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  1. #1
    spacedoggy's Avatar
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    Help with wife shooting rifle

    I just saw that picture of Mike's wife shooting the M1 Garand which reminded me of a problem I have with my wife. My wife would like to shoot our rifles but she is right handed in everything but her dominate eye is her left eye. Is she just plain out of luck. It's so odd to see her hold a rifle and try to aim. She has given up. My wife is also my best friend so to have her share my main hobby does not bother me. lately she has been hanging out with me when I reload. The other night she asked if she could reload some 9mm. I said let me set it up for you. She asked me if she could try and I laughed and watch her do it perfectly except for two small things. I was shocked but she learned by watching me. Any help would be great on the rifle problem.

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    tony pasley's Avatar
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    Your title had me worried about what you meant. Your lucky she joins you in your life style, firearms are to important to just be a hobby.

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    After I posted this I opened the September issue of Guns Magazine. There is an article about the cross-dominant eyes. I now know how to work with her on her pistol shooting which is a quick fix but she will have to learn how to shoot a rifle left handed and I don't think I'll be able to sell her on that.

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    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    My daughter is cross-dominant, but shoots a rifle very well. Rather than teaching her to shoot left-handed, I simply put a piece of Scotch tape on the left lens of her shooting glasses. A little smudge of Vaseline works as well, if you don't live in a sandy/dusty area. This sufficiently obscures the dominant eye and forces the "weak" eye to take over, allowing her to shoot properly.

    Anyway, the daughter can nail the range's steel chicken at 75 yards every single time - from field positions, not the bench - with her 10/22. She also regularly beats me on our "bounce the tennis ball with a .22" competitions. She doesn't even really need the tape anymore. She can just dim the left eye slightly and shoot well.
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    James NM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    ...Anyway, the daughter can nail the range's steel chicken at 75 yards every single time - from field positions, not the bench - with her 10/22. She also regularly beats me on our "bounce the tennis ball with a .22" competitions....
    Sounds like we got the wrong Barham toten a rifle in Afghanistan.

  6. #6
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James NM View Post
    Sounds like we got the wrong Barham toten a rifle in Afghanistan.
    Haaa! In fairness to me, I built her a 10/22 with a good trigger and a nice scope. I limp along with an old Marlin .22. Excuses, excuses!

    Seriously, she's a good shot. I am very proud.
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    spacedoggy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Barham View Post
    My daughter is cross-dominant, but shoots a rifle very well. Rather than teaching her to shoot left-handed, I simply put a piece of Scotch tape on the left lens of her shooting glasses. A little smudge of Vaseline works as well, if you don't live in a sandy/dusty area. This sufficiently obscures the dominant eye and forces the "weak" eye to take over, allowing her to shoot properly.
    I just read this to the wife and she told me that's what she use to do and was trained that way when she got her license up in CT. I'll make her wear them from now on. Maybe she can cook better with them on also.

  8. #8
    Shipwreck's Avatar
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    I am right handed and left eye dominate - That's why I never got into rifles and prefer handguns - until I got my PS90 - Eotech on a PS90 - I can use either eye. Works great.

    And while the optic is high - honestly - it doesn't matter. The gun's range is 200 yards - but with an unmagnified optic, it is doubtful you'll shoot past 100 yards with it on range practice. At those distances - the optic being above the bore doesn't matter.


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    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Ship is right about non-magnifying dot optics. You shoot with both eyes open when using them, at least if you use them correctly. However, my daughter is so strongly cross-dominant that she still wanted to turn her head on the stock and look through the red dot with her strong eye.

    My father is also cross-dominant, but shoots exceedingly well with an iron-sighted rifle by dimming the left eye.

    Maybe it is a question of how strongly cross-dominant someone is?

    Anyway, you might try her on a red dot, as Ship suggests. Let us know how things work out.
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  10. #10
    js's Avatar
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    How do you determine which eye is the dominant one...? I'm right handed, but always use my left eye to focus on the sights...
    "bing bang boom! hair out...hamburger time" - William Murderface

  11. #11
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Well, I suppose I'll have to take the "other" position, because it's worked so well for me over the years.

    The first time my father handed me a BB gun, I put it in my left shoulder, aimed, and hit the target, all before he noticed I was shooting left-handed. He said "whatever works", and I've shot long guns lefty ever since. Cross-dominant folks have a few advantages when shooting long guns left-handed:

    - You use your strong hand/arm to support the weight of the gun, instead of your weaker left side; this is a major advantage when shooting in unsupported "field" positions.

    - If the weapon you're using has an ejection port on the right side, when shooting lefty you are in a better position to see into the chamber during loading/clearing, or when reducing stoppages.


