Skip to comments.Why Do Gangsters Aim Their Guns Sideways? Marine Marksman Sheds Light On Gangbanger Tactics
Posted on 10/04/2012 8:21:47 PM PDT by DogByte6RER
So why do gangsters aim their guns sideways? Marine marksman sheds light on how gunmen from the 'hood unwittingly use a well-known aiming technique
It's an iconic image immortalised in dozens of Hollywood gangster films: the gangster aiming down the side of his pistol before pumping a volley of bullets into his victim.
But with most people knowing that the aiming sights are found on the top of a gun barrel, it's also a counter-intuitive way to accurately fire a weapon.
So why is it that gangsters are always shown using their guns in this way? According to Jon Davis, a former marksmanship instructor with the U.S. Marine Corp, there is a good reason, at least in theory.
As a specialist in pistol marksmanship and a veteran of the war in Iraq, Mr Davis has fired these kinds of weapons thousands of times.
He explains that when aiming a handgun in the conventional, barrel-up manner the rear sites must line up with the front sight in the horizontal and vertical planes to make sure the bullet travels a straight line.
This important technique, known as 'building the castle' since the gunman has to line up the three 'turrets' into an even position, ensures that the barrel of the gun is aligned perfectly along the trajectory he wants the bullet to travel.
The problem with 'building the castle' each time you want to fire your gun is that it takes time. Time you might not have in a combat situation - or alternatively when you want to quickly execute your victim and make a fast getaway.
(Excerpt) Read more at dailymail.co.uk ...
I believe the “side firing” technique comes from seeing it in the movies. Actors picked up this technique from being coached on combat shooting from International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) instructors. It is a very specific technique designed for one specific situation, which is shooting around the left side of a barricade.
Shooting competitors noted that using conventional sighting technique, cases ejected from the ejection port (normally on the right side of the handgun) occasionally would hit the barricade and bounce back into the action, causing a jam. By tilting the pistol to the left, the ejected cases would miss the barricade and prevent the jamming. Some actors going through the training thought the sideways shooting looked “cool” and applied it to their movie scenes.
Police and people who teach self defense prefer that gangsters shoot this way, as it is far less effective than aimed fire.
I was first certified as a firearms instructor in 1974.
The first time that I heard of this technique was the late 80’s or early 90’s. I believe it was in a book on advanced IPSC shooting technique. This was never used when revolvers where the dominant handgun, because they do not eject cases while firing.
You started seeing it in the movies, then it started being picked up by the gangbangers.
Much of gangbanger technique comes from movies. The whole idea of drug lords having lots of “assault weapons” came from the TV show Miami Vice. I have heard that police almost never found these types of guns in drug transactions before the series, but after, they were like “must have” fashion accessories for up and coming drug dealers.
It is another datum to show how much Hollywood shapes the views of the uneducated.
First, I am an accomplished competitive handgun shooter, who is best at speed events, such as bowling pins, etc. Pure BS!
If you want to shoot fast and accurate at normal 7-10 yard combat range, concentrate on the front sight, forget the rear one, and rely on a grip angle that fits your hand to put it instinctively on target. At 7 yards, I can keep all my shots on a target the size of an orange if I take a hammer and knock the sights off my handgun, in other words, don’t even look at them. I can do this two handed, by locking on the target, shooting at waist level. It doesn’t happen with the first box of ammo, though!
This is patently absurd. Waving a weapon around in a threatening manner isn’t the same as firing it.
Having expended ammo well into the five figures on the Army’s dime, I can assure you that, either in a static or mobile configuration, you won’t hit anything but dirt if it’s more than several meters away. Every now and then we would try this, just for fun, going through a few transition or handgun drills gangster style. (In the same way we’d go full auto from the hip if we had to burn some ammo before going home)
I can’t imagine pointing a sidearm sideways unless they were trying to be menacing. Against an armed opponent it would be suicide.
Certainly, with enough practice, shooting from the same position on level ground, at reasonably close ranges, point shooting from the waist can work.
Have you found that you can do this reliably at different angles from your body, or at different heights instead of on level ground?
IMHO, competitors that win matches, do not point shoot from the waist. They bring the gun to eye level, and even if they are not using the sights consciously, they are able to use the sights (or the profile of the firearm) to index the gun on the target subconsciously.
I have known some fine shooters who can hit very well without sights, but they are just using the profile of the gun as a substitute for sights. Shoot enough, and how the firearm has to be pointed to hit become part of your subconscious, and is done mostly automatically.
