Should You Shoot A Bow With Both Eyes Open Or Just One?

By Andy Ryan


Updated at

When it comes to shooting a bow, you may have heard different opinions on whether it’s better to shoot with both eyes open or just one. The debate on the best technique for aiming and shooting a bow has been going on for quite some time. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of using both methods and help you determine which one might be the best fit for your shooting style.

Shooting with both eyes open provides a larger field of view, allowing you to be more aware of your surroundings and easily track moving targets. On the other hand, shooting with one eye closed often allows for increased focus on your sight and target, potentially improving accuracy. To further complicate the decision, some archers prefer using a partially closed or squinted non-dominant eye. Ultimately, the choice depends on your shooting preferences, dominant eye, and level of comfort.

Key Takeaways

  • Shooting with both eyes open provides a broader field of view and better situational awareness
  • Shooting with one eye closed can help improve accuracy and focus on the target
  • The choice depends on your dominant eye, comfort level, and individual shooting preferences

Shooting Techniques

Both Eyes Open

Shooting with both eyes open might feel more natural for you, as it helps to maintain your peripheral vision and depth perception. This technique allows you to have a better view of the target, while focusing on it through your dominant eye’s sight. To do this, simply aim your bow with your dominant eye, while keeping your non-dominant eye open. With some practice, you’ll likely find that your brain adjusts to this style and focuses more on the image from your dominant eye.

Keep in mind that shooting with both eyes open can be challenging for some people, especially those with eye dominance issues. If that’s the case, it may take more practice and training to get used to it. Give it a try and see if it improves your accuracy.

One Eye Open

If you have trouble adjusting to the both eyes open technique or have a strong non-dominant eye, you might find it easier to shoot with just one eye open. To do this, fully close your non-dominant eye, and focus solely on the target and sight with your dominant eye. This method helps eliminate any potential distractions and can improve focus for some archers.

However, shooting with one eye open can limit your peripheral vision and depth perception, which can make it more difficult to judge distances or react to unexpected movement. Also, closing one eye can cause muscle strain, leading to discomfort or fatigue during longer shooting sessions.

In the end, the choice between shooting with one or both eyes open comes down to personal preference and comfort. Experiment with both techniques and find the one that works best for you. Remember to always practice, and you’ll continue to improve your archery skills.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Accuracy Factors

Using both eyes open while shooting a bow allows your dominant eye to take over and aim through the sight more naturally, possibly improving accuracy. However, if you’re cross-eye dominant, keeping both eyes open might cause accuracy issues. In this case, closing one eye might be your best option. It’s essential to experiment and find the method that works best for your specific eye dominance and shooting style.

Situational Awareness

Shooting with both eyes open can improve your situational awareness, which is particularly helpful in hunting scenarios. With both eyes open, you have a broader field of view, can track moving targets easier, and quickly spot possible obstructions in your shooting lanes. Closing one eye might limit this awareness and make it more challenging to adapt to sudden changes in your surroundings.

Comfort and Fatigue

Keeping both eyes open can reduce eye strain and fatigue during long practice sessions or hunts. Closing one eye forces the other to work harder, potentially causing discomfort or a decrease in shooting performance over time. Additionally, shooting with both eyes open might feel more natural and comfortable, making it easier to maintain focus and relaxation throughout your shooting experience.

Remember, it’s essential to experiment with both methods to find what works best for your shooting style and preferences. The perfect balance between accuracy, situational awareness, and comfort will vary from person to person.

Training Tips

Developing Dominant Eye

Friendly reminder: it is important to identify and work with your dominant eye while shooting a bow. To determine your dominant eye, extend your arms in front of you and form a triangle with your thumbs and index fingers. Center an object within the triangle, such as a door handle or light switch. Now, close one eye at a time while keeping the object centered. The eye that keeps the object in the center is your dominant eye.

Once you’ve determined your dominant eye, focus on using it while aiming. If you decide to shoot with one eye open, make sure it’s your dominant eye. By doing this, you’ll be able to aim more effectively and improve your shooting accuracy.

Practicing with Both Eyes Open

Now that you’ve established your dominant eye, it’s time to practice shooting with both eyes open. This method has several benefits, including improved depth perception and peripheral vision, which can help with target detection and overall situational awareness.

To get started, try the following steps:

  1. Relax: When shooting with both eyes open, it’s important to remain relaxed and avoid straining your eyes. Ease into the new routine and progressively become more comfortable with it.
  2. Focus: Concentrate on your sight pin and the target. Allow your non-dominant eye to support the aiming process without taking over.
  3. Trust: Trust your instincts and muscle memory during the shot, and try not to overthink. Trusting the process will make the transition to shooting with both eyes open smoother.

In the beginning, shooting with both eyes open may feel awkward or challenging. However, with practice and dedication, you’ll gradually become more comfortable and, ultimately, a more accurate and consistent archer. So keep practicing and enjoy the journey to becoming a better bow shooter.

