Have you ever wondered which eye you should close in archery? If you have, I am going to tell you how to figure it out.

Let’s start with an easier question.

Which hand do you throw with?

There was a time many years ago when I fancied myself a switch hitter in baseball….I never really was. I’ve always been right hand dominant in writing and throwing, and hitting. Most of us know what our dominant hand is but how does that factor into archery?

Here is a video made by all about vision on testing eye dominance.

A question beginners may have is, in archery which hand holds the bow?

Is it your dominant hand? Or do you pull the string with your dominant hand?

If you’ve never participated in any shooting sports you’re likely wondering about aiming as well.  Archery is a precision shooting sport, and it is important that you get set up correctly. This article is going to examine which hand holds the bow and which eye to close in archery.

Hand Preference

Most of us only write and throw with one of our hands. Most likely it has always been that hand. You might know your dominant hand and still not know which hand to hold the bow with.

First off, shooting right-handed means that you hold the bow with your left hand and draw the bowstring with your right hand. Shooting left handed is the opposite of that. Most archers who are right-handed shoot right-handed.

If your dominant hand and eye are the same, then it’s undoubtedly best to shoot that way. Since aiming is a large part of shooting, eye dominance is also a major factor in choosing your shooting preference.

Which Eye Should You Close?

A common question for new archers is, “Which eye should you close when you are shooting a bow?” There are several methods archers use and different factors involved in determining what works best.

Methods: Aiming with both eyes open, closing the non-dominant eye, partially closing the non-dominant eye.

Factors in Deciding: type of archery, i.e., target or bowhunting. Type of bow sights, shooting stance preference, dominant eye, dominant hand, lighting, comfort, accuracy, etc.

The 3 Methods of Aiming in Archery

  • Keeping Both Eyes Open

Some archers prefer to keep both eyes open when shooting. Of course, this gives you the largest field of vision. There are some benefits to aiming with both, but there are also a lot of drawbacks. Having both eyes opens is your natural state and good for balance and movement, and you can see a lot.

One might think that having a large field of vision, keen balance, and the natural calm of seeing with both eyes would be good for aiming and shooting. For some archers, this is the case. You will have to to see if it works for you.

It would be helpful for both eyes to have the same or similar strength, meaning, one eye is not extremely dominant. If you do have a strongly dominant eye, you may run into issues in aiming with both eyes open.

Issues with this aiming method

While some archers feel like a large field of vision is a positive, for others, it is a negative. Seeing everything with both eyes can assist with depth perception and accurate aiming if your eyes allow it. On the negative side, seeing everything can be distracting and possibly make it harder to focus while aiming.

The biggest issue in aiming with both eyes is eye dominance. If there is a significant difference in your eyesight and you try aiming with both eyes, it’s possible that the non-dominant eye will interfere with your aim. This may be amplified in low light situations.

Another big factor in deciding what aiming method works best is whether or not you are using a sight and what kind of sight it is. Recurve archers who aim instinctively and don’t use sights may find that keeping both eyes open is very helpful.

Archers using a compound bow with a peep sight in addition to their front sight may find aiming with both eyes open will not work. However, keeping both eyes open may work great if you are only using front sights on either a compound or recurve bow.

  • Partially Closing The Non-Dominant Eye

Another good option when considering which eye to close in archery is to partially close the non-dominant eye while aiming. Although this reduces someone the positive aspects of keeping both eyes open, some archers shoot this way because it also reduces some of the negative aspects.

Issues with this aiming method

Partially closing or squinting the non-dominant eye, reduces some of its interference with the dominant aiming eye. The positive aspect is that you can keep some of the larger field of view while aiming which may help you with depth perception.

The drawbacks to partially closing the non-dominant eye is that is may still include the negative aspects of keeping both eyes open. For some, squinting one eye interferes more with the dominant eye than keeping both open. I am not able to use this method for several reasons. One is that I can’t squint one eye well. It’s too distracting for me. Another problem is that it messes with my contact lenses for some reason. You may not have these issues.

  • Fully Closing The Non-Dominant Eye

The simple answer for what eye to close in archery is your non-dominant eye if possible. Fully closing the non-dominant eye is likely the most used method of aiming in archery. The method gives you one angle to work from when aiming which can be very helpful for accuracy.

The biggest positive for aiming with the non-dominant eye fully closed is that it eliminates interference from that eye. This method works well if you are using a peep sight on a compound bow.

Issues with this aiming method

One of the factors involved in deciding on the method to use is whether or not you are cross-dominant, meaning your dominant eye and dominant hand are not the same. You may have to test some different things if this is the case.

Many archers are only comfortable drawing the bow with their dominant hand. If you are cross-dominant, you may find that you can close your dominant eye and still aim well. Other archers are only able to aim well with their dominant eye and can draw with the non-dominant hand.

Finding Your Dominant-Eye

Figuring out which eye to close in archery will start with knowing which eye is dominant. If you don’t know there are some simple tests you can do to help with this.

which eye do you close in archery

The easiest test is to cut a quarter size hole in a piece of paper. (It doesn’t have to be perfect.) Or you can overlap your hands to form a small triangle with your thumbs (see picture.)

Hold your arms out and look through the hole at something around 10ft away, like a clock on the wall. Then, without moving, close each eye separately. The object should shift as you look through each eye and possibly move out of the circle completely. The eye you can see the object most centered with is your dominant eye.

A variation of this is to continue looking at the object with both eyes while your arms are extended. Then slowly move the hole to your face. It will naturally move to one eye which is your dominant eye.


It’s important to know your dominant hand and eye for shooting. The biggest thing I hope you take from this article is that there are options when it comes to archery. There are right-handed and left-handed bows, and it’s important that you are comfortable when shooting. Good form is one of the biggest components of accurate shooting, so it is best to decide on which hand you want to draw with first.

After that, as you consider your eye dominance, there are still options in aiming. Try out the different methods discussed and see, not only what feels comfortable, but also what seems to work best for your accuracy.

It’s possible that the method that works best for your accuracy doesn’t feel comfortable. Don’t quit on it if that is the case. Stick with it for a while and see if you can get used to it.

You can’t change your dominant eye and hand, but you can change the way you aim and shoot your bow. It’s worth making some adjustments if it helps you become a better archer in the end.

Author: Kasey Jones

Published: March 29, 2018

Category: Archery