Let’s be real honest: in a gun fight none of us, myself included, are going to be breathing properly. If you think you will be, you are sadly mistaken. Professional boxers who box for a living and train every day know they have to breathe; but when they get back to their corner, one of the first things the trainer will tell them is to breathe. So, do you think any of us (my self included) are going to have the clarity of mind to breathe properly when someone is trying to kill us? I really doubt it. The best advice I can give is to take deep breaths throughout the encounter. It’s not that I don’t think it is important, I just highly doubt if any of us are going to do it properly. The main thing is to keep the oxygen flowing through the blood stream.
You want to try to avoid holding your breath. If you do that, you will rob oxygen from the major muscle groups in your body and several things will happen: (1) your eyes will quickly lose their ability to stay focused, (2) you will get the shakes, and (3) your fine motor skills will rapidly diminish. You must breathe to keep the oxygen feeding your body. Breathing helps oxygenate the body and helps reduce the effects of stress. When under stress, the abilities that we need the most will disappear first.
- Ocular focus (especially for those of us who wear glasses.)
- Tunnel vision will likely occur.
- Thought process may be affected (Things may seem like slow motion.)
- Manual dexterity/Fine motor skills will be affected. If your fingers are already cold, it will make it worse. Things like loading bullets in a mag or just doing a mag change may become difficult.
- Speech may be impaired.
- Hearing may be diminished or lost.
- Muscle tremors begin. You get uncontrollable shakes.
Breathing will help you recover. Take long deep breaths.
For snipers and long range target shooters, breathing is as important as trigger control. A man in a handgun fight at close range does not have the luxury to take his time to breath properly. The best he can do under that much stress is take deep breaths through out the encounter to keep the oxygen flowing throughout the body.