eye-examI’ve been dry firing a lot lately…a lot. About a hour to a hour and a half a night for the last few months. When putting that kind of time in you start picking up some things and noticing some issues you weren’t really aware of before. One of these little epiphanies I had recently was with my vision. I always close my non-dominant eye when shooting iron sights, which is really suboptimal in this sport. I know that some GMs have pulled it off, but with most people, the more you see the faster you are. Anyway, noticed I would start with both eyes open, hear the timer and draw the gun and about the time I start to pick up the sights I close my non-dominant eye which changes the sight picture and introduces a delay of about .10 – .20 seconds while I adjust to the new visual input. I experimented closing my non-dominant eye sooner and even starting with my eye closed before the timer starts as to not disturb the sight picture. But all of these things are just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and fixing the root cause of my issue.

What needs to happen is that I transition from shooting with one eye closed to always shooting with both eyes open. After all, this is a sport of vision and seeing and cutting off half of your visual input is counter-intuitive at a time where the goal is to see more. And according to Brian Enos, it’s even worse than it would seem since when you close one eye there is a sympathetic effect on the open eye that can reduce vision an additional 20 percent! Once I read that I decided to do one of two things; Start shooting with both eyes open all of the time, or if for some reason I couldn’t do it, start shooting Open division with a red dot so I am target focused and none of this is an issue. Since I don’t have an Open gun or have the means to acquire one at the moment, I’m opting for option 1, fix my vision.

I started off looking for information in the Enos forum which has a lot of great shooting related information and it didn’t disappoint. In fact there was simply too much to sift through, most of it related to shooters that are cross eye dominant which is not my issue. Well as luck would have it I wound up squading with Gabe White, a talented shooter and firearms instructor and I asked him if he had any thought on the subject, and he did not disappoint! He emailed me a PDF he wrote which addresses the issue of vision, particularity how it relates to shooting and the specific challenges we face as iron sight shooters where we battle for focus in two different planes. I had to read it several times until I really understood the concepts he outlines and how to start to train the mastery of your visual focus. I thought it was just too good not to share and asked him if I could post a copy of it here which he was happy to do.

There is a lot of information to cover so do not skip over it and just go to the exercises because you will not do them correctly if you don’t understand them and will not get any benefit from them! In fact I discovered I was not focusing in the correct place at first and had to start over. It took me a few attempts before the first time I was able to unlock accommodation from my convergence (that will mean something to you after you read his document, I promise) where the distance and lighting was optimal for me to do so, but it was glorious! I’m a little frustrated that I haven’t been able to consistently do since then, although I’m just starting out in this new mode of operation. I hope with a little more focused training (forgive the pun), that I’ll be a “both eyes open” shooter before too long.

So download the document, read it, understand it, and give it a whirl. Maybe it’ll have a dramatic effect on how you shoot, too.

Gabe White – Vision Concepts

A Second Look At Vision
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