Shop on

Guide to Cross-Eye Dominant Shooting

Table of Contents

Shooting is more intuitive and enjoyable when using your dominant hand and eye. For most enthusiasts, their dominant eye is on the same side as their dominant hand, making running a pistol or rifle a straightforward process. This isn’t always true for everyone though, as about 18% of people have cross-dominance. 

Cross-eye dominance is when your dominant eye is on the side opposing your dominant hand i.e., right eye with left hand and vice versa. While this doesn’t seem like too big of an issue at first, it’s the cause of some considerable challenges to new firearm enthusiasts, having a serious impact on their overall performance.  

2019 12 05 White Light and Catalog Shoot 12 jpg

Understanding Cross-Eye Dominance 

As we mentioned before, cross-eye dominance is when your dominant eye is on the opposite side of your dominant hand, and there are ways to get around it when shooting. But before we start going over techniques and tips, it’s important for you to know which eye is your dominant one. Fortunately, you can easily test your eyesight at home with no special gear.  

Eye Dominance Test 

Testing your eye dominance only takes a few seconds and is easy to do. 

Form a triangle shape with your hands and look through it while focusing on an object near you like something on your wall or doorknob; whatever it is, make sure it’s framed within the center of the triangle you’ve made. With the object chosen and centered, start by closing your left eye without moving your hands. If the object is still centered within the triangle, you’re right eye dominant. If not, try again, closing your right eye this time. If it’s in frame, you’re left eye dominant.  

Essentially, your dominant eye is the one that sees more of whatever you’re looking at. For most people, your dominant eye falls in line with your dominant side. But if you’ve done the eye-dominance test and notice that your dominant eye doesn’t match up with your dominant side, you’re likely cross-dominant. 

The question remains: can you still use a firearm accurately? Of course you can. Like we said earlier, cross-eye dominance can make accurate shooting a challenge, but it can be overcome with time and proper training. Whether you’re training a new enthusiast, or looking to better your own experience, below are some techniques that can help with cross-dominance.  

RS15 Competition 8809 jpg

Pistol Shooting Techniques 

When it comes to shooting with cross-eye dominance, the main goal is getting your dominant eye behind the sights of your pistol. And we have some tips on how to shoot a handgun accurately when you have cross-dominance.  

When you hold the pistol in your dominant hand, the sights won’t be in line with your dominant eye. As a result, you may find that you’re prone to either shooting off-target or missing entirely whenever you’re practicing. One way to get around your cross-dominance when shooting is by shifting your head placement so bring your dominant eye in line with the pistol’s sights. 

Depending on the dominant eye side, move your head’s position more to the left or right so that it’s more in line with the sights. While this gives you the ability to use your dominant eye, this isn’t the most natural movement or placement for your head. Doing this may feel strange or uncomfortable, but with training, it will get easier over time. Still, there is another technique you can try that simply involves turning your head.  

Instead of shifting your head placement entirely, when you take aim, turn your head so that your dominant eye is behind the pistol’s sights. A more natural feeling head movement, it keeps your head and body symmetrical, providing a better foundation for shooting. Something to note though is that you will lose some of your peripheral vision when aiming this way. Your off eye won’t be facing forward anymore, limiting your ability to see what’s around you. But like the previous method, it allows you to fully use your dominant eye when aiming.  

There isn’t much else you can do to solve the problems that come with cross-eye dominance, at least when you’re using iron sights. Introducing a reflex sight to your pistol can help you overcome cross eye dominance. Dot sights make it much easier to shoot with both eyes open, allowing you to use both to fully see your target. And, since the reticle doesn’t need to be lined up with any other sight, aiming is as simple as putting the dot on target. 

Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using the proper stance for shooting a handgun. Doing so will help you with your stability and accuracy. 

PAO PA CLX RD 25 AGAG 01 jpg

Rifle Shooting Techniques 

Though cross-dominance can be overcome quite easily when shooting pistols, shooting rifles like AR-15s gets a little more complicated. Shooting a rifle requires you to shoulder the rifle and you can’t simply turn your head to use the other eye. Still, there are two ways you can go about overcoming cross-eye dominance. You can either switch to your non-dominant hand to aim with your dominant eye, or you can continue to train with your dominant hand to get used to using your non-dominant eye.  

We recommend choosing the latter in this scenario. Whenever you’re shooting long guns, there are a lot of movements necessary for firearm operation that make shooting with your non-dominant hand difficult. Actions like reloading, charging the gun, and clearing malfunctions will feel more comfortable and natural when using your dominant side. While it’s generally a good idea to practice shooting with your offhand to prepare for scenarios where you may need to, it isn’t worth making the switch entirely. Simply put, it’s far easier to train using your off-eye than training with your off-hand. 

To get used to using your non-dominant eye, try out some basic target acquisition practice by raising your gun from low ready. Doing this will help you get used to using your off-eye instinctively for target acquisition. Another option is to close your dominant eye when aiming; this ensures that your non-dominant eye acquires your rifle’s sights or reticle adequately. Keep doing this until you can consistently do so while keeping both eyes open.  

Shotgun Techniques 

When it comes to shotguns, there isn’t too much else to add. That said, it’s worth mentioning that the same techniques that are used for rifles also apply to this platform. Just like with rifles, we recommend using your dominant hand instead of focusing on your dominant eye. With practice, using your shotgun with your dominant hand becomes second nature, but like with pistols, your shooting experience with long guns can be enhanced using optics.  

PAO PA SLX MD 25 G2 ACSS 43 1 jpg


If you’re using magnified rifle scopes, closing your off eye can give you a better sight picture when using your non-dominant eye. Repeatedly practicing this will develop good muscle memory while reinforcing good fundamentals.  

For other platforms like AR-15s and shotguns, a red dot can be a good optic for you. Just like with pistols, using a red dot sight makes it much easier to shoot with both eyes open; both of your eyes will pick up the target and you’ll have full access to your peripheral vision. If you have astigmatism, you might instead consider running a 1x prism scope. 1x prism scopes offer the same form factor as a red dot sight but have much clearer etched reticles, which are not going to have the same astigmatic distortion as a red dot.  


Your vision is crucial when it comes to shooting, regardless of the platform, and naturally, you’ll have one eye that your body favors over the other. While this can make it difficult to shoot, it shouldn’t deter you from owning a firearm.  

By shifting your head placement and using the right optics, the issues that come with cross-eye dominance can be quickly remedied. Like all things though, you’ll only see results if you continually develop the repetitions needed to build up muscle memory. By embracing the challenge, and training with good form and fundamentals, you’ll start seeing noticeable quick.  

Ammo can be expensive, and not everyone has time to get out to the range to train every weekend. But there are plenty of ways to train off the range though; our guide on dry fire training will walk you through everything you need to know to train easily at home.