Establishing Dominance: Figuring out which is your dominant eye

Learn the skills you need to shoot effectively under the toughest situations.

You are carrying your concealed pistol with the knowledge that one day, under extreme stress, you may be forced to use it. These are perishable skills, reviewing them from time to time will keep you sharp.  When the day comes that you must remove that pistol from its holster, your goal is to put rounds accurately on target. Doing so starts with a sound basis in shooting fundamentals and the first step is understanding how your body works so you can aim properly. You need to know which eye will effectively control your pistol.  This tip and the next few that will appear in this space are brought to you directly from Tactical Pistol Shooting, 2nd Edition, by Erik Lawrence.  The first tip is simple, but it is the foundation for accurate shooting. Understanding your dominant eye makes accurate shooting possible.

Fig. 5.1A Extend your arms with palms away from you and cross your hands to make a hole.

Your dominant eye is the eye you use primarily to see details with the assistance of the less-dominant eye. The shooter should always aim with his or her dominant eye yet keep the non-dominant eye open to improve peripheral vision and maintain depth perception. In normal binocular vision there is an effect of parallax, and therefore the dominant eye is the one that is primarily relied on for precise positional information. If the shooter is right-handed and cross-eye dominant, the shooter simply orients the pistol under the left (dominant) during the draw.


To find out which eye is dominant, take this simple foolproof test. Extend both arms in front of your body. Refer to Figure 5.1A.

Place the hands together, forming a small opening between them. Refer to Figure 5.1B. With both eyes open, look at a distant object through the opening that was formed. Keeping focused on the distant object, bring your hands back to your face. Bring them back until they touch your face. Refer to Figure 5.1C. The eye that the opening is over is your dominant eye. If you have doubt, repeat the steps to be sure of your dominant eye.

Next up, we’ll talk about stance. Remember this is a gunfight, so you need to standing like a fighter. Come back herein a couple days to learn more about tactical pistol shooting. Until then, you can get a copy Erik Lawrence’s great book delivered right to your door.

Fig. 5.1B Look through the hole with both eyes open and slowly move your hands back toward your face.
Fig 5.1C Your hands will automatically come back to your dominant eye.

Other great books for those who carry concealed handguns:

The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry

The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery

Effective Handgun Defense, A Comprehensive Guide to Concealed Carry


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