Stress Reading While Firing Shotgun


On holiday last week I went to the range with my son and shot his Remington 12 gauge shotgun,  AR15 and FN SCAR. We also did a little handgun work with the M1911. It was a nice day for it. While shooting the Remington I took my heart reading using the Polar H7 strap which sent data to the Sweetwater app from which I exported the RR interval output to Kubios.

Previously I had used an Artificial Neural Network (ANN) to determine my stress levels from 11 different measures that Kubios produces. Of those, the ANN told me that the Heart Rate Variability Triangularity Index (HRVTI) was the best predictor of stress level.

My HRVTI when relaxed averaged 9.72 and when stressed averaged 5.25 so I had a range to compare my readings. Here is a graph showing the ten minute period when I was loading & shooting the 12 gauge.



You can see from the graph that I was in a stress state through the period. The average was 4.8 versus the average of 5.2 HRVTI that I got from stress events like a trip to the dentist. So being at the range with a gun in your hand is a pretty stressful event. I think that makes sense. Not only did I have a weapon in my hand there were guns blazing all around me, so the qualitative experience was certainly one of being on high alert.

Using the Quantified Self three prime questions I can report:

  • What did you do? Measured my stress level while shooting a 12 gauge shotgun.
  • How did you do it? See above
  • What did you learn? Blazing away with a shotgun is physiologically more stressful than having a tooth drilled.
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2 thoughts on “Stress Reading While Firing Shotgun

  1. Would be interesting to see if there is a significant difference in the stress level when you are shooting vs just watching, and how much the heart rate drops while taking aim (to the extent that you “aim” a shotgun 🙂

  2. Good points Eric. Recording when you are shooting versus watching would have to be done by video. Part of the problem is while in the heat of it you aren’t recording much, just watching clays fly and trying to lead them. For my next trip to the range!

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