If you missed our first post in the “Breathing for Accuracy” series, you can go here to check out our rifle post featuring Anette Wachter of 30CALGAL.com fame. Anette was a good sport and willingly jumped on board to help steer the ship in the right direction, so a big thanks to her. We’ve got another guest quote from gun blogging lore on the internets but you’ll have to read through to the bottom to check it out.
Why is monitoring your breathing pattern important while shooting? I find that the tempo and depth of which I’m breathing directly affects my calm and focus while on the trigger. When my breathing is smooth and calm, my front blade seems to find its way to the target much faster than when I’m panting heavily or doing my open mouth dog pant I often am susceptible to. Hopefully by now it’s obvious that this portion speaks to breathing with handguns. It’s an art that is drastically different than breathing with a rifle because less of your body contacts the weapon, but some of the same principles apply…
Breathing with Handguns - If I’m buckling down and shooting handguns at distance (I shoot each of my handguns at 100 yards the same reason I back up to 80 yds with my bow… don’t think it can be done accurately?), everything I just said in the RIFLE POST about that ONE rifle shot applies. In most cases the trigger is not as light nor are the sights or optics as precise as that of a long gun, but you still want to lower that “weight” as you let your breath out and pull the trigger straight back. If I’m practicing close range taking out multiple targets say like a plate rack, my beloved bowling pins or moving while shooting, I focus on SMOOTH breathing more than letting out that one breath.
One gun review you can actually SEE me breathing horribly on is the Nighthawk Custom T3 1911 pistol. I was so frustrated with ammo issues (self inflicted) I was having that all fundamentals went out the window. That and I was in the middle of correcting some grip issues I was having so the two combined really did a number on my groups that day.
I’m not sure why, but the lighter the pistol I’m shooting (as in the lighter the bullet is, say like a .22 LR rimfire round or .380 ACP) the more I have a tendency to fall into that habit of holding my breath all over again. This will seem contradictory to the previous paragraph, but it seems like I do better to remember my breathing with heavier rounds. Maybe because I know they make a bigger hole so there’s more chance of hitting my target thus subconsciously less stressful.
Speedy trigger lady Julie Golob the author of SHOOT! and Smith & Wesson poster girl is one of the fastest and most decorated lady shooters on the planet today. Julie has a reputation for being approachable and in touch with her fans through her Facebook page and Twitter account. She was kind enough to share some of her own thoughts about how breathing works for her while running her pistols:
“In action shooting competitions, how and when to breathe don’t usually make the list of things to think about when you’re shooting. There are rare cases when syncing a controlled breath cycle with shooting a very precise shot can be helpful. How much you’re huffing and puffing away on a stage to shoot that tough shot determines how much you can control your breathing. Ideally you want to take your shot as you pause your breath cycle. I like to pause after I have inhaled deeply, squeeze the trigger, then breathe out.
99% of the time though, the focus in most action shooting sports is more speed oriented than pin point accuracy. With so much going on in a stage in 3-Gun, IDPA and USPSA there are plenty of other things to focus on. In these sports, the time I think about my breathing is right before I shoot a stage. I take several deep breaths before I am given the command to load and make ready. I take a couple more as I assume the start position. After that, when the buzzer goes, I simply breath however I need to.”
-Be Safe & Have Fun,
Here’s one of Gunnuts.net’s (Gun Nuts Media) Caleb Giddings (who incidentally also loves shooting pink guns) favorite quotes on the subject of breathing while pistol shooting. Caleb is a long time internet gun blogger, former Top Shot season 1 competitor, and an IDPA Master master class shooter. Caleb is personable, smart and from my view at a distance really seems to have a great sharing attitude toward getting n00bs shooting and improving at their technique.
“Just breathe. If you’re thinking about your breathing during a USPSA stage, you’re thinking about the wrong thing.”
There you have it. Perhaps the ultimate example of keeping it simple.
WHAT SECRETS DO YOU HAVE TO HELP REGULATE YOUR BREATHING WHILE SHOOTING HANDGUNS?
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