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Shooting Western Action two handed with pistols?


Quiet Burp
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On 2/18/2022 at 6:31 PM, Rip Snorter said:

And yet, Bullseye, very accurate, one hand only, and not exactly slow.  Timed, 2 sets of 5 rounds each in 20 seconds.  Rapid, 2 sets of 5 rounds in 10 seconds.    Good shooters kept them all in the black. 

When I shot Bullseye I thought 5 shots in 10 seconds was really fast shooting. Now 5 shots in 10 seconds seems really slow in Cowboy.  The big difference though is in Bullseye you are trying to hit a 1.7” diameter X ring and a 3.4” “10” ring at 25 yards and in Cowboy we’re trying to hit a appropriately 20”x20” target at about 3 to 10 yards.  I still shoot 1 handed, a lot faster but a lot less accurately than I did when I shot Bullseye. If I’m trying to shoot for accuracy I still shoot 1 handed, old habits are hard to break.

 

 Randy 

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5 minutes ago, Randy Saint Eagle, SASS # 64903 said:

When I shot Bullseye I thought 5 shots in 10 seconds was really fast shooting. Now 5 shots in 10 seconds seems really slow in Cowboy.  The big difference though is in Bullseye you are trying to hit a 1.7” diameter X ring and a 3.4” “10” ring at 25 yards and in Cowboy we’re trying to hit a appropriately 20”x20” target at about 3 to 10 yards.  I still shoot 1 handed, a lot faster but a lot less accurately than I did when I shot Bullseye. If I’m trying to shoot for accuracy I still shoot 1 handed, old habits are hard to break.

 

 Randy 

Thanks! The thing that drove me out of fast draw with wax was the necessity of abandoning hard earned accuracy skills for speed.  The old story of the fastest draw in the world dying because the guy he was fighting was a fraction slower, but he bullet was on the way resonates.  I may be a fraction slower, but I will hit what I shoot at.  I can still cut a playing card edge on .

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  • 2 months later...
On 1/16/2022 at 6:45 AM, Anvil Al #59168 said:

I just want to know if Bisley Joe is back?

 

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Edited by Bisley Joe
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I addressed this topic years ago (in two articles published in The Chronicle, and also on the Wire) and was immediately accused of wanting to ban two-handed shooting, forcing people to shoot one-handed, and of all sorts of nonsensical misrepresentations of my point. Most folks seemed to read what was being said about what I said instead of actually reading what I said and, therefor, propagated the falsehoods.

 

The point I made back then, and still hold to, is that the modern two-handed shooting style used in SASS: using the thumb of the support hand to work the hammer (I will call it “Slip-Thumbing” or “Slip-Thumb” from now on) should not dominate a period sport/game. (And SASS/CAS is indeed a period sport/game.)

 

Note I did not say to ban two-handed shooting, exclude anyone, or force anyone to shoot a particular way.

 

On the contrary, allowing the modern “Slip-Thumb” method to be used in a game with an overall winner category actually forces those who want to get to the top to use that method. This is simply because that method is faster.

 

I asked a well known “champ”, known for his “Slip-Thumbing” and IPSC style (which the sport was created to diverge from) about this once, and he told me that unless I was competing at a high level, I had nothing to contribute. This is an elitist mindset and has no place in SASS/CASS.

 

This same person asked: “Those of you who want to shoot one handed already have your own categories! What more do you want?”

I replied “Those of you who want to shoot “Slip-Thumb” already have your categories. What more do you want?” For this I was called rude, etc. I offered to meet in person and have an intelligent discussion. No response. No surprise.

 

The answer I saw to Quiet Burp’s question, with the citing of rockets, dragsters, and high heel stripper shoes is the typical straw-man, red herring tactic used to deflect attention from the point of the question and devalue both the question and the person asking that question.


The question Quiet Burp asked was:
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?”


He got this reply:
1. “I wonder why dragsters have so many supercharged V8 engines instead of the Fred Flintstone bare foot thru the floor method.”

2. “I wonder why NASA uses those rocket boosters instead of the Wile E Coyote ACME slingshots.”
3. “I wonder why NFL players wear cleats in the mud instead of high heel platform stripper shoes.”

 

My answer to the red herring:

1. Well, because no-one ever rode a car propelled by feet through the floor, first of all, and because drag racing is not a historically based sport or game. In the same way that one wouldn’t use a modern dragster in a sport based on turn of the 20th century car racing, no one would use a modern compound bow in a medieval archery competition, or a Glock in SASS/CASS.

