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February 20, 2007

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Better Shooting with Oxygen and Water

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.


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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 disposable
camo pattern diapers.


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 disposable
camo pattern diapers.

Ralph the Rifleman

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.


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.


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


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.....


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...

Dave Petzal

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.


Mr. Dave,

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


Dave Petzal

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


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.


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.


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

Dave Petzal

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.

Ed J

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.


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!


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.

I don't particularly care for the paint and the scope colors but that would be a fine pair to own.


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

chuck norris

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


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


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


Why did that get posted twice?


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......

Sage Sam

It was posted twice because you are obviously ignorant.

Sage Sam

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.

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