Is it possible to accurately shoot two guns?


I was watching TV last night and saw one of those scenes that we've all seen too many times. The scene showed a gunperson (PC) holding two (2) guns, shooting and doing a dandy job of decimating the opposition. On TV most everybody hits what they're aiming for, but the thought occurred to me, is it possible to accurately shoot two guns? Can a two-fisted gunslinger ever be as accurate as the one-gun, one-hand method? Is it possible to train the right eye to the right gun and the left eye to the left gun simultaneously? Matt, before you shoot your lip, be a mensch and take Granny Alice and the elves on a long-deserved outing to the gun range and put this issue to rest.

-- A.B., El Cajon

Hee-hee-hee! Grandma + elves + guns = well, let's just say we tried that once. Every range in town now has the Alice family photo tacked up with all their bounced checks and most-wanted posters. Charlton Heston himself came to the house to have a few drinks and cut up Grandma's NRA card. Elves? Guns? Grandma with a Ruger? Yeah, sure. Besides, as a condition of Ma Alice's parole, she can't be around firearms.

But we checked in with the manager at Project 2000 range in El Cajon, and he agreed to help us, as long as we promised not to show up in person. First of all, today's movie world is still suffering from the Tom Mix syndrome. It's not good enough to aim a gun and shoot a guy, you've got to do it hanging off the hood of a car or turning shoulder rolls or flipping your firearm in the air. Yeah, you might learn to shoot "accurately" with two hands, two guns, but not simultaneously, not with both eyes open, and only after plenty of practice. It would also help if you loosen up your definition of "accurately." Don't shoot at anything farther away than about 10 feet. Even Grandma Alice was pretty good at 10 feet; a better question is, what's your accuracy at 200 feet?

If you fire two guns simultaneously with both eyes open, you're not aiming either one of them well. Because of our binocular vision, we can't see independently with each eye at the same time. So the best you can do is close your left eye, aim down the barrel with your right eye, and shoot the gun in your right hand; close your right eye, aim and shoot on the left. And it would help if you lowered the arm that wasn't in use at the time to eliminate the distraction. I'm not sure that's the kind of thing Hollywood has in mind. If our hero needs two guns, already we know he's a lousy shot with one. He can't get somebody with a clean, careful shot, so he makes up for it with volume. The Grandma Alice philosophy: Fire enough bullets, you're bound to hit something eventually. And if you're beginning to measure Hollywood against the laws of physics and logic, your moviegoing days are numbered.

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