My wife and I just started trap shooting. I purchased my wife a BT-99 Micro, and will have a fitter look it over for her this spring. She is left eye dominant and I was curious if she should start left handed, or just do the “dot’ on the left eye. She states it’s very awkward holding the gun left handed and she may want to try the ‘blinder” on the rib instead. Is it a gimmick or a real alternative?
First of all, your wife’s condition is not at all unusual for a lady. An optometrist told me that 15% of men are cross dominant and many more women are cross dominant than men. Just make absolutely sure that your wife actually is cross dominant. Get a professional opinion on this as it will affect her entire shooting career. Some people slide in and out of cross dominance depending on fatigue or age. Some people are not dominant on either side. I’ve had a number of female students who thought that they were cross dominant, but once they got shooting and concentrating on the bird, not the barrel, found out that they weren’t.
Don’t overlook the value of eye exercises for cross dominance. In some cases, though certainly not all or even most, these eye excercise tapes and plans can help with a cross dominant situation that is marginal.
If she is truely cross dominant, here are some methods a cross dominant righty might try:
1) Shoot from the left side with both eyes open. This is often a difficult conversion for someone who has already learned to shoot righty, but in my experience most new shooters make the transition without too much trouble. Since your wife is just starting trap shooting, it might be easier to switch her over. At first it will feel awkward, but after a couple of weeks it won’t.
The big advantage of switching over is that she can be a two eyed shooter and retain binocular depth perception. You can’t accurately judge distance with one eye closed. Trap doesn’t put a premium on judging distance the way sporting clays does. If your timing at trap remains constant, the distance takes care of itself. Still, it’s always best to be a two eyed shooter where possible.
2) Shoot from the right side, closing the left eye when the barrel approaches the bird. This is called “blinking down” and seems to work well for a large number of people. It’s especially useful for hunters who need full vision before raising the gun.
3) Shoot from the right side, starting with the left eye closed. This is a variation of the above and is useful for people who have difficulty quickly closing one eye. It’s more applicable in a target situation than a field situation. Unfortunately, shooting with only one eye makes many shooters concentrate on the barrel and not the bird. If you use this method, make sure that the student looks only at the bird and lets the barrel take care of itself.
4) Shoot from the right side, using a “dot” on the left eye lens so that the left eye can’t see the front bead. The advantage of this is that it’s totally passive. The shooter doesn’t have to do anything. You just put the dot on the glasses and then shoot normally. It’s so easy to do that many people go to the dot before trying anything else.
5) Shoot from the right side, using a “blinder” on the rib so that the left eye can’t see the front bead. This seems to be a fix more used in trap shooting than anything else. I suppose it’s worth a try, though most people seem to prefer the dot.
I’m sure that there are some other methods that I’ve missed, but the above approaches seem to be the most popular.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)