Did cowboys accurately shoot revolvers from horseback?

Did cowboys accurately shoot revolvers from horseback?

Harlan Krominga

Rockford, Illinois

Shooting a pistol from the back of a horse was common during close-quarter combat—whether it was in the Civil War or Indian Wars. A pistol only has an effective accuracy range of about 15 yards, and obviously the movement of the horse can limit that even more. The rifle was the weapon of choice in open country—and the shooters preferred to shoot rifles on foot, not on horse. That’s why most of the classic Westerns that show wild shoot-outs between men on horseback just aren’t true to life. Guys who wanted accuracy stood still.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian, board president of the Arizona Historical Society and vice president of the Wild West History Association. His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu