One thing you discover in studying this discipline is that the guns they used, the clothing they wore, and the vehicles that brought them to the fight may evolve and change over time, but the principles of good men fighting bad men to the death are absolutely timeless.
Wyatt Earp had followed a key principle of gunfighting with multiple opponents. You don’t aim necessarily at the nearest opponent, or necessarily at the one with the deadliest weapon. You direct your fire first at the one most likely to kill you in your present position.
Earp told his biographer, “The most important lesson I learned from those proficient gun-fighters (starting in 1871) was that the winner of a gunplay usually was the man who took his time. The second was that, if I hoped to live long on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick-shooting – grandstand play – as I would poison.
‘I don’t make fast draws. I pull my gun deliberately, aim carefully, and don’t jerk on the trigger.’”
Bill Jordan, once said that killing your first man is the hardest and after that it gets easier, but for a certain kind of man, it can get too easy.
Col. Charles Askins Jr.
Charles Askins, Jr. killed dozens of men, both in war and on the streets. When asked for an official body count, the Colonel replied, “Twenty-seven, not counting (blacks) and Mexicans.”
Askins was bright, thoughtful, and without fear, but he had a darker side. The man’s prejudices spoke for themselves. Charlie once confessed to a friend that he thought he was a psychopathic killer, and that he hunted animals so avidly because he wasn’t allowed to hunt men anymore.
He was sometimes too willing to kill. A reading of Unrepentant Sinner shows confessions to murder and manslaughter. Yet among the many Askins gunfights, there were also acts of heroism, shootouts against the odds that he won with his coolness under fire and his deadly marksmanship.
Askins learned early that a rifle or shotgun always beats a sidearm when trouble is in the offing.
Askins’ Techniques When he was actively in the field, Askins seems to have almost always fired the sidearm one-handed. In his later years he would enthusiastically recommend two-hand positions for defense, but he was not an early advocate of the concept. It would appear that in most of his shootings, Askins aimed rather than pointed. He practiced a good deal, drawing and firing from the point-shooter’s crouch position, but practiced more with a sight picture at arm’s length for the matches.
Cirillo observed that the best gunfighters on the unit were competitive shooters accustomed to shooting accurately under pressure, and hunters, the latter less because they had taken some degree of life than because they had conditioned themselves to watch an area for certain things with unrelenting focus, without being distracted.
“The family man…was even more superior, for he took fewer chances. He wanted to go home. He wasn’t about to let some beast of prey hurt him. He gave us safety and deliberation.”
The 3 Greatest qualities of a gunfighter:
Keep your head down and keep the faith,