 

2. Well, because NASA is sending vehicles, satellites, and people into outer space via rocket propulsion, not trying to pummel a roadrunner, and because Wile E Coyote ACME slingshots exist only in cartoons, and wouldn’t work for sending the aforementioned items into outer space.


3. Well, because NFL players are using shoes designed for the sport they are playing, not pole-dancing and creating certain physical “reactions” (although from observing how most males react to football players, maybe that’s also the intent). And also because NFL players, at least while playing professional football, aren’t cross-dressing.

 

In short, none of those comparisons had any relevance to the question being asked-they were simply designed to be dismissive red herrings.

 

 


But the fact remains that Cowboy Action Shooting is indeed  a period-based game. The rules call for a certain era of clothing and firearm, and we even speak of the”Cowboy Way”.


Two-handed shooting for speed was not done in the Victorian Era of the Old West. Yes, Wild Bill Hickok rested his revolver’s barrel on his forearm, others may have steadied their pistol for a precise/longer distance shot. But no-one in that era shot those revolvers two handed for speed, especially using the support hand to cock/slip-hammer.  And the absence of evidence does not support the “slip-thumb” two-handed speed shooting argument.


Those revolvers were designed to be shot one handed. People trained to shoot like that back then, and well into the 20th century, even while using double action revolvers and semiautomatic pistols.


Again, a one-off distance/precision shot, or steadying the shooting hand because of an injury, is not in question. What’s in question is how people fired these weapons in combat, and all the training, photos, illustrations, paintings, and later even films on the subject showed one-handed shooting. In addition, the modern “Slip-Thumb” method came about because of modern techniques, like the Weaver Stance, etc. with double action revolvers.

 

I remember when the SASS manual said one of the intents of SASS was “to avoid the technical gamesmanship that has ruined other shooting sports”.

 

Merriam-Webster
Definition of gamesmanship
1 : the art or practice of winning games by questionable expedients without actually violating the rules.
2 : the use of ethically dubious methods to gain an objective.

 

That’s kind of like the mental gamesmanship of “Well, none of us were there to see if they shot two-handed, so…

Never mind that, as mentioned above, every illustration, painting, photo, description of, and training for, combat shooting from that era-and well into the following century, was done with one hand unless perhaps for a precise hot, or due to an injury.

 

Personally, more than ever before, I hold to the view that the modern two-handed "slip-thumb" method has absolutely no place in SASS/CASS; it’s like allowing techniques from kick boxing or MMA in a boxing match.

 

That being said, I wouldn’t want to disenfranchise those who are already using that tactic. I strongly believe there should be no “Overall” category because it forces the modern tactics into this period game.

 

Instead, let there be just categories, and fewer of them. I don’t think a difference between gunfighter or duelist, for example, makes sense, as both those methods existed and it was up to the shooter back then to decide how to shoot.

 

But it’s also about ethics, the “Spirit of the Game”, and “The Cowboy Way”, none of which can be followed while practicing the very technical gamesmanship which this great pastime was created to avoid.

 

Regards,

Bisley Joe

BisleyJoeSpin2small.gif.f1638256b825c939323b7277b83f8eea.gif

Edited by Bisley Joe
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Final analysis, neither movies or games are life.  In their lives, people did and do what works real world.  The further things slide into games and fantasy, the less relevant the activities are.  Have seen it in several gun sports.  Unfortunate.  As an afterthought, how come no participant is ever "hit" and has to proceed from there? 

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6 minutes ago, Rip Snorter said:

Final analysis, neither movies or games are life.  In their lives, people did and do what works real world.  The further things slide into games and fantasy, the less relevant the activities are.  Have seen it in several gun sports.  Unfortunate.  As an afterthought, how come no participant is ever "hit" and has to proceed from there? 

That's not the issue. And not the "final" analysis.

It's always interesting how some folks immediately want to shut down a discussion when they can't really defend their point of view.

The issue is we are supposed to be engaged in a game, which has rules based upon an era: namely the Old American West and Victorian Era. Bringing in techniques from two centuries later goes against the "Spirit of the Game" and falls under "Technical Gamesmanship".

I've heard "It's just a game" etc. OK. Then play the game within its parameters. Just like you wouldn't use MMA moves in boxing, for example, or use the rules of Black Jack in another type of card game.

 

Ethics.

Spirit of the Game.

The Cowboy Way.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Bisley Joe said:

That's not the issue. And not the "final" analysis.

