Gotta Know the Lingo

Old West Cowboy Gun

In the old west, you didn’t have an Ace hidden in your poker hand when you had an “ace in the hole.” What you had was a hidden pistol concealed in a shoulder holster, a boot or a waistband. And what was a “road-agent’s spin?” That referred to the practice of pretending to surrender your handgun, butt first, only to spin the gun around into firing position. And what in the world did he mean when an Old West gunfighter said he only carried “five beans in the wheel?” He was bragging that he was practicing gun safety! He’d load five cartridges—called them “beans”–in his six-shooter so his pistol hammer rested on an empty cylinder chamber. A smart move to prevent accidental discharges!

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