Do You Shoot a Pistol with One Eye Closed or Both Eyes Open?

Video do you close one eye when shooting a pistol

When it comes to firing a gun, new shooters often start by closing one eye and aiming at the target. However, experienced gun owners sometimes prefer to shoot with both eyes open. So, what’s the most effective approach? Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of shooting both ways.

Shooting with One Eye Open

To begin, let’s discuss the familiar method for new shooters—closing one eye and looking through the scope or iron sights with the other eye. The eye you close depends on your dominant hand, but generally, you want to keep the dominant eye open, closer to the gun.

An essential point to note is that most people have a dominant eye. This is the eye that is better at processing visual information and transmitting it to the brain. Closing one eye allows you to focus solely on your sights or the target in the scope, blocking out distractions.

However, shooting with one eye closed significantly restricts your field of vision. This reduction in overall vision may not be ideal in situations where you need awareness of your surroundings, such as self-defense or hunting.

man aiming gun at target inside shooting range

Shooting with Both Eyes Open

Another technique is shooting with both eyes open. Start by aiming as you normally would, with one eye slightly closed, and then fully open the closed eye. Practice focusing with your dominant eye while keeping both eyes open. It may take some getting used to, but blinking the non-dominant eye a few times can help you adjust.

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If you’re wearing safety glasses (which you should always do), a neat trick is to lightly apply a bit of lip balm to the lens of your non-dominant eye. This blurs the image and helps your brain ignore any double vision effects, allowing you to focus on the target with both eyes open.

One of the most significant benefits of shooting with both eyes open is the expanded field of vision. Hunters, for example, can spot targets in their scope as well as other potential targets nearby. Shooting with both eyes open also enhances speed and accuracy, allowing for quicker transitions between targets.

hands of hunter in camouflage shooting from a gun to duck

However, shooting with both eyes open may take some time to adjust to, especially if you’re accustomed to shooting with one eye closed. Initially, you may feel the urge to “cheat” and partially or completely close your non-dominant eye. Don’t fight the urge. With practice, focusing and aiming with both eyes open will become more natural, and the urge to close one eye will fade away.

Which Approach Should You Choose?

Ultimately, the decision to shoot with one eye closed or both eyes open depends on what feels most natural and yields the best results for you. If you’ve been shooting with one eye closed, it may be worth giving both eyes open shooting a try. There are advantages to both methods, and exploring each technique will help you formulate your own opinion.

Remember, at “5 WS,” we strive to provide comprehensive information and guidance to enhance your shooting skills. Whether you prefer shooting with one eye open or both, our Las Vegas firing range offers a wide range of training classes and the opportunity to practice with exceptional firearms. Visit 5 WS to learn more about improving your aim and enjoying a unique shooting experience at The Range 702.

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  1. Heiting, G. (April 2022). Dominant Eye Test: How to Find Your Dominant Eye. All About Vision. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
  2. Melloni, F. (23 March 2022). How (& Why) You Should Keep Both Eyes Open While Shooting. NRA Family. Retrieved 25 April 2022.
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