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The Pivot Technique

Years ago I attended a skill qualification where an instructor - who should know better - told me I was sighting my aim incorrectly. This was a bit of a shock to me as I had been focusing heavily on my aim for years, following expert guidance. As the instruction continued, and my patience simmered, it seemed to me the problem wasn't my technique, it was the instructor’s lack of understanding in general around the fundamentals of sight and aim.

There are a lot of ways to acquire a good sight picture, and while some may work well for you, they may not work for others. The goal of shooting is to accurately hit your target. So while we focus our energies on accuracy, we should also understand how to obtain the best sight picture, and eliminate as much noise from our aim as possible.


Eye dominance will play a major factor in your aim, especially if you are shooting pistol with both eyes open, which is preferred by military and law enforcement. It provides greater peripheral vision while you are engaged with a target, and mimicks what actually occurs in an active shooting.

Naturally, you won't close or squint one eye in a live fire situation. Your involuntary response - the one that is most difficult to control - will force your eyes open so your brain can consume all of the data that is available. This is what’s called Eyes Wide Open. So training yourself to close one eye while you shoot is setting you up for failure if you are ever in an active shooter situation.

Shooting for the first time with both eyes wide open you will notice it is difficult to develop a good sight picture, you will see two different sets of sights. It is also difficult to distinguish which sight you should be using to align to your target. one sight may be dead on while the other will surely place your shots way off.

In the military, they cement sight picture dominance by covering-up the non-dominant eye or placing some chapstick over your protective lense to reduce its ability to focus. The shooter keeps both eyes open and concentrates on the sights that appear strongest in their aim. After shooting a few thousand rounds this way, you learn to ignore the non-dominant sight picture.


I tried a lot of different ways to learn the eyes wide open technique, and many of them were difficult to master. I didn’t have thousands of rounds to learn it, and dry fire practice wasn’t helping me much either. Then I stumbled upon the Pivot Technique.

When one eye can no longer form a direct picture with an object, it resorts to pure periphery. In other words, it loses its desire to focus. Forcing your non-dominant eye to lose focus also eliminates the non-dominant sight picture leaving you clear sights and a clear target.

With your gun raised at a target, focus both eyes on your sights and simply pivot your head in the direction of your non-dominant eye, thereby aligning your dominant eye with the sights. Watch your sights as you do this, the less clear sight picture just disappears. Again, this is your brain turning-off focus to the non-dominant eye and forcing all attention to the one staring down your barrel.

Granted it will take time for you to cement this technique into your practice, we are not biologically trained to pivot our heads to focus on objects, but it is a fast and easy way to employ eyes wide open meanwhile obtaining a crisp sight picture.


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