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Fundamentals of Breath Control
Lessons cover;
(The Fundamentals of breath control.)

To shoot accurately one must become motionless. Breathing causes motion, so it must be controlled.  If you hold a gun in the Isosceles stance shown below and breathe in and out you will notice that the gun rises with inhaling and lowers with exhaling.  This causes your shots on the target to be high or low if you are breathing while squeezing the trigger. The key to accuracy is to squeeze the trigger while holding your breath!

Breath control man standing holding gun.

But, when you hold your breath you are robbing your body of oxygen. Lack of oxygen causes muscle fatigue and reduction of vision (in fact, the eyes are the first thing in your body to go when starved of oxygen!). To insure that you have enough oxygen in your system to last for the 10 to 20 seconds needed you need to practice breath control.

Taking two normal breaths, inhaling slowly through your nose and exhaling through your mouth before a shot, lowers your carbon dioxide blood level, which tells the brain when to breathe, thus reducing your urge to breathe, and also gives you sufficient oxygen to avoid eye and muscle fatigue.

Then take a third normal breath as you bring your gun on target, and exhale the air to leave your lungs in a comfortable state, then squeeze the trigger while holding your breath.

Remember, your chest must not move. Since your body is accustomed to pauses between breaths anyway you can stay motionless in this state until you begin to run out of oxygen. You should have finished shooting before that happens. If you do run out of air and need to breathe, put the gun down and start all over again since you are definitely holding your breath too long and your eyesight is losing focus.

This is the easiest shooting fundamental to master since your body knows involuntarily how to do it. Help the process by remembering to oxygenate first, and then leave the lungs and diaphragm in a relaxed state while shooting.




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Peter M. Friedman*
NRA Training Counselor, NRA Law Enforcement Handgun Instructor, LEOSA HR218 Firearm Requalification, CA BSIS Guard & Firearm Training Instructor, NRA Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun Instructor
(925) 818-6642
email us
*Former Deputy – San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Dept.
*Member – Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Posse
*NRA Life Member 140506318


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