Shooting is a skill that must be learned. Hopefully, everyone had the opportunity to be taught by someone knowledgeable and competent. Two of the fundamentals of marksmanship are sight alignment & sight picture. To be a proficient marksman, one must be able to apply these fundamentals repeatedly and correctly. Sight alignment is the relationship between the front sight and rear sight. Sight picture is the relationship between the front sight, rear sight and target. The front sight must be in clear focus when applying these fundamentals.
I was taught to close one eye when shooting. This allows me to focus on the front sight without much difficulty. As I progressed in my career and age, the concept of shooting with both eyes open became more prominent. I struggled with this concept but through training, was able to adapt and utilize this technique. I find that shooting with both eyes open is fine for anything within 7 yards. When the distance becomes greater than that, I choose to close my weak eye allowing better focus on the front sight.
When I am teaching anyone, I ask them to use both techniques in order to determine what works best for that particular individual. Some people simply cannot shoot with both eyes open. That is fine. There is no one set way to do this. If any instructor tells you that you have to do it “this way”, find another instructor. I spoke about what to look for in an instructor in last month’s article.
Shooting with both eyes open allows me to pick up my front sight a little bit quicker thus allowing me to put rounds on target quicker. I do not necessarily have to have perfect sight alignment when shooting up close and quick. I may have nothing more than a flash sight picture. If shooting competition, I may want to close the weak eye to better focus on the front sight so that I can shoot a tighter group. In a deadly force encounter, I most likely will have both eyes open. This will also allow me to have a larger field of vision and allow better situational awareness.
As with anything else, there is always a positive and negative side with everything. Find out for yourself what works best for you at close distance and as you progress further away. You should also know which eye is the dominate eye. Some people are cross eye dominate. That is not a problem as all you need to do is move the weapon to your eye allowing you to align the sights.
I do encourage you to send questions, concerns or thoughts to me. If you or anyone you know is looking to improve on your skills, I hope you contact me to set up a training date. If you have a group and want training, we can arrange that also.
Stay vigilante in the efforts to maintain our right to bear arms.