It's always interesting how some folks immediately want to shut down a discussion when they can't really defend their point of view.

The issue is we are supposed to be engaged in a game, which has rules based upon an era: namely the Old American West and Victorian Era. Bringing in techniques from two centuries later goes against the "Spirit of the Game" and falls under "Technical Gamesmanship".

I've heard "It's just a game" etc. OK. Then play the game within its parameters. Just like you wouldn't use MMA moves in boxing, for example, or use the rules of Black Jack in another type of card game.

 

Ethics.

Spirit of the Game.

The Cowboy Way.

 

 

 

First, we are NOT shooting a game with rules based upon an era.

Our EQUIPMENT is loosely based upon an era.

Our rules, skills, knowledge and methods are firmly rooted in today.

Any participant wishing to perform at their best in an athletic timed shooting competition would be well advised to utilize every modern method legally within their means.

 

The Flintstone, Wile E. Coyote points are called analogies - I attempted to use them in a humorous way to demonstrate the silliness of asking "why?" in a timed event folks would choose to utilize the most advantageous methodology.

I apologize if you were forced to Google if cavemen owned pterodactyl operated record players or if painting a black circle on a mountainside would actually transform into a tunnel and allow a train to come thru.

And drag racing is not historical?

I would contend the first competion ever performed was likely a foot race.

And I guarantee the first guy to learn a better running movement, discover how to protect his feet or recover faster used this information to better his performance - not assuming some moral high ground by claiming superiority while being slower.

 

The only person using a strawman argument is you attempting to assign non existent attitudes to the founders of the game who were avid modern gun competitors - but somehow in your reworking of the history of the game, have become genteel southern belles who would have had a case of the vapors if someone had dared spoken about being competitive.

 

You don't like the rules - lobby to get them changed. 

You don't like the fastest overall shooter being recognized - lobby the club or match to not award or recognize.

 

But if you want folks to not care who was first or fastest - good luck erasing a millenia of human nature.

 

Edited by Creeker, SASS #43022
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Well pardner, if we are going to shoot in CAS our revolvers like they did in ALL the Western movies you have watched, then why aren't we shooting one handed from the HIP and hitting the bad guy with a kill shot from anywhere from 2 feet to 50 yards?  Oh, and why aren't we FANNING our revolvers and killing 10 bad guys without a reload?  TV series and movies are just Hollywood fiction.  Who among us has any first hand info from someone who actually saw gunfights in the Old West?  From what I have read from people who did extensive gunfight research, a lot of people were shot in the back, even by peace officers.  

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Bisley Joe, we've had some spirited debates, eh?  This is one best had over a libation or three.  The ship sailed many years ago and it ain't likely to turn back to port.

Edited by Doc Shapiro
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Surprisingly this topic rears its head every once in a great while...   SASS has never been a historical recreation of the old west... if you're looking for that, go to NCOWS... they'll be very happy to set you straight on the "proper" way of things...  However, don't bother to take any of your short-stroked guns... 

 

SASS has always been about the fantasy of the old west... and B-Western movies... even 1st rate westerns... and they are not necessarily the best representation of the old west... need I mention the plethora of 1892 Winchesters during the civil war... if the movies are to be believed.

 

And yes, one-handed shooting was probably the main methodology in popular use... remember, your other hand was supposedly steering your horse... (but in reality, probably just holding on in terror as you tried to keep from shooting your horse in the head)!  There's a reason mounted shooting use BP blanks! 

 

But, this sport was developed by folks participating in modern shooting sports, very much akin to quasi-combat shooting styles, shooting stances and grip styles in use in PPC, IPSC, or ASC competitions... not Bullseye.  Two-fisted manipulation of the SAA is a direct outgrowth of that mindset and was hardly considered as vulgar as it appears some revisionists desire.

 

Traditional and Modern categories were strictly referencing the sixgun sights... nothing to do with shooting styles.  In fact, certain folks had problems even allowing any one-handed shooting, the feeling being that it was unsafe in a speed match.   The first cowboy action match was in 1979, 1st EOT was in 1982, and Duelist was not a fully accepted category until 1993.  Although, it had been allowed during monthly matches prior to this to prove its viability as a safe shooting style.  

 

Shooter classifications in the beginning revolved around the shooter's ... guess... revolver?  Nope, gender.  Traditional was not recognized as a stand alone category until 1988.  And prior to 1989, if you shoot in the "Black Powder" category you had to use a cap & ball revolver...  and that only started as a separate category in 1986... but, you could shoot using two-hands... remember, single handed shooting was not encouraged.

