Shooting Under Stress: Focusing on Front Sight Amid Stress?

Chris Sajnog teaches how to focus while under pressure.

Hey guys, I’m Chris Sajnog. In this post, let’s talk about shooting under stress and focusing on front sight amid stress. Let’s go ahead and get started. 

I talk a lot about front sight focus and the importance of it when you’re shooting any open sighting system. But the question always comes up, “Are you able to actually focus on the front sight when you’re under stress?” 

Common Misconceptions

In these stress shooting drills, A lot of people will say that you can’t focus on your front sight. They’ll also say, you can’t manipulate your slide, stop, or even control your trigger under stress. The theory is that if you only have gross motor skills, you lose all fine motor skills. 

Chris Sajnog debunks some common misconceptions about shooting under pressure.

Here’s the thing, They affect people in different ways depending on how they’ve trained. So if you have trained to under stress, you’ll be able to do it because you’ve built strong enough neural pathways to be able to protect yourself from those hormones that are going to be rushing into your system

Why You Can’t

Next in this shooting under stress, I think many people who say that you can’t do it, say this for two reasons. Number one, they’ve never been in a stressful situation, to be able to even talk intelligently about whether they can or can’t. 

The other one is they weren’t properly trained before that stressful situation. If you haven’t practiced under stress, and focusing on that front sight, you’re not going to be able to do it. That’s why it’s important to ingrain these skills in your muscle memory by building strong neural pathways through repetition. 



Repetition needs to start off without stress. If I knew that one day, I was going to have to shoot a basketball with my eyes closed, I would start off practicing with my eyes open, and I would shoot perfectly from that spot over and over with my eyes open because I’m building those neural pathways for that movement. When I have them built up enough, I can close my eyes and the balls going in the hoop

So it’s the same thing with shooting. If I practice shooting and being able to see that front sight every single time crystal clear, I’m building a neural pathway with my eyes. Practice under stress and you will be able to see the front sight when you need to. 

So that’s it for now for this shooting under stress. I hope this helps you out and until next time, keep paving your path to perfection. 

Get the video version of Chris Sajnog's blogs

Retired Navy SEAL Dr. Chris Sajnog, a Master Training Specialist in the Navy, was hand-selected to write the US Navy SEAL Sniper Manual. After retiring from the Navy in 2009, he earned a master’s (MSc) in Health and Human Performace and a doctorate (D.Sc.) in Applied Educational Neuroscience.

Navy SEAL Approved