Is there any difference between a right-to-left target and a left-to-right target in terms of perceived lead? Roger Silcox once talked about left-to-right needing extra lead, or perhaps he meant extra effort (for a right-handed shooter). Do you recognize this in your move/mount?
Roger Silcox was a legend; a coach’s coach. I wish I had known him personally. The phenomenon that you are referring to is the comparative difference in “perceived lead” of a left-to-right crosser versus a right-to-left crossing target for a right-handed shooter. For a right-handed shooter, the perceived lead on a left-to-right crossing target will be slightly greater than for a right-to-left crossing target. The actual lead is the same, however. Why the perception of greater lead? Let’s start by recognizing that all lead should be subconscious and that measuring is bad, no matter the reason. Over your shooting life, you will accumulate a subconscious “database” of leads, so this is not something about which you should agonize, because we subconsciously adjust for the perceived lead differential. If we were to “measure,” however, the perceived lead on a left-to-right will be appear to be greater than that of a right-to-left crosser because we see binocularly (with two eyes).
The perception of incremental lead for a left-to-right crossing target is due to the influence of the left eye on our sight picture. When looking at a left-to-right crosser with two eyes, your left eye sees more lead than the right eye given the angle of offset between the left eye and the rib/muzzle. With a right-to-left flat-trajectory crossing target, your left eye sees the target across the barrel and is often blocked by the barrel so the left-eye bias doesn’t occur. It is also important to note that the difference in perceived lead between these two targets will be different for different shooters depending on the degree of dominance of the right eye. If you only had one eye and shot off the same shoulder as your one eye, there would be no perceived difference in lead between these two types of targets. For left-handed shooters, this phenomenon is reversed.
Don Currie is NSCA’s Chief Instructor, an Orvis Wingshooting School instructor, and Master Class competitor. To get free shooting tips and videos, sign up for his monthly newsletter. You can also see more tips from Currie at www.doncurrie.com.