When I first learned to shoot, at the NRA First Steps Pistol class, they explained “eye dominance“. I closed one eye to aim and was most accurate that way, so I continued shooting that way.
When I took defensive shooting classes, I heard over and over: keep both eyes open. You lose peripheral vision and that might include a bad guy who’s trying to shoot you. I have periodically tried to practice with both eyes open and see double, get frustrated, and go back to closing one eye.
I took a class up at Caswell Ranch from Dean Brevit on April 6th, 2013. The most valuable thing I took away from Dean’s class was a new way to look at the target.
For defensive shooting, look at the target. Bring the gun up and when it gets in the way of the target, pull the trigger.
That is a huge over simplification, but it was the first explanation that really made sense to me.
The hitch: breaking the habit I’ve already established of closing one eye and lining up the sites.
Why does it matter? In a situation where another person is pointing a gun at you and is moving, it’s most likely that you will focus on the target. It is instinctive to focus on the threat. It’s also faster to shoot that way. The challenge is to maintain accuracy. And when the target is 6″ in diameter, for IDPA or to hit a bad guy’s chest, it is possible to be accurate enough. Dean made a believer out of me.
Making the change is a slow process. I keep getting cross-eyed when I try to change my focus to the target. All my practice time has been devoted to this one skill the last few weeks.
However I have much more work to do. At the IDPA match I shot last Saturday night, I immediately went back to closing one eye. I knew I was doing it, was very accurate for me, and didn’t want to shoot even slower… possibly a bad trade off, but one I made.
Finally, in a “deja vu” moment this past week, another blog I follow posted an article about focusing on the target, so I’ll share that as well: Can target focus be good? from Ron Larimer at When the Balloon Goes Up!