Breathing - Respiratory Pause and stuff like that...

Discussion in 'The Basics, Starting Out' started by chris matthews, Mar 20, 2004.

  1. chris matthews

    chris matthews Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2001
    Here's another tip about breathing.
    If you don't break your shot during that 5-7 seconds, don't force it and hold your breath longer. Your muscles and your eye will "burn out" due to the lack of oxygen. Your muscles will begin to quiver and your retina burning out causes your sight picture to go fuzzy.
    Take another breath and break the shot during the next pause.

    [ 03-20-2004: Message edited by: chris matthews ]
  2. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    Good point Chris, I find it best to look away and refocus the eye on any nearby object something on the horizon, then come back into the aim, focus on the target and get the shot off within the 5-7 seconds before the old eye muscles start to relax and the picture gets soft.

    Worst thing you can do is fight it and try to stay focused, just does not work. As you get older the eyes don't seem to like the 7 second end of the sharpness zone, varies with each person [​IMG] Something for young guys like you to look forward to...
  3. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    I will try to be brief but complete here.

    Something I do during dry fire practice and target practice is to line up the crosshairs where I want them to be during the respiratory pause(rp) then I close my eyes and begin another calm (but not unnecessarily slow)breathing cycle (in then out). A moment after I am in a rp I will open my eyes, make slight adjustments to my sight picture then close my eyes and repeat. I do this untill the crosshairs come to rest in the same spot every time for a few cycles then... "snickBOOM"

    Like this:
    1. Get on target.
    2. Close eyes.
    3. Breathe in.
    4. Breathe out
    5. RP.
    6. Open eyes.
    7. Small adjustment.
    8. Close eyes.
    Repeat and 7 untill you open your eyes in the same place as when you closed them. Then press the trigger.

    [ 03-20-2004: Message edited by: 4ked Horn ]
  4. ryan m

    ryan m Active Member

    Oct 21, 2003
    Taking a large breath increases pressure in the thoracic cavity and can help you support your upper body and your gun by splinting you spine. This is obvious if you ever try to move anything heavy, as you unconciously breathe in and push. The problem with this is that it translates your body motion to the gun. Your heart beat now happens under higher thoracic pressure and will have more effect on point of aim. Breathing out completely lets your arms support the weight of the gun more, and lessens that effect. It is the method taught to competetive shooters and millitary, and is definately the way to go if you have a good rest or have time to get into a good steady posistion. For fast and moving shots, and offhand shooting without a sling, I find a deep breath is often beneficial.
  5. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    Yup. For fast action shots all bets are off. I'm lucky if I don't bite my tongue off [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. Ian M

    Ian M Well-Known Member

    May 3, 2001
    A while back I started something called the three Bees. Well, I blew that one, there are at least FOUR Bees. Let's consider Breathing. Here I go with the "Q" and "A's" again:
    Q. How important is breathing to accurate shooting?
    A. You cannot expect consistent accuracy without properly controlled breathing being part of the act of firing a rifle.

    Q. Big Deal, what the hell is breathing got to do with accuracy?
    A. Accuracy is about steadiness, we are more steady when not breathing hard, or irregularly. No doubt other more learned guys can explain about oxygen in the blood or where ever the heck it goes and what it does

    Q. What is a good breathing routine?
    A. Everyone requires a different number of breaths to get "calmed down" but since we should break the trigger within 5-7 seconds of getting into our final point of aim, we should take that number of breaths.

    Q. What is the Respiratory Pause?
    A. This is the natural pause that occures for a second or slightly longer at end of each breath. The shot should be broken during the Respiratory Pause.

    Q. What about taking three or four deep breaths and letting out half, then shooting.
    A. That used to be taught as a breathing method, put the sight slightly above the target, take a deep breath and the reticle moves downward, let it out and it goes back up. Hold at halfway and the reticle is on target and fire. This is not as good a breathing technique as employing the Respiratory Pause.

    Q. Where did this Repiratory Pause thing come from.
    A. Uncle Sam, he knows this stuff.

    Q. Is there something I can do if I am really breathing hard, like during a hunt?
    A. Take three or four really forced breaths (deep), that will slow things down a bit. Also read recently that rubbing your little finger on the left hand will slow down heartbeat - no idea about that one... (Len, get that smirk off your face, I am only passing on what I read in a recent book on Special Forces vs Ossama).

    Q. Do I use this Respiratory Pause technique when I shoot during hunts.
    A. Only if you want to kill the animal.

    Q. Is there any other stuff to consider about breathing?
    A. I am hoping to learn more from the guys on this site.
  7. Len Backus

    Len Backus Administrator Staff Member

    May 2, 2001
    Yes, I absolutely was smirking, big time! Until I saw your reference to me and then I laughed. [​IMG]
  8. Brent

    Brent Well-Known Member

    Jun 12, 2001
    Breathing for me is simply a means to an end, so to speak. Sure, you have certainly got to slow it down enough to break a clean shot, and you can not do that while continuing to breathe, but slowing my heart rate is of ultimate importance to me.

