Fatigue and Accuracy


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Working Man
July 28, 2009, 07:42 PM
Are there any studies done on physical or mental stress and how it affects accuracy with firearms?

I know there is a winter biathlon that involves skiing and shooting but has there been any actual research on such stressors and the affect on firearm accuracy? I would imagine that the military has done some research but have been unable to find anything on it.

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Cosmoline
July 28, 2009, 07:45 PM
Good question, and an overlooked topic for sure. I noticed my inability to hit bo diddly when I was winded and going after small game. It's amazing how much of an impact that has.

ByAnyMeans
July 28, 2009, 08:06 PM
I don't have any studies to back it up buy have had personal experience. At an Appleseed shoot I noticed my accuracy go down as the day went on and improved after on Sunday. Also when I have time alone at the range I will do something to wind myself (push-ups, jumping jacks, sprints) and shoot. My accuracy and speed are definitely affected.

Working Man
July 28, 2009, 08:08 PM
I don't have any studies to back it up buy have had personal experience.

Thats a good point. I would like to hear about those situations as well.

CWL
July 28, 2009, 08:13 PM
Fatigue definitely plays a part in wearing-down troops. Fatigue causes loss of alertness and increases in mistakes. Certainly doesn't help maintain accuracy.

This is why armies needed to rotate their troops from the line in order to deal with fatigue and resulting morale loss. The longer troops are left in battle, the higher casualty rate increases. Some nations have even tried issuing amphetamines to make their troops more alert, I think Japan was the first nation to provide metamphetamines to their soldiers.

Howard Roark
July 28, 2009, 08:53 PM
"Special operations are elite military units trained for unconventional warfare. Now these warrior athletes are put to the test by science and cutting-edge technologies to exhibit their maximum capabilities under the most adverse circumstances."

Fight Science (http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/fight-science/3050/Overview)

30mag
July 28, 2009, 08:57 PM
I was gonna post a link to that video when I read the title of this thread.

Michael Thomson
July 28, 2009, 09:33 PM
http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_HelenGetYourGun.wmv

cchris
July 28, 2009, 09:40 PM
I can share the personal observations that I've noticed.

When I'm mentally stressed (remember, I'm an engineering student), I go to the range to blow off steam. The first few shots I fire off are almost always terrible - not even close to the target. As I clear my mind more and enjoy why I'm there, I tend to do better. Say I get a phone call that upsets me - I'm back to square one.

From what I've seen, a friend of mine was shooting in a pistol competition for the state championship. He did great the whole way through, until the guy who covered his entry fee (since he didn't have the money to enter himself) got DQed for something miniscule. At the very end it bothered him enough that he didn't quite do well enough to take 1st. I don't know if this classifies as "stress", but being mentally upset by something seems to have a difference.

Physically? I don't think so. I could go a while without sleep, and as long as I still get the adrenaline rush of shooting, I'm okay. 5 hours after being out at the range and shooting 12 gauges, I can still shoot as well as normal with a pistol. In fact, that's what happened with my luckiest shot of all. After a day of shooting shotguns and rifles and feeling quite physically tired, I put up a 12"x12" target at 50 yards, loaded my last round of pistol ammo in my gun, aimed a little high, and hit in the 3rd ring of the target. Pure luck, but the fact I didn't limp-wrist is impressive enough (I've also broken both my wrists several times, hehe...)

ezypikns
July 28, 2009, 10:15 PM
9mm, .45 ACP, and .38 special. After that my accuracy fades a bit.

Tim the student
July 28, 2009, 10:43 PM
My experience is that physical stress greatly affects accuracy. Mental stress not so much.

GRIZ22
July 28, 2009, 10:59 PM
Fatigue definitely plays a part in wearing-down troops. Fatigue causes loss of alertness and increases in mistakes. Certainly doesn't help maintain accuracy.


The Army did a series of test on this a few years ago. They found troops could be just as accurate with weapons fresh or tired but when they were tired it took them a lot longer. Their reflexes were slower which would effect use of weapons, driving, piloting an aircraft, etc.

WNTFW
July 28, 2009, 11:02 PM
I'm convinced fatigue affects accuracy negatively.
I'm sure a good night sleep the night before and eating well help.

I shot a Steel Plate Match on a Saturday and the a PPC Match the next day during the heat of the summer last year. After the PPC we got out rifles to check our 200 yd zeros. I shot so badly I told my friend "I'm just wasting ammo and put my rifle away. I was fried at that point and it showed.

Another time I shot a bunch of .22 rifle before attempting load development. I shot too much with the .22 and used myself up.

The sun and heat can take it's toll. Being in the wind can take its toll. Being in the cold can take its toll.

It's part of the challenge.

Oro
July 29, 2009, 03:24 AM
i don't have any gun specific studies to cite, but I can assure you the Army did tons in WWII and the '50s. You just need to find them - read some pysch and combat readiness studies from the period and look to the footnotes. Not a problem to find the original studies. Basic historical research 101.

But as a good rule of thumb, I use the excellent studies done in the last ten years on high performance and fatigue. These were done by medical organizations to see how badly their students/residents performed on long shifts. It was uniformly found that 24 hours w/o sleep, or 12+ hours on duty, was universally equally to a BAC of .010 in performance testing. So you can use that data to easily equate fatigue and performance by searching the extensive data on .010 BAC levels of performance.

coloradokevin
July 29, 2009, 06:00 AM
Both can be a factor.

Mental stress can be huge if you are talking of the stress that comes along with experiencing something like a deadly force encounter. While I don't have a reference to cite on this issue, I do recall a statistic I was once given in a training class through my department. They told us that an officer who normally shoots 100% in qualifications will only have a 23% hit ratio, on average, when firing in a real-life shooting.

Again, I can't back up that statistic with any hard evidence, so you can consider it conjecture for the moment. Nevertheless, my observations on the street have suggested that this statistic is not entirely unfounded!

Physical stress can also be an issue... Try running a sprint and doing some pushups immediately before taking a 100yd shot next time. You'll probably feel the difference once the blood is really pumping!

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