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Shooting Western Action two handed with pistols?


Quiet Burp
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Why do so many people shoot Western Action using two hands? I've seen as many western movies as anyone else and can't remember any cowboys ever using two hands to aim and fire their pistol, have seen women in movies using two hands.

How did the two handed grip come about to be so prevalent? Has it been from the get go or did it creep in and slowly become the norm for most?

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Sometime in the mid to late 20th century, the "common practice" of shooting a pistol with one hand shifted to two hands.  Look at WWII training films for example.   All of the training films for the 1911 show people shooting one handed.

 

By the time Cowboy Action Shooting came along, the two handed style was more or less the "standard" way to shoot a pistol.  Any kind of a pistol.  As such, it more or less filtered into our game because that's the way most people have been taught to shoot pistols since at least the 1980s, if not the earlier.

As to WHY there was a shift from 1 to 2 handed, I have no idea.

Personally, I just like shooting one handed.

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Golly, I don't know...  It's a mystery.

 

I wonder why dragsters have so many supercharged V8 engines instead of the Fred Flintstone bare foot thru the floor method.

 

I wonder why NASA uses those rocket boosters instead of the Wile E Coyote ACME slingshots.

 

I wonder why NFL players wear cleats in the mud instead of high heel platform stripper shoes.

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I would suspect the shift was because of speed. Shooting traditional is faster than shooting one handed with the cowboy single actions.

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6 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

Golly, I don't know...  It's a mystery.

 

I wonder why dragsters have so many supercharged V8 engines instead of the Fred Flintstone bare foot thru the floor method.

 

I wonder why NASA uses those rocket boosters instead of the Wile E Coyote ACME slingshots.

 

I wonder why NFL players wear cleats in the mud instead of high heel platform stripper shoes.

 

It was just a question.

 

We dress up the part of looking like a cowboy to emulate our Western hero's like The Duke, Clint Eastward and all the other Western greats we saw on the silver screen and NONE of them used two hands. 

 

To me it seems an anomaly. Do you honestly think its that much of a mystery to wonder about using two hands to shoot a six gun? Every non shooting visitor and other discipline shooting visitor I've ever talked to who viewed a Western Action match have all commented "You use two hands to shoot a cowboy gun"?

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My guess is to broaden participation.  I would never have started if I'd had to shoot 1 handed.  I have a palsey in my hands and there's no way I can control a gun 1 handed any more.  Heck, 2 hands is questionable all too often, so I don't shoot as much as I used to.

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1 hour ago, Quiet Burp said:

Why do so many people shoot Western Action using two hands? I've seen as many western movies as anyone else and can't remember any cowboys ever using two hands to aim and fire their pistol, have seen women in movies using two hands.

How did the two handed grip come about to be so prevalent? Has it been from the get go or did it creep in and slowly become the norm for most?

 

You have to remember the roots of Cowboy Action Shooting.  It started in the late 70's with a group of action pistol shooters (early IPSC) who decided to give it a go with Western-looking firearms.  Whatever they could dig up.  They just continued the way they had been but with different firearms.  They shot the way they had been traditionally shooting... (therefore the "Traditional" designation).  Once a core of them formed the Single Action Shooting Society in the 80s, they began to slowly designate different categories.  Those shooting the fixed sight guns with two hands formed the Traditional Category.  Those using adjustable sight revolver were placed in the "Modern Category".   There was a "Black Powder Category", and soon those who wished to shoot one-handed got the "Duelist" category.  

 

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Steve McQueen (Vin) uses two hands in the original “Magnificent Seven.”  So does James Coburn (Britt) when he makes his long “worst shot.”

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58 minutes ago, Slapshot said:

I would suspect the shift was because of speed. Shooting traditional is faster than shooting one handed with the cowboy single actions.

Not exactly.

GF has been proven faster, BUT......... hitting the targets a little quicker is often advantageous to the Traditionalist style shooter.

 

Missouri Lefty placed 2nd Overall at the most recent EOT shooting in the GF category.