    I'm also very reluctant to teach a new shooter to use a "crutch" such as special one-eyed glasses or an eye patch except under very limited circumstances. If it is a special occasion like a visitor from overseas or other one-time-only shooter, or if a person will never be involved in any other type of shooting except a certain sport or shooting "game", then it's not a problem. But to develop a skill that may be used in varying circumstances such as personal/home defense (maybe in poor light, with little notice?), hunting, or even informal target shooting, I think they are best served by learning to shoot with a minimum of special equipment. I really think they need to learn to shut or squint the non-aiming eye, so that they can always shoot well, no matter what they want/need to do.

    (One of the things that surprised me the most about being a firearm instructor in the military, was how many people there are that CANNOT shut one eye and keep the other one open! No, I'm not kidding; ask the next 5-10 people you know or meet, who are NOT shooters, to close one eye and keep the other one open, then switch. I'll bet 5-10 percent can't do one eye, and 10-20% can't do it with first one eye, and then the other.)
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 10-03-2007 at 03:21 AM.

  12. #12
    DJ Niner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by js View Post
    How do you determine which eye is the dominant one...? I'm right handed, but always use my left eye to focus on the sights...
    There are many methods, but the one I usually use involves looking across the room at a single small object, like a wall light switch. Look at it with both eyes open, and as you do, extend one arm out in front of your face, as far out as it can go, and make a circle with the thumb and forefinger (the "Okay" symbol). Keep both eyes open, but look through the circle at the object (light switch), and pull the circle back toward your face until your hand touches your cheek. The circle will be around only one eye, and that is most probably your master (dominant) eye. Do it right-handed and left-handed; if the results are mixed, you may not have a highly dominant eye (nearly equal).

    Even though my left eye is normally quite dominant, I can now shoot with either eye, and have been known to change back and forth between my eyes during long range sessions with a handgun. I am also basically ambidextrous with most rifles after all these years (especially the M16/AR series weapons), but if I want to hit anything by point-shooting with a shotgun, I must use my left eye and shoot left handed. Right-handed wingshooting with a shotgun gets ugly, fast.


    EDITED TO ADD LINKS AND MORE INFO:

    http://www.archeryweb.com/archery/eyedom.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocular_dominance

    Determination of ocular dominance

    A person's dominant eye "is determined by subjective alignment of two objects presented at a stereodisparity far beyond Panum's area"[17]. There are a number of ways to do this:

    1. The "Miles test". The observer extends both arms, brings both hands together to create a small opening, then with both eyes open views a distant object through the opening. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws opening back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye)[18][1].
    2. The "Porta test". The observer extends one arm, then with both eyes open aligns the thumb or index finger with a distant object. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws the thumb/finger back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye) [18][2][3].
    3. The observer extends one arm, forms a small, circular opening with the thumb and index finger, then with both eyes open views a distant object through the opening. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws the opening back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye).
    4. The "Dolman method" also known as the "hole-in-the-card test". The subject is given a card with a small hole in the middle, instructed to hold it with both hands, then instructed to view a distant object through the hole with both eyes open. The observer then alternates closing the eyes or slowly draws the opening back to the head to determine which eye is viewing the object (i.e. the dominant eye).[11]

    "Forced choice" tests of dominance, such as the Dolman method, allow only a right or left eye result.[11]
    Last edited by DJ Niner; 10-04-2007 at 03:15 AM.

  13. #13
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DJ Niner View Post

    - You use your strong hand/arm to support the weight of the gun, instead of your weaker left side; this is a major advantage when shooting in unsupported "field" positions.
    That seems like a minor advantage compared to working the controls and the trigger with the more dexterous hand and finger, though. A skilled rifleman will generally use the shooting sling in most field-shooting positions (except standing), unless we're talking about close combat.

    - If the weapon you're using has an ejection port on the right side, when shooting lefty you are in a better position to see into the chamber during loading/clearing, or when reducing stoppages.
    I'd never considered that. I usually just roll the weapon so the ejection port is up, but that's an excellent point.

    I really think they need to learn to shut or squint the non-aiming eye, so that they can always shoot well, no matter what they want/need to do.
    Agreed. It took my daughter some years to be able to dim her dominant eye at will, but she can do it now. For long shooting sessions, she still relies on the taped glasses, but if she had any interest in hunting, she could dim the left eye for a single shot. Defense isn't a consideration at her age, and I doubt she will ever be interested enough in guns to keep anything more than a pistol for defense.

    My father has never shot less than Expert in a 42 year military career. (Pays to be an Arkansas farm boy, I guess.) He just dims the left eye and goes to work.

    (One of the things that surprised me the most about being a firearm instructor in the military, was how many people there are that CANNOT shut one eye and keep the other one open! No, I'm not kidding; ask the next 5-10 people you know or meet, who are NOT shooters, to close one eye and keep the other one open, then switch. I'll bet 5-10 percent can't do one eye, and 10-20% can't do it with first one eye, and then the other.)
    Interesting! I'll try that!
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