Out, Out, Damn Cross-Eye!

Posted in a thread at http://forum.m1911.org/ as user edski.

Time to reverse myself in this same thread.

In an earlier post I said I shot cross-eyed using my left eye and right hand. That *was* true. But today I went to right eye and right hand and will stay there. So this is “good-bye” to cross-eye land. Here’s why.

There seem to be two “good” ways to shoot cross-eyed and still keep everything lined up. By “lined up” I’m primarily talking about the alignment of the pistol with the shooter’s arm — ideally (I’m told), the recoil should run in a line along the inside of the arm and into the body. The goal is to keep that vector (line) “inside” the arm at all points because this (supposedly) lessens recoil lift and/or side motion.

Method #1 is to take a 90 degree or higher stance which rotates the shoulder of the arm holding the gun out into a slightly off-center-of-body position where the “cross” eye will then be in line with the sights.

Method #2 is to use a 45 degree stance but either rotate or tilt the head over far enough that, again, the “cross” eye is then in line with the sights.

In both cases, I get a pain in the neck, literally, after standing that way for a long time. My body feels stretched which feels good at first but, in a long competition, starts to get very tiring. By the time we’re finished shooting, my back hurts from the constant twist in #1, or my neck if I’m using #2.

So today, I moved the blinder over and started shooting right eye with right hand. I used a 45 degree stance and spent 5-10 minutes working out my natural point of aim before starting to shoot. The first three targets (10 shots each) were pretty bad but each with recognizable problems, mostly related to grip and finger position. By the fourth target, I had those issues more-or-less worked out and I was starting to hit the target fairly well. And by the end of 100 rounds (10 targets), my scores were about the same as they were before.

More importantly, on the fifth target or so, I got into position, settled the gun on the target … and realized, “Hey, this is comfortable. I could stand like this all day!” Well, maybe not really, but it was *definately* more comfortable than what I’d had to do before to shoot cross-eyed.

My back was straight, my head was upright, my shoulder felt smoothly on top of the hump (there’s a spot as I move my arm back and forth where I feel a slight but smooth hump and I stand so I can keep my arm in the middle of that and have the gun lined up on the target). That’s where the NPA (natural point of aim) is in my shoulder.

Today’s range time was with the 1911 in 45 ACP. I didn’t shoot my Model 41 (22LR caliber) today but don’t expect any show-stoppers there.

In figuring out what is best for me, I am admittedly making a compromise between visual acuteness and stability of stance. Shooting cross-eyed, my vision is better but my body is worse. Shooting righty-righty, my body feels good and the vision is “good enough.” (I will continue to use a blinder on the non-shooting eye.)

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