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1 hour ago, john brown said:

   I thought this foolishness ended years ago. The dead horse is still kicking.;)

C'mon Man, don't you know if you don't beat a dead horse, the meat will never be tender enough to eat?

 

:ph34r:

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i like it because my arthritis doesnt allow my thumbs to work like they did when i was young and i can stay on target better 

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The beauty of what we do is we can almost do anything.  Dress or little dress up.  Two handed or one handed.  Classic or B Western.  I bet if there was a gunfight in the old days they did whatever they had to do to stay alive including modifying their firearms.     Always remember that God made man (and women) but Boogie made them equal.  As my math teacher use to say, "it is not to reason why, just invert and multiply. Just shoot and have fun!!!!!  

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Fun topic by the way!

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16 hours ago, Griff said:

Surprisingly this topic rears its head every once in a great while...   SASS has never been a historical recreation of the old west... if you're looking for that, go to NCOWS... they'll be very happy to set you straight on the "proper" way of things...  However, don't bother to take any of your short-stroked guns... ...

 

This is actually the best answer for B.Joe.  NCOWS has 2-handed categories as well, but I don't know that they have an overall winner (at least not at the club results I have looked at).  Since there are categories for 2, 3, and 4 guns, there can't really be an overall winner.

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I'll try this one more time... My 1st cowboy action match was summer 1985 @ Coto de Caza hosted by the "Wild Bunch",  This event predates SASS by nearly a year and a half.  Stages were most often timed with stop watches, run by the Wild Bunch and others.  It may have been my 1st stage as I fumbled with the sixgun and cock the hammer with my strong hand, while supporting it with my left.  It was either one of the voices in my head or one in my ear that said, "use your other thumb."  It seems that very 1st TO I had was Hipshot.   Over the next 4+ years I shot with them monthly.  Spoke with them regularly, even met with them and put forth my 2 cents on rules, etc leading up to the formation of SASS (1987).  Uses that weak hand thumb to cock the revolver EVERY time.  Don't you think that if they'd intended to NOT allow its use, they'd have whispered in my ear, maybe something like, "...HEY NUMBSKULL, QUIT THAT!"   But, lo that didn't happen.

 

Just because one cocks the revolver with the weak hand, doesn't mean they're, what you call "slip thumbing", whatever that is... nor are they necessarily "slip hammering", the process where one cocks the pistol with the weak hand, while holding the trigger back and letting the hammer slip from under their thumb, .

 

I, and many others, didn't read about SASS and it's formation... we lived it, we shot with the founders on a monthly basis, often more than once a month, we didn't read something in a sterile environment without actual input from others... We were there on the ranges trying to apply the rules in situations, asking for and getting input from the founders... applying what we read to what we had already determined certain phrases meant.   Don't take this as anything but, "shoot however you like, within the rules... but don't put your spin on what it sez in the general "About us" to what I'm doing as something against the rules... cause it ain't...  or even the intent of the rules... Don't like that I cock my pistol with the off-hand?  Lobby to make it illegal...   Note:  Good luck with that! 

 

By the way, nearly every rule in the book is the result of someone doing something deemed to be abhorrent to the concept of good sportsmanship...   Neither cocking with the off-hand or slip hammering are within hollerin' distance..

 

'Nuff said.

 

 

Edited by Griff
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On 1/17/2022 at 6:51 AM, San Joaquin Shootist said:

[img]https://i.imgur.com/c6ytFV5.jpg[/img]

.jpg

5 DQs

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13 hours ago, Bisley Joe said:

I get it.

I'm not suggesting to get rid of using two hands. I'm saying that the "Slip-Thumb" is what's the problem; to eliminate that, or eliminate "Overall".

You wrote a lot about this topic. I missed you saying anything about how this would actually help grow SASS or make it more fun for those currently shooting.


All I heard was you attempting, unsuccessfully in my view, to explain why it should be the way YOU believe it should be, even though as Griff pointed out that runs directly contrary to how it was established.

 

Why do you care how other shooters run their pistols? Nobody is making you shoot that way.

 

Why do you care if there’s an overall winner? Sour grapes that it isn’t your name at the top?

 

Your version of the Cowboy way appears to be centered around keeping others from doing things you don’t want to do.

 

How about you don’t shoot that way, ignore who the overall winner is and give others the space to enjoy what they like about the game?

