Advanced Marksmanship Fundamentals question...

BigBrother

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Hey all. As I continue to refine the fundamentals, and see the clear results, I'm learning and improving more and more, and am coming to a new step each time.

My question now is around relaxation. I am using NPA, BRASS, and follow through, but one thing is tripping me up.

Jim Owens talks about relaxation and how tensing is a bad thing. But one thing I'm noticing time and again is that if I truly relax after breathing, things like heartbeat and muscle fatigue are definitely more pronounced- I used to shoot a bit tense and seemed to be steadier that way. Thoughts?

Also, this is for things like offhand (no sling) and pistol, not slung up/prone/etc., though I suppose it would apply there too. I also don't shoot with a jacket, so I'm looking more for basic fundamentals on this as opposed to gear/jacket-related info.

Thanks for your help,
BB
 

BigBrother

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Hah, I first thought you were trying to flame the thread, then realized you might actually need that to help answer the question
smile.gif
. In any case, I'm in late 20s, if that's of any assistance.
 

BOLTRIPPER

Not Carlos Danger
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Re: Fundamentals question...

ok....well....this is going to sound a bit weird.....but next time....hold your piss.....you may find that a full bladder ......has some advantages......don't fuckin laugh till you do it.....then report back !
 

BOLTRIPPER

Not Carlos Danger
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Re: Fundamentals question...

also.....some of the old school pinkie pistol shooters would have a hip flask hidden away.....something about calming the nerves.....
 

Sterling Shooter

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Muscular relaxation is just one element to a steady position, which also includes bone/artificial support, and natural point of aim. When you've adjusted NPA to the hold you want on the target, you can be relaxed (not muscling the gun to stay on target); and, you'll be able to retain the hold through out follow though, thus, hitting where you're aiming. When not muscularly relaxed, perhaps having not adjusted NPA, the gun, upon discharge, will be persuaded to move back to NPA before the bullet has left the bore. The result is a shot on-call, but, not where desired. Forget about your breathing, shooting during natural respiratory pause is almost automatic, thinking about your breathing and holding it is not muscularly relaxed. Most folks just don't understand how important muscular relaxation is to putting shots right-in-there.

BTW, to see the magnitude of tension on shots, shoot a string from the sitting position using an AR, in order to not need to rebuild the position between shots; and, alternate shots from a muscularly relaxed condition to a muscularly tense condition. You'll be amazed at the bullet dispersion, even from a minuscule amount of tension.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Fatigue is a physical conditioning issue. It will improve as your cardiopulmonary condition improves.

Heartbeat is a natural thing. As the body consumes and depletes blood/oxygen saturation, heartbeat enlarges to improve oxygen transfer to the muscle (and other) tissues. Just before entering the natural respiratory pause, a few deep breaths can extend the useful portion of the pause.

The important thing about accommodating the physical aspects of shooting is to recognize that it is an athletic activity, just like running and boxing. Stamina, flexibility, and range of motion will improve your performance as they themselves are improved.

Muscles which provide support should be developed for bulk, and ones that control dexterity should be improved for strength and manipulation (bulk vs definition).

There is the trap of over thinking this all.

Practice allows the mind to unload the complexity, transferring conscious effort into muscle memory.

Practicing one thing until it become automatic allows it to be accomplished while concentrating on mastering the next facet, and so on, until the only issues that continue to require conscious attention are sight picture and trigger manipulation.

The mind can handle these two things are once, but that's about it; while the body's muscle memory can pretty much handle the rest as long as the muscles have those memories trained into them.

Practice is only useful if it deals with the lesson in an effective manner. Only practice one task at a time, and keep at it until it becomes so boring you can 'do it in your sleep'. Only move on to mastering the next task when you can add the newly mastered task to the others and do them together, at will, without concentration.

Greg
 

Sterling Shooter

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Re: Fundamentals question...

What Greg alludes to is what precludes just having the knowledge to know what to do from still being able to get the job done. I'm still developing shooting skill long after the knowledge came.
 

duaneb

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Re: Fundamentals question...

I am not sure if you are using an AR but if so you might want to try putting some weight in the forehand, I haven't seen this mentioned. It will help in letting the rifle settle, don't forget to add some to the butt stock for balance. I believe both weights are available from WOA. By the way they can be lightened for a better balance by cutting some off the end. If you cut the forehand weight cut from the rear to keep the weight on the muzzle. My .02
 

DMS

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Since you mention tension and fatigue after your breathing cycle I would address one area. Are you starting your extended respitory pause on the inhale or exhale?

The respitory pause should be extended on the exhale. It is when your muscles are most relaxed and allows for the longest window inwhich to break the shot. If you are doing your extended respitory pause on the inhale you are causing muscular tension in the chest.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Marksmanship skill progression is not a steady curve.

It somewhat more like a staircase, with epiphanies followed by plateaus; as the new insight becomes absorbed and ingrained.

If you think your really know a skill, try teaching it.

When it dawns on you that simply knowing isn't going to get that skill across, and you need to organize the skill appropriately to make presentation; that's when those final blocks of knowledge slide into place and become an unshakable foundation.

If you want to get really good, you need to get your butt out there and teach folks. If you still have problems with self confidence after that, I can't help you; you need a shrink...

Greg
 

j-huskey

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Re: Fundamentals question...

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: DMS</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Since you mention tension and fatigue after your breathing cycle I would address one area. Are you starting your extended respitory pause on the inhale or exhale?

The respitory pause should be extended on the exhale. It is when your muscles are most relaxed and allows for the longest window inwhich to break the shot. If you are doing your extended respitory pause on the inhale you are causing muscular tension in the chest.

</div></div>

FWIW, the NATURAL respitory pause is on the end of the exhale. Anything else is holding your breath (and is not THE natural respitory pause) and using muscles that need to be relaxed.
 

j-huskey

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Re: Fundamentals question...

From the Fundamentals post.

"you must learn how to hold the rifle. ACCURACY IS A FUNCTION OF CONSISTENCY, BOTH WITH THE RIFLE AND AMMUNITION, AND THE SHOOTER'S ACTIONS. You must hold the rifle the same way each time. You will practice holding the rifle, your sight picture, your breathing, and trigger manipulation through dry firing. You will practice building a good steady, stable, solid position each time, bone on bone, not held by muscle power. Although you have to exert some muscle control, the position should be a natural relaxed position to avoid muscle fatigue, tension, and shaking that occurs after muscles are overextended for any period of time."

Some muscle control is required and the shooter has to find the balance that works for them.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Sounds like my PI DI, getting us settled in for another day of 'snapping in'. I would actually find myself waking up at Reveille in a perfect prone position, elbow tucked under and everything; DI standing over my bunk, shakin' 'is 'ead. SSgt Wasielewski was more my Dad than my real Dad. And Sgt. Kent (who went on to become 'Al 'Gunner' Kent, National Commander of the VFW), did a very passable interpretation of The Prick DI role.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Fundamentals question...

Always three DI's, always playing the same roles; Dad, The Prick, and Your Older Brother/Role Model.