Could a Western gunfighter really shoot accurately without using the sight on the revolver?

John McFarland

Jacksonville, Florida

Pistol shooters, then and now, often learned to shoot instinctively. Historian Jim Dunham says it was as easy as pointing the index finger—that’s why it’s called point shooting.

A front sight could easily snag the weapon when fast drawing from the holster, and it was not accurate beyond a few yards. Close quarter gunfighters found it faster to shoot instinctively.

Frontier gun toters did see the value in sights. Wild Bill Hickok took careful aim and stared down his Navy Colt sights when he gunned down Dave Tutt in 1865. Bat Masterson ordered custom sights that were a little thicker and higher so as to be easier to use on his Colt.

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