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Old 09-30-2012, 11:24   #1
Eric2340
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Teaching kids to shoot - right handed wanting to shoot lefty?

Need some help / advice here to see what is the RIGHT way to do this -


My sons (twins) are getting to the age where I am starting to go a little deeper into firearms w/ them now. They now the basics, do NOT touch if you find a gun, tell an adult, how to know it's empty, yadda, yadda, yadda.................

They have NOT shot yet, and we are just getting to the first BB rifle / first .22 rifle. I've got an old .22 w/ a scope on it someone gave me, and I plan on buying them a BB gun in the near future to start with.

Anyone, BOTH boys are right handed (like me) one has it down pat on how to shoulder then gun and can see through the scope (I do NOT plan on starting w/ the scope, I merely want to see if they could shoulder the gun properly # 1, and then 2, see through the scope too - I'm going to teach them open sight shooting first, and THEN w/ the scope once they have the principals), the other can't do it. :(

Here's the dilemma and my question -

He CLAIMS if he shoulders the gun as a LEFTY (again, he IS right handed) that he then CAN see through the scope (???). Plus he seems to have more trouble just trying to shoulder the gun right handed w/ no scope on it, and can do it right every time left handed?

Is this OK, or should I try and break him now and make him do it right handed? :(

I've honestly never taught a child to shoot before (helped several adult friends and GFs over the years w/ long guns and never had an issue or this issue) and don't know if this is OK, or if I am setting him up w/ a bad habit from the start? :(


Now I also know everyone should be able to shoot either left or right handed w/ a long gun tactically if they need to transition, but this is the basics and kids we are talking about. The harder stuff can come later, walk before you can run kind of thing.


Please help advise, thanks -
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:31   #2
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Have you checked his eye dominance? Sounds like he may be a righty with a dominant left eye.

My youngest son was that way. I put tape on the left lens of his shooting glasses, and made him shoot right handed using his right eye. Seemed to have solved the problem. 27 years later and hes still doing OK.
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Old 09-30-2012, 14:16   #3
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Have you checked his eye dominance? Sounds like he may be a righty with a dominant left eye.

My youngest son was that way. I put tape on the left lens of his shooting glasses, and made him shoot right handed using his right eye. Seemed to have solved the problem. 27 years later and hes still doing OK.
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Cross eye dominant.
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Old 09-30-2012, 14:25   #4
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I was a lefty from birth but when I started school many years ago (in WVA) teachers would hit your hand if you wrote left-handed. I learned the right hand world that was yesteryear.

I can play golf left or right handed I can bat left or right. When I played racquet sports I played left handed.

Whatever is natural for your boy.

My handwriting is awful...I suspect it was because I was supposed to be left handed.
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Old 09-30-2012, 18:14   #5
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Whatever is natural for your boy.
From personal experience I think this is best.

I'm screwed up like FireForged. A little of this, a little of that. Ambidextrous on some things.

I am left eye dominate. Shoot pistol right and rifle left.

I still remember my father trying to insist I use my right hand to use a fork when I was very young just learning to feed myself. My mother was of the "let him do what's natural" school of thought. Not huge arguments, but I remember the discussions. I remember this many years later. Not sure you would want your sons to carry that around. I'm not scarred by it, but I do remember.

I have found that my tendency is to do power things better using the right (throw, golf, etc.) and detail things (shoot pool, write, archery) left.

A short story on the archery. I had not had much of an opportunity to shoot a bow (other than a toy when very young) until I was in my mid 20's, I tried shooting right handed and it took some time for me to figure out why I really was bad at it. Frustration, perhaps, lead me try it lefty, and WOW, what a difference. If one is having trouble a switch to the other side may work.
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Old 09-30-2012, 14:47   #6
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In my sons case, starting young seemed to make the transition a lot easier (he started dry firing at 3, shooting live ammo at 4) . He was always predominately right handed in most things he did, so it made no sense to try and make him shoot lefty, and handicap him for the rest of his life, when we could work on the eye problem right off. The tape on his glasses did solve the problem, by forcing him to use his right eye when he shot. Hes still left eye dominant if he pays attention to it, but he says he has learned to focus his right eye when needed, and at worst, close his left if he becomes distracted. He has no trouble shooting sporting clays, or blasting running critters, so even with quick reaction/moving targets, its not been an issue.

Now, if youre waiting until they are older to deal with it, things may go harder, just like learning to shoot in general. The sooner you start them shooting, the better off you are. The sooner they understand the problem, and work at dealing with it, the easier it will be too.
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Old 10-02-2012, 06:39   #7
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Have you checked his eye dominance? Sounds like he may be a righty with a dominant left eye.

My youngest son was that way. I put tape on the left lens of his shooting glasses, and made him shoot right handed using his right eye. Seemed to have solved the problem. 27 years later and hes still doing OK.
this ^^^^^ the RIGHT way or no shooting
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:32   #8
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First thing I would do is check to see which eye, is their dominant.

