Mental/Vision Hack To Put More Rounds On Target


Take a look at the picture below.

Cloud of Doubt

It’s a dot, surrounded by a “cloud of doubt.”

Now, take a deep breath or two, and focus deeply on the dot until the cloud disappears.

Crazy, isn’t it?

If you have trouble at first, try moving closer (elbow’s length from your screen) or further (hand’s length).  If that doesn’t work, try it with just your right eye open, then with just your left eye open, and then with both eyes again.

What’s even crazier is that what some think is a simple parlor trick can make you a better—much better—shooter.

There are a lot of things happening here.

First off, when you focus intensely on something small with a pursuit movement of the eye, you turn on big chunks of the brain that are normally sitting idle or running in low gear.

Second, if you’ve ever played sports or done something that you love and suddenly found that it was effortless, you’re familiar with being “in the zone” or “flow state.” Amazingly enough, intense focus is one of the best ways to trigger your mind to go into “the zone.”

You just experienced a tiny taste of flow state, or being in the zone, when you stared at the dot and the cloud disappeared.

And if you’ve competed in sports, you may have used visual focus to get into the zone without knowing what you were doing or what it was called.

25+ years ago, my basketball coach drove it into my head to intently stare at a “period” or one of the dimples on the basketball for a few seconds before shooting free-throws. I played college volleyball and my coach taught me the same thing for serving. I don’t golf anymore, but when I did I was taught to never swing at the ball—always swing at a specific dimple on the ball.

In each case, focus helps engage more parts of the brain and can put you in the zone. The technique only works every time it’s used.

When you’re in the zone in basketball, the basket looks as big as a hula-hoop. In golf, the ball goes exactly where you want it to go. In music, brilliant things come out of you that you didn’t know were possible.

When you’re in the zone, your brain chokes out fear and self-doubt. To semi-quote Yoda, in the zone,

There is no “try.” There is only “do.”

Most people don’t realize how much of shooting is emotionally driven.

Shooting is exciting and the bang of the gun causes lots of neurotransmitters to be released in the brain. Some neurotransmitters make you feel good, like dopamine and serotonin.

And the excited anticipation of the gun going “bang” and your brain’s desire to get a hit of dopamine, can cause you to rush your shots, mash the trigger, or jerk the trigger.

At the same time, many people fear recoil and unconsciously try to push the muzzle of the gun down to fight recoil…also called anticipatory flinch.

Then you’ve got fear of failure, performance anxiety, good or bad associations with firearms, good or bad memories, and a whole slew of emotional triggers that can get tripped when you go to shoot.

These emotional and chemical drivers are in play for all shooters to one degree or another…from newbie to career operator…but they’re obviously more of an issue for some than others.

If you could simply take emotions out of the process, you could compress the trigger straight back to the rear without mashing, jerking, or flinching and hit exactly where you want every time, regardless of how stressful the situation is.

Shooting “in the zone” or in “flow state” is how you make this happen.

At first, you might have to focus for a few seconds before your mind calms down. As you do it more and more, the quicker your mind will calm down and the more you’ll be able to stay in control of your emotions and compress the trigger straight to the rear and put rounds exactly where you want them to go.

Eventually, you can get into a habit of going into flow state every time you look at your front sight…the same kind of mini-flow state that you got into when you stared at the dot and the cloud disappeared.

Think about that.

If going into flow state helps you control your emotions when shooting paper, do you think that it might help you control your emotions better in a stressful shooting situation?


And when you are able to control your emotions in a stressful situation, you’ll retain more of your fine and complex motor skills, make better decisions, and execute muscle memory or neural pathways faster and more accurately.

I’m taking it for granted that you’re one of the 5 million people who has seen this video where I shot 17 rounds through a 1.1” hole in 11 seconds from 11 feet away after taking 6 months off of live fire practice.

On one hand, it’s somewhat of a parlor trick. Shooting 17 rounds through the same hole does no good in a self-defense situation or in competition, but that misses the point.

