Wyatt Earp on Gunfighting, Interview...

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blume357

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Nov 15, 2005
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I liked the part in the interview where he said they drew to shoot not to show or threaten... my father always told me you only point a gun at a dead man. In other words if you draw, you shoot. That was his philosophy and I can't fault him for it.
 

GunnyGene

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Just revisited this thread. I'd forgotten about it, so thanks to Blume, etc. for bringing this back to life. :)

A lot has happened in the past couple years, personally, and Nationally concerning firearms and the dramatic rise in gun ownership and related 2A controversy. I do wonder what all of the millions of new gun owners would think about the Earp interview, and many of the comments posted by members in this thread. I hope they'd consider it to be worthwhile advice regardless of the weapon they chose, and perhaps would encourage them to get proper training and practice.
 

173rdLRRP

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I have an ancestor that was a lawman in Nevada. While times could get interesting during the old mining days, he apparently never lost a gunfight. Why? He never had any. His preferred weapon was a short barreled shotgun.

Is that story completely true? Don’t know. But he did die from pneumonia not a bullet. He must have done something right.
I believe that Wyatt Earp also said that ‘no wise man takes a handgun to a gunfight’

Colonel Cooper also wrote that a handgun is what you use until you can get to your long gun
 

KIR

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Wyatt passed in 1929, 80 yrs. old in Los Angeles, CA. Cremated by his wife Josephine and buried in her family's plot in Colma, CA.
 

blume357

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I have a deep connection to Wyatt but It would have to be late at night and after a lot of drinks for me to relate it....

I feel I got some advise from a member here on this forum a few years back that was the best 'gun' advise ever.... it was that if you are going to carry a gun you need to get as much training with it as you can afford and keep that training up... for good and in some ways bad ($$$) I took that advise to heart and have 'invested' more than most folks would come close to considering spending. It sounds like the guys the Earp knew did the same thing.

actually 173llrp, a new member, is the one that brought this discussion back to the top of the page.
 

Jack Ryan

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Aug 21, 2012
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Bill Jordan quoted one gunfighter as saying "Speed's fine but accuracy's final."
Note how Earp emphasized safety.
I wonder if they had caliber wars back then. Earp spoke of the Forty Five, Will Bill carried Colt Navies, I read he fired and reloaded them every night.
Earp also had his gun fall out of his holster and fire when it hit the floor one time as he leaned back in a bar room chair.

Presumably he learned something from the experience.
 

173rdLRRP

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Extensive dry fire with emphasis on.movement and technique precision are perhaps more important than going to range. I believe I read that one of the top competitors write this.

He suggested paying attention to movement of front sight when pulling trigger. If it does not move, you are doing it correctly I believe same article suggested use of laser designator “sight” such as Crimson Sight”. If the spit does not move upon hammer drop, you have developed proper technique.

Back in 60s infantry units would do extensive non firing “box” sightings in day rooms.
 

Jack Ryan

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You don't get to be pitcher for the Yankees by throwing air balls between games.
 

173rdLRRP

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You don't get to be pitcher for the Yankees by throwing air balls between games.
It is called pitching practice. I have terminated seven well armed l, trained, and dedicated adversaries with automatic weapons at ranges between 3 and 15 m. It has worked for me
 
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Wyatt passed in 1929, 80 yrs. old in Los Angeles, CA. Cremated by his wife Josephine and buried in her family's plot in Colma, CA.
I watched a documentary about him recently. He had a vendetta against the Cowboys and popular opinion branded him a murderer, making up his own laws as he went along.

Because of the bad press, he left Arizona for California and worked as a consultant on Hollywood cowboy movies. He had an assistant who absolutely idolized him. The assistant's name was Marion Morrison, and was Earp's gopher for coffee, etc.

The assistant became a Hollywood actor and used the stage name John Wayne. The Duke said his cowboy persona derived from emulating Wyatt Earp.
 

GunnyGene

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I watched a documentary about him recently. He had a vendetta against the Cowboys and popular opinion branded him a murderer, making up his own laws as he went along.

