Cross dominance is simply the situation that occurs when your dominant eye and dominant hand are not on the same side of your body.
In other words, you are right handed, but left eye dominant, or left handed and right eye dominant.
Cross dominance occurs in about 10% of the gun owning population and we see it in about 10% of the tens of thousands of student who train at Front Sight each year.
Once diagnosed, it is very easy to work around with proper training techniques. Unfortunately, many people who are cross dominant, have never been made aware of it and get frustrated in their inability to shoot accurately.
Here is an easy diagnostic test to determine your dominant eye and what to do if you are among the 10% who are cross dominant …
You already know your dominant hand. It is the one you write with, throw a ball with, hit a baseball with, etc.
Here is how to determine your dominant eye:
- Take an 8 x 11 inch sheet of paper and in the center of the paper, use a pencil to punch a hole in the paper.
- Hold the paper with both hands at arms length.
- Keeping both eyes open, look through the small hole as you slowly bring the paper back to your face.
- When the paper touches your face, the hole will be centered over your dominant eye.
If your dominant eye is the same as your dominant hand, then good for you. You are normal and unremarkable! (That’s a joke.) You are like 90% of the other gun owners in this country.
However, if your dominant eye is opposite of your dominant hand, then you are Cross Dominant and will need to make some decisions before embarking on serious training.
No need to worry. You can still train to the highest levels in the world. I know. I’m a Four Weapons Combat Master and I am cross dominant. I am left handed and have a dominant right eye.
So here is what you do:
With a long gun: Shoot with your dominant hand keeping both eyes open until that fraction of a second when you need to shift the focus on your eye to the front sight, then simply close your dominant eye. Your non-dominant eye is now the dominant image forcing your brain to use the non-dominant eye to focus on the front sight.
With a handgun: You can use the same technique or simply tip your head a bit and focus on the front sight with your dominant eye.
Those two techniques above are the easiest fix for Cross Dominance.
In my particular case, when I started gun training, I chose to train with my non-dominant hand (right hand) using my dominant eye (right eye). So even though I write left handed and throw left handed, I shoot right handed because of my dominant right eye. Of course it was more difficult initially, but like with anything you practice, I became very good with my non-dominant hand. It also made me naturally good with a gun in my left hand, but that is another story.
In a few days I will share some great advice for all of you who suffer from
old eyes. Hey, it happens to all of us sooner or later. If you adopt my Color Code of Mental Awareness you too will live long enough to need eye glasses!
Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Front Sight Founder and Director
Four-Weapons Combat Master
Your host of Front Sight Challenge Reality TV Series
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P.P.S. I’m always happy to hear from you, so please email me after you’ve read Gun Training Report #21, Are You Cross Dominant? to confirm you are receiving the reports and tell me what you think about the reports so far. E-mail Dr. Piazza.