Went home for lunch and finished another Mickey Free study on traversing the Salt River Canyon:
I may change Powhatan to Remington, since the latter would be the one stopping to gawk at the scenery.
Note to self: do not mention guns in the magazine without running it by the Gun Guys!
Here's Hickok expert Joe Rosa on our "Photos Don't Lie" feature in the current issue:
I found your feature on "Photos Don't Lie!" of interest but am not convinced by the photograph of the above gentleman.
Some years back I discussed pistol shooting in killing situations with some deputy U. S. Marshals in Kansas and more recently with a friend in Kansas who is a crack shot. I had mentioned the sometimes hysterically funny antics of t.v. cops and CSI types when carrying pistols thrust out in front heald two-handed and seemingly unable to turn corners, open doors and what have you.
It was pointed out that the two-handed style came in more recently because of the recoil from modern ammunition that was not experienced in the Old West.
As for your sheriff, from my own experience firing cap and ball Colt's pistols and Peacemakers, one did not get in line with the cylinder because of the risk of flash and burning powder from the join between the cylinder and the breech end of the barrel. Therefore, the way he is holding the pistols, with no chance of properly sighting it and running the risk of burns from flash or the barrel convinces me that it is a posed picture and nothing more.
Certainly, I am sure that at times some people held pistols two handed but away from flash!
And, for good measure, here's our resident Gun Guy:
I agree with you that a two-hand hold was occasionally used, but in the caption you state that the photo "...makes us question how early it was that shooters gravitated to this two-handed grip."
When you say this two handed grip, it infers a grip exactly like that shown. Believe me, nobody is going to fire a revolver with the hand in front of the cylinder.
That's why I think he was clowning around or possibly listening to instructions from a non-gun-savvy photographer.
Working in as many films as I have, I know they are always suggesting the actor/photo subject do something they think is cool, but is really ridiculous.
Photos don't lie, but they don't always tell the whole story either.
End of comments. Gee, I wonder what ol' Gelb has to say about all this?
"Over-seriousness is a warning sign for mediocrity and bureaucratic thinking. People who are seriously committed to mastery and high performance are secure enough to lighten up."
—Michael J. Gelb