Have them extend their arm, with both eyes open, and put thumb up in the air. Have them aim at something on the wall, a light switch for example. Then close one eye at a time, and whichever eye is perfectly aiming at the target, is the dominant eye. Then go from there.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:32   #9
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If, for whatever reason, he shoots better and more comfortably Left handed, why not.

Many baseball players can bat either handed and it doesn't hurt them. He may have some issues he cannot recognize well enough to communicate them to you, in the meantime, why not let him shoot the way that works and feels the best for him.

He may change later.

In my generation the Catholic school system used to punish students for using their Left hand. It was considered by the Nuns to be the Devils approach.

It accomplished nothing good, and only created a greater conflict for the student. My FIL tells many stories about his "punishment". He is a skilled artist with his Left hand and does everything else with his Right hand.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:43   #10
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In my experience teaching Boy Scouts to shoot, he is probably left eye dominant.

The best way I've found to test this on youth is to have them extend both arms in front of them. Overlapping their hands to form a small diamond between their thumbs and pointer fingers. Stand 6-8 ft. back and have them look at your nose with both of their eyes open. what ever eye YOU see through their hands is their dominant eye.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:50   #11
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In my experience teaching Boy Scouts to shoot, he is probably left eye dominant.

The best way I've found to test this on youth is to have them extend both arms in front of them. Overlapping their hands to form a small diamond between their thumbs and pointer fingers. Stand 6-8 ft. back and have them look at your nose with both of their eyes open. what ever eye YOU see through their hands is their dominant eye.

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This seemed the easiest to have him do, as we are not able to get to the range today.

Looks like this is dead on and as the others said, he's right handed and left eye dominate, as I tested it against his brother and then had someone check me (my other son and I both are right handed and shoot w/ the right eye).

We've still got a LOT to cover, but when this one thing showed up right in the beginning it kind of freaked me out as I was not sure what was right / to do. A HUGE thank you to all who relied w/ advice, I appreciate it.


Now next question, Mr. righty who wants to shoot long gun lefty -

He seems to favor holding a toy pistol (for demo purposes only at this point) when being shown how to hold it properly right handed. When he tries to do it left handed instead, he seems not able to put it all together?

Is it also possible that he would shoot a long gun lefty and a handgun righty, being right handed and left eye dominate?

He's too small to try a handgun yet, and again I want to ease into all of this, but I am also looking down the road too.

Thanks again to all -


Now I have to go start looking for some left handed long guns for one of them. At least now there will be no fighting over who's gun is who's.....................
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Old 09-30-2012, 19:59   #12
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This seemed the easiest to have him do, as we are not able to get to the range today.

Looks like this is dead on and as the others said, he's right handed and left eye dominate, as I tested it against his brother and then had someone check me (my other son and I both are right handed and shoot w/ the right eye).

We've still got a LOT to cover, but when this one thing showed up right in the beginning it kind of freaked me out as I was not sure what was right / to do. A HUGE thank you to all who relied w/ advice, I appreciate it.


Now next question, Mr. righty who wants to shoot long gun lefty -

He seems to favor holding a toy pistol (for demo purposes only at this point) when being shown how to hold it properly right handed. When he tries to do it left handed instead, he seems not able to put it all together?

Is it also possible that he would shoot a long gun lefty and a handgun righty, being right handed and left eye dominate?

He's too small to try a handgun yet, and again I want to ease into all of this, but I am also looking down the road too.

Thanks again to all -


Now I have to go start looking for some left handed long guns for one of them. At least now there will be no fighting over who's gun is who's.....................
One of my sons is cross dominant. Right Handed, Left Eye Dominant.

When I started him shooting rifles he learned to shoot left handed, shotguns and bows left handed as well. Handguns he shoots right handed and simply moves the gun in front of his dominant eye.

He is almost 20 years old and shoots just fine this way.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:31   #13
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If it were me I'd teach both of them to shoot with either hand. Naturally they will favor one side over the other,but I can say as a left handed person living in a right hand world that having to learn how to use tools,pistols and rifles with my right hand is a very good thing. Left handed comes natural but shooting right handed does not feel unatural. I have found that being a certain amount of ambidextrous is a big plus in life. If it were me I'd make both of them shoot 60/40 with the off hand doing the the 60% of the shooting. I practice shooting both hands all the time. You just never know when your dominent hand or shoulder might get injured. JMHO.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:51   #14
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He must be left eye dominant, if thats the case let him shoot left handed.

