Fast is Fine, but Accuracy is Final

Wyatt-earp-1923-lgWyatt Earp in 1923, alive and well at age 75

This quotation, spoken by Kevin Costner in the 1994 semi-biographical film, Wyatt Earp, may not have been voiced by the real Wyatt Earp, but it certainly captures a philosophy many believe he would avow.

Legend has it that Wyatt carried a Buntline Special revolver, a long-barreled variant of the Colt single-action Army handgun but this is now thought to be a fabrication. Several researchers have largely proved this to be a myth made up by writers capitalizing on Wyatt’s fame.

But it is a fact that on the day of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (Oct 26, 1881), Earp carried an 8 inch (200mm) barreled .44 caliber 1869 American model Smith & Wesson.

Drawing and aiming such a long barrel definitely takes more time than doing the same with a 5.5-inch barreled single action Army revolver he might expect his assailants to carry. This suggests that accuracy, via the increased sight radius of that 8 inch barrel, was a significant concern to the lawman. Remember, this was a day he expected he might need to stop someone who would be trying to kill him, stop them dead in their tracks.

Today, with the action pistol sports and their emphasis on speed very much in the ascendency, Wyatt might watch the fountain of bullets at what is often considerably less than twenty feet, raise an eyebrow and suggest, “You boys might want to slow down a bit and try aiming.”

And we could imagine he might point over to the Bullseye range as a place to go and learn a thing or two about putting the bullet where intended.

But reports say Wyatt never talked much and, when he did, it was mostly in one syllable words.

He just did what needed doing, accurately and efficiently. He was a do-er, not a talker.

Fortunately for us, actions speak louder than words.

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