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February 20, 2007

Better Shooting with Oxygen and Water

By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily

A friend of mine who can really shoot (He is both a Distinguished Marksman and Distinguished Pistol Shot) recently had laser surgery on his eyeballs, and after I complemented him on his new, glassesless self, we got into a discussion on aiming with iron sights.

"One of the things I've learned," he said, "is that if you take a deep breath and let most of it out, you've got about 7 seconds' worth of oxygen to press the trigger. Take longer than that and your sight picture will start to blur, because the first thing that goes when your brain isn't getting enough oxygen is your vision. If you do blur, take a couple of deep breaths and start again."

A couple of days later, I was giving some shooting instruction to a couple of beginning shooters, and one complained that her eyes were blurring. "Take a couple of deep breaths," I said.

Damned if it didn't work.

The second tip is for handgunners, from the same source. If you're not thoroughly hydrated and you do any amount of handgun shooting, your hand will swell to the point where it becomes a problem. And you can't guzzle a quart of water before you step to the firing line; you have to get it into your system 24 hours beforehand.

"You end up with a full bladder all night long," my amigo says, "but it works."

Having seen him shoot, I believe him.

Comments (36)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Smith Dewlen wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Clarity in iron sights also has to do with color. You may find different colors than I use best for you. I prefer a white front sight and a red outline rear sight.You can paint the sights you have uneil you find your solution. It is however, impossible for the human eye to fully see the rear site, front sight and the target clearly at the same time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rudy wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

To Del:I respect your opinion, but since you were in the Army, you must realize that the Black Rifles we have are not "assault rifles". An Assault rifle is a military weapon that has the ability to select a burst or automatic rate of fire. Our Black rifles are semi-auto only.Why should a responsible hunter not use an AR15 Black rifle for small game or small deer? Hunting bigger animals with a .223 caliber would, of course, be ridiculous. But how about using a Black rifle for hunting large- size game with a .308 or larger caliber? What's the difference between that and using a bolt-action rifle of the same caliber? It's not the type of rifle that's used; it's the caliber of the round used.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del Hutzell wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Too bad Jim, you still have my support as i proabley agree with you in the sense that as an avid hunter and will be to the day i die,i too do not see the need for an assult rifle for hunting. more disurbing to me is that how much you are expected to pay for an opinion. you are entitled to that without the repurcussion you got. i do not agree with the treatment. i now have to consider if i still want to shop cabellas or shoot remington ammo with remington guns, and wether i want to continue reading outdoor life. in my world cabelas, remington and outdoor life we back our partners a little better. if i am not wrong it is one of the reasons i served in the miltary.okay don't agree but don't crucify one of our own.i thought we were smarter and stronger than that!!!! Best of luck to you Mr.Zumbo I will look forward to hopefully seeing you again when all who are throwing you to the wolfes wise up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Man, a lot more relaxing in here than the Zumbo Zoo

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from skunk wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Let your breath out only from your nose; not your mouth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattWV wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Dave, actually the rifle isn't mine, I just like browsing the 24hourcampfire custom rifle forum and adding rifles to my "things I can never afford" category.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Doug" Never seen or heard of such a thing. My advice is to get hold of a couple of used ones of different makes, take them apart to see what makes them tick, and go from there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Its for an FFA project. I need to design and build one of my own, but I would really like to find some plans for an existing one to use as a starting point.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Doug: Why do you want to go to all the trouble of building one? There are new throwers in all price ranges, and lots of used ones, too, as ranges sell them to buy something newer and fancier.To MATT WV: Boy, that rifle sure lookes different--and better. The original paint job was not Melvin's fault. The rifle was intended to be a Beanfield gun, and I wanted an original pattern that was truly Deep South. So I asked the kid who did ULA's painting to imagine what it would look like if someone drank a lot of beer, and then ate okra and pulled pork, and then threw it all up. I think he did a splendid job in executing the concept. A number of people refused to hunt with me when I showed up with that gun, bit it took game as diversified as caribou, nilgai, whitetails, mule deer, and I believe, a serpent or two. However, I have much better taste now and would never do something like that again. Thanks for the look, and have fun with the rifle.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Does anyone know where I might be able to find some plans for building a trap thrower? I cant find anything on the web about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I just want to follow up my snide comment with an actual thoughtful one.The vast majority of sportsmen (ahem, sportsPEOPLE) are conservationists and as conservationists they are the ones that are saving the habitat that these "innocent" animals depend on.Sportsmen pay for the licenses that allow state agencies to manage wildife populations. Sportsmen belong to organizations that spend inordinate amounts of time and funs on habitat restoration and improvements that benefit wildlife.Don't make stereotypical judgements based on a pamphlet that you picked up. Talk to a hunter, you may just find out that we love animals just as much as you.And this comes from a guy that makes his living as a treehugger protecting wildlife habitat and wild places, so that I can hunt in them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

