The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Shooting with both eyes open – why it’s something to aim for

Tom Payne explains how to move away from closing one eye and keeping both open to improve your accuracy

shooting with both eyes open

Patrick slightly cants his gun. He was unaware of this and tried hard to correct it during the lesson

Out of season is the ideal time to work on improving your shooting technique and one of the questions I get asked frequently is about shooting with both eyes open.

One eye or two?

There are two different ways of shooting — monocular versus binocular — which basically means with one eye or both. They are really very different.

Shoot with one eye and you’ll be very aware of where your gun is in relation to the target. However your ability to read depth perception and speed is reduced. You will also shoot a straight oncoming driven target without being able to see it.

Eye dominance checking

Be wary of self-diagnosing your own eye dominance – it is much better to go to a reputable instructor

Why shooting with both eyes open is better

If you shoot with both eyes open you will find it easier to read the line, speed and distance; 90 per cent of your vision stays on the bird with the other 10 per cent aware of where the gun is in relation to the target. Your focus on the target should therefore improve. You have to learn to trust that, if you mount the gun correctly, with good muzzle control, picking the bird up correctly, sound technique and gun fit, you will shoot where you look.

If you want to get as good as you can be at shooting, you need to learn to shoot with both eyes open.

Which is your dominant eye?

Do you shoot off the same shoulder as your dominant eye? In theory, there 
are various tests that one can use to 
self-diagnose eye dominance. One 
involves pointing at something then closing one eye — if the object stays in the same place you are right eye dominant; if it moves you are cross eye dominant. However the best way to check your eye dominance is with a shooting instructor.

Get worse before you get better

Every time you pick up a gun you should try to shoot with both eyes open. Accept that you will get worse before you get better.

Simulated clays

Practice on simulated clays with a bit of speed and angle, but nothing too challenging. This will allow you to work on your general gun mount and technique, but also focus on the target.

A straightforward springing teal is a perfect starting point. It is a clay that is excellent for developing gun mount, easy to read and to finish the shot. With both eyes open you keep your vision on the target and it becomes simple to shoot.

Shooting a Beretta

Practice keeping both eyes open

Keep your vision on the bird

It is vital that you keep your vision on the clay and watch it break, never taking your vision off the target until you have completed your shot.