Cross-Dominance: The Non-Issue

by ToddG

Cross-dominance, sometimes called “cross-eye dominance,” affects approximately 10% of shooters. It is fairly common among left-handed shooters (whose right eye is dominant) but it also occurs in a small percentage of right-handed shooters (whose left eye is dominant).

There are a number of different tests to determine eye dominance. The easiest is to point your pistol at a small target. Now, close your left eye, keeping the right eye open. If the gun is still lined up with the target, you’re right eye dominant. If the gun seemed to “jump” to the left, then you are left eye dominant.

For years, instructors would give students a variety of different techniques to overcome the problem of cross-dominance. Even now, some instructors treat it as an affliction. Recommendations range from forcing yourself to shoot with the non-dominant hand to radically canting your head and neck to get your dominant eye in line with the gun.

None of that is necessary. Or even helpful.

If you are cross-dominant, the solution is pretty simple. Just put the gun in front of your dominant eye. Simple as that.

Close your non-dominant eye. Draw the pistol and point it at your target. Don’t bend your neck or anything else, just stand upright and aim the gun. Now open your non-dominant eye. Ta-da. You’ve done it!

The photo above is of an extremely accomplished shooter who happens to be cross-dominant. Can you tell from his face, head position, or stance that he’s shooting with his left eye? No, you cannot. He simply brings the gun an inch farther to the left than a non-cross shooter needs to.

So, don’t let cross-dominance limit your shooting or your students’ shooting. Like many things in life, cross-dominance doesn’t become a problem until a shooter is told it’s a problem. Don’t program shooters for failure. If you are dealing with a cross-dominant shooter, just make sure he’s lining the gun up properly and leave it at that. If he’s struggling, have him shoot with his non-dominant eye closed for a while to get used to the proper position of the gun. Then, as he gets more comfortable, he can start working on shooting with both eyes open.

Cross-dominance is just a boogeyman used as an excuse by bad instructors or struggling shooters. Remember: just put the gun in line with your dominant eye, whichever eye that is. It really is that simple.