Do Archers Close One Eye?

Whenever you see someone shooting an arrow in a film or on TV, they always very dramatically close one eye. But is this something that real archers actually do? 

The answer is a little complicated. But overall, not really! This is probably a surprise to most people. Whenever you see someone shooting an arrow in a film or TV show (looking at you, Robin Hood), they always close one eye.

Do Archers Close One Eye

This looks cool and is very dramatic. But it isn’t entirely necessary. Closing one eye can even obscure your line of sight. So some archers don’t bother with it at all. That said, some archers prefer to close one eye to assess the target.

And then shoot with both eyes. Or vice versa. Archery requires a very specific skill set. But every archer has their own style. So it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Here are some reasons why some archers prefer to sight with one eye. And why some think it’s a complete myth.

By the way, in case you are interested in backstops, we recently published an in depth guide for you. 

Does shooting an arrow with one eye closed help?

This mostly depends on the archer. The reason some people close one eye while shooting an arrow is to help them sight better. This means that it helps them to see their target more clearly. If you close each eye individually, you will notice that you can see different angles.

This is one of the reasons why some people prefer to close one eye while aiming. But, there is a reason why human beings have two eyes. Both of your eyes provide you with a more accurate representation of what is in front of you.

When you aim with one eye closed, you can often lose sight of the arrow. This can impact the way that you shoot. You might be able to see the target more clearly. But you might not be able to see the route of the arrow as well. 

Does eye dominance matter in archery?

We are all aware of whether we are left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous. But this kind of one-sided dominance is present in almost every part of the body. This means that you have a dominant arm, a dominant leg, and even a dominant eye.

This means that, if you decide to try aiming with only one eye, you need to know which of your eyes is stronger. It will be especially useful if your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand. 

It can be a little tricky to work out which eye is more dominant. Especially if you need to wear glasses or other corrective lenses. But this can be done. Look at an object across the room. Then put your arm out in front of you.

Move your arm in a circular motion while looking at the object. Your eyes cannot both maintain a direct line of sight on the object. So one will have to take over. In theory, if your hand moves more toward the right, then you have a right dominant eye. And vice versa. 

When you’re shooting an arrow, your dominant arm is important. As this is the arm you will use to pull the arrow. So it will be with this arm that you aim with. You will be able to buy a bow that is either right-handed or left-handed.

And it is useful if your eye dominance lines up with your arm dominance. But as there isn’t very much you can do if they don’t line up, it shouldn’t be a concern. Just useful if you notice it. 

So, eye dominance is useful. But it isn’t everything. Especially when arm dominance is considered.

Can you shoot an arrow with both eyes open?

You definitely can. And a lot of archers do swear by this. Keeping both eyes open will give you a wider field of vision. So it depends on what you’re shooting at. If you are practicing with a moving target, you will need a wider field of vision.

As you will need to be able to work out where the target will be. 

If you’re shooting at a single target, especially a bullseye, then closing one eye might help. Some archers say that closing one eye is a myth. But it’s more important to try out different styles of shooting and find what gets you that bullseye. 

Conclusion

Overall, closing an eye when aiming depends on the archer’s preference. But it definitely isn’t necessary. If you find closing your non-dominant eye helps you to aim better. Then that’s your prerogative. 

There are a lot of arguments online stating that any “real” archer would never aim with only one eye. But this is an unnecessary superiority. The best way for you to aim is the way that helps you to hit the target.