I am left handed, and left eye dominant. I can use iron sights shooting a rifle right handed, but its hard for me to use a scope shooting right handed and using my right eye.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:29   #15
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Let him do what is comfortable as long as he can do it safely. I am right handed but left eye dominant. I also find it odd that any sport I have taught myself to play hockey and lacrosse I play left handed. Sports I was taught from the start baseball and golf I play right handed. So there is nothing wrong doing some things on the weak side.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:54   #16
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True story. When I was about 7 years old I was starting to try and shoot more with my grandfather and brothers. They kept telling me I had to shoot the way that they did and I have a very hard time being as accurate as them and I often held my head oddly over the rifle stock. I got criticism for this and it discouraged me from shooting. I actually stopped shooting for a couple of years until my gym teacher, whom was teaching us archery, explained my hand and eye dominance to me. From that day on shooting was much easier and much more enjoyable since I knew I was not only left-handed but left-eye dominant. Moral being, if you try and teach your child in a way that benefits you and costs them then you may lose their interests.


Ok, that being said....I'm left-handed & left-eye dominant. Please teach your child the way that is most natural for him. I have two children of my own and they both happen to be right-handed and right-eye dominant. I teach them everything right-handed, sports, etc. They haven't started shooting yet (not quite mature enough) but when they do I will train them on what is natural for them. I want to nurture their interests and hone their skills in a way that is enjoyable for them. I don't want my kids to get frustrated or feel like they are forced to learn in a way that is unnecessarily difficult for them. Plus you'll get wicked good with your weak side skills. I've taught many a right handed, right eyed dominant adults to shoot and can hit very confidently right handed now.
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Old 09-30-2012, 13:18   #17
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True story. When I was about 7 years old I was starting to try and shoot more with my grandfather and brothers. They kept telling me I had to shoot the way that they did and I have a very hard time being as accurate as them and I often held my head oddly over the rifle stock. I got criticism for this and it discouraged me from shooting. I actually stopped shooting for a couple of years until my gym teacher, whom was teaching us archery, explained my hand and eye dominance to me. From that day on shooting was much easier and much more enjoyable since I knew I was not only left-handed but left-eye dominant. Moral being, if you try and teach your child in a way that benefits you and costs them then you may lose their interests.

Yep, you nailed it, that was what stopped me in my tracks as soon as I realized he could shoulder it instantly left sided after fighting the right side over and over.

Thanks!
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Old 10-01-2012, 17:59   #18
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True story. When I was about 7 years old I was starting to try and shoot more with my grandfather and brothers. They kept telling me I had to shoot the way that they did and I have a very hard time being as accurate as them and I often held my head oddly over the rifle stock. I got criticism for this and it discouraged me from shooting. I actually stopped shooting for a couple of years until my gym teacher, whom was teaching us archery, explained my hand and eye dominance to me. From that day on shooting was much easier and much more enjoyable since I knew I was not only left-handed but left-eye dominant. Moral being, if you try and teach your child in a way that benefits you and costs them then you may lose their interests.


Ok, that being said....I'm left-handed & left-eye dominant. Please teach your child the way that is most natural for him.
As a lefty, I approve this message.

Your job is to teach your kid, but listening to him is just as important. Being left handed is not always easy, you want to be there for him not on top of him.

My father threatened to pull me out of school when a nun tied my left arm to force me to write with my right. Ignorant penguin got it good, and I am so very grateful to my dad.
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Old 09-30-2012, 12:57   #19
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Sorry was typing my response when you posted. Good for you.

I loved Savage left-handed 22lr rifles when I was growing up. I'd recommend them highly.

As for shooting pistol right-handed. Not a problem. Even when I shoot righty, I still use my left eye. You just lightly cant the gun or move it so it is in the sight line of the dominant eye. Professional shooters like Dave Sevigny (spelling?) are cross-dominant and destroy the competition.
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Old 09-30-2012, 13:40   #20
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It has been covered that you shoot dominate eye and not dominate hand. Good advice.

Sorry, being left hand and left dominate eye I can tell you based on my own experiences that it will cost him/you more and will have less to choose from.

I bought one of the first left hand Remington 700 in 1973. Since then I have only added 12 more left hand guns. I have owned over the decades several hundred guns. I have every left hand gun I ever bought. They are that hard to come by. I have six Over Under shotguns and three Ruger Number 1 that are true ambidextrous guns. I like Mossberg pumps because they have tang safeties that can be used either way. Handguns can usually go either way as long as they don't have right hand thumb rest.

You can get ambidextrous safeties for AR style rifles. I own several Ruger 10-22s that I changes out the right hand safety to left hand. I used to use Williams LH safeties but they stopped making them after they got sued when a right hand person got hurt using a left hand safety. Brownells has left hand safety made by Volquartsen. I bought a few extras to have in case they stopped making them.

This is why many left hand shooters use leveraction and pump rifles and suffer.

The worst condition for a left hand shooter is a right hand bolt action rifle with a scope.

FWIW, many push trigger guard safeties can be converted to left hand by a gunsmith. Once done they can not be converted back to right hand.

Studies show that left hand people don't live as long as right hand people. You think that alone would qualify us for the Americans With Disabillies Act.
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