How To Shoot With Both Eyes Open – Or is One Eye Enough?

how to shoot with both eyes open

It’s the old age discussion among shooting enthusiasts...

Is shooting with one eye the way to go, or am I in fact suppose to know how to shoot with both eyes open?

Although some people swear by shooting with only one eye, shooting forum after shooting forum will tell you that shooting with BOTH EYES OPEN is actually the way you should be shooting.

Shooting With One Eye

Where did the idea of shooting with one eye come from, then?

Many believe it became popular when lessons and expert advice were not readily available.

A father shot with one eye open, so he taught his son the same way. And so on, and so forth,

However, experts and teachers over time have come to agree that two eyes are in fact, better than one.

Ok, so you now know that shooting with both eyes is best, it’s natural to next want to know how to shoot with both eyes open.

However, before the HOW, you should probably understand the WHY.

Why Shoot With Both Eyes Open?

Why do so many people believe shooting with both eyes open is the best? There are many factors that come into play.

1. Less Fatigue

When you close one eye, the other eye has to to work harder, causing eye fatigue and in turn, facial fatigue to set in quicker.

Your neck and the rest of your body also tires faster. This leads to distraction and body malfunctioning, which leads to inaccurate shooting.

2. More Aware

With both eyes open you can use your peripheral vision, allowing you to be more aware of your surroundings.

In a gun range this may not be critical, but out on the battlefield or even during a home invasion, peripheral vision could be imperative for survival.

3. Less Distracting

Closing one eye takes some sort of maintenance on your brains behalf. This causes extra strain on the brain.

Contracting your muscles to keep your one eye closed, makes it so your brain has to now divide its attention between maintaining its closure, and everything else you need to do to get the shot off. More simply put: it’s distracting.

4. More Light

Using both eyes allows more light to enter your eyes, thus allowing you to see a situation more clearly. Often times a threat will occur when the lighting is not perfect.

By using both eyes you can see much better, allowing for more details and information about the situation to be taken in, which could mean the difference between life and death.

5. More Natural

In a fight or flight situation, medical experts state it is natural for both eyes to be wide open.

If this is true, wouldn’t you want to learn to shoot in the same conditions?

The answer is yes.

If you naturally are going to have both eyes open in an intense situation, then learning to use your gun accurately with both eyes open just makes sense.

Two eyes offers less fatigue and distraction, and clearer vision. All good things to have in a survival situation. Shooting with both eyes open is the better way to go.

This at least is the mantra for many experts, soldiers, and trainers a like.

The key is to retrain your body into doing this, or if you are a beginner, making sure you know how to do it from the get go.

How To Shoot With Both Eyes Open - 6 Tips:

Tip 1: Learn which eye is your dominant eye.

Learning which eye is dominant allows you know which eye is the most natural for you to use. Going with what is natural, will make shooting a lot more comfortable.

Your dominate eye will be the one you aim with; it will be the eye you use to look through your sights with.

How do you determine your eye dominance? Simple!

  • Extend both arms in front of you. Using your hands create a triangle.
  • Center some point, a door knob for example, in the center of the triangle.
  • Close your left eye. If the object stays within your view then you are right eye dominant.
  • However, if the object disappears, consider yourself left eye dominant.

Once you know your dominate eye, you can then attempt tip number 2.

Tip 2: Use an eye shield or put frosted tape over your non-dominant eye.

Before shooting try placing frosted tape over your non-dominant eye’s protective eye wear.

This blocks your non-dominant eye, making it so double vision does not occur (something people often complain about when using the two eye technique), while maintaining the advantage of the peripheral vision you have with both eyes open.

You can also use an eye shield, which professional shooters will often use.

Tip 3: Start with squinting.

When you first start trying to shoot with both eyes open, try squinting your non-dominate eye.

This may help you fight off some of the urge to close it completely, while also allowing you to practice keeping it open.

Baby steps, remember.

Tip 4: Practice using keeping both eyes open during dry fire.

Dry fire refers to when you are practicing with your gun, but NO ammo.

  • Start with your gun in a lowered position, with both eyes trained on the target ahead of you.
  • Lift the gun up to your line of sight, leaving both eyes open.
  • Repeatedly doing this motion will help create muscle memory.

It will train your eyes to stay open once you hit the range with actual ammo.

Tip 5: Consciously tell yourself to keep both eyes open.

This might seem too simple or to obvious, but sometimes the simplest things work the best.

You may need to go to the range on many occasions purely to practice keeping both eyes open will repeating in your head over and over again to do so.

Tip 6: Practice, Practice, Practice

As with anything, practice makes perfect. Practice these tips over and over again until shooting with both eyes becomes natural.

As with anything, anything worth learning, is definitely worth practicing.

Final Thoughts - ​How To Shoot With Both Eyes Open

Learning how to shoot with both eyes open can be tricky. It may not be a walk in the park at first, but over time with due diligence, and following these simple tips, it should become easier and easier.

Stay safe and happy shooting!

Gary Fretwell is a 33-year-old die hard hunter and blogger from Wyoming. After serving in Iraq, he finished school to become an Asset Protection Officer and currently is learning to be a tracker to help hunters like himself find big game!