3 of 3
3
shot or hit? 
Posted: 31 December 2011 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
Rank
Total Posts:  26
Joined  2011-12-27
venomousbede - 31 December 2011 08:17 AM

Did anyone ever really shoot from the hip or is it just cowboy mythology reinforced by Hollywood movies?

Certainly it is not the way to ensure accurate fire, with sidearms or long weapons, and my experience was that it is highly discouraged in almost any situation. However, in the early days of light machine guns, it was a standard method of laying down suppressive fire while on the move, and single shot weapons were presumably used in a similar way, I know of several examples from the First World War at least. Very close country, such as jungle definitely encourages hip shooting, because a long weapon is better able to traverse if not fully extended into the vegetation. The idea of actually hitting a deliberately chosen target from the hip though, is beyond anyone but a Hollywood hero at any sort of range long enough to allow the weapon to be brought up to the sight line.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2011 11:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  700
Joined  2007-02-07

The idea of actually hitting a deliberately chosen target from the hip though, is beyond anyone but a Hollywood hero at any sort of range long enough to allow the weapon to be brought up to the sight line.

You’ve never watched a fast draw competition? Tons of guys do it every weekend for fun. They all shoot from the hip and they all hit the target.

There is no question that shooting from the hip was common because most real “gunfights” took place inside saloons and were the result of arguments. One guy would simply draw on another and shoot him before the guy being shot has a chance to react at all. When you’re two feet away, quick matters more than aiming. As for the classic middle of the street Hollywood standoff, from the accounts I’ve read, they were extremely rare and as you say, not at all fast draw contests. It was the guy who had the nerve to take the time to aim who usually won.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 31 December 2011 05:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
RankRankRank
Total Posts:  392
Joined  2007-10-20

The idea of actually hitting a deliberately chosen target from the hip though, is beyond anyone but a Hollywood hero at any sort of range long enough to allow the weapon to be brought up to the sight line.

It’s a valid point up till the final sentence. Google Bob Munden, who hits bullseyes at 12 feet repeatedly and phenomenally fast, tin cans at greater distances. I literally refused to believe it the first time I saw it on Youtube. The slomo is convincing, however.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 01 January 2012 04:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4478
Joined  2007-01-03

Hip shooting is less accurate, but not necessarily inaccurate. That depends on the range, target size, and the situation. Whether or not it is effective depends on which is more important in a given situation, speed or accuracy. Suppressive fire is a good example. Accuracy is not important in suppressive fire. You just want a lot of bullets flying in the general direction of the enemy. I can’t find the statistics right now, but the ratio of the number of bullets fired in WWII to the number of wounds caused by bullets is shockingly high, largely due to most being fired suppressively.

Shooting in a fast draw demonstration or competition is very different from shooting in an actual gunfight or battle. When people are shooting back, all sorts of things change. In WWII, for example, only about 25% of the soldiers in combat actually even fired their rifles at the enemy. Most just found cover and laid down until it was over. And those that were psychologically capable of firing back, probably weren’t doing so all that accurately, even if aiming. Just because someone can do something in a staged demonstration doesn’t mean it is likely to happen in a real gunfight. The winner in a gunfight is likely to be the one with the cooler head, rather than the fastest or most accurate shot.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 11:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1190
Joined  2007-04-28

Does the OED have an entry for the metaphorical use of shooting from the hip assigned to a writer or politician? Was it six-shooter or machine gun imagery? The latter had never occurred to me.
I read a Fugs (hippie band, anti-Vietnam war) line somewhere once which I found online: ‘Strafe them creeps in the rice paddy, daddy’. (Daddy as in Daddy-o, presumably - beatnik/hippie slang.)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 09 January 2012 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1228
Joined  2007-03-21

Adjective

1967 Ethics 77 292 These new Democrats owed their election both to Johnson’s image as a man who can get things done and to Goldwater’s trigger-happy shoot-from-the-hip image.

verb earliest is 1932 WH Auden

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 January 2012 05:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1190
Joined  2007-04-28

Thanks Oeco. Those are later than I’d’ve thought. So Auden coined it in a poem?
I always liked Chicago typewriter for the tommy gun in gangland prohibition days though I doubt either the expression or the gun are now used.

Profile
 
 
   
3 of 3
3
 
‹‹ HD: 1949 Words      Mnemonics ››