Being able to put rounds where you want them to go does a LOT of good in a self-defense situation.

And repeatedly putting rounds through the same hole in practice is simply an indication that grip, support grip, trigger press, visual focus, visual suppression, oxygenation, and emotional control are all dialed in and can be executed on command without conscious thought…which is very important in self-defense and competition when you add in speed, distance, movement, low-light, and stress.

You can add in speed like this:

React, draw, and put 10 rounds on target in 2.83 seconds with a Glock 26 sub-compact.
Or distance like this:

This is 100 yards with a Glock 26 subcompact 9mm.
Or in low light conditions or under stress.

And, when you’ve got the fundamentals dialed in, the bullets go where you want them to go.

So, you might be wondering what you need to do take advantage of visual/mental hacks like the disappearing “cloud of doubt” to help you shoot faster and more accurately, regardless of whether you’re shooting for fun or to save a life.

First, as you’re doing your Dry Fire Training Cards drills or your Dry Fire Fit drills, make sure that you’re visually locking in on your front sight…I use appliance paint to put a tiny pin-sized white dot above the white dot on my front sight to focus on. It’s about 1/5th the width of my front sight.

Second, bookmark this page and come back to it several times per day over the next week to look at the dot and the cloud.

When the cloud disappears, pump your fist and get a little excited so that your brain learns to reward focus. The more times you do it over the next 7 days, the more you’ll train your brain to go straight into alpha state when you concentrate on the dot or your front sight.

And third, I strongly suggest that you go through Matt and Sherrie Seibert’s Deadly Accuracy Home Study Course (for PC’s only) by clicking >HERE<. The disappearing cloud of doubt comes directly from their course and it is one of the fundamental tools that I used to be able to shoot the 17 round 1-hole-challenge.

The course covers the mental dynamics of shooting that few shooters realize exist, but are incredibly powerful and high leverage.

How high leverage?

Earlier today, I was talking with a buddy of mine who spends a good bit of time overseas in dangerous areas. He was just in a class and the instructor (who is a well-respected SEAL) said that he could get anyone shooting one hole groups…just give him a few days and a few thousand rounds.

Matt and Sherrie have helped over 5,000 shooters shoot 1 hole groups within 20 minutes of stepping onto the range after firing less than a single box of ammo—that’s high leverage.

If you want to train with them live, in-person, it’s $1,300-$2,000 for a 2 day class and they’re booked 6 months out, even though they’re running classes 20-25 days per month. But I’ve got 2 opportunities for you to go through their home study courses for a fraction of that price and without the wait…

So to get Deadly Accuracy, click >HERE<

Second, we’ve got their Speed Shooting and Eye Dominance home study course. This combination is truly rocket fuel. Speed shooting will show you how to take the accuracy that you developed in the Deadly Accuracy program and give it a shot of nitro. The section on “Eye Dominance” is one that every instructor and shooter in the country needs to see. A lot of accuracy issues that are blamed on mechanical issues (too much/too little trigger on the finger) are really eye dominance issues. In short, there are accuracy issues that you’ll never fix until you understand eye dominance. Get this right in training, and you’ll get it right when it counts. But if you continue to fumble around in training, you know how you’ll perform when it counts. I don’t have much describing this course…other than to say that you need to get it 🙂 Learn more and act now by going >HERE<

Questions? Comments? Fire for effect by commenting below…

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  • herman

    Reply Reply December 12, 2016

    I am a firearms instructor and use a similar method in my classes. Thanks for the article. It helps this instructor to hear it from you.

  • left coast chuck

    Reply Reply December 11, 2016

    That’s the whole theory behind Zen and martial arts. Mastering yourself is clearing your mind of all other thoughts but what you are concentrating on. It’s very difficult to do. Once you have mastered yourself, mastery of your art flows to you. So simple yet so complex. So simple but so difficult to accomplish.

