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Being Aware of the Periphery When Shooting

When shooting a shotgun at clays or birds, the target is always in our primary visual circle and the gun is always in the periphery.

What that looks like differs greatly shooter to shooter and depends on whether they shoot clays or birds.

In the beginning, the shooter unfortunately will be focused on the end of the gun and looking down the barrel. When this occurs, the shooter is very confused because they see the front bead sight and they see the left side of the barrel. And everything in their periphery is a double image.

At this point the shooter is misdiagnosed as cross-dominant and they close an eye. And while the images look clearer with one eye shut, the shooter ends up looking down the barrel and chasing the bird with the barrel and frantically tries to fix the shot at the end.

Just so you can better understand the confusion caused by muzzle awareness, here’s an exercise you can do to experience the double vision we just described. In the room you are seated in, choose an object like a light switch to focus on. Make a fist with your thumb sticking straight up and position it under the light switch with both eyes open. When focused on the light switch, you will be aware of two thumbs in your periphery. Once you are aware of the two thumbs, shift your focus to the tip of your thumb and notice how the light switch is now a double image!

So, let’s say you’re dove hunting and a flock of ten doves flies over. You mount your gun and focus on the front bead sight. How many doves do you see?

The answer is 20. This is why when you flock shoot birds (regardless of the size of the flock) you learn there is a lot more air than bird out there.