Cross Dominance Revisited

April 2010

August 2011

As I’ve related before, my son is cross dominant. Like a large number of people, he is right handed but left eye dominant.

We’ve worked on compensating for this before, as seen in the top photo, taken over a year ago. He even started shooting rifles left handed.

The last time we went shooting, I noticed he was shooting rifles right handed. I asked him about it when we got home.

His answer? He figured he should learn to shoot both ways. What about his eye dominance? Did that make the rifle shooting a problem? Not really – he just squinted a little with his left eye, and it all fell into place. Considering he was hitting targets at 100 yards with iron sights with the AR, I’d say it worked.

I also noticed him last weekend shooting his Nerf pistol right handed, despite having done that almost exclusively left handed. And he did a good job with it.

When he starts competing, and the stage calls for “offhand” shooting, the rest of us are in for a surprise. He won’t have one.

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Cross-Dominance Follow Up

Thank you to all who responded to my post yesterday on teaching my son to deal with his cross dominance. In addition to the comments on this blog, the topic came up last night on Twitter, and I received many first hand accounts.

Fortunately my son was still up at the time, and we talked about the comments. Everyone who commented told me they had learned (or were learning) to shoot long guns to match their eye dominance – in other words, even though they were right handed, since they were left eye dominant they taught themselves to shoot left handed. Most admitted it took them some time, about a month it seemed, to get comfortable with it.

So, he agreed to do a lot of dry fire, with his airsoft AR. He also plans to start dry firing his airsoft Glock right handed, so he can get better with it, too. He told me his goal is to be an ambidextrous shooter, which would definitely pay him back in the future.

I’ll keep you posted.

Dealing with Cross Dominance

Yesterday I posted a picture of my son Joey, shooting Bruce the Glock 17. Today, I present my daughter, doing the same.

When you look at pictures of my kids shooting, you may notice something. My daughter shoots right handed, but my son shoots left handed. Ah, that it were that simple.

My daughter was born left handed, and she does everything left handed, except she shoots handguns right handed, because that’s what she saw me doing. My son is right handed. He writes and throws right handed. The only thing he does left handed is shoot handguns. But the reason is different.

Now, almost all of us have one eye that we use more than the other, and being right eye dominant or left eye dominant is as normal as being right handed or left handed. For most people their dominant eye is the one on the side they write with. Being right handed but left eye dominant (or vice versa) is called cross dominance. It’s certainly no big thing for a pistol shooter, but for shooting a long gun it can be problematic.

When I started plinking aluminum cans in the back yard with my son, I could tell he shot with his head sort of canted way down over the stock. I tried to show him the way to get what I thought was the right cheek weld, but in a few shots, he was back to the over wrap.

After a while I figured out he was left eye dominant. But even before we started shooting together, he had figured it out, since he already shot his Nerf pistols left handed, using his left dominant eye.

Once I realized he was cross dominant, I did some research, and it turns out a lot of really good shooters are cross dominant, people like Brian Enos and Dave Sevigny. So I asked them how I should teach Joey, they told me the same thing – if he’s figured it out on his own, let him shoot pistols left handed But they advised that I switch Joey to shooting rifles left handed, since he won’t be able to use a telescopic sight effectively with his head so far down on the stock.

So, now I’m up against trying to convince him to learn to shoot his rifles left handed. As one writer pointed out, if he will just shoulder a rifle left handed a couple of thousand times, muscle memory will take over and he’ll be fine. I’ll report as I go.

As for my daughter, it turns out she’s not cross dominant, she shoots pistols right handed because she copied Daddy when she was learning. Fortunately she was also smart enough to figure out to shoot rifles left handed to get a good sight picture.