    I studied judo on Okinawa under an eighth degree black belt, the highest rating in judo for contest promotion. At that time ninth degree was only conferred upon teachers and people who had achieved eighth degree and then made some major contribution to judo. There was only one tenth degree, Master Jigoro Kano, the founder of the discipline of modern Kodokan judo.

    My Okininawan sensei had an aura about him. I can’t describe it other than to call it an aura. He projected a force that you could feel. He wasn’t some kind of snarly bad ass or anything, actually he was quite mild but if you walked into a room looking for trouble he was the one guy you just wouldn’t mess with, even if he didn’t look at you. Ground judo has many immobilization holds where, when you apply the hold it immobilizes your opponent and then if you completely immobilize him for 3 seconds you win the match. When Sensei applied an immobilization hold it was actually a submission hold. An arm lock and suddenly you couldn’t breathe and had to tap out. When he performed judo he was in the zone. He didn’t speak any English, but when he was personally instructing you, you KNEW what you were doing wrong and the way you should be doing it. Training with him really opened my eyes to “mastery of your art.”

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 12, 2016

      Thank you, Chuck. Zen, Mushin, flow, zone, alpha are all overlapping circles that describe what’s going on when someone who has dedicated themselves to mastering their craft is performing it at a high level.

      As a society, we pay to watch it (professional sports), and most people experience fleeting glimpses of it, but never figure out how to experience it on a regular basis.

  • Jack

    Reply Reply December 11, 2016

    I am going to get either the deadly accuracy course or the speed shooting and eye dominance course. I can only afford one right now, which do you think I should get?

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 12, 2016

      Hey Jack…Deadly Accuracy is the best one to start with.

  • headhunter

    Reply Reply December 16, 2015

    All of my life I have enjoy shooting accurately. In my early 60s I developed cataracts. The cataracts were removed ,however as sometimes happens I found I had a detached retina. The laser did a wonderful job of reattaching the retina in my “master eye ” except when I looked through a telescopic sight. Right where the crosshairs cross- they bent. For several years I tried putting up with this phenomena . The best I could do was 3-4 inch groups at 100 yds. I was frustrated and embarrassed. This year I decided ti try using the crosshairs as a dot reticule only concentrating on the point where they crossed as my “dot”. It worked! I am back to shooting sub-MOA groupings. Shooting is enjoyable once again!

  • George

    Reply Reply December 12, 2015

    That is pretty cool Ox! I just purchased decks of your DryFireFit cards for Christmas presents for my Grandsons and Son-in-laws. OK, i got one deck for me too.

    I have the regular DryFire cards too.

    Also David Morris book Tactical Firearms Training Secrets with Dustin Ellermann. Turned this old dog onto AirSoft. I thought that stuff was just for kids!

    I have the book Here Come the Black Helicopters as well. David is something else!

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 13, 2015

      Thanks, George!

      Tactical Firearms Training Secrets WAS David, Dustin, and me, but “Here Come The Black Helicopters” was Dick Morris 🙂

  • dasbunker

    Reply Reply December 11, 2015

    Aim small, Miss small.

    • Ox

      Reply Reply December 12, 2015

      True…but this is different than that. “Aim small, miss small” tightens your acceptable standard of accuracy. Focusing on something small activates additional parts of the brain.

      • Braegen

        Reply Reply December 13, 2015

        Maaaybe…the activation of additional parts of the brain is what makes “Aim small, miss small” work in the field.

        • Ox

          Reply Reply December 13, 2015

          “Aim small, miss small” and deep focus on a small spot are both great tools, but they’re very different in how they work.

          “Aim small, miss small” also works for driving.

          You could view it as progressing from, “don’t hit anything” to
          “keep it off the curb” to
          “keep it in your lane” to
          “keep it exactly centered in your lane.

          Each time you raise the bar, you improve performance, but it doesn’t necessarily activate additional parts of the brain.

  • Joe Derheimer

    Reply Reply December 11, 2015


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