Muscle Strain While Shooting

The following information comes from Manual of Police Revolver Shooting by R. M. Bair. Manual of Police Revolver Instruction is also available to purchase in print.

Muscle strain presents the fifth Principle of revolver shooting, and is of importance to the officer should occasion arise which demands: GETTING INTO ACTION QUICKLY and a COOL HEAD.

Muscle strain means to the officer, strained muscles and nerves at a tension, for the tension of muscles and nerves are closely associated, whether he is firing a revolver or making an arrest in line of duty. The absence of muscle strain means that he will be AT EASE under all conditions. He will be better able to carry out his duties and will be qualified to meet emergency when it arises.

Muscle strain has a definite action on the officer’s ability to shoot quickly and accurately should he be required to fire his revolver. At the time of firing, it makes him unsteady, uncomfortable, ill at ease and his mind will be in a state of panic, resulting in muzzle wabble, pulling or yanking the trigger, and wild shots that miss the target or adversary.

Some of the causes for muscle strain at the time of firing are as follows:

  1. Straining the muscles of the arm that supports the revolver.
  2. Gripping the stocks of the revolver too tightly.
  3. The weight of the body not distributed evenly on both feet.
  4. Taking an improper position, such as facing the target or adversary fully.

After taking the proper position, the officer should turn his head and look directly at the target, draw the revolver from the holster, raise the arm that supports the revolver (the arm being fully extended from the body but the arm and shoulder muscles relaxed) only high enough to bring the sights into alignment. Never lower the head to see the alignment of sights, for this will cause muscle strain.

When firing with either hand, the hand that is not gripping the revolver should never be placed on the hip. This will raise the shoulder higher than the shoulder of the arm that is supporting the revolver and cause muscle strain. The hand that is not gripping the revolver should be left hanging by the side of the body, Fig. 4. The thumb of the hand hooked in the cartridge belt or the hand placed in the pocket.

When firing the revolver, the officer should always be at ease.

Students of PA highway patrol firing

Students firing, Pennsylvania Highway Patrol. Courtesy of Pennsylvania Department of Highways.

Muscle Strain Quiz
  1. When firing with the right hand, why should the left hand never be placed on the left hip?
  2. What is the best method of overcoming muscle strain?
  3. What will be the result when firing, if the stocks are gripped too tightly?
  4. Why should the weight of the body be distributed on both feet at the time of firing?
  5. Name three causes for muscle strain at the time of firing?

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Muscle Strain While Shooting

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