Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Did he really mean to say that? Rule#17

As the Counselor astutely points out, "It must be clearly obvious to the Line Judge that the front end of the barrel is in front of the outside of the front holster pouch cut."  It is a guilty until proven otherwise standard.  Applying that standard a fair and reasonable Line Judge would have to conclude that the draws of the following gunslingers violate rule #17: Oregon Ranger, Master Gunfighter, The Draw, Old West, Marshall Cooper, Caleb, Beaver Creek Kid, Boulder Vaquero, and a host of other quick shooters.

Did he really mean to say that?

I have good video from the Great Plains Territorial of Beaver Creek Kid.  Watching at slow motion 1/8 speed it would be "clearly obvious" to a fair and reasonable line judge that he is shooting in front of the outside of the pouch.  However, to the naked eye at real time speed, it is also a reasonable conclusion that it is not clearly obvious that the barrel is in front of the outside of the pouch.  Buzzard Cooper is interesting because he was shooting between .385 and .430 depending on the competition. To the naked eye at .430 it is "clearly obvious" that he is in front of the outside of the holster pouch.  He shoots a very pronounced level and follow through draw.  However, at .385, it may not be "clearly obvious" that he is in front the outside of the pouch, but most would give him the benefit of watching his slower draws.  Old West is also a proponent of the level and follow through draw.  You would think he would not have a problem with this rule, but as Old West has gotten faster he to has a draw that may not be "clearly obvious" to a line judge.  Boulder Vaquero has a draw that is not "clearly obvious" in front of the pouch by the naked eye, but at 1/8 slow motion speed you can see he pokes the gun forward just beyond the lip. The correct call with Boulder would be a technical violation, even though factually he is out front.

Some shooters have such a quick draw, in the 90-110 millisecond range, such as Parttime, Thirsty, and Master  Gunfighter, that it is impossible to see where the gun is fired. This rule says if you can't see it, "must be clearly obvious", then it is behind the pouch and a technical violation.

Some have commented that the photo on the cover of the Gazette shows Master Gunfighter and Oregon Ranger clearly in front of the holster. That is not what is depicted, what is depicted is the flail after the shot.  By the story and the times posted, it is obvious to me that a fair and reasonable line judge would have had to conclude that it was not "clearly obvious" that the gun was fired in front of the pouch for both shooters.  Having hand judged Master Gunfighter at World, I personally know nothing is "clearly obvious" concerning where he fires from.  Oregon Ranger uses a hip thrust which projects the holster forward. I have also watch him closely at World and it is not "clearly obvious" that he is firing in front of the outside of the holster pouch.

Powder Keg on facebook has been accepting of this rule saying he can make an adjustment in his draw, which he can.  I have a lot of video on Powder Keg and he has a very consistent compact draw.  He fires between 1/2 inch behind to 1/2 inch in front of the lip of the pouch. He is between .35 to .39 in times with the faster being behind the lip and the slower in front of the lip.  He can make the adjustment to the rule.  Unfortunately, that will not solve the problem.  Even if he is well in front of the lip of the pouch, it will not be "clearly obvious" to a line judge and therefore the correct ruling would be a technical violation.

Did he really mean to say that?

Some of us wear stain protectors, mostly because the little woman objects to the "ruined shirts."  Most do not because the "gunslinger badge" is a sign that you have arrived and finally entered the realm of the quick.  I am going discard the protector at least in titled events because it probably tags me as one to be watched and secondly because the "gunslinger badge" may be useful to prove I do not shoot behind the holster.  If a line judge is ever appointed for me,  I will whip out my 4 inch ruler and show the line judge that my "gunslinger badge" is exactly four inches behind the front of my holster pouch cut.  For New Vaqueros, it is 4 1/2 inches from headspace to tip of the barrel.

I don't think anyone would have any objection to Rule #17, "Discharging the gun with the muzzle behind the holster is not allowed."  I think that is pretty simple and straight forward. Sort of like the boot shot rule.  It is in the implementation that there is a problem.  The implementing sentence sets a guilty unless proven by naked eye standard and prohibits shots from above the holster, not behind the holster but above the holster.  This is the dominant shot in cowboy fast draw today. The shot just as the barrel clears leather.

Did he really mean to say that?


  1. Did he really mean to say that? Good question! I was pretty sure that I knew what he meant when he said it, but after reading Counselor's interpretation, I'm pretty sure that The Counselor is correct about the language of the rule.

    That being said, I believe that the spirit of the game is to give the shooter the benefit of the doubt.

  2. Ref Rule # 17- Very well said Jim.