When it comes to shot placement breathing is critical and is the ultimate determining factor on whether or not you make your shot.
Don’t forget to EXHALE when you shoot!
Have you ever had such a hectic day, you’re nearly certain that you forgot to even breathe? Thank goodness that it’s an automatic physical response in most cases. Otherwise I know a lot of busy, frenzied women in my life who’d be passed out in their kitchens, at the school, or in the shopping mall.
Yes, we all know that breathing is essential to life. But it’s also essential when you’re defending your life, more particularly when you’re firing your gun.
Most people that I instruct at the shooting range will inevitably aim their firearm and then hold their breath, anticipating the loud “bang” of the gun. Even seasoned shooters have this nasty habit of holding their breath while shooting. In actuality, this holding of the breath is a bad habit which dramatically hinders the accuracy of proper shot placement.
When you hold your breath, all of your muscles are tightened. Tight muscles redirect energy and as such end up redirecting even the most careful of targeting. The best time to exhale is when you're extending your firearm. (When you draw your firearm, as your extending it to shoot, always make sure that you exhale.) The exhaled position is the most relaxed position. The more relaxed you are, the more accurately you will shoot—no ifs, ands or buts. You no longer have the tightened muscles to throw
your aim off. I have provided personal instruction to folks with all kinds of levels of shooting experience; some who have great stance, great attitudes, and focus on the other fundamentals of shooting, but without this vital breathing discipline, they will still miss their shots. When I reinforce the exhale step prior to pulling the trigger they inevitably make their shots--perfectly. In fact, I've noticed over the years that those who breathe properly are able to compensate for other, less than stellar shooting habits. Who knew that breathing was so important, right?
Along with this instruction it's important to note that getting out of the habit of inhaling just as you shoot will also ensure that you inhale fewer of the chemicals which exit your firearm upon firing. While that may not be as bad as the black powder used in the 1800's it's still nothing that any of us would want to pump into our lungs, right?
My short and sweet point? When you practice shooting, ALWAYS practice your breathing so that you can automatically do it under pressure. By all means, don't forget to EXHALE before you shoot. Yup, breathing--it’s highly underrated when it comes to proper shot placement.
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I've recently begun relearning how to shoot a bow with my left hand (and I'm very right handed). This same advice applies to shooting a bow. When I focus and breathe properly by exhaling before releasing the arrow my pattern at 20-30 yards is significantly better.
I practice a lot with my soft air pistols. I'll try this the next time I go through a practice session.