For those interested in how to concealed carry, mastering the art of shooting is crucial. One often overlooked aspect that can significantly impact accuracy is cross-eye dominance. Eye dominance is the tendency to prefer visual input from one eye over the other. Your dominant eye will provide the most accurate information to your brain. This is important to recognize because that is the eye that will need to focus on the front sight of your firearm for you to aim and shoot proficiently.

Cross-eye dominance occurs when the dominant eye (the eye that takes precedence in focusing) is opposite to the hand dominance. In practical terms, if you’re right-handed but your left eye is dominant, or vice versa, you’re dealing with cross-eye dominance. This can pose challenges in aiming and accuracy. An article in Shooting Illustrated stated 65 percent of people have the same dominant eye as their dominant hand, 18 percent have a dominant eye different from their dominant hand and 17 percent have no identifiable dominant eye.

How to Determine Your Dominant Eye

If your dominant eye and your dominant hand favor the same side, then you’ve got fewer worries in the shooting department. But if you happen to be part of the 18 percent, cross-dominance can pose challenges in aiming and accuracy.

Determining your dominant eye is a fundamental step in addressing cross-eye dominance. On the shooting range, one clue that you are cross-dominant is usually misses that impact the target a bit high and way off to the side. For a right-handed/left-eyed shooter, for instance, the hits will be high and to the left.

To determine your dominant eye, start by creating a small frame opening at arm’s length by bringing your hands together. Center a small object across the room in that opening with both eyes open. Close your left eye and then open both. Repeat the process with your right eye.

For one eye, the target object should have remained in the opening, but with the other eye, the target object will have disappeared. The eye with which the object stayed in the frame is your dominant eye.

Alternatively, center an object in the opening with both eyes open, then slowly bring your hands back to touch your face, keeping both eyes open. The opening will naturally be drawn toward your dominant eye.

Another method is to point the index finger of your dominant hand at an object across the room with both eyes open. Close one eye and then repeat with the other eye. Your finger will stay pointed at the object for one eye but appear to move for the non-dominant eye. This simple self-assessment helps you identify your dominant eye accurately.

Training Techniques for Cross-Eye Dominance

With a shoulder-fired weapon, such as a rifle or shotgun, the only satisfactory solution is to learn to shoot from the shoulder on the same side as the dominant eye. There isn’t really another practical fix for long guns. With handguns, there are some options. Following are eight tools and tips to help manage those issues … and either embrace or overcome being cross-dominant.

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Shift the Firearm

This method is best used with the shooting stance known as Isosceles, in which the feet are shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent and arms fully extended. The handgun is naturally between both eyes so the firearm can be easily moved over to the dominant eye. Instructor Kelly Ann Pidgeon will instruct a student to keep her body aligned (nose, toes and thumbs pointed downrange) and then shift the firearm to his or her face. 

Turn the Face

An alternative approach involves keeping the gun in the dominant hand but adjusting the head position to align the dominant eye behind the sights. Let’s consider the example of a right-handed/left-eyed shooter.

One option is to rotate the head on its vertical axis to bring the left eye behind the sights. However, this is sub-optimal as it directs the right eye off to the right side, limiting peripheral vision to the front left. A more effective method is to keep the head pointed forward and tilt it slightly to the right, bringing the left eye behind the sights.

This technique is notably seen in the classic Weaver stance, where the dominant foot is slightly behind the non-dominant foot. By turning the head toward the bicep of the dominant hand, the dominant eye aligns with the firearm sights. A familiar example of this technique can be observed in pictures of Jeff Cooper shooting a 1911 in the Weaver stance. His head is slightly tilted to the right, employing this method due to being right-handed but left-eye dominant.

Close the Non-Dominant Eye

While it is most often recommended to shoot with both eyes open, some shooters find that they cannot gain a good sight picture without closing one eye. Just shut the non-dominant eye and line the sights up with your dominant one. Another option is to wink or squint the eye, get an adequate sight picture and then take the shot.

Shoot With the Non-Dominant Hand

This method certainly comes with extra challenges! In this case, move the gun to your non-dominant hand. Shoot with that hand so that the sights align more naturally with the dominant eye. The fundamentals, such as how to grip a pistol and your trigger press, would all need to be done with the non-dominant hand. This might not come easily or naturally. 

Bill Rogers is probably the best-known proponent of this system. Bill believes it is easier to learn to shoot with your non-dominant hand than to change or overcome eye dominance. His students have reported excellent results, but a lot of people are reluctant to holster and carry their defensive sidearm on their non-dominant side.

Try Eye Dots

Can’t close an eye? Texas Shooter Optical developed a product called Magic Eye Dots. It is a translucent dot for shooting glasses that is placed inside the lens of the non-dominant eye. It causes a slight fuzziness, which will force focus to the dominant eye. These dots help maintain the key advantages of two-eyed vision: depth perception and peripheral vision.

Use Eye Blinders

Another option if an eye cannot be closed is to use an eye blinder. The blinder can clip onto the shooting glasses or the brim of a hat and will cover the non-dominant eye. The blinder can quickly be moved out of the way when not shooting.

Mastering Cross-Dominant Shooting

Mastering cross-eye dominance is a game-changer. Understanding what it is, identifying your dominant eye and implementing targeted training techniques will elevate your shooting proficiency and marksmanship. Remember, consistent and focused training is the key to becoming a skilled and confident shooter with cross-eye dominance.


This article is a compilation of previous blog posts authored by Jessica Keffer and Tom Givens