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Ever since the TV westerns reigned over the airwaves during the late 50's and early 60's, the art of fast draw has thrilled audiences all over the country. Soon fast draw became a hobby to many of the western stars from these TV shows.

There are numerous events in which wax bullets and blank cartridges are used. In all of these events a target must be hit. The wax bullet must hit a reactive target and the blank cartridge blast must break a balloon. This means that fast draw contests can be held almost anywhere. Because no live ammunition is used, fast draw is considered the safest of all gun sports. In the 35 plus years it has been around, there has not been even one serious accident.

Only single action revolvers are allowed out of western style holsters. The Ruger Blackhawk as well as the infamous Colt .45 have become the most popular choices today. Many of these are built into custom fast draw guns.

The timing device automatically turns on a signal light between 2 and 5 seconds after a set command is given. At the same time a digital timer begins to run. The shooter must react to the light, draw, cock, fire and hit the target. The electronic sensor on the target turns off the timer to the exact thousands of a second. This is the reason that fast draw is not only the safest gun sport in the world but also the fastest.

Fast draw is truly a family sport. There are lots of husband and wife shooters and quite a number of children who are in competition. Both the WFDA (World Fast Draw Association) and the CFDA (Cowboy Fast Draw Association) offer family membership rates. After I got involved, my twin grandsons became interested and started "practicing" to home videos of me shooting at the contests. They would stand in front of the TV, wait for light to come, draw and fire. They got their first "real" holster for their 2nd birthday. They loved to shoot exhibition at contests. Their younger brother also started practicing before he was 2 and between the 3 of them, you never knew who would shoot the fastest and win their "contest". My daughter and her husband had no choice but to get involved. And that they did. We spent a few summers traveling to contests and my son-in-law even shot me down a time or two....of course he had a long walk home.

This past few years, I've been concentrating more on Cowboy Fast Draw which is a little different. You shoot at 21 feet from a target with stock guns and holsters and use wax bullets only. It's a new organization formed by Brad Hemmah of Deadwood, South Dakota and now run by Andy Fink and Shoot Magazine with Cal Eilrich and Mississippi Marshall all at the helm. It's more realistic to the Old West. You have to dress the part and shoot the part. I have had a few good shooting years and shot my way to the All Around Champion of 2005. It's been a lot of miles and whole lot of fun.

When I was first learning about fast draw, I ran into a lot of dead ends seeking information, but persistence paid off and I can offer the following recommendations with confidence. For anybody wanting to learn about fast draw, I highly recommend the videos by Cal Eilrich, a many time fast draw champion. You can learn the secrets of a champion with these 2 hour videos, The Art of Fast Draw and Hit Em Fast. The inside information he reveals is useful for the beginner or the seasoned professional. It helped me tremendously. Howard Darby, another great many time fast draw champion, also has loads of fast draw info on the Gunfighter Zone promoting the sport of fast draw. Next, you'll need a gun and holster. I personally use a Colt 45 that has been tuned by one of the best professional gunsmiths I know, Bob James, who is also a many time fast draw champion. Bob is an excellent "thumber" in the sport. This is the shooting style that I use. When I found Bob, things changed for the better. For you Ruger fans, Wes Fargo, another champion, is also a gunsmith specializing in Rugers. The holster I use is the NN1 (No Name) custom made by Gordon Davis that he and I designed for ease of draw and built for speed. It is featured here on this site.

If you are going to compete in the sport of fast draw, you need to become a member of the WFDA (World Fast Draw Association) or the CFDA (Cowboy Fast Draw Association) Email me if you are interested in becoming a member.

As time went on, I found I also needed a timer so that I could accurately KNOW how fast I was shooting. I purchased a Fast Trac Timer, however, they are no longer a manufacturer. I would suggest Howard Darby's Westerner Speed Timers or the timer systems from CFDA. They are both selling timers that are available instantly. Practice is easy and fun because you can load a drilled out 45 case with a shotgun primer and a wax bullet. C & R Bullets and Bandit all make excellent wax bullets and are also available through CFDA. Be takes LOTS of shooting because the name of the game is PRACTICE, Practice, practice.....

For more information about the sport of fast draw check out The Gunfighter Zone. Howard Darby does an excellent job of promoting the sport and has a site packed with information for WFDA and CFDA as well as Cowboy Action Shooting and Gunfight Reenacting. SASS (Single Action Shooting Society) also has a wealth of information for shooters.

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