The following article was submited by Jeff Winstead

Being able to see clearly is a central element of being able to shoot well. While that’s a pretty obvious statement, a lot of shooters need to address it. The physiological facts of how your eyes see don’t really have to be understood, but being aware of the practical effects of how different circumstances affect your ability to see clearly can really make a difference in your ability to perform and to experience these different focus types.

Some people use only their right eye or only their left eye while shooting because they are cross-dominant; “I’m left-eyed and right handed or I’m right-eyed and left handed. This combination makes it difficult for them to shoot with both eyes open without experiencing double vision on either the gun or the target, depending on where they are looking. In my opinion, a situation this is the only reason a person should not fire with both eyes open. If you’re just beginning and you experience the same thing, you can learn to shoot with both eyes open by focusing with your strong eye. There are a few top shooters who do this, Chip McCormick and Tom Campbell for instance. If you have tried to focus with your dominant eye while leaving both eyes open and found that , although your left eye could refine a focus to the same degree, the speed in which it refined that focus is much slower than what you experienced with your right eye because of the years of previous training your right eye.

The solution is to block off your dominant eye’s ability to focus. While this can be done by simply closing, either partially or fully, the dominant eye, that’s detrimental for two reasons. First, when one eye is completely blocked off into darkness, that puts that much more strain on the open eye. Your eyes were meant to work as a team. If one eye is closed then the other’s pupil dilates to gather enough light. When the pupil dilates, then it’s not the correct size for optimum focus in that environment and both its duration of focus and ability to focus are impaired. The other disadvantage is that it’s almost impossible to close one eye without subsequently slighting closing the other eye. Squinting with your open eye causes a straining of the eyelid muscle which decreases its visual acuity. Closing one eye can decrease your visual acuity by up to 20% as opposed to simply blocking that eye’s vision.

The best thing to improve the performance of the weak-eyed shooter is to use transparent tape to block the dominant eye’s focus. This blocks the eye’s ability to focus, while it retains its light gathering ability so your pupils stay at their optimal sizes for the corresponding light conditions and let you focus as accurately as possible. Also, your eyes are more naturally open so there’s no pressure on the eyeball from squinting. Tear off a string of transparent tape about one-inch long and place it over the point where your eye looks straight ahead. make sure you place the tape high enough so that you can look under it when you reload or have to perform a similar precises movement. The tape only has to block the point straight away from the eye to be effective. This trick allows you to focus with your weak eye without experiencing any of the problems associated with blocking the strong eye completely; both eyes function as if the tape wasn’t there. Probably the most noticeable benefit you’ll find when shooting with both eyes open comes when you’re shooting groups. You’ll notice how much longer you can hold your focus.

At first, you’ll find it difficult to move around without stumbling, and the tape might make you feel uncomfortable. I suggest first using the tape while you’re at home reloading or working on your gun to get used to it. In time it will go unnoticed.

This practice should be limited to the shooter who’s only competition-minded. If you’re a law enforcement officer, or if your motivation for shooting is self-defense oriented, don’t follow this practice. If you can’t shoot without double vision, just close the offending eye.

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