The Integrated Act Of Firing

A. GENERAL. In this chapter we are going to consider several of the factors that must be integrated to produce the total act of firing a shot. The reader should bear in mind that we consider each factor separately only for ease of discussion. All converge and are coordinated at a single moment to produce the shot,

1. To the spectator, the performance of a shooter appears deceptively simple; the shooter places the rifle in position, takes aim, and pulls the trigger.

2. But the man behind the rifle knows differently. Shooting is not simple; it involves a complex coordination of several mind and body functions.

B. SHOOTING METHOD, It is relatively easy to talk or write about correct shooting methods. To put these methods into practice is vastly more difficult. It is because of this challenge that shooting fascinates so many thousands of people.

1. The shooting method USAMKTU shooters accept is that of holding the rifle in the 10-ring and activating the trigger without disturbing the rifle. This method requires the shooter to develop his ability to hold the rifle motionless.

2. The other method is to allow the rifle to move about on the target, and fire the shot as the rifle crosses the 10-ring. This method of "shooting on the move" has a definite disadvantage in that the shooter cannot always predict the precise path of the rifle's movement. He will therefore never completely eliminate wild shots.


1. General. The breathing process provides the body with oxygen and eliminates waste elements from the blood. Correct breathing is essential to proper body function.

2. A complete respiratory cycle lasts 4-5 seconds. Inhalation and exhalation require only about 2 seconds. Thus between each respiratory cycle there is a pause of 2-3 seconds. This pause can be extended to 6-8 seconds without any special labor or unpleasant sensations. It is during an extended pause between breaths that the rifleman should fire the shot. (Figure 14) The reason being that during the respiratory pause the breathing muscles are relaxed and the shooter avoids strain upon the diaphragm. Also his concentration is not broken by thinking of the need to breathe.

3. Holding the Breath.

a. When a beginning shooter is told that holding his breath will assist in steadying the rifle, he may instinctively relate this action to holding his breath in the manner that he would prior to submerging in water. Inhaling deeply and holding the air in the lungs is NOT a correct procedure in marksmanship.

b. A shooter should assume his position and breathe naturally until his hold begins to settle. He then takes a slightly deeper breath; exhales and pauses, expecting to fire the shot during the pause.

If the hold does not settle sufficiently to allow the shot to be fired, the shooter resumes normal breathing and repeats the process. The technique is graphically portrayed below.

4. The respiratory pause should never feel unnatural. If the pause iB extended for too long a period, the body suffers from oxygen deficiency and sends out aignals to resume breathing. These signals produce slight involuntary movements in the diaphragm and interfere with the shooter's ability to concentrate. Generally speaking, 6-8 seconds is the maximum safe period for the respiratory pause to fire a shot.

Respiratory Pause For Rifle Shooting


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