It is very difficult to transition point shooting from the waist to many situations, such as shooting from behind cover, because accurate fire then becomes dependent on body positioning, which is unreliable in dynamic self defense situations.
I am not saying that accurate point shooting from the waist is not possible; I have seen it done. It is a technique that is more limited in its application than is interposing the gun between the eye and the target.
Reminds me of getting my expert rifle while in the Navy, we were to shoot at 4 targets of varying size to simulate distance in 4 different positions. I swear i had an AR that was run over before i was issued it and could not sight it in at all, so I cheated, i took four shots from prone, sandbag assisted, at the smallest then worked my way up shooting at the bigger targets.
Precisely why it is laudable for potential opponents to use this technique. If someone is threatening me with a gun, I *want* them to use this technique!
Agreed. In a gunfight situation, it takes too long to line up 3 points in 3D space. Lining up just the front sight of a handgun on the target is good, but a LASER SIGHT is a lot better.
No, I don’t shoot from the waist, in matches, LOL. I was just stating what can be done with practice and concentration. When shooting for speed, lock on the front sight, as I said, pretty much forget the rear one. When I start with the gun low, or from a draw, I pick up the front sight on the way up, then lock on the target. I don’t think I use the gun profile for aiming, fast shooting to me is pure muscle memory, and damn near unconscious at this point in my life.
I shoot about 300 rounds a month these days through various .45’s, I am 55, eyes not what they were, but honestly shoot better than I ever have.
When shooting fast, the vertical POI will be largely related to the grip angle. For example, I will tend to shoot high with a DA revolver, a gov’t .45 grip angle, not a problem.
Gotta move the “I” key to the left...
That might be useful for a gang-banger hosing down a crowd with a full-auto weapon. Hold sideways, aim for the guy on the right, let recoil carry your point of aim across the crowd.
No, not really. I found it to be very accurate with my semi-auto .45 shooting at a stationary target which means getting back on target. There are two advantages. As dr_lew intuitively understood the grip is stronger so recoil is easier to handle. The second advantage is that the gun doesn’t rise into your line of sight momentarily obscuring your target. Using a point-and-shoot method with any firearm doesn’t require holding the gun up near the face anyway but out of habit one usually does when holding a pistol vertically in the traditional manner.
LOL!! From your comment, I'm guessing that you were in a service other than the Marine Corps. :=)
And drift induced by the rifling. To the right if the rifling is right-handed and vice versa.
Interior ballistics is fun. Terminal is mo’ fun.
BS, BS, BS... Bangers hold their STOLEN weapons that way to look “cool”, same as the hairnets, tats, low riders and the other garbage. The good thing is while Pablo is looking “cool”, I’ll be obtaining a flash SIGHT PICTURE and drilling him in his illegal alien forehead - twice.
And when their crappy .25 and .380 semiautos failed to properly eject their fired cases, they found that pointing the ejection port toward the ground allowed gravity to help clear the empty and prevent a jam. Sometimes. Which makes it even funnier that about half the time, the movie gangstas are holding their hardware ejection port side up.
In fact, the technique goes back as far as the days of flintlock pistols, when those using handguns from horseback would sometimes carry the piece action-side topmost to keep the powder in the frizzen from spilling out while at a trot or gallop,
The technique was quite common during the 1920s, 30s and early 40s in pre-revolutionary China, when a jolly mix of bandit gangs, Nationalist and Communist armies, and localized warlords all fielded armed troops- as did the Shanghai police force and the U.S. Marine forces of the Fourth Marine Regiment and embassy security detachments.
Popular in that time and place were the full-auto versions of the Mauser M1932 *broomhandle* pistol. Which, if fired without the shoulder stock attached, did tend to rise nearly uncontrolably. Unless, of course, you turned it on its side and let it walk across a line of targets.
A fella armed with a full-chat broomie with a 20-round magazine is not at all poorly equipped. And using one in such a fashion is far from suicidal.
Particularly at night, when the sights may not be visible. But even with the broomhandle Mausers, the troops were trained to use the stock, take a steady sitting position and use the sights....when they could see them.
Haven’t seen you in a coon’s age.
Havent seen you in a coons age.
I'm doing okay. Got a little busy with the election coming up, and came out of retirement to assist in skewering a couple of likely prospects. I'll be back around more after trhe dust settles some in a couple of weeks.
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