    I drop down and get to position without wasting time, but not getting worked up in the process. When I know I've got to make a shot here in seconds, mentally I calm myself "back" down while I'm preparing for the shot, kind of like I'm getting ready for a nap type deal. [​IMG]

    Got my clicks on and looking through the scope at my target, which I never take my eye off of for nothing. 30 seconds, 2 minutes, just don't seem to bother me keeping my eye in it for some reason. But I set my crosshairs low left and watch for them to top out on my target on total exhale, adjust the butt lower if POA is still too low. Once I've got that right I'm pretty much dealing with heart beat on the exhale. This is why I probably like to hold lighter than some guys, heartbeat seems to have less POA deflection and longer dwell time. Wait for the predominant wind condition I'm dialed for, three or four heartbeats and the bullet's on its way, or I breathe again two or three times and take it from the top again.

    Being concious of my heart rate the whole time is what I focus on, so breathing correctly and slowing down becomes 2nd nature so the shot's placed well. Otherwise it's a rush to waste a shot, or a waste at a good chance for a shot because you're excessive heart rate has the crosshairs bouncing 10 MOA accross your FOV in a fevered pitch that you can never shoot accurately with.

    Sometimes if my rear rest is not so good it works better to get set up high right on exhale, then take a good breath, hold, then fire. It must have something to do with what Ryan was describing, I'm sure.
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest


    WEll I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night and...... [​IMG]
    Actually I have read that and experimented with it and it works....
    Also, I do what Chris and Ian said if for somereason my shot doesn't break on the first 5-7 second pause...
    Everytime.. I mean everytime I forced it my group went to hell or I missed that elusive sandstone rock...
  10. speedbump

    speedbump Well-Known Member

    Mar 28, 2002
    If you've shot any conventional highpower matches then you've fought this battle before. Since conventional HP allows the use of a sling only for support, you deal with breathing and you pick up brachial pulse effect every time. There are ways to reduce it, but it's there.

    During rapid fire strings or a hastily assumed position alot of folks set up for firing on the complete exhale. Others shoot after exhaling & inhaling a little. It's a matter of personal preference. I ended up with better peformances from a full exhale, but your mileage may vary.

    What 4ked Horn described is a classic description of the term "Natural Point of Aim" or "NPA". Paying attention to this will reduce group sizes whether your shooting from a bench, from a sling in competition, or in field expedient mode. Basically, if your NPA is off, you'll likely find a different recoil impulse which will show immediately by your muzzle recoiling in a different direction than normal. You'll know it before you even see the bullet impact. I saw it twice in the Wimbledon Cup at Camp Perry a couple of years ago & BOY was it costly - two 9s. [​IMG] Sloppy position was costly me even though the wind was taken out of the equation. [​IMG]

    Yes, you may have to shoot between heartbeats. Slap a sling on your upper arm without a shooting coat with a +15 pound rifle & I guarantee you'll see it! [​IMG] many sniper programs have part of their qualification include a phase that requires shooters to run for 5 minutes or so to simulate a stress-induced pulse rate, then give a one minute limit for 5 rounds. It's do-able though. Good position & physical position help, but as stated in GEG's post - you gotta PRACTICE!!!.

    [ 03-21-2004: Message edited by: speedbump ]
  11. 4ked Horn

    4ked Horn Writers Guild

    Jun 13, 2007
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><HR>What 4ked Horn described is a classic description of the term "Natural Point of Aim"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What 4ked Horn couldn't remember to save his hide was that term.

  12. GEG

    GEG Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2002
    I am close to 50 and working on my second heart attack. I find that shooting is probably the MOST relaxing thing I can do for myself. The only problem is that when I set and look thru the scope, I see the POI moving severly with each beat of my heart.
    To make a long story short, I had to figure out someway to either slow down my heart beat or (believe it or not) shoot between heart beats. I would say that I do some of everything listed so far and add a mental
    approach to it also. The bottom line is that it takes 3 things to be able to repeat the process over and over again and to be able to see what works for you.
    1. PRACTICE!
    2. PRACTICE!
    3. PRACTICE!
    See you all at the range. GEG

    [ 03-21-2004: Message edited by: GEG ]
  13. NorthernWeatherby

    NorthernWeatherby Member

    Jun 2, 2009
    Well I have not been doing this as long as a lot of you, but I don't seem to have problems with making shots accurate due to breathing. My point of impact is more affected by heartbeat. What I have been doing to calm breathing and heartbeat is lay down in shooting position, get my natural point of aim as close to point of impact as I can. Then I take 4 or 5 deep breaths, and letting my body become absolutely "loose". After I am satisfied, I make final adjustments on my point of aim, squeeze and fire. I found the biggest help was the deep breaths before the shot.gun)