Shooting with one eye closed is a habit most shooters find hard to break. The truth, however, is that you cannot have full visual function with one eye closed. Your brain will only be processing half the required information. It’s no wonder then that when you find yourself in a combat/proactive situation, both your eyes will be fully open and dilated; it’s because your brain is inclined to take everything in.
But not everybody agrees that it is better to shoot with both eyes open, as often not, the situation dictates how precise you need to be. For example:
- 2 eyes open for a 3-foot target
- 2 eyes open for a 7-foot target
- 1 eye open for a 15-yard target
So, should you shoot with both eyes open? Let’s have a look.
Advantages of Shooting with Both Eyes Open
- Awareness of your situation: With one eye open, your field of view is diminished. But with both open, your peripheral awareness improves, raising your surrounding awareness levels.
- Vision speed: Your brain adjusts each time you open or close an eye which means there’s a delay in processing vision. This can be prolonged when you close and reopen one eye.
- Balance: To better understand this, try running with an eye closed. Most likely, you won’t be that fast or straight. The fact is when moving and shooting at the same time, you need both your eyes open for balance.
- Stress and fatigue: When you are threatened or competing, you will be under some level of stress. This is when you experience flight response, which manifests as increased breathing, heartbeat, and pupil dilation. That causes poor target transition when one eye is closed. It gets worse if you are not used to shooting with both eyes open.
- Clarity: When you close one eye, the other one does not open fully. Your eyelid and eyelashes will block it slightly which means your target area will not be well clarified.
According to Dry Fire, you can expect a 20-30% increase in performance and even accuracy when you learn to shoot with both eyes open. But with all the obvious advantages, some people still insist on shooting with only a single eye open.
Some People Can Only Shoot with One Eye Open
The biggest reason why you might not be able to shoot with both eyes open is because of eye dominance. In some cases, you will come across a left-handed shooter who is right-eye-dominant and vice versa. While for some people it may not really be an issue, some are so dominant in one eye that it takes over when trying to focus on a target. Hence, they can never shoot with both eyes open and make a hit.
But, this should not ruin your shooting experience. You can use an eye shield to cover the non-dominant eye but still have it open while using other techniques.
When shooting, you not only need to anticipate a hit; you must also guarantee it. The benefits of shooting with both eyes open outweigh those of not doing so, like improved hand-to-eye coordination and better calculation of your threat distance and speed.
For most shooters, we recommend practicing the skill before you even need it.