 

..........Widder

 

 

 

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If you ever look at how the actors in early westerns shoot, they snap the pistol forward, never sight the thing ang pop the weapon in recoil. Yeah those early westerns are the best target shooting training there is.  oh... SASS is target shooting, just not for points on the paper, just time scores

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1 hour ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

Steve McQueen (Vin) uses two hands in the original “Magnificent Seven.”  So does James Coburn (Britt) when he makes his long “worst shot.”

 

You see that occasionally in westerns. Sometimes they support the strong hand wrist with the weak hand. But I have not seen movie cowboys hold a single action with both hands and rapidly empty the gun cocking with the weak hand thumb as is done in SASS. Not that it means we shouldn't  do it in competition. 

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1 hour ago, Quiet Burp said:

 

It was just a question.

 

We dress up the part of looking like a cowboy to emulate our Western hero's like The Duke, Clint Eastward and all the other Western greats we saw on the silver screen and NONE of them used two hands. 

 

To me it seems an anomaly. Do you honestly think its that much of a mystery to wonder about using two hands to shoot a six gun? 

YOU may play the game to emulate your western heros and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

 

WE (meaning you and I) perhaps play the game for different reasons.

I dress in cowboy attire because it is a required component of the game - I am here for the competitive aspect of the shooting and my love of the firearms era.

 

I was drawn to the "more" level playing field of CAS than continuing the ongoing equipment wars of other disciplines.

 

Now saying that; I do not shoot two handed support style on a cowboy pistol - I shoot Gunfighter as I enjoy it (and I enjoy winning after being told my admittedly awkward personal shooting style would never win any matches).

 

But I am realistic enough to know that as far as shooting styles go - I personally am shooting for Silver medals - as excepting some phenoms in our game (Lefty being the most prominent in Gunfighter as Pecos Nick was in Duelist) - generally two hands supported on a pistol is the fastest way to shoot/ hit targets.

 

I won a lot of monthlies as a Gunfighter and even as a Duelist - but larger matches with a deeper talent pool; against even shooters equally skilled (don't even mention those with more ability/ dedication) - I am probably going to lag behind the two handed shooter because of a round I pull off target vs the steadier two handed platform.

 

So why the preponderance of two handed supported shooters?

It really is no mystery at all...

 

* Competition/ Need for speed.

* Generally smaller age group subsets to shoot against.

* The legal use of adjustable sighted pistols

* Comfort of using a shooting style used in prior competitive games or a desire to not train differently than their concealed carry shooting platform

* Self perception of safe FOR THEM behaviors - we have a game that skews older than most shooting sports.

Some older shooters, female shooters, infirm shooters, etc. may feel uncomfortable or unsafe with one hand pistol handling.

 

As to anyone questioning the shooting style - in 20+ years of playing this game, being a club officer and match director and attending matches ranging 3 shooters to Winter Range and EOT; I have NEVER had anyone question the use of TWO hands on a single pistol - but many that have questioned ONE.

 

(To which I explain the origins of our pistols and their grip designs which were made to facilitate one handed shooting)

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18 minutes ago, Creeker, SASS #43022 said:

 

 

As to anyone questioning the shooting style - in 20+ years of playing this game, being a club officer and match director and attending matches ranging 3 shooters to Winter Range and EOT; I have NEVER had anyone question the use of TWO hands on a single pistol - but many that have questioned ONE.

 

 

 

I've never heard a comment questioning two handed hold on modern pistols, but its a common comment when they see cowboys using two hands on a six shooter, it does take them by surprise as they don't expect to see that. Its just not the image they imagine. 

 

download.jpg.06b33025d304b3f33753c984ee80a6bd.jpg

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I have a book that interviewed Civil War vets on shooting the 1851 Navy where they talk of making 100 yard moving target hits.  They would drop the loading lever down holding it pulling backward with off hand and pushing forward on the grip and knocking men off horses. Does that mean they were shooting 2 handed?

