M4- Right eye dominant, left handed shooter

policemedic

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I've recently inherited a right eye dominant, left handed rifle shooter that I need to bring up to speed. For the foreseeable future, he will be shooting a Colt 6920 with a carry handle A2 rear sight and standard front sight base.

Any thoughts on shooting left or right handed? I've seen cross-dominant shooters use both methods i.e. shooting with the weak hand/dominant eye and shooting with the strong hand/non-dominant eye. Both methods seem to have merit, but results vary with the shooter in my experience.

I know there are some rifle gurus here, and doubtless the 18Bs have come up against this issue more than once. Any input is appreciated.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I would start him off on his dominate hand side, the dominate eye is really not an issue unless there is a vision impairment (i.e. one eye has better vision than the other). A majority of the soldiers I have taught were cross eye/hand dominate and I found that teaching them on their dominate hand side had better results. Most of the problems I would run into had nothing to do with vision, but mostly had to do with building proper positions, trigger control and getting them to focus on the sights vs the target. The position, building NPA and trigger control is easier to teach on the dominate hand side due to it normally being the stronger side and they already have the strengths on that side. When you attempt to cross them over to the weak side to accommodate the dominate eye you will end up having to work out all the other issues on the position, NPA, trigger control, which will take a lot longer.

I don’t buy into the eye-dominate theories mainly because the aiming process has very little to do with the eye strength. Aiming is effected more by the focus capability and where that focus is applied (i.e. being able to get a clear focus on the front sight and maintaining the focus on the sights). Where I have experienced some issue with cross dominate is when soldiers did not have the ability to close the dominate eye and keep the non-dominate eye open, in those cases I taught them to keep both eyes open with irons and optics. Also I am personally left eye dominate and right hand dominate and I shoot well with both sides, however I favor my dominate hand side due to the strength levels.

Again, when you break it down into numbers you are fighting less problems during instruction when you teach the dominate hand side and adapt the non-dominate eye to accommodate the aiming process.
 

pardus

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I'm right hand, left eye dominant.
JAB, so you think it's better to shoot with my dominant eye closed?
 

dknob

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im right handed with left eye dominance, I shot rifles right handed with left eye closed and never missed a mark

Pistol shooting is much trickier
 

Diamondback 2/2

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I'm right hand, left eye dominant.
JAB, so you think it's better to shoot with my dominant eye closed?

With iron sights it will allow you to gain focus on the front sight faster/sharper. If you are using an optic such as a M68 or EO Tech you should keep both eyes open. Some people have a bit of trouble shooting irons with both eyes open, but if they can get a clear sight picture (clear focus on the front sight) with both open, than they should IMO at close range keep both open. But again it depends on the individual and their ability to adapt.

The dominate eye feeds the most information to the brain, however, both eyes have the ability to focus. If someone has 20/20 (or equal vision ability) then there is no benefit from using a dominate eye over the non-dominate eye while shooting. Even in most cases as long as the eye looking through the sights can achieve “clear” focus on the front sight, it doesn’t matter if that eye has poor vision compared to the other.

I personally use both eyes open with iron and optics at close range (50 yards or less) but at longer distance I will normally close my non-shooting eye to get a crisper focus on the sights/reticle.

For basic rifle marksmanship, I teach people to close the non shooting eye (unless they are unable to do so).
 

pardus

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Thanks guys. I have always shot with my non shooting eye closed and I'm decent with a rifle.
 

QC

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Total lefty, but it wasn't really too much bother. With pistols it doesn't matter as I shoot with both open, it's more instinctive and I'm left handed with a pistol. I guess if I was into comp pistol or air pistol it would be a different ball game.
 

Diamondback 2/2

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On pistol I shoot both eyes open for rapid shooting or multi target engagements, but on the more precision shooting I will close the non-shooting eye or sometimes (when I get fatigued from closing an eye) turn my head to the right so that my left (dominate) eye can get the better focus on the sights. What I have found with pistol (it is very different than rifle) is that the dominate eye while used with the non-dominate eye, will cause a blur affect to the sights. For example, I am shooting the pistol right hand and using my right eye to see my sights, but my left eye is open and causes the right eye to somewhat blur do to the left eye picking up (feed the brain) more information. When this happens I have to either close the non-dominate eye, or I have to turn my head so that the left eye is in line with the sights.

