One of the most important skills to learn for any “non-range” shooting situation is how to shoot with both eyes open. On a static range it’s not a big deal if you want to close off half your vision to line up the sights, but when the situation becomes dynamic, you’ll want to take in as much visual information as possible. If you look like Cyclops when you shoot, these simple drills will have you quickly seeing just one sight post while also seeing the whole battlefield.
Why Shooting Glasses Come as a Pair
Before we get to the drills, let me discuss a few reasons why learning how to shoot with both eyes open is important.
- In any tactical or combat shooting situation, you will be moving. Having both eyes open will allow you to move better/quicker while navigating obstacles or moving to cover.
- In any tactical or combat shooting situation, your target will be moving. Having both eyes open will allow you to more quickly locate and better track your threat(s).
- It’s impossible to close one eye and not have the other eye close a little bit. By doing this, you are diminishing the vision in the eye you’re trying to use to aim.
- Like those who drink their coffee black can make fun of people who use cream or sugar, you’ll be able to look down on Cyclops Shooters.
Now that you understand the importance of shooting with both eyes open, you’ll need to stop thinking it’s a magical technique that only Tier 6 Operators can use. Yes, for some, shooting with both eyes open does come a little easier, but everyone can learn how to do it and be sending effective fire downrange within a week. Here’s how.
Something to Do at Work besides Play Angry Birds
Actually, you can do this at work, at home, or even on the toilet. Grab a pen or pencil and hold it out at arm’s length with the thinnest part (front sight post width is good) pointing up. Now close your non-dominant eye and aim the tip of your writing instrument at an object at least three feet away. Without moving anything, open up your non-dominant eye. This will train your brain what it should look like to have both eyes open when you shoot. Practice this for a few minutes and then move on to step two.
Next, you will do the same thing, but this time in reverse. Start off with both eyes open and try to aim at the object. Once you’re sighted in, close your non-dominant eye and check to see if you’re pointed directly at the object. If you are, great! If you’re not, move the tip to point where you want it and open both eyes again to teach your brain what visual data to pay attention to when both eyes are open. Do this for a few more minutes and then move on to step three.
This drill is not only good for training your eyes and brain to shoot with both eyes open, but it’s also great for working on front sight focus and also working the muscles in the eye that adjust focus. Start off with both eyes open and the tip of your pen or pencil about 3-4 inches in front of your dominant eye. The tip should be lined up with your target and you should be focusing on your target. Now slowly extend your arm out all the way while keeping the tip aimed at your target. As you extend past halfway out, your focus should shift to your aiming tip…focus, press, and repeat.
The Eyes Have It
If you practice these three drills for 10 – 15 minutes a day for one week, you’ll be able to shoot with both eyes open on the range (just make sure you’re wearing both sides of your shooting glasses now). You can (and should) do all the same drills dry fire with whatever weapon(s) you use on the range. Then plus-up some magazines and test it out on the range. I’m sure you’ll do fine if you’ve done your homework.
Once you’ve perfected this skill, keep that pencil handy and move on to multiple targets, shooting while moving (can’t sit at that desk all day!) and moving targets (coworkers).
And although your fellow workers may think you’re a bit strange, they can’t call the cops for brandishing a #2 pencil. What could be better than training for combat from the comfort of your desk or couch?
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