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Feature Report: CG&H Eye Dominance

CA Guns & Hunting: Determining eye dominance when shooting, and why it's important

BY STEVE COMUS/Cal. Guns & Hunting Guns EditorPublished: Nov 07, 2012

When shooting the various action games or any kind of flying or moving object with both eyes open, the gun must be fired from the same side as the dominant eye for best results. It is quick and easy to determine which eye is dominant.
    
Merely hold your extended trigger finger out at arm’s length with both eyes open and align it with something in the background. Then close one eye. If the finger and item in the background remain aligned, then you are looking through your dominant eye. If the finger and background object are no longer aligned, you are looking through the non-dominant eye.

cgh_eyedominance
EYE DOMINANCE CAN make a difference when shooting. It is best to determine one’s personal eye dominance so shooting procedures can take that factor into effect.
   

This is usually much more important in wingshooting with shotguns than typical use with rifles or handguns, because casual shooters with rifles and handguns can merely close the non-dominant eye, align sights and hit target while shooting from that person’s “strong” side — the side that person usually shoots from.
    
However, there are times in action games like 3-Gun when the scenario calls for shots from the “weak” side, or when it is advantageous to shoot from the weak side. Knowing the dynamics of eye dominance can help the score whenever really quick, instinctive shooting is required.
    
For typical right-hand shooters, the strong side and dominant eye are both right. Hence, for most shooting, they can use either both eyes open, or close the left (non-dominant) eye. The opposite is true for left-handers who are left-eye dominant. The problem is that some right-handers are left-eye dominant and some left-handers are right-eye dominant. I know, because that’s the way I am.
    
This single little trick can help increase scores and hits when there is not time to think a lot about which eye is actually in charge at the time of the shot. If a handgun is held correctly in the weak hand, the sights will remain aligned properly. However, in the heat of the moment, some folks tend to hold the handgun a bit toward the strong side, and there can be confusion in the brain as to which eye is in charge. This negative phenomenon can be accentuated when some folks attempt to shoot a shotgun from the weak side.
    
Trigger Control

Trigger control is crucial for successful action shooting (or just about any other shooting for that matter). It takes a long time with handguns to be able to repeat the angle and pressure on a trigger throughout the course of a match or day.
    
It becomes even more pronounced when shooting with the weak hand. Not only have most shooters not shot from the weak side a lot, but the strength of the weak hand/trigger finger is different — even the sensation of the finger on the trigger is different.

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FINGER PULL-UPS can help tune-up the trigger finger. Simply tie a fairly light weight (something handy around the house) to a string, attach it to the trigger finger at the touch point on the finger and do hundreds of repetitions at a session. Here, the weight is a large dummy round. A medium fishing sinker or even several nuts or washers from the toolbox work well as weights.
   

Although practice is the name of the game ultimately, there are ways to speed-up the process. You need to exercise all of the fingers on the weak hand, and especially the trigger finger. But it is important to be able to hold the handgun consistently firmly in the weak hand if there is to be any consistency in the shots.
    
Simple squeezing of a baseball, tennis ball or anything else that more or less fills the palm can help exercise the hand overall and the fingers as a composite unit. This is important, because the weak hand must be able to hold the handgun uniformly snugly for all shots. It needs to be firm, not loose and not a death grip. Fine-tuned muscles make it easy to repeat. And, the better tuned the overall hand is, the more effective the trigger pull can be when the trigger finger also is in prime condition.

To exercise the trigger finger, merely take a fairly light weight (like a small to medium fishing sinker) attached to a string and let it dangle from the area of the touch point on the trigger finger. Then just do repeated pull-ups with the trigger finger. The idea is not to try to pull up a heavy weight, but to do hundreds of repetitions with a light to medium weight.
    
The string pressing against the touch point on the trigger finger also serves a purpose. It familiarizes the nerves there to get used to the pressure. Do it enough, and repeated proper trigger pressure comes automatically.
    
These are just a couple of basic things that can help when one is on the line, having fun with a gun.


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