Everyone likely knows what an adrenaline rush feels like; car accident, almost car accident, almost in a fistfight, etc.

In combat we may not even know we are running on adrenaline until we stop fighting; then comes the overwhelming feeling of euphoria – survivor euphoria. In this case you must get your heart rate back down to normal quickly. Tactical breathing; breathe in, breathe out, etc. Over and over until you have lowered your heart rate.

If you are currently serving in the military or law enforcement, this is good information to know.

Today I will talk about adrenaline:


The following are crude figures; for different people they can vary significantly.

The normal human being’s resting heart rate is 60 – 80 Beats Per Minute (BPM).

At 115 BPM you start having vessel constriction. Your arteries open and you will begin to hyperventilate. It has other affects:

Burst of strength – Adrenaline.

This is like when you don’t realize you are hurt until you see blood, etc.

Once you relax the veins will open back up and you have vassal dilation – the opposite affect.

You also start to lose motor control. It’s like on a cold day when you lose the manual dexterity in your hands and fingers – loss of fine motor skills.

****This is the optimum fighting heart rate****

At 145 BPM your complex motor skills begin to deteriorate. You will have difficulty loading a magazine, conducting immediate/remedial action drills, etc.

After 175 BPM the only thing that works well is your gross motor skills – running, etc. The forebrain shuts down – the mind of a human.

The midbrain is thought of as the 4F’s – fight, flight, feeding and mating. (Animal instincts)

Loss of peripheral vision. (Able to focus on only one thing)

Loss of depth perception. (Range to threat)

You can lose near vision. You may not be able to focus on your sights in combat.

Your eyes begin to take a different shape. (Trouble focusing)

In a firefight a warrior can have sustained heart rate can be as high as 200 beats per minute; sometimes even as high as 300 beats per minute.

Hard, intense, realistic training that raises warriors’ heart rates are recommended.  Warriors can be trained to fight through the affect(s) of adrenaline.  Intense training also allows the warriors to experience and get used to stress, which in turn may lower their heartbeat in a fight.  No Man is afraid of what he is good at.

Remember, Breathe, Breathe, Breathe…………… and then make your friends breathe…….just breathe


Pain Shared is Pain Divide (D. Grossman)


Brought to you by the dudes at Spotter Up!



About The Author

David K. Devaney SgtMaj USMC Retired 2009 City of Hit Iraq with PTTDavid was born in Geneva New York and graduated from Geneva High School in 1980. He joined the Marine Corps on a guaranteed Infantry contract in April of 1983. After graduating boot camp he was stationed in Hawaii with 3rdBattalion 3rd Marines (3/3). While assigned to 3/3 he held billets as a rifleman, fire team leader, and squad leader. During 1986 Corporal (Cpl) Devaney was selected as a member of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Platoon, 3rd Battalion 3rd Marine. Upon graduation of Scout Sniper School he was assigned to the Scout Sniper Section of 3/3 STA Platoon. During his second deployment as a Scout Sniper with 3/3 he was promoted to Sergeant (Sgt). After a tour on the drill field from 1989-1991 Sgt Devaney returned to STA 3/3 were he deployed two more times. During 1994 Sgt Devaney was selected to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSgt) and ordered to III Marine Expeditionary Force (III MEF), Special Operation Training Group (SOTG); while at SOTG SSgt Devaney was assigned as a Reconnaissance and Surveillance (R&S) and Urban Sniper Instructor and Chief Instructor. At the time III MEF SOTG Instructors were members of Joint Task Force 510 (JTF 510 CT); a Counter Terrorism Task Force. In 1998 he deployed to Operation Desert Fox with Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 2/4 and was attached to Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA) 572/594 as a sniper. SSgt Devaney deployed again, during 2000, with ODA 135/136/132 to Malaysia as member of JTF 510, working with the Malaysian National Police. After leaving SOTG Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) Devaney was assigned to Company A 1st Battalion 7th Marine, and spent much of his time training the Scout Snipers of 1/7. Just before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, he was selected to the rank of First Sergeant (1stSgt) and led 270 Marines, sailors, and soldiers during combat – receiving a Bronze Star Medal for destroying the enemy and their will to fight. During 2004 1st Sgt Devaney was ordered to duty as the Inspector Instructor Staff 1st Sgt for 2nd Beach and Terminal Operations Company, Savannah, Georgia. During 2007 he was selected to the rank of Sergeant Major (SgtMaj) and received orders to Electronic Warfare Squadron 4 (VMAQ-4) stationed at Cherry Point, NC. There he trained a CADRE which in turn trained a massive Quick Reaction Force in combat operations. After two more deployments to Iraq SgtMaj Devaney received orders to Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico, VA. SgtMaj Devaney retired from the Marine Corps on 31 December 20013. He now works as an adjunct combat instructor at the “Crucible’’ in Fredericksburg, VA. David is also on the Board of Directors of the Marine Corps Scout Sniper Association. David’s published work: Books Devaney, D.K. (2007). Surviving combat: Mentally and physically (3rd edition). 29 Palms, CA: USMC. Devaney, D.K. (2015). They Were Heroes: A Sergeant Major’s Tribute to Combat Marines of Iraq and Afghanistan. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. Articles Devaney, D.K. (2011) Enough Talk of Suicide, Already! Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2011) Can PTSD Be Prevented Through Education? Proceedings Magazine. Devaney, D.K. (2012) PTSD Is Not Cancer. The Marine Corps Gazette. Devaney, D.K. (2012) Women in Combat Arms Units. The Marine Corps Gazette.

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