Cross Dominance

Dear Technoid,

I am in trouble since I heard rumors saying that if your right eye is dominant (my case) you should shoot right-handed (Not my case). It feels extremely uncomfortable bringing my gun on my right shoulder. But, I have been missing for years the same shots: When birds are crossing from right to left and when teals go straight up over my head (after a first shot has been fired). This last one is so frustrating, as it looks like the bird is almost not moving.

So, always hoping for better, I am now considering shooting right-handed. Is it worth the trouble, could it improve my shooting capabilities and how to proceed to get my gun on my right shoulder without feeling like I am holding a violin.


Dear Francois,

Yup. You are in trouble shooting lefty with a dominant right eye. Your analysis of your misses is accurate. Fortunately, you are not alone in this problem. Many shooters share your cross dominance and have overcome it. You have two choices:

1) switch sides and shoot righty; or

2) force your left eye to be dominant.

Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Ideally, you should switch sides. This will permit you to shoot with both eyes open and retain full depth perception. You lose depth perception when one eye is closed. Learning to shoot from the “other” side is harder for some people than others. Only you can be the judge. It is certainly worth a serious attempt though. If you choose to try it, give it at least an entire month. Practice raising and swinging your gun at home in between shooting sessions. It can be done. Virtually all lacrosse players learn to play from both sides.

The easier way is to keep shooting off the left shoulder, but “defeat” the right eye somehow and force the left eye to be the dominant one. Naturally, this presupposes that the left eye has good visual acuity. If your left eye is not only weaker, but inferior, to the right eye, and this cannot be corrected by glasses, you are in trouble. This method also sacrifices depth perception when the off eye is blocked. This really isn’t as bad as it seems though as you can judge distance before the shot with both eyes open.

There are basically four ways to force your brain to use the left eye. 1) Close the right eye and keep it closed while shooting; 2) keep both eyes open until the gun touches your cheek and then blink the right eye closed until you fire; 3) pus a dime-sized dot of translucent cellophane tape on the right lens so that it obscures the front bead when the gun is mounted. This gives you some peripheral vision, but forces left eye dominance when looking down the barrel; 4) use a darker lens on the right side of your shooting glasses. #3, the dot, seems to be the most popular.

That about covers it for your choices. Your road is a rocky one, but it can be done. Anything is better than continuing shooting as you are. It must be terribly frustrating to do everything right, but have your eyes deceive you. Pick one of the above solutions. I just know that your scores will improve.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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1 Response to Cross Dominance

  1. #5 Find a competent Instructor to help with with all those methods and get you through this. If you have been missing for some time, it is time to straighten it out. A quality instructor can help you.


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