Lloyd Pattison takes a look at the solutions on offer for eye-dominance problems
Your ideas about eye dominance will be a product of whether you have ever suffered from a disagreement between your dominant hand and your dominant eye. I’m lucky enough to be RH/RE dominant, but my wife has suffered from cross-dominance issues in the past, so I understand the problem, having tried with her to find a solution that works.
If you are unsure whether you suffer from cross-dominance try pointing at a small object with your dominant hand, with both eyes open. Now close your off-eye (your left eye if you are right handed, and vice versa).
Are you still pointing at the small object? If not, you may suffer from dominance issues. Please note, this is not a definitive test; seeking the advice of a good coach is always the best course of action.
A number of products are available to help shooters with eye dominance issues, and many shooters have to try several to find the one that works best for them. Fortunately most of them are inexpensive, so finding the right one doesn’t have to break the bank.
Shutting Your Off Eye
By far the cheapest option is to stop your off-eye taking over by simply closing it. In the long term this is a bad idea for a number of reasons:
1. It’s harder than you think to close your dominant eye consistently, as your natural instinct is to use that eye – that’s what makes it your dominant eye.
2. Closing one eye causes the other one to squint, which is tiring and limits the amount of light getting into the single eye you are now using to do all the work.
3. Some people just can’t do it. My wife, for instance, can’t wink. I am sure she could learn, but why waste time developing a muscle memory that isn’t really helping your shooting, when you should be concentrating on your target?
If you’re not closing your dominant eye, than the next thing to try might be to cover it or obstruct its line of vision. There are plenty of products on the market for this purpose
The first and most obvious type of product to try is a semi-transparent, self-adhesive spot, which can be placed on the shooting glasses covering the dominant eye’s view of the barrel.
It usually takes a few goes to get the placement right, but once the spot is in place, it will quite effectively stop your dominant eye from taking over. The downside is that if your glasses slip during shooting you will be able to see past the spot, negating its effect. Additionally some people don’t like having their dominant eye occluded in this way.
Gehmann Clip on Blinder
Precision smallbore shooters will be familiar with these, and I have also seen them used by competitive archers. The Clip on Blinder does exactly what it says on the tin: it clips on your shooting glasses and covers the eye you don’t want to see with. The added benefit here is that you can flip up the blinder when you aren’t using it.
RedEye is a novel idea to get around the problem of having something sticky permanently attached to your expensive shooting glasses. The RedEye kit comprises of a number plastic disks in a variety of sizes to suit the shooter’s requirement, each containing a small magnet.
By placing one either side of the lens of your shooting glasses you can then move the disk around to get it in the right spot without constantly removing and replacing your glasses, and the sticker.
The benefit of the redeye system is however also a weakness as it is possible to knock the disk out of position, and woe betide the shooter who gets any grit between the disc and the lens as this can scratch the lens and coating.
Offeye is another novel addition to the stick-on blinder product category. The kit comes with non-adhesive vinyl patches that stick to glass rather like a tax disc holder (if you’re scratching your head, ask your parents).
The patches are supplied in varied patterns that obscure but don’t completely block vision. The user can try the different patterns until they find one that works for them, while keeping as much light as possible coming into the obscured eye.
These last three products allow the user proper binocular vision as they do not cover either eye. Binocular vision is essential for depth perception.
I think everyone has seen an EasyHit bead in their time, however if you are unfamiliar with the product it’s quite a simple idea. The kit consists of a fibre optic material encapsulated in a tunnel or tube that mounts on your rib either just behind or instead of your front bead.
The unit attaches to your rib with a self adhesive strip. The tunnel effectively means that only the eye lined up with the rib can actually see the bright bead, and the off eye will just see barrel prompting the user to prefer the “correct” eye. Available with beads in red, green and yellow, RRP £30.00.
The enigmatic SP is a gadget that seems to work by magic, and as I have yet to hear anyone give me a convincing explanation of how it actually works, I shall just assume it’s sorcery.
The SP is a black plastic nodule that you attach (with the supplied sticky pad) to the side of the barrel on which you mount your gun – so right-handers should attach it to the right side of their barrels. The very presence of the bead that your cross-dominant eye can’t see is just enough stimulus to tickle your brain into aiming with the eye that can see the SP. That’s it.
I wouldn’t believe it either, but for the fact I know a couple of guys personally who shoot to a good standard who swear by the SP, despite having not one clue how it works. At 30 quid it’s not too expensive, so frankly it seems well worth a try.
Eye D Rail
Last on the list because it is newest to market, is the Eye D Rail developed by Ben Husthwaite. I interviewed Ben about the Eye D Rail after having seen one of the prototypes at a coaching session he was doing near me and he is very excited about bringing this product to shooters.
The rail design is a joint effort between Ben and his partner Steve May, an engineer with a background in Formula 1. The rail itself is machined from a single piece of plastic or aluminium and comprises the self adhesive side for attaching to your rib, a fluorescent bead, and the curved flange that obfuscates the bead from your off eye.
Ben says red was determined to be best for picking up the shooter’s eye during testing, and that the material selected is 60 per cent brighter than anything else on the market. The unit is available in LH and RH and is 49.99 for the plastic version, and 99.99 for the aluminium.
The design of the Eye D Rail ensures that the sighting plane is not compromised, which reduces ‘barrel jump’ – the phenomenon where there is a marked difference between the perceived length of the barrel between the two eyes.
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