Despite popular myth, not everyone in possession of a firearm in the various American Western territories during the 19th century was an expert marksmen. Just as today, many gun owners are novice marksmen and gun handlers. With greater access to information in the form of organized shooting events and competition, published education resources as books and video, and other outlets, gun owners have more opportunity to learn. Contrast this to a person traveling along the frontier with no access to shooting clubs, libraries, or the Internet. Lack of skill today in gun owners today is true stupidity, the combination of ignorance and apathy.

Here are some less-than-stellar examples from the Old West.

  • Dodge City, 1880. Texas drovers tangled in Sherman’s Saloon. Despite hundreds of shots fired, the only casualty was a stray cat.
  • Frisco, New Mexico, 1884. A 33 hour fight involving about 80 Texans firing an estimated 4,000 rounds shots into the jacale of Elfego Baca resulted in property damage only. Baca wasn’t hit once.
  • “Rowdy” Joe Lowe and A. M. Sweet exchanged 50 rounds before Sweet was hit.
  • Trinidad, Colorado. “Cockeye” Frank and a man named Jack Allen exchanged 16 shots without a hit.

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