It was posted twice because you are obviously ignorant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kerry wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I only know of 1 guity animal, and she is still walking.Two shots of scotch and a fine trigger with practice and you can shoot good too. WITH PRACTICE......

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Why did that get posted twice?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy is right animals are not our's to harm. All you hunters are ignorant jerkass's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy is right animals are not our's to harm. All you hunters are ignorant jerkass's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuck norris wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

stacy nobody wants to hear your crap so just get th hell off our site and go talk to one of your PETA friends who cares

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cory wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy,I don't just live with myself. I live with a freezer full of yummy animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattWV wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Dave, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand but I thought you might enjoy knowing what happened to the 7mmWBY ULA that you once owned.http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/1187192/page/0/fpart/1I don't particularly care for the paint and the scope colors but that would be a fine pair to own.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Guys & Gals:It is so pathetic to see someone come "trolling". Great responses. Bet her house resulted in the death of many trees and the screams of many cotton plants echo throughout her dreams!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ed J wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy: We shoot the rich and guilty animals too. With all the thoughts posted on this blog how can you call us thoughtless, perhaps we are thoughtful bastards. Are you an eater of tofu? BTW what have you got against the native american culture? They have been known to shoot animals, innocent and guilty alike.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy: Are you sure you're on the right blog? The fact is we shoot innocent and guilty animals alike, and suffer intensely on account of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from stacy wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

i cant believe you people would shoot poor innocent animals you thoughtless bastards how can you live with yourselves

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Does anyone know where I might be able to find some plans for building a trap thrower? I cant find anything on the web about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Check the training methods and diets of Olympic class shooters for some good advice. On the other hand, no amount of training can substitute for excessive natural talent. So eat, drink and be merry, but don't complain if you miss.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Tom: I am working on my AR-15 thoughts at this very moment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Mr. Dave,Do you have any comments on the Ar-15? It is interesting how a blog (and some writing) can ruin a reputation.Tom

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To George: I assume you have open sights on the 94. I'd get a good peep with a big aperture. That should make things a lot easier. Rather than trying to focus on the rear sight, you simply look through it. Your eye will automatically align the front sight in the middle of the aperture.To Tom: Coffee (or any caffeine) is supposed to be very bad for competitive shooters, and it takes about a week to get it out of your system.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sarg1c wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To hydrate yourself can improve your shooting(slightly) by lowering your blood pressure, helping you to see better and is a good habit for good health. You should always drink plenty of water, be sure to carry some with you while hunting or fishing regardless of weather...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

If the water works as a hydrant, does that mean I also need to stop drinking coffee?I might get the shakes not having my coffee.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from George wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I have a very old Winchester model 94 that my great granddad had customs made so parts are very old . I like the way it fits me but I have some trouble focusing on the iron sight I was wondering if you had any ideas to help with this I like this gun and hope that I will take my first white tail with it. I also look forward to your articles ever month. Thank you for your time

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Before going to the firing range or woods, one essential piece of equipment is a strap-on catheter. If you can shoot while wearing a catheter, you can shoot anytime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

