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JamesJM's picture
Joined: 01/12/2012
Posts: 49
Should being left eye dominant rule out?

My grandson, 13 years old this April, is left eye dominant, and right handed.  In all the shooting we've been doing with pellet guns, .22's, he seems to prefer shooting left handed, although he will shoot right as well.  

I'm currently considering a rifle for him this year... his first deer hunt, and I'm not at all sure if a 'lefthand' rifle is all that important or not.  I can see how shooting a shotgun could require shooting left handed when you're left eye dominant but I'm not sure it matters with a rifle?  

I also wonder if deciding for one way or the other "exclusively" is important?  Could he shoot a rifle rightie and a shotgun leftie and be equally competent?

As far as which, left or right, he's most comfortable... well, as I mentioned, he seems to prefer left handed shooting but only barely... it's not an ''absolute" with him and he will switch.

Tough decision... and I've noticed that 'left hand' rifle models certainly narrows your choices. - JamesJM

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3213
I don't know what to tell you

I don't know what to tell you here. Probably a choice he would have to make. When I played ball I switch hit, seemed pretty easy to me. I can shoot rifles and handguns from either side but have been fooling with the shotguns and they just don't come up well for me and I keep having to remember to take the safty off. I am left eye dominate but when I started shooting, nobody told me. Always wondered why I couldn't shoot shotguns with both eye's open, now I know. Sight picture looks great left handed boith eyes open. Using the safty and swinging the barrels are awkward. Probably because I've been shooting right handed so long.

COMeatHunter's picture
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I think you could go either

I think you could go either way, righty or lefty.  A good friend of mine (and his son) is left eye dominant while being very right-handed.  He shoots great with a right-handed rifle and doesn't have any trouble but closes his left eye when shooting.  

However, with a shotgun he really struggles.  If your grandson can learn to shoot lefty with the shotgun, it may help his wingshooting.  And most shotguns work well when shooting from either left or right.

Have fun getting your grandson out and enjoy the time!

bitmasher's picture
Location: Colorado
Joined: 02/27/2002
Posts: 2974
I would have him shoot with

I would have him shoot with his dominant eye and a left handed bolt is nice but not necessary.  However if you do decide to purchase a rifle that has a right hand bolt, at least purchase one without a monte carlo stock and just a straight symmetrical comb.  Shooting opposite a monte carlo is no fun...

Savage makes a stock (or has some one make it for them) that is a right hand bolt and thumb-hole but is ambidextrous which is rather creative.  It comes in a 17 HMR as the 93R17 BSEV.  Might be something to consider.

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Location: NE NV
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Follow His Dominant Eye

For shooting sports if the young man favors and is left eye dominant he should be encouraged to shoot that way.  I'm speaking as a confirmed and total lefty so I've had some experiende trying to fit into right hand equipment.  In shooting, unless he is trained to totally squint his left eye closed (as in looking trhough a high magnification scope at a little target) he'll be better served keeping both eyes open, at least a little bit.  It's mandatory for good shotgun shooting and just about as critical when shooting with peep or apeture sights.  If he doesn't care which way to go he should absolutely follow his dominant eye.

The choice of available left hand weapons on the market today is easily large enough to satisfy even the most picky of lefties (again I know cuz I are one).  With the selections available the only reason not to use left hand weapons is that other friends or family members won't be as comfortable when using them. Funny as it seems OK for a lefty to acommodate right hand equipment but not the other way around.  It really only applies to bolt action weapons and archery equipment anyway.  Rarely have I ever had any problems with single shot, pump, semi auto's or double barrel actions.  My favorite shotgun is a standard Remington 870 bought way back when I was still in high school.  I've never had a problem with the issue of empty shells flying across my view (a problem no doubt thought up by a righty). 

The only problem I've consistently had with right hand weapons is having to reach over the weapon to grab the bolt ( if you think it's no big deal borrow a left hand rifle and try it at the range - multiple shots while imagining an elk needing a quick second shot before it drops down into hells canyon)or fumbling around trying to find the safety when a covey of chukar flush at you feet.

Again if he's left eye dominant and can shoot comfortably either way, he should shoot left handed.  If you don't believe me spend the next season shooting of the opposite shoulder - and plan on buying most of your meat.

hunter25's picture
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I agree with most of the

I agree with most of the above as the dominant eye should be used if possible. Later on if he gets into defensive type shooting being able to keep both eyes open with other platforms will be important as well. 

My son is a lefty and there really are many options out there now. You have to look a little more but there's a bunch. My son shoots a Ruger .270 and Tikka 22-250. Both great lh rifles.

JamesJM's picture
Joined: 01/12/2012
Posts: 49
Thanks for the replies

Good information, and advice.  After reading the replies, and doing some 'web research' on the matter...I think there is a consensus that one should allow the dominant eye to rule out.  That is, if you're a rightie and left eye dominant then shoot left.  

Now I'm going to have him shoot with a scope... both left and right, and look for confirmation... lots of practice, LOTS.  Then we'll decide.  Thanks again. - JamesJM

groovy mike's picture
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My son is a crack shot.  He is right handed but left eye dominant and shoots lefty.  Just let him do what works best for him so long as it is safe.

BikerRN's picture
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Dominant Eye

I think your Grandson will find that shooting left handed will improve his shooting.

I'm right handed but shoot longarms left handed for this reason. As for handguns, I shoot either hand depending upon the situation. While I agree that reaching over the stock to manipulate a bolt is no fun, I still use right handed bolt action rifles. The main reasons for this is when I started one couldn't find left handed rifles and if I have to borrow a rifle it will likely be right handed. I saw a hunter miss an elk once because he kept trying to manipulate the bolt as his elk wandered away but the bolt was on the other side of the gun. He did a great job of polishing the stock on the left side however.

While left handed rifles are more common than when I started, it's still a predominately right handed world. The choices for left handed shooters aren't as great as for right handed. As for reaching over the gun to work the bolt, I don't. I manipulate the bolt with my right hand while keeping my left hand, as a left handed shooter, on the rifle. This works really well with thumbhole type stocks by the way.

Good luck and I hope both you and your Grandson have fun.

Location: Neveda
Joined: 07/22/2008
Posts: 234
 a late chime in, from an

 a late chime in, from an adult shooter, left eye dom. but right handed.

played baseball though collage hit throw right, always shoot left handed.

I grew up shooting right handed rifles, and made it work: it was not until i got into shotguns that i learned how importan it is to have a left handed rifle. this came in the way of gun fit. i have changed most of my stocks over to left handed stocks even with right handed bolt action guns. there are a lot of rifles on the racks that are very close to Zero cast, if you are going to get him a right handed bolt gun find the one with the least amount of cast.

hope this helps, find the gun with little to no cast



Topgun 30-06's picture
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Have him go from the left

Have him go from the left side with a left handed firearm, especially with a shotgun, and you and he won't ever regret it!