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4 minutes ago, Pee Wee #15785 said:

I have a book that interviewed Civil War vets on shooting the 1851 Navy where they talk of making 100 yard moving target hits.  They would drop the loading lever down holding it pulling backward with off hand and pushing forward on the grip and knocking men off horses. Does that mean they were shooting 2 handed?

 

How many CAS shoots have you been to and used your pistols and the targets were placed at 100yds?

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1 hour ago, Muleshoe Bill SASS #67022 said:

If you ever look at how the actors in early westerns shoot, they snap the pistol forward, never sight the thing ang pop the weapon in recoil. Yeah those early westerns are the best target shooting training there is.  oh... SASS is target shooting, just not for points on the paper, just time scores

I think that’s to get more velocity from the bullets!:D:P

 

Randy

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7 minutes ago, Pee Wee #15785 said:

I have a book that interviewed Civil War vets on shooting the 1851 Navy where they talk of making 100 yard moving target hits.  They would drop the loading lever down holding it pulling backward with off hand and pushing forward on the grip and knocking men off horses. Does that mean they were shooting 2 handed?

I hope they were wearing a heavy sleeve and glove on their off hand!:o

 

Randy

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3 hours ago, Slapshot said:

I would suspect the shift was because of speed. Shooting traditional is faster than shooting one handed with the cowboy single actions.

I've been shooting for CAS for over 25 years. There have always been more 2 handed shooters than Duelists.

There are also safety concerns. We can't write scenarios that force shooters to shoot one handed because everyone isn't capable of shooting one handed.

Just because they shot one handed in old movies doesn't mean they didn't use two hands in the old west.. Considering none of use were alive in the late 1800's is all speculation. It's all about having fun, don't over think things.

 

 

 

 

.

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1 hour ago, Assassin said:

I've been shooting for CAS for over 25 years. There have always been more 2 handed shooters than Duelists.

There are also safety concerns. We can't write scenarios that force shooters to shoot one handed because everyone isn't capable of shooting one handed.

Just because they shot one handed in old movies doesn't mean they didn't use two hands in the old west.. Considering none of use were alive in the late 1800's is all speculation. It's all about having fun, don't over think things.

 

 

 

 

.

Not over thinking anything,cdoesn't matter to me what anyone shoots. I still suspect there are more 2 handed shooters than 1 handed because of speed. Sure I bet there are those that use 2 hands because they can't shoot one handed anymore. 

Not so sure its all speculation either. I would bet that there was far more gunfighter style shooters and 1 handed shooters in the old west than there was supported hand aka traditional shooters. But I doubt there ever was any history passed down to support any of this. 

 

JMO and it and 5.98 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks if you are lucky. ;)

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6 minutes ago, Slapshot said:

Not over thinking anything,cdoesn't matter to me what anyone shoots. I still suspect there are more 2 handed shooters than 1 handed because of speed. Sure I bet there are those that use 2 hands because they can't shoot one handed anymore. 

Not so sure its all speculation either. I would bet that there was far more gunfighter style shooters and 1 handed shooters in the old west than there was supported hand aka traditional shooters. But I doubt there ever was any history passed down to support any of this. 

 

JMO and it and 5.98 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks if you are lucky. ;)

 

"... more gunfighter style shooters...."

 

If you are referring to shooters using 2 pistols together, I think you been watching too many Roy Roger movies.    Real Cowboys in the "old west"

probably couldn't afford to buy 2 pistols and leather to fancy around, much less the $ to afford the ammo to practice.

 

..........Widder

 

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Howdy Debaters (and Master Debaters),

 

To be frank, I shoot CC or Duelist because that just seems the right way to shoot a sixgun. I'm slow but I'm OK with that because I'm not as slow as when I started. Most of the time I win CC (because I'm the only one in the category.) I really only have to beat myself. But to the important point of this discussion:

 

Whether one- or two-handed, the folks of CAS are some of the friendliest, most giving and most helpful people I've ever met. If I couldn't shoot I might hang out at shoots just for the camaraderie. If someone wants to show up, help set up and tear down, pick brass and count misses while wearing jeans and straw hat, I and nobody I know cares how many hands they use as long as they are safe.

