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Article 9 – 2012

man smiling while holding orange clay pigeon

Question:For some strange reason I cannot seem to mount my shotgun with my head straight down the centre of the barrel. It sort of looks like I am looking down the left hand side of the gun all the time. It is a Miroku Model 10 sporting shotgun. I only use it to shoot ducks or quail, but I can’t seem to hit anything. Do I need the stock bent to the right? Nobody seems to have any decent advice.

Michael Cartwright, Horsham VIC


Answer: Michael without seeing you mount the gun and shoot at a target it is hard to give a definitive judgment, but I would be willing to bet that you are a right handed shooter who has a left dominant eye. This is a topic I have covered before, but it is worth talking about again as it is the single biggest hurdle to climb over for any newcomer to the sport of shooting.

What you are describing is a typical example of someone who feels comfortable mounting the shotgun on his or her right shoulder, but once it is mounted you want your left eye to be the eye that does the sighting with the gun. Your typical shotgun stock is not built in such a way to allow this to happen.

Don’t stress, you are not alone. Whilst around ten percent of the population is genuinely left-handed just under twenty nine percent of all people have the same problem as you. It is often referred to as cross eye dominance. That is being right handed with a left dominant eye. I say problem because in shooting a shotgun it can be.

If you are like myself and cannot do anything at all left handed so mounting the gun on the other side of your body is not an option then you will be forced to shoot from your right shoulder and either close your left eye or wear some shooting glasses with a patch over the left lenses thus forcing your right eye to take control.

This does not mean you cannot shoot straight it just causes you to loose a great deal of your peripheral vision which can help you initially acquire the target and help to judge distance. In sports like cricket, baseball and golf this cross-eye dominance is considered an advantage, but I would certainly say it isn’t in target sports like shooting, archery or even darts. Never the less I have seen many champion clay target shooters shoot with one eye closed or covered and have seen some fantastic field shooters shoot a technique where they see the target with two eyes and as they are mounting the shotgun from the hip to the shoulder they close one eye to sight the target and pull the trigger.

Before you do anything take this simple test. Take your right index finger and point it at an object on the horizon several kilometres away. Close your left eye. If your index finger is not still pointing at the object on the horizon then there is a big chance you are left eye dominant. Left-handers to the same, but with your left index finger. If the object on the horizon moves no matter what finger you point with or what eye you close then my advice would be for you to take up swimming.

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