Breathing is something we do constantly, so how is it a part of the fundamentals of shooting?

Breathing is a fundamental that doesn’t exactly come into play until you really start pushing your effective range, the distance you can accurately put rounds on target. At close ranges with a handgun (inside of 15 yards) your breathing makes little difference in your shot placement.

As we breath in, our lungs inflate and fill with oxygen. As we breath out our lungs deflate expelling a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and argon. While none of that information is pertinent to shooting. What does effect our accuracy is the fact that when our lungs inflate and deflate our body moves slightly


Just as we discussed in stance and grip, to fire accurate shots we need a stable platform from which to send those shots.

So should we hold our breath? Stop breathing?

Holding your breath will stop the slight movement of our upper bodies from our lungs inflating/deflating, but it also has a very negative effect as well. If we hold our breath as we try to press off that perfect shot, there is going to come a time where you can no longer hold your breath, and now your body will fight to get the oxygen it needs. Your eyesight will blur slightly, your focus will no longer on the front sight and your body will begin taking in air more drastically than normal and causing your upper body to move more than with normal breathing.

Our body has a natural respiratory pause, sometimes referred to as the bottom of your breath. Take a second, take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly exhale though your mouth. Once you reach the point where you cannot exhale any more, you have hit your respiratory pause. This is where your shot should break if accuracy at distance is your goal.

As I said in the beginning this truly only comes into play at distance, for new shooters shooting inside of 15 yards breathing is even simpler.

Don’t hold your breath, take deep breaths, get comfortable in your stance and grip, relax, and breathe.