Text & Drawings by Floyd D.P. Oydegaard

The Fast Gun

Most "Half-Dime Novels" print a distorted view of gunfights between two evenly matched individuals who face off in the streets at "high noon." Actually, that may have happened earlier (1859 and before), when duelists would challenge each other for the "Preservation of Honour." Only in rare cases do two men actually pace off, turn, aim and fire; the best shooter winning the day with a single shot. There are few examples of actual street altercations between just two antagonists. Most gun battles were brawls! A truly "Fast Gun" would be a person too willing to draw his pistol and who could bring his gun to a firing position and hit his mark with one shot. More common was the plight of Captain Harry Love, who met his end in a street "gun battle" where he attacked his opponent with knife, shotgun and pistol, ending up in a brawl where his own gun wounded him mortally under the armpit. (Remember: a good holster is to protect ones tool, and not allow it to be swiftly pulled from its leather housing.)

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