Because of the bad press, he left Arizona for California and worked as a consultant on Hollywood cowboy movies. He had an assistant who absolutely idolized him. The assistant's name was Marion Morrison, and was Earp's gopher for coffee, etc.

The assistant became a Hollywood actor and used the stage name John Wayne. The Duke said his cowboy persona derived from emulating Wyatt Earp.


The Last Cowboy. Time for some George Dickel. Catch 'ya later. ;)

 

173rdLRRP

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Elfego Baca of Socorro, NM had a reputation that remains solid. He became sheriff of Socorro and sent a letter to Al outstanding warrants that basically said ‘if you do not surrender, I will assume that you will resist and will shoot on sight”. Everyone surrendered except one who left an insulting message that said “come and get me you G…” Baca wrote that he had not been in a gun fight in many years and went to woods along Rio Grande to practice with pistol and rifle. When he returned miscreant was sitting on sheriff office steps and immediately said”sorry, I was really drunk and stupid when I wrote that!”
 

vito

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It’s clear that police departments do not take Earp’s advise to heart. We have all seen the dashcam videos of LEO’s being confronted by a thug exiting a vehicle and multiple shots fired with not a hit among them. Maybe the adoption of semi auto’s with large capacity mags creates a mindset that “spray and pray” will work. If you only have 5 or 6 to count on, maybe it makes you take that little bit of extra time to aim.
 

173rdLRRP

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It’s clear that police departments do not take Earp’s advise to heart. We have all seen the dashcam videos of LEO’s being confronted by a thug exiting a vehicle and multiple shots fired with not a hit among them. Maybe the adoption of semi auto’s with large capacity mags creates a mindset that “spray and pray” will work. If you only have 5 or 6 to count on, maybe it makes you take that little bit of extra time to aim.
More dry fire and work on fundamentals of grip, stance, trigger control/movement, shoulder and hip position. A friend on same high school and college wrestling teams spent 29 years as a defensive line coach in NFL. His job was to finesse the fundamentals of professionals who had been playing football for 20 years but still required work on position and movement to get the advantage on men who also has the same 20 years of experience and natural athleticism.

Shooting styles and stances that work for IPSC and IDPA might get you killed in reality. I was chief range officer for a New Mexico State Championship IPSC match 20 years ago and tried to do realistic events but was over ruled by the gamesmen. “No, you have to have half the target exposed.” I found UDPA matches far more realistic.
 
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Elfego Baca of Socorro, NM had a reputation that remains solid. He became sheriff of Socorro and sent a letter to Al outstanding warrants that basically said ‘if you do not surrender, I will assume that you will resist and will shoot on sight”. Everyone surrendered except one who left an insulting message that said “come and get me you G…” Baca wrote that he had not been in a gun fight in many years and went to woods along Rio Grande to practice with pistol and rifle. When he returned miscreant was sitting on sheriff office steps and immediately said”sorry, I was really drunk and stupid when I wrote that!”
Or, in the words of the late Frank Hamer: "Manos arriba!"
 

kmoore

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I beleive I first read some of this in a book series about real cowboys and lawmen in the 1970s. It's still interesting. My comment is just opinion based on crooks of today vs back then. Using the movie/ TV westerns where as the good guy needs to met the bad in the streets and have the shoot out on a fast draw. Come on, in real life the bad guys take all the advantage like shooting through a window to kill a Earp facing away from them. Or the card player Wild Bill? who was shot in the back while seated.
Action is always faster than reaction today and 100 years ago. If a lawman always waited for the bad guy to draw 1st, more lawman would die. I bet if they were after a person back then and they were going to arrest him. The lawmen already had guns out. If I was Marshall Dillion and a bad guy called me out to a gun fight, I would exit the door with a shorten 10 ga side by side in my hand. Not walk out and see who is faster killing each other.
 

badguybuster

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Jul 6, 2010
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It is often hard to take a lot of what Wyatt said seriously. There is a lot of misinformation out there, some coming from him. Im nit saying he was a bad a$$, just that he liked to glorify his name. In my years as a LEO I only ever had to fire my sidearm once at another person, it made a lasting impression. I was fortunate that I had a lot of good instructors both military and civilian, and that I practiced. Otherwise I would not be responding here.
 
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