 

Or you could continue to be the Cowboy version of a Karen.

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In the old west, they likely didn't shoot at square close steel very often either!

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1 hour ago, Captain Bill Burt said:

You wrote a lot about this topic. I missed you saying anything about how this would actually help grow SASS or make it more fun for those currently shooting.


All I heard was you attempting, unsuccessfully in my view, to explain why it should be the way YOU believe it should be, even though as Griff pointed out that runs directly contrary to how it was established.

 

Why do you care how other shooters run their pistols? Nobody is making you shoot that way.

 

Why do you care if there’s an overall winner? Sour grapes that it isn’t your name at the top?

 

Your version of the Cowboy way appears to be centered around keeping others from doing things you don’t want to do.

 

How about you don’t shoot that way, ignore who the overall winner is and give others the space to enjoy what they like about the game?

 

Or you could continue to be the Cowboy version of a Karen.

Ain't it funny how some folks want to tailor the game to fit their own needs and shooting style? I don't understand this debate, seems it is the reason we have the different categories to begin with and the aim should be at bringing more folks into this sport, not limit the fun.

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Cowboys in the old west did some things that were cool and part of the mystique of the time and place.  They also did some things because they shouldn't have because they didn't know any better, or didn't have better options.  Hollywood has portrayed cowboys doing even more questionable things.   

 

I think SASS is about capturing the fantasy and spirit of the era, but leaving out the not so fun and downright unsafe parts. 

 

I think there should be a very straightforward test to any proposed rule change.  Assuming there are no safety issues, would we gain more shooters than we would lose?

 

So, would we gain more shooters than we would lose if 'slip thumb' cocking were disallowed?

 

Would we gain more SASS shooters than we would lose if the overall winner was eliminated?

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4 minutes ago, Bisley Joe said:

NO ONE shot using two hands like we see in matches. 

Since you were obviously there and witnessed every time a firearm was used in the Old West, I guess you are qualified to make this overly speculative and not a definitive statement.

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All I know is 99% of the cowboys in the movies shot everything from the hip. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.;)

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Posted (edited)

While I understand the 2 handed argument, when I started it was recommended for safety reasons. About the time I wanted to try Gunfighter, I blew out my dominant shoulder. I can now years later only lift my arm to about 40 deg. empty. Now I need to actually hold the weight with my left hand. If we were to eliminate 2 hand hold, it would likely be the end of playing for me. Although I spose I could go duelist huh!

Anyway 2 handed has been typical since I started.

I do agree with no overall winner due to this as single handed, more realistic shooters don't have much chance of being on top.

Edited by Eyesa Horg
Added text, otto
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I absolutely love the statement ”No-One shot using two hands like we see in matches”  How in the name of Moses do you know that information?

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Bisley Joe said:

The gamers have taken over the sport via the overall winner deal. I don’t like having to choose between having to use a modern shooting style in this period sport to be the fastest, or stick to shooting how it was done in the Old West and be told “just have fun”.

 


 

This is the core of your argument for making a radical change to the game.

 

Since you're recommending a change to something this game has never been, the onus is on you to justify it.  

 

If we're going to stick with how it was done in the 'Old West' shouldn't we be shooting outlaw?  Shouldn't we ditch one of our pistols?  Shouldn't all of us be shooting black powder, real blackpowder?  Shouldn't we get rid of the 1897?

 

Every one of those changes is justified under the rationale you propose of doing it how it was done in the 'Old West'. 

Edited by Captain Bill Burt
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53 minutes ago, Bisley Joe said:

Funnier still is how some folks don't read the actual point someone is making and instead comment on what someone else said, then write down an opinion that totally misconstrues the topic.

Yourself foremost among them.  This sport came into being in the modern era, based on the guns, lore, fantasy of the old west, in how it is remembered in book & film.  Not in actual historical accuracy.  .  It IS a modern shooting COMPETITION wrapped up in a costume contest.  While the rest of us seem more than fine with allowing you the freedom to explore your fantasy, you're not very accomodating in any reciprocal allowances.

 

I'm done, I'll not have Phantom accusing me of arguin' with a 

post.jpg

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How many "old west" Cowboys carried 2 pistols, a lever action rifle, and a shotgun with a belt full of shot shells?

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At least on the screen, they had pretty cool horses with apparently a trunk. Look at all the crap they have in camp. Including rocks for the fire and firewood in the middle of no where with no trees or rocks. Always a huge coffee pot!!:ph34r:

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