OOoo..no diapers for me, thank you.I agree good hydration will help you physically, but you know some people are just good shooters even under the worst of conditions. Yes, these keen shooters really p*ss me off-no pun intended.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Since I always hydrate myself thoroughly, my vision gets fuzzy because I have to pee so bad – and taking a couple of deep breaths doesn't help a damn.Maybe it's time to start wearing disposablecamo pattern diapers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Since I always hydrate myself thoroughly, my vision gets fuzzy because I have to pee so bad – and taking a couple of deep breaths doesn't help a damn.Maybe it's time to start wearing disposablecamo pattern diapers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Smith Dewlen wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Clarity in iron sights also has to do with color. You may find different colors than I use best for you. I prefer a white front sight and a red outline rear sight.You can paint the sights you have uneil you find your solution. It is however, impossible for the human eye to fully see the rear site, front sight and the target clearly at the same time.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Rudy wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

To Del:I respect your opinion, but since you were in the Army, you must realize that the Black Rifles we have are not "assault rifles". An Assault rifle is a military weapon that has the ability to select a burst or automatic rate of fire. Our Black rifles are semi-auto only.Why should a responsible hunter not use an AR15 Black rifle for small game or small deer? Hunting bigger animals with a .223 caliber would, of course, be ridiculous. But how about using a Black rifle for hunting large- size game with a .308 or larger caliber? What's the difference between that and using a bolt-action rifle of the same caliber? It's not the type of rifle that's used; it's the caliber of the round used.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Del Hutzell wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Too bad Jim, you still have my support as i proabley agree with you in the sense that as an avid hunter and will be to the day i die,i too do not see the need for an assult rifle for hunting. more disurbing to me is that how much you are expected to pay for an opinion. you are entitled to that without the repurcussion you got. i do not agree with the treatment. i now have to consider if i still want to shop cabellas or shoot remington ammo with remington guns, and wether i want to continue reading outdoor life. in my world cabelas, remington and outdoor life we back our partners a little better. if i am not wrong it is one of the reasons i served in the miltary.okay don't agree but don't crucify one of our own.i thought we were smarter and stronger than that!!!! Best of luck to you Mr.Zumbo I will look forward to hopefully seeing you again when all who are throwing you to the wolfes wise up.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tom wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Man, a lot more relaxing in here than the Zumbo Zoo

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from skunk wrote 7 years 8 weeks ago

Let your breath out only from your nose; not your mouth.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattWV wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Dave, actually the rifle isn't mine, I just like browsing the 24hourcampfire custom rifle forum and adding rifles to my "things I can never afford" category.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

thanks

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Doug" Never seen or heard of such a thing. My advice is to get hold of a couple of used ones of different makes, take them apart to see what makes them tick, and go from there.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Its for an FFA project. I need to design and build one of my own, but I would really like to find some plans for an existing one to use as a starting point.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Doug: Why do you want to go to all the trouble of building one? There are new throwers in all price ranges, and lots of used ones, too, as ranges sell them to buy something newer and fancier.To MATT WV: Boy, that rifle sure lookes different--and better. The original paint job was not Melvin's fault. The rifle was intended to be a Beanfield gun, and I wanted an original pattern that was truly Deep South. So I asked the kid who did ULA's painting to imagine what it would look like if someone drank a lot of beer, and then ate okra and pulled pork, and then threw it all up. I think he did a splendid job in executing the concept. A number of people refused to hunt with me when I showed up with that gun, bit it took game as diversified as caribou, nilgai, whitetails, mule deer, and I believe, a serpent or two. However, I have much better taste now and would never do something like that again. Thanks for the look, and have fun with the rifle.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Does anyone know where I might be able to find some plans for building a trap thrower? I cant find anything on the web about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I just want to follow up my snide comment with an actual thoughtful one.The vast majority of sportsmen (ahem, sportsPEOPLE) are conservationists and as conservationists they are the ones that are saving the habitat that these "innocent" animals depend on.Sportsmen pay for the licenses that allow state agencies to manage wildife populations. Sportsmen belong to organizations that spend inordinate amounts of time and funs on habitat restoration and improvements that benefit wildlife.Don't make stereotypical judgements based on a pamphlet that you picked up. Talk to a hunter, you may just find out that we love animals just as much as you.And this comes from a guy that makes his living as a treehugger protecting wildlife habitat and wild places, so that I can hunt in them.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sage Sam wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

It was posted twice because you are obviously ignorant.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kerry wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I only know of 1 guity animal, and she is still walking.Two shots of scotch and a fine trigger with practice and you can shoot good too. WITH PRACTICE......

