Revolver Shooting—My Alibi

The following information on revolver shooting comes from The Elusive Ten by William Reichenbach. The Elusive Ten is also available to purchase in print.

I believe it is generally conceded that every normal human being, sometime in the course of his life, wishes to write a book. This desire is indulgently accepted by his social circle as a form of mild insanity, similar to the urge of writing love letters or, worse yet, soulful poems, without the attendant secrecy. It is regarded as something inevitable. The fact that a certain technique is required to make the product less objectionable, does not always bother the perpetrator. The effort which may be likened to “letting off steam”, forms a sort of safety valve for almost anything. But sometimes, the patient really thinks that he has something to say that the world should not do without.

I wish to assure my readers that although I have long felt the inspiration for book-writing, I have resisted the urge throughout the years, doubtless to the greater satisfaction of my many good friends. However, the ways of fate are strange. One irresponsible companion induced me, after many years of idleness, to take up revolver shooting again. I fell to it with zest. Being sort of thoroughgoing, I shot and studied at the same time. Although I shot well, I was not happy. The fact that many of my associates did not seem to catch on to the art was extremely disturbing to me. They assured me that they had studied all available literature on the subject. That they were trying, painstakingly and untiringly, was obvious. I therefore proceeded to give them some pointers. And lo and behold! (what it means I don’t know, but lo and behold!) they progressed.

And an idea was born.

Maybe there are other shooters who have tried and have never succeeded? Maybe I really have a message to convey? Maybe I have stumbled onto something too valuable to be allowed to perish in obscurity? Maybe I can satisfy a demand for an illuminating treatise? Try and stop me.

Seriously though, the cause for the poor performances generally seen in revolver shooting, is to be found in inadequate knowledge of the true technique. Coaching, with rare exceptions, is done along antiquated lines, wholly lacking in results. My studies have convinced me that only a complete departure from the trodden paths of outdated teaching would provide the solution to the difficulty.

And if I had been contented with this discovery, this Manual would never have seen the light of day.

But the trouble with me is that I am so serious about this thing that I cannot keep it for myself. I feel that I must relate my own experience so that others may benefit. If you suffer my book in silence, and if I cannot stir you out of your lethargy and force you to take the matter just as seriously as I do, then I must blame my writing technique. The matter itself, my dear and hopeful reader, is worth any one’s while. The question, therefore, seems to be less one of justification for the conception of this book than one of finding apologies for its style, or lack of style. Although old-timers may shoot me on sight, I gamble on being useful to you, my dear reader. You alone are the judge to say whether I have the right to burst out in writing.

Assuming that I shall be forgiven, I proceed to call my brain-child a MANUAL. It probably is one. It sounds rather nice. To start with, I have made a firm resolution to let this Manual deal solely with the technique of holding, aiming and firing a revolver. If you seek information on internal and external ballistics too, then I advise you to ask one of the guncranks down the block. They are more numerous than wild rabbits. The bit of technical stuff which you may find in my Manual was just thrown in to impress you.

As for the title, I settled on “THE ELUSIVE TEN, a New Deal in Revolver Shooting”. (The “Ten” referring, of course, to the “Ten-Ring” of the target.) But why should the “Ten” be described as elusive? If you do not already know the answer, you soon will.

Satisfaction at having realized a latent propensity for writing, is complete only when the driving factor has been the honest urge to submit knowledge gained in study, knowledge which we know is lacking in many quarters. It seems simply unbearable to know that with the excellent material we have in our country, we should have so few successful revolver shots. The irony of it! The revolver was invented and perfected right here and it actually played an important role in the building of our vast empire and yet we are essentially not a nation of revolver shots. Europe has been much more consistent. There the modern automatic was conceived and the actual percentage of real marksmen over there brings home, quite forcibly, how really sad the picture looks in our country. What is the cause of that? It cannot be blundering legislation only, controlling the distribution of hand-arms, because Europe too has legislation of various kinds. I believe, it is nothing but lethargy, pure and simple. Indifference toward a sport which imposes so much control over one’s self. Are we Americans really steeped so much in nervous haste, in impatient tackling of vivacious sports only, sports which demand feverish action? Football, Baseball, Boxing, etc.? Not quite. Take fishing, or its more scientific branch: Bait Casting. We have there many thousands of really good performers. Why should that sport which surely demands skill, patience, knowledge, nerve control to a high degree, produce so many experts? The answer is simple: The equipment and the technique have been developed methodically and logically. Cannot we say this about revolver shooting also? I am afraid that the answer must be partly in the negative. Without a logically developed technique we discourage too many aspirants. It appears as if only sporadic efforts have ever been made on the part of those that should have been leaders, namely the experts in our sport. It is true that we have had and still have some remarkable shots, but they either tackled the job of distributing their knowledge in quite an unsuitable or dispirited way, or not at all.

I have made an effort in this Manual to fill the gap and do hope that interest will be stirred up among the coming experts to cause them to take a leading role in the development and the distribution of the true technique of revolver shooting. Since we in America still cling to the revolver, as witness our vast police forces, guards, most clubs, etc., who all favor the revolver, how important, how vitally important, then is it to provide them with “technique”, which up to now they do not possess.

I venture the prediction that, since this Manual contains so much controversial matter, there will be criticism galore. That would be fine. Anything is better than the present indifference on the part of our should-be leaders.

We need new blood —
New ideas —
A New Deal.

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Revolver SHooting - My Alibi

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