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Old June 23, 2014, 05:02 PM   #1
8MM Mauser
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Shooting while exhausted

Had another interesting range trip this last weekend. My dad and I had planned a father's day excursion to shoot some trap the previous weekend; but had to cancel when my dad got called in to work.

Instead we went this last Saturday. Friday night my daughter was having a nightmare about bugs crawling on her (on top of being sick, poor little lady!) and so the night before we went to shoot I got about 4 hours worth of broken sleep. We got the the range early (around 9) and shot a couple rounds of trap; then as planned broke out the pistols, shot a few targets to pieces and then went to town on the clay pigeons we had leftover as well as some tin cans.

I actually obliterated my dad at trap; I did better than I usually do. We fired about 200 rounds a piece and I missed twice! Really great for my usually sorry self! When we went to the pistol range though I really began to feel my exhaustion. My first couple groups were OK but not good. After the first 100 rounds of 9MM they really began to open up though. When we started I was shooting 4 of 5 for 5 on the clays we set on the backstop with my pistol. By the last mag it took me all 15 rounds to hit all five!

I was so tired that on the way home I was nearly nodding off in my dad's truck. It really made me appreciate the effect that tiredness has on shooting. Usually before I go shoot or hunt I go to bed very early and try to eat as healthy as possible. This sort of impromptu event on little sleep taught me that my shooting will deteriorate greatly (almost double average group size) when very tired. That makes me reflect on what it might be more realistically like in a nighttime HD situation. Now my HD plan is set up in such a way that it would funnel anyone approaching my room into a very narrow hallway and into my line of fire, so it is sort of a "minute-of-badguy" situation anyway, but still a reflection of what happens to my skill.

It also make me appreciate the hell out of soldiers, some men that I know who go or have gone into combat on just a few hours of sleep.

Anyway I just thought I would share my experiences as a sort of "food-for thought."
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Old June 23, 2014, 06:44 PM   #2
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As a retired LE officer, we spent many hours on the range, no matter the weather, and many times, we conducted 20-30 min. of physical fitness training to get our heart rates up and the sweat flowing before we shot.

It can and does make a huge difference. It was miserable trying to control your breathing, steady your hands, and control the sweat running in your eyes, and still make good groups.

Often, after we somewhat recovered, we were told to holster our weapons, drop down and knock out 30 push-ups, stand back up, and then do 50 squats, and then resume range training.

I've worked thousands and thousands of hours of the grave-yard shift over the course of 30 yrs. Not once when TSHTF did I feel tired or drowsy. You might feel that way prior to something happening, but it's not an issue once you are engaged.
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Old June 23, 2014, 06:55 PM   #3
tomrkba
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Tex Grubner can tell you all about what can happen when one is fatigued (contains adult language):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3kJ6SU3ycs&feature=kp
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Old June 24, 2014, 06:25 AM   #4
8MM Mauser
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Quote:
As a retired LE officer, we spent many hours on the range, no matter the weather, and many times, we conducted 20-30 min. of physical fitness training to get our heart rates up and the sweat flowing before we shot.

It can and does make a huge difference. It was miserable trying to control your breathing, steady your hands, and control the sweat running in your eyes, and still make good groups.

Often, after we somewhat recovered, we were told to holster our weapons, drop down and knock out 30 push-ups, stand back up, and then do 50 squats, and then resume range training.

I've worked thousands and thousands of hours of the grave-yard shift over the course of 30 yrs. Not once when TSHTF did I feel tired or drowsy. You might feel that way prior to something happening, but it's not an issue once you are engaged.
Man, sounds like you guys had some quality training!

I suppose adrenalin dump, training and instinct probably push exhaustion to the side when the BGs show up. Now that I think about it, a few years back my side door got (kicked, forced, busted...something) in at 3AM and my only thought was "get rifle, get between wife and BG." (I didn't own a single shotgun or pistol back in 2010, only started buying them up the year after that) Luckily for me my quick and rather noisy response meant no BG by the time I had reached the side door.. or possibly the door wasn't closed properly and it blew open, or maybe someone was screwing with me. IDK but now that I remember it in depth I just responded to what I perceived as a threat. I still have no idea what actually happened that night BTW; but It sure sounded like a threat and may have been.

I just found it really remarkable how badly my shooting degraded after a bad night's sleep!
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Old June 24, 2014, 01:28 PM   #5
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I've played in some paintball tournaments back in the late 80's and early 90's that involved about a quarter mile of running on steep broken ground and through brush, starting at a different flag station each time. The area we played peaked at about 100 degrees F that day. If my group size only doubled I would have been happy. I ran till I couldn't run any more- we must have done a dozen games that day.

You have to work on a process for "settling" yourself when it comes time to shoot.
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Old June 25, 2014, 09:30 PM   #6
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I start getting a touch a careless when I get exhausted. Not so much the shooting but the important stuff like cover.
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Old June 26, 2014, 06:45 AM   #7
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If you want to turn in a top performance you learn to protect your physical and emotional condition. It is instructive to know what you can do under those circumstances when you don't have those advantages. What I did once on a nice, warm summer afternoon, when I was feeling good, makes for a pleasant memory, but it may not tell me much about what I can do on demand when I am cold, exhausted, and terrified.
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Old June 27, 2014, 05:03 PM   #8
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I try not too. Could be dangerous.
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Old June 27, 2014, 06:07 PM   #9
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For those that carry open or concealed, I really doubt that most take physical conditioning very seriously. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

As a LE officer, you are not only expected, but obligated, to do whatever you need to do, and handle whatever comes your way, as it's all a part of your job. You don't pick and choose what you want to get involved in.

As a citizen carrying, you don't have that expectation placed on you. You may choose to get involved in a situation, but you can back out at any point you may want.

As a citizen, you will experience all the anxiety, adrenaline rush, and tunnel vision a police officer may experience, if you are placed in such a situation. You may or may not handle it as well. That will depend upon your physical conditioning, level of confrontational experience, how well you handle extremely stressful situations, and a myriad of other life forming traits.

For those citizens that go for years and years w/o having a gun pointed at them, or pointing a gun at someone else, or having your life threatened via various means, it can be and is, an eye-opening experience.

So much so, that some never quite get over it.
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