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Determining Eye Dominance, Sighting, And Other AR 15 Basics

February 19, 2018

When you go to kick a ball, do you swing with your right foot or left? Whether you played sports all through school or you jumped in on a couple of neighborhood games of kickball, odds are good you can at least tell which of your feet and hands is the dominant. But do you know which eye is your dominant one? If you’re still relatively new to shooting and gun ownership, it’s pretty understandable if you don’t know how to answer that question. However, if you want to improve your accuracy and be able to shoot more quickly (with better accuracy), figuring out things like eye dominance can make a big difference.

Determining Your Dominant Eye

Figuring out whether you are right handed/footed or left-side dominant is generally all about instinct. If you center a ball on the ground in front of you, your dominant side is likely going to be whichever foot you instinctively kick with. Or, for most people, the dominant hand is whichever hand you write with — the only common exception to this rule is people who can write ambidextrously. Figuring out eye dominance isn’t quite so simple and, more interestingly, doesn’t always correspond to which of your hands/feet is dominant. For most, their dominant eye will be the same side as their dominant hand, but being cross-dominant (eye dominance is opposite of hand dominance) is moderately common.

To figure out which of your eyes is dominant, start by finding an (immobile) object at a distance to focus on. A good option can be to stand at one end of the room and stand so that a doorknob is centered in your point of view. Next, raise both hands to eye level with your arms extended. Overlap your thumbs and fingers to create a triangle of open space between your hands. Make that triangle of open space fairly small, maybe an inch to an inch and a half across the bottom. Now focus on that item at a distance, hold your hands steady, and close one eye. Did the item shift out of view, or did it stay within sight? If the item moved out of view, the eye left open is your non-dominant eye; if the item didn’t move, the open eye is your dominant one. If you want to see the technique in action, check out this easy video from Pew Pew Tactical.

Why Eye Dominance Matters

It may seem like such a small thing, but figuring out which of your eyes is dominant can help you improve your accuracy. Eventually, you’ll work your way toward shooting with both eyes open, but most shooters will aim with one eye closed when they’re first starting out because it helps sight a target more accurately. Figuring out your eye dominance can help you determine which stance will be the most stable and comfortable for you. A strong ready position with an AR 15 relies on you picking one side of your body or the other, with preference given to your dominant eye. Doing so will put your dominant eye in a better position to use a fixed iron sight or an optic. Whether you’re going with a high-tech and highly adjustable optic or a sturdy, non-adjustable fixed iron sight — or anything in between — firearm sight aids all work on the same basic principle. Most use the front notch of their sight to line up the shot and, if you’re still learning the nuances of sighting a shot, closing your non-dominant eye can help make things a bit less confusing.

Don’t worry that closing one eye makes you look like a novice; we’ve all been there at some point! Focus on creating muscle memory for a solid shooting stance. After all, starting off with good habits from the beginning is better than trying to break bad habits down the road. And, along with finding the right stance, learning how to line up a shot well will help your accuracy. Learning how to do that with both eyes open can come later.

Choosing Aiming Assistants

One of the topics that we see pretty frequently across the AR 15 community is a debate over which options are the best AR sights and optics. Do you need the high-tech scope or will a DBAL laser be enough? There will likely never be a single definitive answer because the sight assistance needed by a hunter will be different than someone who uses their AR for home defense or range time. As in all things, the ultimate guideline should be what is comfortable and easy for you to use.

For those of you who prefer a non-powered backup for your DBAL laser device, you can get a great secondary sight option without adding more weight or height to your AR. The RailScales LEAF™ fixed iron sight is designed to be a barely noticeable addition to DBAL laser devices to help you improve your accuracy. Learn more here and grab yours today to put those eye-dominance lessons to good use!