test how your son is going to shoot, I would hand him a ruger 10/22 or a marlin model 60 and see how he approaches it. Have it with irons only. Scopes on those rifles will be high enough to allow him to use his dominant eye and opposite hand. Eventually he will use his dominant hand or dominant eye. Using a semi-auto is important. If you hand him a bolt action rifle, he will try to fit his body to the rifle’s layout. Which will sabotage what is being tested.

    I hope this helps.

  15. avatar Aaron says:

    I’m right hand/left eye as well. For rifles, this means closing my left eye for a normal scope or irons. For an ACOG, for some reason if I wink my left eye my brain will switch to right eye dominance and so forth. Lets me switch from BAC to a magnified view, though BAC is a couple inches off unfortunatley.

    For pistol, it took me a while to realize I blade my arms over and shoot with my left eye. So I shoot right handed, but pull my arms far enough to the left I’m shooting with my left eye. It works for me. *shrugs*

  16. avatar S. Nolan says:

    I’m also a Left Eyed Righty..

    Up to ten yards, I don’t use sights on a pistol or shotgun. My HD/SD guns are ones I have put thousands of rounds through, and point naturally for me. Anything that requires me to use sights to be “Minute of Bad Guy” goes back to the fun store. I cannot trust my family or my life to something that I have to think about.

    Longer ranges, out to 125 yards with a pistol… I cock my head, and sight with my left eye. When taking courses and such, where instructors may focus on correcting my form more than it needs to be, I will put a thumb smudge on my eye pro to avoid it. But obscuring your vision on purpose seems silly to me, and possibly detrimental to the eyes if you do it often.

    Now, with a rifle.. I have used offset rings on a scope. That sucked. I have shot lefty. That sucked. My solution has been to use my right eye, and make an effort to use it. I keep both open, but after all these years, shooting scopes or irons, it only takes a touch of effort to focus on my right eye. I doubt I will ever be in a situation where I will have to shoot a rifle any other way.

  17. avatar Jeff says:

    Leftlings are not to be trusted with guns. Like redheads, there is a genetic disposition towards evil in their blood.

    1. avatar Kirsten says:

      Lol! My mother is a red head, watch yo’self

    2. avatar Trever says:

      I am a redhead, and not only am I right handed left eyed, but I can generally hit anything I can see, so you might want to stay out of my sight after a comment like that. ;]

  18. avatar Mykel Obvious says:

    I didn’t know I was cross dominant (right hand, left eye) until I was in my 20s. I was never a very good shot when I was younger and just chalked it up to shooting being something I wasn’t very good at. After a buddy was trained to shoot lefty by the army due to the same cross dominance, he got me to give shooting rifles lefty a try and my groups tightened up considerably. After years of wasted ammo, my personal best 3 shot group is now .338 with a .308 scoped rifle. I shoot pistols in a modified Weaver and use my left eye now and accuracy is also greatly improved. I am VERY right handed, but I vote teach him to shoot with eye dominance over handedness because there is a reason he is wired that way and it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature, as it were… just my .02

  19. avatar Roice says:

    I am the same as your son. I learned to shoot at 18 during Marine Corps boot camp. They teach everyone the same. I never even heard it mentioned during my time on Marine rifle & pistol ranges. I shot 4 expert badges with the rifle and 2 with the pistol. The dominant eye thing doesn’t mean much.

  20. avatar Land says:

    Teach him to jump off of slides. I was right hand dominant until I broke my arm in 3rd grade. In order to not be left out at recess I played basketball left handed for 3 months. I can still throw a tight spiral lefty vs righty, just have less power on it. I can shoot iron sights either way and I can’t tell a difference with either eye.

  21. avatar zeos says:

    shoot left handed, my dad thought i was left eye dominant (both eyes the same) so he had me shoot left handed. I have never used a left rifle and it has never been an issue.

  22. avatar Nobody says:

    These “Ask Kirsten” posts are really nice and very informative. From just my personal perspective, they greatly add to the site. She gives great insight and makes her point in an understandable way. Thanks Kirsten!

    1. avatar Kirsten says:

      You’re very welcome, glad I can help!

  23. avatar Saul Feldstein says:

    Red dot sights, keep both eyes open and use whatever eye is dominant.

  24. avatar William Burke says:

    Whichever eye is dominant keeps creeping with the other one to the low cut on those jeans. That’s the story of my eyes tonight.

  25. avatar bryan sny says:

    was teaching my little buddy to shoot trap last weekend he is right handed left eye so we went left handed he is vary awkward fitting the gun to his cheek what I found with shotgun is he needed longer pull once I got him so he was getting proper head gun alighnment he shot 23 out of 25 strait only misses were hard right birds super good first round. Rifle he shoots good to but for hunting situation he will have hard time getting scope eye releif and finding target.

  26. avatar Ricky B says:

    Whoever the genius was a couple Julys ago that mentioned the Scotch tape-on-your-glasses trick, thank you thank you. I’ve been cursed with the even rarer version of having 3 strikes against me re: eye dominance. I’m right handed & left eyed dominant. Unfortunately my vision is not only 300% worse in my left eye (severe near-sightedness—like I can barely see the front sight on my rifles) but I can’t ‘wink’ it/close it either. So I’ve been shooting lefty off & on for 45 years now and have just resigned myself to the fact that I’ll always be just a so-so marksman. But now I’m getting real serious about hunting (first ever ‘official’ hunt is next month for ‘Zona doves) and I’ve been getting my four 12 gauge splatter guns ready. One ’55 Mossberg slider, one ’30 Belgium SxS……and two Sears/JC Higgins bolt actions. Which I really want to learn to shoot right handed for a change. Long (too?) story short, I just taped up the left lens on my shooting glasses with some 1″ wide clearish surgical tape, grabbed one of the boltys and aimed all around my back yard at different objects (which ironically, had three quail & a half dozen doves in it—-go figure), and I’m beyond stoked to say that my much clear, less nearsighted right eye took over immediately. And now operating the bolt & ‘feeding’ the next round is a piece of cake and feels a ton more natural & comfortable. Its a whole new world for me at the moment and I’m beyond stoked—-just wish I would have heard about/thought of this trick decades ago. So once again, thank you very much for the cheap & quick tip—-I’ll forever be indebted to you….. (;-)

    Cheers,
    RB

  27. avatar Paul says:

    Train a 9yo how to shoot his mates?
    What a fabulous idea.

    1. avatar Artoxx says:

      Obviously you are a retarded liberal. If and when a child is PROPERLY introduced to guns, and gun safety, their likelihood of shooting ANYONE goes down so far and so fast that YOU and other idiots LIKE YOU, would not even believe it. You might actually try pulling your head out of your ass long enough to let some oxygen in before you open your mouth and let all that rotten fecal material out that has been accumulating since the day you were indoctrinated.

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