We MUST discuss the simple issue that breathing creates when making that shot that is WAY out there. Our thoracic cavity expands and contracts as we breathe in and out. Over the years of our life we become well practiced at this procedure, so much so we do it without much thought. This is going to have to change when we want to make that long range shot. Our breathing cycle will cause the cross hairs of our scope reticle to move vertically, possibly moving the cross hairs completely off the target. This movement causes vertical stringing. (bullet group strung vertically on target)
We have to learn to control our breathing cycle, if you expect to make the hit.. There have been many theories on this, and we should look at the three primary methods.
- Lungs Full: Some experts say you should hold your breath with lungs full. I don’t really like this method as it induces muscle tension.
- Half Lung Method: Do you know exactly where 50% of your lung capacity is every time?
- Empty Lungs: Normal respiratory pause
I prefer the empty lung method as this is pretty easy to reproduce and if you study your own breathing cycle you will realize a normal empty lung respiratory pause. Try it yourself; feel the pause after you exhale, just before you start to inhale again? This would be a GREAT time to get a trigger break. This will also allow for the lowest possible body position when lying in the prone position enhancing stability.
In a perfect world at the range, or when your target is unaware of your presence this works well. Some advocate deep breathing before this final pause in respiration to increase your oxygen supply. The brain and eye performance suffer after around 4 seconds of diminished oxygen. If you have not taken your shot after around 4 seconds, start your breathing cycle again and reset.
OK, what do we do if we are faced with a limited exposure target? We cannot expect the target to expose itself to coincide with our breathing cycle and there may not be enough time to exhale to our preferred empty lung respiratory pause. You must be able to stop breathing and take the best shot available at the time. You may not get a second chance.
Practice both methods Dry and Live. Although breathing comes so easy it is one of the most difficult things to master.
by Lawrence Bolton
ATAC Staff and Venom Tactical
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