Where did the term “shoot from the hip” come from?

Alexander F. Durvin Jr.

Fort Washington, Maryland

“Shoot from the hip” refers to gunmen who literally fired their pistols or rifles from the hip area, without really aiming the firearm at someone. That did not happen often—someone who shot from the hip was more likely to miss (unless their target was up close).

Today it often means someone who talks or acts without thinking. They may be extremely honest—“straight shooters,” if you will—but they also may create unintended consequences (like missing everything or hitting bystanders).

Wyatt Earp reportedly said that in a gunfight, you need to take your time in a hurry. The best shootists took the time to aim before firing—but did so as fast as possible. If you think about it, that goes for talking too.

Related Articles

  • Harry Love

    Harry Love is best known for tracking down California outlaw Joaquin Murrieta. But he had…

  • How did the term “cowpoke” come about? Mike Franklin Poteet, Texas The dictionary states that…

  • Lincoln, NM deserved its reputation as a deadly town. Example: February 21, 1878. Private Edward…