Cool Quick Vision Drill for Irons and Red Dots

I’ve got a couple of fun drills for you today…

They’re based on the idea that if you can hold a steady gaze, you’ll be much more accurate and precise with your shooting…ESPECIALLY if you shift your gaze to where it needs to be early.

Two examples of this:

If you know where movement is going to occur and you shift focus to that location, your vision can settle and you can react sooner than if your focus is flicking around.
If you pre-shift your focus to the point in space where your front sight will end up, your vision can settle and you’ll be able to verify sight alignment much quicker than if you wait until your gun is in it’s final shooting position to shift focus.

So, what’s it like to have your vision “settle?”

Here’s an example from the 1800s called the Troxler Effect. If you’re on a phone, make this image as big as possible.


You may have seen Matt Seibert from Insight or Chris Sajnog talk about this effect in regards to front sight focus…it’s really cool.

When you focus intently on the front sight…or the little dot above the front sight, if your eyes are still, all of the groovy colors around the outside will disappear over the course of 5-30 seconds.

There are a few areas of the brain that make this happen…

The midline of the cerebellum, which is also involved in balance and CO2 sensitivity.

The midbrain and the reticular formation between the pons and the medulla, which control eye movement, residual muscular tension, CO2 sensitivity, and cross-body balance.

The posterior parietal lobe, which helps us control thoughts, attention, and our response to pain.

There have been studies done where they’ve shown that doing this drill with the goal of increasing the time that you fix your focus improves all of those…it helps with pain response, attention (think ADD, ADHD, and even spectrum), and our ability to manage and control our thoughts (think worry, fretting, regret, anxiety, etc.)

Super cool, huh?

What if you have trouble doing it?

Try making the picture bigger…postcard size is easier than business card size.
Try doing it 1 eye at a time.
Reply back and I can suggest some different versions of the Troxler Effect.

What about red dots?

With red dots, it’s easier to keep our eyes diverged to the target rather than having both point at the dot.

This Troxler *kind of* approximates this:

What you want to do is look past the image…like you’re focused on a target with the image above at arm’s length.

When you do, you should see 4 silhouettes…2 of the one with the green triangle and 2 of the one with the red dot.

(If you don’t see this, be patient, but keep in mind that if your brain is completely supressing the image from one eye, you will only see 2 targets and not 4.)

Try to move your eyes so that the two middle targets overlap, giving you 3 targets. The middle one will have both a triangle AND a dot.

When you do this, you’ll notice that it appears to float and all of the color behind it disappears.

And, when it does?

Just the act of doing this drill will increase blood flow to the parts of the brain I mentioned above…and this increased flow of oxygen and glucose can immediately improve the other brain functions controlled from those regions.

If this drill was rough or challenging, that’s ok. Keep at it…just don’t overdue it. If it’s rough, it’s fine to stop after 30-60 seconds. Keep in mind that the more challenging this drill is, the more you stand to gain from doing it.

For me, when I got my eyes to where they were able to fixate correctly, my shooting and reading speed (and enjoyment) shot through the roof.

This is an example of why vision training is one of the biggest secret weapons of elite athletes and tacletes around the globe.

Vision training opens up the world and allows you to see more, see quicker, and see more accurately than you may think is possible.

Check out more vision training for tactical applications at

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  • Clark Sann

    Reply Reply July 7, 2023

    Thank you, Ox. Your response was very helpful. It encourages me that I can get past this problem.

  • Clark Sann

    Reply Reply July 5, 2023

    I’m confused about what I should learn from the red dot image. When I focus on a target using a red dot, I’m confused by the multiple target images (one from each eye) and the single red dot. Yet this exercise is forcing me to have two images of both targets. I’ve also got your See Quicker course. Would you please advise me which of these exercises will help me with this problem?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply July 5, 2023

      With red dots, your focus should be on the target AND you want both eyes to be pointed at the target. Seeing multiple targets with a red dot is an indication of one of 3 things…
      1. You’re focusing on the dot instead of the target and that is causing your eyes to point to the dot/dot housing instead of at the target.
      2. Your eyes are converging in front of the target
      3. Your eyes are diverged past the target.

      #1 is the most likely. You want to make the target as clear and crisp as possible and just lay the dot over the spot you want to shoot. Do not focus on the dot.

      One way to know if #2 or #3 are happening is if you see 2 targets before you bring your pistol up into your field of view. If that’s happening, you can oftentimes shoot better almost instantly by doing a minute or two of pencil pushups or Brock string drills.

  • Kathy Mc Mahon

    Reply Reply July 15, 2022

    Wow that was weird. what does it mean if it spears that the targets are moving?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply July 21, 2022

      I’m not sure what you mean. Could you elaborate?

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