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Muscle Relaxation, Natural Point of Aim, and Recoil Management for Stable Pistol Shooting

For Manual Monday, we are continuing our discussion on creating a stable platform for the pistol. Specifically, we will be addressing the role muscle relaxation, Natural Point of Aim, and Recoil Management play in creating a stable platform.  Discussing all elements of the shot process for the pistol is a vital discussion, as the XM17 will be fielded to elements of the 82nd within the near future. The XM17 will also be going to more people than it is currently. So All of us need to improve our shot process with the pistol. The reference for this discussion is FM 3-23.35 Dated May 2017.

MUSCLE RELAXATION

Muscle relaxation is the ability of the Soldier to maintain the orientation of the weapon appropriately during the shot process while keeping the major muscle groups from straining to maintain the weapon system’s position. The following are the guidelines Paratroopers should use the following principles to understand and incorporate Muscle relaxation:

-Strained or fatigued muscles detract from stability.
-As a rule, the more support from the Soldier’s bones, the less is required from the muscles.
-The greater the skeletal support, the more stable the position, because bones do not experience fatigue or strain.
-As a rule, the less muscle support required, the longer the Soldier can stay in that position.

NATURAL POINT OF AIM
The natural point of aim is the point where the barrel naturally orients when the Soldier’s muscles are relaxed, and support is achieved. The natural point of aim is built upon the following principles:

-The closer the natural point of aim is to the target, the less muscle support is required.
-The more stable the position, the more resistant to recoil it is.
-More of the Soldier’s body on the ground equals a more stable position.
-More of the Soldier’s body on the ground equals less mobility for the Soldier.

When a Soldier aims at a target, the lack of stability creates a wobble area, where the sights oscillate slightly around and through the point of aim. If the wobble area is larger than the target, the Soldier requires a steadier position or a refinement to their position to decrease the size of his or her wobble area before trigger squeeze.
Paratroopers should take note: The steadier the position, the smaller the wobble area. The smaller the wobble area, the more precise the shot.

RECOIL MANAGEMENT
Recoil management is the result of a Soldier assuming and maintaining a stable firing position which mitigates the disturbance of one’s sight picture during the cycle of function of the weapon.

The Soldier’s firing position manages recoil using the support of the weapon system, the weight of their body, and the placement of the weapon during the shot process. Proper recoil management allows the sights to return to the target rapidly and allows for faster follow up shots.

So to sum up, we’ve discussed the role muscle relaxation, Natural Point of Aim, and Recoil Management play in creating a stable platform for firing a pistol. Next week, we will continue our discussion on stability as we address the aspects of the grip as it pertains to firing the pistol.

#weaponsmastery #shotprocess

Raymond Miller
82nd Airborne Division Small Arms Master Gunner: primary weapons trainer, force modernization for individual weapons, and range liason for the 82nd.

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