The BRASS Shooting Technique is a time tested method for making steady shots. Here's how to use it.
Imagine with me if you will. We are lined up on that great shot and have the crosshairs dead over the center of the target out at 400 yards. We reach for the trigger and slowly begin to pull and we notice we can't keep the cross hairs steady over the target. Just as the shot breaks, we realize too late that we were off target and the shot goes wide. That is the third time today that has happened. What are we doing wrong?
Taught in the United States Marine Corps and other sniping schools, the BRASS technique of shooting has been passed down through generations of rifle shooters. This technique helps to achieve consistency in shots and performance. The technique is also applicable to handgun shooting.
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BRASS is an acronym taught to shooters to remember how to calm themselves during a shot. BRASS stands for Breath, Relax, Aim, Slack, Squeeze. Using this method, shooters are able to mitigate some of the effects from involuntary actions like breathing and muscle movement. Let's take a look at each part of the method and why it is important to shooting.
- Breath - As we breath both in and out, our bodies move slightly. By taking a deep breath and letting it half out and holding it, we put oxygen into our systems to run our brain, and it gives us a more natural and solid platform. However, don't hold your breath for more then four to seven seconds. After that, you start to get muscle shake and need to breath. If you are seeing stars or getting lightheaded, you're doing it wrong and waiting too long.
- Relax - If our muscles are tense, we will develop twitches and shakes and throw our shots off. We need to be relaxed when holding the gun on target to minimize movement from muscle tension. Think happy thoughts and allow your muscles in your body to gain some slack. This will mitigate the shakes and twitches from tired muscles.
- Aim - This is the part where you gain good sight alignment and sight picture. Make sure you are focusing on the right things, like the front sight. If you are using iron sights, make sure that the front post is centered in the rear sights.
- Slack - Now we take up the slack in the trigger just before you need to increase pressure to break the shot. By taking up the slack early, we won't be slapping, tapping, jerking or anything else on the trigger when the time comes to break the shot.
- Squeeze - This is the part where, now that we are relaxed, are holding our breath, have a good sight picture and the slack is taken up, we can break a good shot. Squeeze the trigger slowly backwards till the shot breaks and surprises you. A good shot will surprise when you when it goes off. Just don't jump too much when it does or you can throw off the shot.
As I mentioned before, this technique can also be applied to pistol shooting. Just keep all the steps in mind, relax and you can make better pistol shots. I use this technique myself as mantra when I am target shooting as opposed to competition training. When I am working on fundamentals, with each shot since I have time, I run this through my head to keep myself relaxed so I can work on trigger control and sight alignment.
Since you have your arms out from your body, it will create some fluctuation of your muscles. By controlling your breathing and relaxing, you can help to mitigate that movement, just like on a rifle.
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This is a great shooting technique that everyone should try to use at some point. It will help you to relax when you need it and it will help you make better shots.
Were you taught how to use the BRASS method? Do you still use it? Share your thoughts below with us.