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Breathing control is a fundamental part of firearms training. The accuracy of your shooting can be affected by your breathing. You can have all your other training drills mastered but if you have no control over your breathing you will never attain precision accuracy. This becomes more important as the distance to the target increases. Correct breathing control will allow you to remain steady once you have a target in sight.

Breathing Motion

Without your weapon take a moment to cup your hands together and extend your arms as if you were aiming a gun. Aim your thumbs at a target. Take a few deep breaths. You’ll likely notice a vertical rise and fall of your imaginary sight line against the target. This shows you how your breathing can affect your aim and why you need to learn breathing techniques. When taking a shot you want to hold your breath. However, if you hold your breath for more than a few seconds, you could risk muscle tremors and shake. Proper breathing techniques allow the shooter to remain steady. The actual amount of time a shooter holds their breath will depend on the individual, but four to seven seconds is typical. If it takes you longer than ten seconds to get the correct sight, then you should breathe and try again.

The first step is to test your breathing to determine if it needs any correction.

  1. Place your hands together and extend your arms in a similar way as to when you aim a gun, but do not hold a gun.
  2. Point your thumbs at the target.
  3. Now inhale deeply a few times.
  4. If you watch your thumbs that are lined up with the target you will see a vertical rise and fall as you breathe. This should give you a look at how your breathing affects your aim.

When you take a shot you should hold your breath for 4 – 7 seconds. If you find it has taken longer than 10 seconds to sight the target then begin again. The standard training method for breathing is called BRASS and it is the easiest method to learn. Try following this every time you shoot.

  1. When you are ready take two regular breaths.
  2. Before you fire, slowly inhale through your nose and then exhale through the mouth. This will reduce the urge to breathe by lowering the carbon dioxide level in your blood.
  3. Now take a third regular breath as you are aiming your gun at the target.
  4. When you are comfortable exhale and then squeeze the trigger while holding your breath.

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