Gunspinning has a history
of romance and excitement recognized by all fans of the Old
West and the movie Westerns. It is an exciting skill
identified with the nonchalant and somewhat boisterous “Hero
of the Range/Defender of Truth, Justice and the American
is also occasionally shown as an arrogant and impudent action
of disdain by the Bad Guy who wishes to display his refusal to
bow to the authorities when “called out”.
The ability to spin and twirl a six-gun in a seemingly effortless manner has
always impressed viewers, especially those who understand that it is a heavy
instrument with just too many angles and sharp places on it to catch the hands
What is the real fascination with gunspinning? Well, it is the thrill of
juggling, the beauty of baton twirling and the precision of a dancer all rolled
into one performance. Watching the shine of a six-gun as it spins and floats
through the air always finding its way, unerringly, back into the holster is
beautiful to watch and shows that guns, although considered dangerous, can be
terrific entertainment when used in a safe and responsible way.
How do you learn this skill? Start with a gun and a holster. The gun may be real
or a replica but it should be approximately the same size as a Colt Frontier
style revolver with weight in the 2.5 lb. range. The trigger should be smooth to
avoid abrasion to your fingers, the hammer should be rounded to similarly
curtail damage to yourself and the surrounding real estate, and the sights
should be very close to the barrel or non-existent for the above reasons. The
holster may be of varying quality but must hang directly in line with the elbow
when standing relaxed. This holster should hang just low enough that your hand
rests comfortably on the grip of the gun. The holster will be easier to use if
it is lined with a stiffener such as metal to keep it open and ready to accept
the gun as it swings back into it. If the holster is quite loose around the gun
it will also make it much easier to pull it out for each movement.
Practice is a must and it does take a great deal of practice to get smooth.
Begin by using one hand only and learn to control the gun in a “see-saw” action
allowing it to make a half spin forward and a half spin in reverse. Do this over
and over until it become second nature. The forward full spin and reverse full
spin come next. Do not even attempt spinning back to the holster until the gun
becomes very comfortable in your hand. Pulling the gun out and doing the spins
should be the extent of your practice to begin with.
Please ignore any advice passed on to you which suggests that you practice over
a bed. This will cause you to lean forward in an unnatural position (and,
perhaps, really put a scare into whomever is sleeping there). It is better if
you can practice standing upright over a soft surface, i.e. thick carpet, grass,
etc. Many find a good practice method is to kneel in an upright position on a
rug. This has a number of benefits. It puts your arms and body in line with the
holster as if you were standing; it prevents you chasing the gun when tossed in
the air (this forces you to learn to work in a limited area); and the gun stands
less chance of being damaged when dropped because you are already close to the
Gunspinning is one of the most “showy” skills you can develop and it can be done
in a very short period of time. The rewards are almost immediate because many of
the basic skills come easily and lend themselves to fast improvement.
Next issue I will give some pointers on specific movements and how to accomplish
them. In the meantime, Get a gun and start in. I guarantee you will enjoy it.
Also, join the World Gunspinning Association (www.gunspinner.com) and
participate in the Discussion Group found on our website.
Deadshot Dusty Johnson
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