Marksmanship in Monrovia
The latest marksmanship competitions in street fighting in Monrovia apparently feature rules that forbid use of sights, taking a firing stance, taking cover, or shooting from the shoulder. Or maybe even from the hip. The preferred stance appears to be holding the rifle sideways over the shooter's head. (Hat tip to Nancy Norell).
I suppose it does keep the casualty rates down, since someone can only get hit if they have very bad luck. (Which may actually be the unspoken purpose... it's been noted that even in the 18th century very few bayonet charges led to use of cold steel. One side or the other backed down and ran off before it got to that. This may be a variant: shoot a lot of ammo, look aggressive, and the other side bails out. Actually start shooting them, and they may do the same to you, and there will be a pile of bodies).
[UPDATE: I suspect that the "gangsta" sideways hold is mostly movie hype -- I recall hearing that it was used on some movie, and after that street thugs thought it was the stylish way to shoot. I can only guess that it might have some slight utility if the shooter had a pistol and didn't know a real shooting grip. Under those conditions, the natural (and wrong) grip tends to throw the shot to the right, assuming a right handed shooter. Turning the gun sideways would tend to throw it up. Since human beings (other than Michael Moore) are taller than they are wide, a shot too high is more likely to hit than a shot too far right. Whether the same holds true is an untrained rifle shooter I'd doubt, since with a rifle the heavier firearm doesn't move very much during the instant between when the trigger releases and when the bullet exits the barrel).
The problem with gripping a pistol is that the natural grip (owing the shape of our hand and fingers) has the gun pointing about 30-45 degrees to the right, and then wrist then cocking to point it forward. The finger compresses the trigger, and the gun is pressed back into the ball of the thumb. When the trigger releases the ball of the thumb presses forward and in that instant the gun is pushed to the right. One of the first bits of handgun marksmanship training is to grip the gun so that it is a natural extension of the arm, which requires that the trigger be pulled with the last portion of the finger, rather than the stronger intermediate portion. Then, at the moment of trigger release, any movement is straight ahead.]
That reminds me, does sidways shooting with pistols even work? I think an experiment needs to be performed to test the accuracy of "gangster-style" shooting.
Posted by: Alcibiades at December 9, 2005 01:33 PM
Saw an tongue-in-cheek experiment just like that a few years back in a gun magazine, doing several different "gangsta" positions. Results were unfavorable, except for firing blindly around a corner, in which the fellow hit five shots out of six. He suspected that was probably a matter of chance.
Posted by: Tom at December 9, 2005 07:26 PM
The first appearance of the "gansta"-style shooting grip was in "Boyz in the Hood." Any pistol grip that rotates beyond 45 degrees results in a substantial loss of musculo-skeletal strength, dramatically increases muzzle flip, decreases the ability to restrain recoil, and makes any subsequent shot much slower than would otherwise be possible.
One theory for the emergence of this trend is that it sprang out of the shooting style of Ray Chapman, one of the founding members of IPSC. Chapman was right-handed, but left-eye dominant. To compensate, he held his pistol canted about 15 degrees to the left so that it lined up with his left eye. Many spectators saw this style and witnessed what an excellent shooter Chapman was, and incorrectly deduced that the angled grip somehow enhanced his shooting ability. Some Hollywood yahoo may have seen this and thought, 'if a 15 degree cant helps you to shoot like that, I wonder how much better I could shoot with a 90 degree cant.' Who knows.
A rival theory is that the horizontal shooting platform results in shot placement being strung out horizontally. This means that shots fired in a drive-by will stay at torso height and increase their chance of hitting an indiscriminate someone, as opposed to flying overhead.
Posted by: Jeff Bradley at December 10, 2005 02:23 PM
I notice that the sideways hold is not so popular any more. It seems to have been replaced with one, more like the Monrovia photos but adapted to a pistol, in which the gun is held above forehead height and pointed down at the target by cocking the wrist. I hope, if I am attacked, the perp uses a grip like that. Lowers my chances of getting shot by about a million to one.
Posted by: Brerarnold at December 11, 2005 11:26 AM