Fast draw

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"Fast Draw" redirects here. For the 1968 game show, see Fast Draw (game show). For the G.I. Joe character, see Fast Draw (G.I. Joe).

Fast draw is a sport based on the romanticized art of the gunslingers in the American Old West, using traditional single action revolvers. Unlike Cowboy action shooting, Fast Draw is shot with special blanks or wax bullets. While some competitions are strictly against the clock, with the fastest time winning, many are set up as head to head single or double elimination matches.

While the ability to draw a firearm quickly was a useful skill in the American frontier, modern fast draw is inspired more by gun duels in Western films than historical gunfights.[1][2]


In Open Class, or "traditional" fast draw competition, shooters must start with the gun holstered, and their hands not touching the gun, as opposed to the newer sport of Cowboy Fast Draw, where the competitors start with their hand on the gun. A signal, usually both audible and visible, signals the shooter to fire. A timer is started when the signal is given. The shooter fires at either a metal plate (for wax bullets) or a balloon (for blanks). The timer is rigged to stop on the sound of the wax bullet hitting the plate, or the balloon popping. Different types of matches use one or more targets, and the shooter can fire from a standing position, or while walking towards or backing away from the target(s).

Fast draw is one of the fastest sports. Every time is measured under one second, from the signal to draw to when the timer is stopped. The current World Fast Draw Association (WFDA) record for Open Class Fast Draw in an event called Standing Balloons is .208 seconds - and that includes the time it takes to react, draw, fire and pop a balloon target at eight feet away. A world class competitor can draw and fire a shot in under half a second. Given that the average human reaction time is around 0.2 to 0.25 seconds, the round is over before most people can react. The reaction times of the best fast draw shooters is 0.145 seconds, which means that the gun is cocked, drawn, aimed (from the hip), and fired in just over 0.06 seconds. To establish a World Fast Draw Association record, a second shot must be fired in the same competition that is no more than 0.03 seconds slower than the first; this is intended to prevent a shot that anticipates the start signal from setting a record. In competitions where two rounds must be fired, at separate targets, less than 0.10 seconds separate the shots.

The exhibition shooter Bob Munden (1942-2012), regarded as the fastest man with a gun ever, could draw, fire, break a balloon target with a blank using a standard weight single-action revolver and return his gun to his holster in the blink of an eye. On the DVD "Outrageous Shooting," Munden was filmed shooting .16 of a second in an event called Walk and Draw Level.


In June 2011, a soldier named Sgt. Brent McBride played a game of quick draw with his fellow soldier and roommate, Sgt. Matthew Gallagher. The incident happened in their small trailer-like room in Al Kut, Iraq. During the game, McBride drew his pistol and shot Gallagher in the head at close range. Sgt. Brent McBride pleaded guilty at a Fort Hood, Texas, court martial in March 2012 to involuntary manslaughter.[3]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Gunslinger#Fact versus fiction.2C gunfights
  3. ^ Bryant Jordan. "No Parole for Shooter in 'Quick-draw' Death".  May 21, 2013

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