Do Snipers Shoot With Both Eyes Open?

When in the heat of battle, a sniper needs to remain calm and blanched to take the perfect shot. They need to lower half the brain’s activity to free themselves from ongoing distractions.

Do Snipers Shoot With Both Eyes Open

To reach a superior level of sniping, it takes years of dedicated practice and skill. 

For many years, military sharpshooters were taught to close their non-dominant eye. This was a fundamental part of shooting.

This was thought to ease the mind and make it clearer for better shots. Over time, many snipers have determined that having one eye closed can help them line up their targets with more accuracy and ease.

But, do snipers also shoot with both eyes open? And, if so, why?

Well, many elite snipers do shoot with both eyes open. The reason is that when a frenetic situation occurs, and you need to draw your weapon quickly, your body will go into a ‘fight or flight’ response.

This happens through physiological and physical changes in the body. In other words, your adrenaline starts to pick up.

As chemicals change in the body, the heart rate will increase and the eyes will widen and dilate. This is so your brain can collect as much information around you as possible.

As all of this happens, it can become much more difficult to keep your non-dominant eye closed. Therefore, snipers have learned to shoot with two eyes open.

Let’s find out more about sniping with two eyes open and how it can affect a sniper below. 

Shooting With Two Eyes Open: Can It Be Done?

For most shooting novices, one common question is ‘can I shoot with two eyes open?’ Well, there are a few factors to consider before we simply answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

When in a life or death situation, your body will decide to fight or fly. This is known as a ‘flight or fight’ response.  

Another question is, ‘does closing your non-dominant eye help you achieve more accuracy when shooting?’ You need to think about situational awareness.

You need to see what is to your left and right in dangerous situations. If you close one eye, this becomes more challenging. 

When in a fight or flight moment, many changes occur, such as:

  • Heart and lungs accelerate
  • Blood vessels start to constrict over the body
  • Blood vessels in muscles dilate
  • The pupils begin to dilate
  • Tunnel vision with a loss of peripheral vision can occur
  • Hearing can become more focused
  • Start to shake

The fact that the pupils dilate, tunnel vision, and loss of peripheral vision can emerge means having two eyes open can be beneficial to a sniper.

If these happen simultaneously, only having one eye open will impede a sniper’s chance of successfully hitting their target.

Most snipers, and shooters in general, should strive for keeping two eyes open. However, this is easier said than done. 

Most people keep one eye closed due to muscle memory. This is after hours and hours of repeating the same process when shooting.

But, by changing your muscle memory, it is possible to overcome this built-in behavior. Through practice, shooters can become sharper, more accurate, and prevent self-induced human error.

When using two eyes, the dominant eye will take the lead and control the situation. Therefore, the whole picture of what is ahead of you becomes clearer.

But, that doesn’t mean the non-dominant eye is not as important. This will pick up the sight picture as well.

It will help pick up objects outside your main tunnel vision, helping your situational awareness become wider. 

How To Find Which Is Your Dominant Shooting Eye

You may not be sure of which eye is your most dominant. If so, there is an easy test to find out, and you can do this from the confines of your own home.

  1. Open both eyes and look at an object.
  2. Point at the object. A good example is a plug socket or light switch in your home from around 10 or 20 feet away.
  3. Once you have lined this object up, close one eye. If your finger moves off target, this will be your non-dominant eye. 
  4. Close your non-dominant eye and open your other eye. Now, your finger should remain on the target. 

How To Practice Shooting With Both Eyes Open

The first time you try to shoot with both eyes open will feel all kinds of wrong. As we mentioned, your muscle memory will immediately make you close one eye. But, through practice, you can overcome this behavior.

Here’s how:

  1. Line up some shooting glasses or objects. On the lens of the non-dominant eye, spread some chapstick over it. 
  2. This will blur the image, helping your brain retrain and focus one eye on the target.
  3. Repeat this over and over and, after some time,  your muscle memory will change, and you will be able to shoot with both eyes open. 

Why Do Snipers Shoot With Both Eyes Open?

The reason, as we have discussed, is pretty simple. As you look through a laser dot sight with one eye closed, the target will be seen with great focus but with a narrow sight. If both eyes are open, laser dot projection occurs.

Do Snipers Shoot With Both Eyes Open (1)

As the sniper focuses through their sight and at the laser dot, the other eye you open will focus beyond the sight.

The dominant eye will be focused on the red laser dot and, with the other eye, the dot will be projected onto the object you’re seeing. What’s incredible is that the sight will no longer be visible. 

Think of it this way – our eyes can always see our noses, but the brain helps us ignore it. Therefore, our vision is not obstructed. The same applies to sniping. 

In Summary

Experienced and elite snipers tend to shoot with both eyes open. But, this is through years of training and specialized skill.

Most hunters are taught to shoot with one eye closed from a young age. This behavior becomes implemented in muscle memory.

But, with practice and time, opening two eyes can open a whole new field of vision for more accurate and deadly shots.

Matthew Osborn

Matt is an entrepreneur who has created and successfully exited multiple companies and brands. Now, he dedicates his time to Legionary, where he produces content on guns, family, and freedom.

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