Article 10 – 2010
Question: I read with interest a previous article that you wrote in The Australian Shooters Journal on the disadvantage trap shooters have when shooting with one eye closed as opposed to those who shoot with both eyes open. I am left eye dominant, but I have to shoot clays from my right shoulder as I just can’t seem to shoot from my left side as I do everything else in my life right handed. I close my left eye and seem to shoot OK. Just what are the disadvantages that you speak of?
Ken McClure, Albury NSW
Answer: There are two obvious disadvantages when shooting trap (I am assuming you mean DTL when you talk about trap shooting). The first is the loss of a large part of your peripheral vision when you close one eye. To give a practical example to explain this more clearly would be to try driving up to a roundabout with one eye closed and see how hard it becomes to judge your way through it safely. With both eyes open an experienced driver can virtually sense through their peripheral vision that there are cars inside the roundabout therefore they must give way or if it is empty they can proceed safely without really having to move their heads sideways. With one eye closed much greater sideways head movement will be needed to make the correct judgment. The loss of peripheral vision by closing one eye will also affect your perception on the depth of vision. Secondly, many AA Class DTL shooters will use a technique at some stage in their careers when it is beneficial to call for the release of target when their guns are in the starting position above the top of the trap house roof. Shooting into a headwind is a good example of this. The advantage of this technique is simply that it requires less gun movement to shoot the target. Holding above the trap requires the use of peripheral vision to see the target correctly. If one eye is closed then a blind spot will occur just above the trap house caused by your left hand which is holding the forend. The only solution for a one eyed shooter is to hold the gun down on the top lip of the trap house and therefore let the target get way out in front of the barrels when it is released and then “chasing” it from behind. The more you are forced to follow the target from behind and below the greater chance you have for making a mistake unless your timing is perfect. In saying all of that I can name many two eyed shooters that use this technique anyway and have multiple National Champions. I have also seen three Olympic Gold Medals won by one eyed shooters.
I still believe one eyed shooters are at a disadvantage, personally if I had three eyes I would keep them all open, but in no way is closing one eye a total barrier to success in the sport as the above examples prove.