It is as Dknob said “tricky” because of the transition between focus and information being sent to the brain and how it is computed, etc. A good way to experience this is shooting a multi target engagement where you know exactly where the targets are, as you shoot with both eyes open and transition your sights to each target the sights are visible but not crystal clear. Now trying to track a moving target while it moves between cover or with limited exposures while using both eyes, you will find it harder to maintain the focus on the sights and that they will blur or come in and out of focus. When that happens is where I will close the dominate eye or turn my head so that only the dominate eye is in line with the sights. I can only explain what is happening as, the dominate eye is feeding more information than what is needed (i.e. focus on the sights) and instead the dominate eye is picking up the cover or concealments that the target is moving between. In other words the dominate eye is send too much information to the brain and your focus shifts from the sights (where you want them) to the other data, such as the cover the moving target is moving between.

Policemedic, I am not trying to dominate the topic brother, just tossing some of my opinions/experience out. If I am getting over board, by all means tell me to STFU. ;)
 

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Thanks guys. I think I'm going to steer him towards strong hand/non-dominant eye. It should make weapon manipulation easier as well.
You have chosen wisely. I asked my earlier question to apply the "if it's not broke don't fix it". Too many times instructors look at something that works but they are unfamiliar with and automatically feel the need to meddle with it. There are also times where someone will claim having a dominant eye and not know how to tie their shoes, it happens more often than you think. Start back at the basics and make sure of his dominant sides and go from there. I brush my teeth with my left hand but am right handed, listen to the phone in my left ear so I can use my right hand etc. Often people will display a dominant side for one task that doesn't favor that side for another. Eyes can be trained easier than the rest of the body as a whole.
 

policemedic

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You have chosen wisely. I asked my earlier question to apply the "if it's not broke don't fix it". Too many times instructors look at something that works but they are unfamiliar with and automatically feel the need to meddle with it. There are also times where someone will claim having a dominant eye and not know how to tie their shoes, it happens more often than you think. Start back at the basics and make sure of his dominant sides and go from there. I brush my teeth with my left hand but am right handed, listen to the phone in my left ear so I can use my right hand etc. Often people will display a dominant side for one task that doesn't favor that side for another. Eyes can be trained easier than the rest of the body as a whole.

I know what you mean. I don't personally care if someone shoots like I do, as long as they understand why they're doing what they do and they're getting their hits.

This issue arose because he normally uses an optic; he's still got room for improvement but is a fair marksman with the optic. However, now circumstances are such that he must use irons, and he brought this issue up.

I'm grateful I have y'all to bounce things off and get feeedback.
 

fox1371

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JAB has definitely nailed it on the head. I'm right handed and left eye dominant as well. I don't have any issues with rifle whatsoever and I feel that I'm exceptional with a rifle. I'm effective with a pistol but there is definitely room for improvement. The problem that I run into is with stance. I shoot right handed however I bring the pistol up over to my left eye. I can't lock out both arms as tightly when I do this. When the pistol comes up I'm pushing it left with my right arm and I don't get the full lockout with my left arm. Therefor, as of right now I have to keep pressure on the left side of the frame with my support hand to keep from shooting left. I had to change up the placement of my finger trigger as well. The small adjustments are proving effective however I'm still not where I'd like to be yet.
 

JustAnotherJ

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I am defective like Pardus (left eye dominance, right handed) and I love it. I just shoot M4 leftie and pistol rightie. Makes for really fast transitions. I learned this while going through the Pararescue Apprentice course and it's been that way since. The problem areas that I had/have are charging/locking the bolt to the rear. My right hand comes back to assist while holding the mag-well and my left hand has to come off the trigger to charge it. Bolt on parts can fix the ambidextrious problems. My mag changes are very controlled since all i have to do is bring my right hand back, depress the mag release button and rip the mag out (Good during double feeds as the mag sometimes sticks). Transisiton drills are easy as pie since the rifle goes to my left and pistol comes off my right hip (I don't need to focus on "trapping the weapon" as much as the right eye/right hand guys.

That's just my story, and i know you're guy is left handed with right eye dom. but I would see how he does shooting right handed so that he isn't squinting through the sights while trying to shoot left. I bet with enough trigger time, he'll be better off utilizing his right eye dominance as long as he can get the muscle memory for shooting right.

In addition, it should make him a rockstar in MOUT/CQB being able to use the rifle from either side.

Good luck with him.

Edit: By switching up my shooting hand, my accuracy and overall SA went way up due to ease of sight picture, but it took a lot of time, a BB rifle, and a friends back yard that had lots of birds
 
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