Selecting Proper Equipment

Choosing the Right Bow

When choosing the right bow for shooting with either one or both eyes open, there are a few factors to consider:

  • Draw weight: The amount of force required to pull the string back determines the bow’s draw weight. Choose a bow with a suitable draw weight for your strength.
  • Bow length: A bow that is too long or too short will have a negative impact on your accuracy. To determine the optimal length, measure your wingspan and divide it by 2.5.
  • Right- or left-handed: Make sure to purchase a bow that is designed for your dominant hand.

Once you’ve found the perfect bow, practice shooting with both eyes, one eye, or partially-squinted non-dominant eye to find the method that works best for you.

Sighting Options

To improve your accuracy while shooting a bow, you might want to consider using a sighting device. Here are a few popular options:

  • Pin sights: These sights include multiple pins that can be adjusted for different distances. Line up the appropriate pin with your target and release the arrow.
  • Peep sights: Installed on your bowstring, a peep sight works like a rear sight on a rifle. Align the peep sight with your preferred sighting method (one or both eyes open) to increase accuracy.
  • Lens sights: Similar to a rifle scope, a lens sight magnifies the target and provides a clearer view. However, keep in mind that adding any sight to your bow may require some adjustments to your shooting style.

Experiment with each sighting option to find the one that yields the best results for your unique shooting technique, whether you’re using one eye or both. Remember, practice makes perfect.

Adapting to Different Scenarios

Competitive Shooting

When engaging in competitive archery, it can be highly beneficial to shoot with both eyes open. This technique allows for increased field of view and better visibility, giving you an edge over your competition. Additionally, shooting with both eyes open can lead to more accurate and consistent shots. Keep practicing this skill to get more comfortable and improve your overall performance.


In a hunting scenario, your ability to quickly and accurately judge your target and surroundings can mean the difference between a successful hunt and disappointment. Shooting with both eyes open can allow you to be more aware of your surroundings, making it easier to spot potential obstacles or changes in shooting lanes. However, if you’re cross eye dominant, you may need to close one eye to obtain better aim. Make sure you practice both methods, so you can adapt to any hunting situation that arises.

Recreational Archery

While recreational archery may not have the same level of pressure as competitive shooting or hunting, it’s still important to practice good technique. As you shoot for fun or simply to hone your skills for other purposes, consider using both the “both eyes open” and “one eye closed” techniques. This way, you can become more versatile and confident in your archery abilities. Ultimately, choose the method that feels most comfortable and enjoyable for you, since recreational archery is all about having a great time while improving your skills.

Expert Opinions and Success Stories

You might have heard that shooting a bow with both eyes open gives you a better field of view, improved depth perception, and lets you follow your arrow flight better. Well, many archers and experts agree with this notion. For example, when bowhunters were learning to shoot in the Marines back in the 1960s, they were instructed to shoot with both eyes open.

A key point to remember is that bowhunting is a highly visual activity, where your eyes are crucial in locating targets, identifying shooting lanes, and lining up shots. Shooting with both eyes open gives you a significant advantage when it comes to quickly reacting to unpredictable situations and making accurate shots.

However, there are instances when shooting with one eye closed might work better for some archers. This is particularly true if your aiming eye isn’t much more dominant than your other eye, as it may result in the eyes fighting for sight control, leading to unstable sight pictures.

There are numerous success stories out there of archers who have chosen the method that works best for them, whether it’s shooting with both eyes open or just one. For instance, some of the best archers in the world now shoot with both eyes open, while others excel equally as much with one eye closed.

It’s important to experiment and find the right technique for you. Focusing on which method helps you feel more comfortable and confident in your shooting, adjusting as necessary. In the end, achieving precision and consistency in your archery practice is what truly matters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the pros and cons of shooting with one eye vs both eyes open?

Shooting with one eye closed may feel more comfortable for some archers, especially if they are cross-eye dominant. However, closing one eye can limit your peripheral vision and reduce your depth perception.

Shooting with both eyes open allows for better depth perception, increased field of view, and improved situational awareness. It may take some practice to get used to, but many archers find it beneficial in the long run.

How can I improve my accuracy with both eyes open?

To improve your accuracy with both eyes open, focus on your dominant eye and try squinting your non-dominant eye slightly. This will help your brain to prioritize the information coming from your dominant eye. Additionally, practice regularly to build muscle memory and refine your aiming technique.

Is it easier to aim with one eye or both?

Aiming with one eye may feel more intuitive initially, especially for those who are cross-eye dominant. However, aiming with both eyes open can provide more information to your brain, allowing for better depth perception and a wider field of view, which can improve accuracy.

Are there any exercises to help me transition to shooting with both eyes open?

Yes, there are exercises to help you with the transition. Start by focusing on a close target with both eyes open and gradually increase the distance of the target as you become more comfortable. Additionally, practice quickly switching your focus between the target and your peripheral vision, training your brain to prioritize information from your dominant eye.

Do professional archers shoot with one or both eyes open?

A majority of professional archers shoot with both eyes open due to the advantages in depth perception and situational awareness. However, there are also successful archers who prefer shooting with one eye closed or partially closed. Ultimately, it depends on the individual’s preference and comfort level.

Can using both eyes open help with depth perception while shooting a bow?

Absolutely! Shooting with both eyes open allows your brain to use information from both eyes, providing a more accurate sense of depth and distance. This can lead to increased accuracy and a greater understanding of your surroundings during archery.