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Why did that get posted twice?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy is right animals are not our's to harm. All you hunters are ignorant jerkass's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bethany wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy is right animals are not our's to harm. All you hunters are ignorant jerkass's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from chuck norris wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

stacy nobody wants to hear your crap so just get th hell off our site and go talk to one of your PETA friends who cares

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Cory wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy,I don't just live with myself. I live with a freezer full of yummy animals.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MattWV wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Dave, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand but I thought you might enjoy knowing what happened to the 7mmWBY ULA that you once owned.http://www.24hourcampfire.com/ubbthreads/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/1187192/page/0/fpart/1I don't particularly care for the paint and the scope colors but that would be a fine pair to own.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Michael wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Guys & Gals:It is so pathetic to see someone come "trolling". Great responses. Bet her house resulted in the death of many trees and the screams of many cotton plants echo throughout her dreams!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ed J wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy: We shoot the rich and guilty animals too. With all the thoughts posted on this blog how can you call us thoughtless, perhaps we are thoughtful bastards. Are you an eater of tofu? BTW what have you got against the native american culture? They have been known to shoot animals, innocent and guilty alike.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Stacy: Are you sure you're on the right blog? The fact is we shoot innocent and guilty animals alike, and suffer intensely on account of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from stacy wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

i cant believe you people would shoot poor innocent animals you thoughtless bastards how can you live with yourselves

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Doug wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Does anyone know where I might be able to find some plans for building a trap thrower? I cant find anything on the web about it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Check the training methods and diets of Olympic class shooters for some good advice. On the other hand, no amount of training can substitute for excessive natural talent. So eat, drink and be merry, but don't complain if you miss.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To Tom: I am working on my AR-15 thoughts at this very moment.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Mr. Dave,Do you have any comments on the Ar-15? It is interesting how a blog (and some writing) can ruin a reputation.Tom

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dave Petzal wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To George: I assume you have open sights on the 94. I'd get a good peep with a big aperture. That should make things a lot easier. Rather than trying to focus on the rear sight, you simply look through it. Your eye will automatically align the front sight in the middle of the aperture.To Tom: Coffee (or any caffeine) is supposed to be very bad for competitive shooters, and it takes about a week to get it out of your system.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sarg1c wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

To hydrate yourself can improve your shooting(slightly) by lowering your blood pressure, helping you to see better and is a good habit for good health. You should always drink plenty of water, be sure to carry some with you while hunting or fishing regardless of weather...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

If the water works as a hydrant, does that mean I also need to stop drinking coffee?I might get the shakes not having my coffee.....

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from George wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

I have a very old Winchester model 94 that my great granddad had customs made so parts are very old . I like the way it fits me but I have some trouble focusing on the iron sight I was wondering if you had any ideas to help with this I like this gun and hope that I will take my first white tail with it. I also look forward to your articles ever month. Thank you for your time

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from KJ wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Before going to the firing range or woods, one essential piece of equipment is a strap-on catheter. If you can shoot while wearing a catheter, you can shoot anytime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

OOoo..no diapers for me, thank you.I agree good hydration will help you physically, but you know some people are just good shooters even under the worst of conditions. Yes, these keen shooters really p*ss me off-no pun intended.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Since I always hydrate myself thoroughly, my vision gets fuzzy because I have to pee so bad – and taking a couple of deep breaths doesn't help a damn.Maybe it's time to start wearing disposablecamo pattern diapers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from El-Wazir wrote 7 years 9 weeks ago

Since I always hydrate myself thoroughly, my vision gets fuzzy because I have to pee so bad – and taking a couple of deep breaths doesn't help a damn.Maybe it's time to start wearing disposablecamo pattern diapers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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