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Shooting with Both Eyes Open – Better than Aiming with One Eye?

There are many components that come into play when one is hunting. One of the most important aspects to pay attention to is your visual field. Shooting with both eyes open can give you a significantly larger field of view. But, how do you shoot with both eyes open? How do you train for it?

Is it better to shoot when you have one or both eyes open?

As you might know, the gear you obtain is quite essential, but more so, how a hunter sees their target can affect hunting accuracy tremendously. Whether you shoot with one or two open eyes plays a great significance in your success.

A Short Overview and Explanation

As with anything, finding a method that is comfortable and successful, for you, is the key to mastering any skill. Depending on what you are aiming for as a hunter, one or two eyes open can work, because both can provide specificity to what a hunter can accomplish.

When you are aiming at your target, you want your field to be clear and visible. From your eyes, information is sent to your brain, where visual data is processed, so you may accurately find your target, reacting to what you are seeing.

When someone first is learning how to shoot, using the dominant eye (for most people that’s the right eye), for aiming is most common, as that is how it is taught and advertised today. You’ll learn to close one of your eyes and keep the other open for aiming.

When you are shooting, there tends to be a dominant eye, in many cases the right eye. Using this eye can provide excellence in single eye shooting, as the companion eye can manage to get in the way or mess with your vision. The non-dominant one, often the left eye, is the one that you’re closing one eye.

Yet, shooting with both eyes open, the equal measurements of information are sent to the brain, giving the hunter an extremely accurate direction to act on. The dominant eye can focus on the front sight. The non-dominant one, often the left eye, can scan the surroundings to get a total picture.

Both eyes provide data in their own way, but knowing the information to accompany your comfort is necessary for crafting your skill.

While it technically does not make a difference whether you are right-eye dominant or left-eye dominant, it does when it comes to rifles and scopes. They are pretty much all built for people that are right-eye dominant and all adjustments are designed for that.

Image showing shooter aiming through a rifle scope. Could be one or both eyes open to aim.

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Shooting with one eye open

Shooting with your dominant eye open when aiming is a common and popular method hunters use, especially in the beginning, when they are learning how to shoot. In certain situations, shooting with your dominant eye open and your non-dominant eye closed tends to be more comfortable and a better tool than with two eyes.

For instance, when someone is using a rifle to shoot at their target, the rifle must align up to their right or left shoulder. In this, the technique for propping up the gun to hold, aim, and shoot, is primarily dependent on a particular side of the body. The eye of the left or right side will align with the rest of the body as well as the rifle.

Sometimes the companion eye does not help with aligning the visual image when you are in the proper stance for shooting. When this happens, the eye that is open can very much be more beneficial than shooting with two eyes. The dominant eye is sometimes referred to as the master eye.

There are many successful opportunities and situations to shoot with your non-dominant eye not being closed, even though, for most hunters, two eyes tend to be the preferred method of shooting. Depending on the hunter, the situation, the scope used as well as the comfort level, aiming with a single eye can be far more successful and dominant.

Shooting with two eyes open

More often than not, shooting with two eyes open is the preferred method for aiming. When you shoot with both eyes, you can get an accurate visual image that is properly transmitted to both sides of the brain.

If both sides of the brain see the picture, a proper calculation can be made, giving the hunter a chance to react and calculate their target and percentage of success quickly. The non-dominant eye will help to increase the field of view and provide additional image data to the brain.

The most significant difference when choosing whether you shoot with both eyes open is the organ itself. To keep both eyes open when shooting is far more practical, as accuracy tends to be more consistent, based on how the eyes function.

The lighting plays an effect on the eyes as well. The cones and rods within the organ of the eye utilize not only the image but the illumination of the visual field being displayed.

Due to these facts of what the eyes, as organs, need for success, keeping both eyes open will give the hunter more descriptive details in terms of color, speed, dimension, and the balanced positioning of their aim. In other words, two eyes can increase the productivity of the hunter’s skill, bringing forth success.

Yet, what truly matters is comfort, ease, and confidence in shooting as both options for visual aids can and will be successful.

Targeting with both eyes open

Situations for one or two eyes

Certain situations go hand in hand with using one over using two eyes. Shooting with a single eye that is open should and can be used for learning the skill. It may be easier to start using your dominant eye when learning to shoot because of the unfamiliar territory of aiming.

More importantly, it can be helpful to close your non-dominant eye when someone is stretching their shot into a longer range. It is also the case that it will be easier to close one eye for targeting when you learn how to shoot.

Using a single eye is best used for situations where accuracy is not the ultimate goal at hand. Keeping your non-dominant eye closed and the other one open can be more comfortable at first, but as time goes by, it can cause strain on the eyes as well, affecting accuracy.

Your eyesight is naturally depending on both of your eyes. Therefore, if you keep one eye shut, you rob your brain of critical information to get a complete picture of your surroundings and your target.

For two eyes, many situations are specifically useful for this tactic. Any type of shooting that is involved with a defense mechanism should be used with two eyes because you want accuracy to be there.

It is vital to learn to shoot with both eyes for a natural habit to form. Shooting when you keep both eyes open can make real-life situations easier to tackle in terms of defense.

More importantly, when you keep both eyes open when shooting should be used in cases where you are looking to achieve accuracy in all types of hunting. Your dominant eye will focus on the front sight while your non-dominant eye is scanning the visible field of view for targets. Your reaction time is much less when you shoot with both eyes open.

​You also have to consider whether your gear provides support to shoot with one or both eyes open. Not all scopes are useful for targeting and aiming with both eyes open. It can come down to whether you have a scope that offers long eye relief or not.

Depending on what you are using your shooting skills for, one or two eyes can provide success. Yet, as hunters, it is essential to decide what fits you best for your comfort, confidence, and style of hunting.

Is it better to shoot when you have one or both eyes open?
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Aaron Bennett