View Full Version : Pistols and Eye Dominance

11-11-2002, 11:04 AM
Pistols? This is a pool board!
Bear with me for a momentÖ
I often hear people compare pool shooting to sighting a rifle. I think a more proper comparison would be to shooting a pistol.
I shoot a little defensive pistol and it is in many ways like shooting pool. In pistol shooting the dominant eye is an oft talked about subject, and one that is very important. In defensive pistol (and all pistol shooting really) one aims with the dominant eye, but keeps both eyes open. The recommended technique for cross dominance that I employ in shooting a pistol (I am right handed but left eye dominant) is to turn oneís head slightly to the right thereby putting the pistol in line with the left eye.
I used to shoot a lot of pool years ago, and was something of a student of the game, but never got too much into specific aiming techniques. After a long hiatus I've returned. Upon coming back I find I haven't actually lost too much of my game, but I still have (or in this case, had) some nagging problems. Certain shots were never good for me. For example, while I could do really good on tight cut shots, long straight in shots were always tough. While a percentage of that may come from stroke, I think in my case there was a different factor: eye dominance. I always shot pool without much thought to the dominant eye, but recently I made a slight change to my stance, which has made a dramatic improvement in my game. Employing some of my pistol shooting technique, I turn my head ever so slightly to the right, and perhaps lean a little further over the cue. This position puts my dominant left eye over the cue. I am certain this has made all the difference in the world as my accuracy and consistency have shown a marked improvement. This past Saturday I got into the money in a local tournament by taking third place, only my second since coming back to the game and I had gotten minimal practice in before hand (I donít think I had been out to shoot in about two weeks).
Anyway, I think eye dominance is a real factor and some of the sighting techniques of pistol shooting can be utilized in pool. Itís certainly helped my game.
BTW: Iíll bet dollars to donuts that Willie Mosconi was left eye dominant. Take a look at a picture of him shooting, youíll see he leans over his cue somewhat and turns his head just a little bit, putting his left eye over the cue. I guess the stance Iíve adopted might be similar.

11-11-2002, 11:49 AM
I have crossed dominance:right handed, left eyed and slight nystagmus (jerky eye muscles) in my right eye. I found out that I was left eyed, but sighting with my left eye did not work,neither did sighting with my right eye.

The method that has worked best is getting on eye level with the shot and aiming like I am looking down the barrel of a rifle with both eyes, which puts the cue nearly under my chin.

I am still experimenting as a beginner, but that is where i am for right now. I guess that is why my progress has been kind of slow because I had to figure out how to compensate for different things and of course time on the table.


11-11-2002, 11:54 AM
I am a pistol enthusiast,...I own many pistols of all calibers and am accurate. But, when shooting a pistol or a rifle using my dominant eye(right), I close the left eye, so I am not sure closing the other eye when shooting pool would apply.


Cueless Joey
11-11-2002, 11:54 AM
Pistol shooting is different imo. In shooting, you are told to keep your eye on the front sight and let your peripheral vision take care of the target. In pool, I think we are better off to look at the ob last and let mechanics hit the cb where we want it. In shooting, I keep most of my weight on my front leg, to be more stable upon recoil. In pool, you should be balanced or rear weighted (so you don't jump or move). In shooting, you are not supposed to anticipate the gun going off. In pool, you have to know when to pull the trigger.
I'm a better pistol shooter than pool player. Pistol shooting got boring for me. lol
Pool never gets boring.

11-11-2002, 01:35 PM
Certainly not every aspect is the same, they're different tasks, but there are some similarities.
Yep, Front Sight, Front Sight, Front Sight. When I shoot pool, I focus on the object ball so no, not exactly the same. Of course, there is point shooting too.
The stance is different, mechanics and all, plus you need to lean forward slightly to combat recoil with a pistol, but there is still that slight "boxer's" stance, if you will. In both instances it's about making a stable platform for the task.
As far as pulling the trigger, that's like the stroke. You don't want to jerk the trigger, you want to pull smoothly and follow through. You also don't want to jerk a pool shot either, it's gotta be smooth and the follow through is important.
Anyway, the premise of what I wrote was about eye dominance and not stance, focus, etc... and that seemed to get lost. I never suggested anybody shift their focus from the OB or put their weight forward, nor would I suggest that someone try to shoot pool (or defensive pistol) with one eye closed as Griffith alluded to. In this instance I was just talking about getting one's dominant eye lined up with the shot.

Pizza Bob
11-11-2002, 03:45 PM

I, too, was involved in IPSC shooting. And you are 100% correct about the front sight. A case can be made that the object ball becomes the front sight, the cue ball the rear sight and the pocket is the target. Therefore the parallel is indeed correct.


Pizza Bob

Duke Mantee
11-12-2002, 07:26 AM
Sonofagun: we've probably competed in the same matches. Small world. But I'd point out that different IPSC shooters have different aiming techniques, just as different pool players have different aiming techniques.

Duke Mantee

11-12-2002, 10:11 AM
Hi Chris.
I competed in NRA 3-gun (bullseye) pistol for many years. (All-Army Team, 1970). I was also playing pool at the same time, and kept trying to draw parallels between the aiming processes involved in each. I was never able to make any useful comparisons between the two, beyond the trememdous focus required, and the necessity of remaining as still as possible throughout the entire shot.

Something interesting that I noticed though, was that after my usual afternoon range session, if I went directly to the pool room to play, it seemed to take an inordinately long time to shift into pool mode. I almost never played well after a long shooting session.
Andy G.