Regulating the breathing process is essential for best accuracy. Obviously, there are times when a shooter may be gasping for air after extreme exertion. In any case we need to minimize the effects of the chest and shoulders rising and falling with each breath. Many shooters have difficulty determining if they have disruptive breathing during training and practice. Of course, if the shooter watches the front sight with proper fanaticism the rising and falling of the upper body will be seen on the front sight tip. Nonetheless, here’s a quick way to determine the effectiveness of your breathing control.

When you finish firing a slow-fire round, or slow-fire string, pay attention to whether you inhale greater than you normally would. This includes anything from a sigh to a gasp. A small sigh after firing means you held you breath too long. A gasp is worse. Remember, we want to breath as normally as possibly (read the breathing chapter in The Perfect Pistol Shot) and with as little disruption to the handgun’s stability as possible. Any physical manifestation of exhausted breath after firing means you stayed too long, depleted the body of oxygen, and caused excessive movement.

Watch for the shooter’s sigh.