SHOOTing Tip – Struggle with Keeping Both Eyes Open? This Tip is for You!

There are plenty of benefits to shooting with both eyes open especially when shooting shotguns and handguns, but training yourself to do it can be challenging for some. For many, it is a struggle to fight the natural instinct to close one eye. So how do you train yourself to kick that habit?

How to Train to Keep Both Eyes Open

SHOOTing Tip - How to Train to Keep Both Eyes OpenThe first step is to determine if you can see the sights with both eyes. If you can’t get a clear sight picture on target with both eyes open, or if you see two front sights or some other strange configuration that is nearly impossible to decipher, then shooting with both eyes open may not work for you. It’s not the end of the world. It’s more important that you are able to acquire a proper sight picture and hit your target.

If you are a competition shooter that struggles with this you can get a little help from some frosted tape. In most cases it’s just a matter of determining your eye dominance and placing a piece of tape on your eye protection on the lens in front of your non-dominant eye. The tape blocks this eye from seeing the sights, but still allows you full access to your peripheral vision.

An effective way to prevent yourself from closing an eye is to spend a good amount of time dry firing. (Dry fire means NO AMMO!) Practice acquiring the sights with both eyes open.  Start with the firearm at low ready with both eyes on the target. Bring the gun up to your line of sight and acquire the proper sight picture on your target. The repetition of presenting the gun will help train you to keep those eyes open for when you transition to shooting in live fire. Just like with any habit, you’ll need to train yourself to stop which means more than just a few times dry firing.

When you hit the shooting range, you may find that despite all that dry practice, you still close an eye. It might be a matter of sympathetic reaction to recoil. .22 caliber, airsoft guns and light loads can help you transition to larger calibers and full power ammunition. Just as you had to concentrate keeping both eyes open in dry fire, it’s likely you will have to do the same during your live fire training as well.

For more useful information on shooting please check out my other shooting tips right here on the website and also read more in my bookSHOOT: Your Guide to Shooting and Competition available in both print and eBook from these and other fine retailers…

SHOOT is available at Barnes & Noble! SHOOT is available on Nook! SHOOT is available on iTunes! SHOOT is available on Kindle! SHOOT is available at Amazon! SHOOT is available at Brownells! 

From Julie Golob

All views and opinions expressed here are all mine and do not represent those of my employers or sponsors. Please review my comment policy before posting and be aware that links provided throughout this website may be affiliate links. For more info, read my disclaimer and disclosure page. ~JulieG


  1. Adam
    Nov 06, 2012 @ 12:20:00

    How do you cope with cross-dominance? Meaning, I am right handed, but strongly left eye dominate. I do fine with rifle where I can close my left eye, but struggle with this when shooting handgun. I think this is holding me back from being more competitive in IDPA.

  2. Rooster
    Nov 07, 2012 @ 08:15:00

    If I may, this is where shooting with both eyes open is almost a must. If you’re cross dominant, just move the gun slightly (maybe not) to your dominant eye. Practice, practice, practice.

    My son is cross dominant and dealt with it in a unique way. Growing up, age 5 and on, he somehow sensed he was left eye dominant and learned to shoot Nerf pistols left handed. Now at 15 he shoots regular pistols left handed, and had learned to shoot them right handed. Talk about an advantage!

    In case you think it can’t be done, consider that Dave Sevigny and Brian Enos are both cross dominant. They shoot right handed with their left eyes dominant. Doesn’t seem to bother them!