 

Cordially,

Rev. Chase 

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2 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

 

"... more gunfighter style shooters...."

 

If you are referring to shooters using 2 pistols together, I think you been watching too many Roy Roger movies.    Real Cowboys in the "old west"

probably couldn't afford to buy 2 pistols and leather to fancy around, much less the $ to afford the ammo to practice.

 

..........Widder

 

 

What I said was both GF and Duelist. 

 

But we wasn't alive so merely speculation on both our parts. ;)

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9 minutes ago, Slapshot said:

Not over thinking anything,cdoesn't matter to me what anyone shoots. I still suspect there are more 2 handed shooters than 1 handed because of speed. Sure I bet there are those that use 2 hands because they can't shoot one handed anymore. 

Not so sure its all speculation either. I would bet that there was far more gunfighter style shooters and 1 handed shooters in the old west than there was supported hand aka traditional shooters. But I doubt there ever was any history passed down to support any of this. 

 

JMO and it and 5.98 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks if you are lucky. ;)

 

Doesn't matter to me either, I just asked the question out of interest how did two handed cowboy shooting with a sixgun come about.

 

The general public are surprised when they see people dressed in cowboy garb shooting sixguns using two hands. Heck, I did a simple search on the Wire and there's a ton of threads where us CAS cowpokes have started threads that they were surprised!

 

I can't answer for anyone else, but when I was shooting my Roy Rogers cap gun as a kid, I sure wasn't (nor any of the other boys) shootin' two handed style so you can see how it does bewilder folks a touch when they see dressed up cowboys shooting 'tacticool' style.

 

1634915740_download(1).jpg.13cd78dae31914b05c7df9282f47ff51.jpg

 

images.jpg.e75bb8df13e38ad9f4a9c3df99909663.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Reverend P. Babcock Chase said:

Howdy Debaters (and Master Debaters & Richard Craniums :) ),

 

To be frank, I shoot CC or Duelist because that just seems the right way to shoot a sixgun. I'm slow but I'm OK with that because I'm not as slow as when I started. Most of the time I win CC (because I'm the only one in the category.) I really only have to beat myself. But to the important point of this discussion:

 

Whether one- or two-handed, the folks of CAS are some of the friendliest, most giving and most helpful people I've ever met. If I couldn't shoot I might hang out at shoots just for the camaraderie. If someone wants to show up, help set up and tear down, pick brass and count misses while wearing jeans and straw hat, I and nobody I know cares how many hands they use as long as they are safe.

 

Cordially,

Rev. Chase 

 

Agree and agree, and double agree with your last three lines!

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1 hour ago, Quiet Burp said:

 

Doesn't matter to me either, I just asked the question out of interest how did two handed cowboy shooting with a sixgun come about.

 

The general public are surprised when they see people dressed in cowboy garb shooting sixguns using two hands. Heck, I did a simple search on the Wire and there's a ton of threads where us CAS cowpokes have started threads that they were surprised!

 

I can't answer for anyone else, but when I was shooting my Roy Rogers cap gun as a kid, I sure wasn't (nor any of the other boys) shootin' two handed style so you can see how it does bewilder folks a touch when they see dressed up cowboys shooting 'tacticool' style.

 

1634915740_download(1).jpg.13cd78dae31914b05c7df9282f47ff51.jpg

 

images.jpg.e75bb8df13e38ad9f4a9c3df99909663.jpg

So when they "fan" they're six shooters in the movies, is that considered shooting two handed? :ph34r:

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4 hours ago, Hendo said:

So when they "fan" they're six shooters in the movies, is that considered shooting two handed? :ph34r:

^^ This!

 

Fanning is considered unsafe gunhandling and forbidden by the rule book. Two handed thumb slipping (allowed) comes closest to fanning. 

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10 hours ago, J-BAR #18287 said:

Steve McQueen (Vin) uses two hands in the original “Magnificent Seven.”  So does James Coburn (Britt) when he makes his long “worst shot.”

You can add "The Professionals" and "Hang 'em High" to the list. 

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