Gangsta shooting pose

You know what I’m talking about. Whenever you see a movie or TV show about African American gangsters they’re always holding the gun sideways, even when they’re shooting something from afar.
I’m not a shooting expert by any means, so I ask just effective is that shooting style? How hard is to aim the gun when you’re holding it like that?

It worked for Simon and Simon.

Extremely ineffective.

Which is why so many bystanders are killed by gang shooters. They’re morons who throw out bullets indiscriminately, hoping to hit something while looking badass doing it.
Back in 1999, a friend and I went to a local range on the edge of the city. Due to overflow, we got put in the separated 6 bay rifle range. A bunch of gang punks came in to shoot in their as well.

Idiots couldn’t hit the broad side of a planet if they were standing on it. We were openly laughing our asses off at them while they scowled and tried to look threatening at us. Except they kept looking at our targets (tight groups) and the (much larger caliber) guns we were using and then changing their minds about doing anything about it.

Probably for the best that they didn’t take the time and effort to observe our shooting techniques and try it for themselves.

You need to get these installed. :smiley:
One of the gun magazines tested this a few years back and had greater difficulty controlling recoil and accuracy was reduced.

We have covered this one a few times before. They think it is supposed to look stylish for them although I am not sure why. It looks retarded and is even more ineffective as a shooting pose. Holding it the right way would be easier on all levels.

When extended out with the weapon in the vertical position, a handgun will generally return to the vicinity of the aiming point after the recoil, particularly if one is holding it in a shooter’s stance with both hands. Gravity will naturally bring one’s arms back to the horizontal position

When extended with the weapon horizontal, that advantage and control is largely lost. If it was effective, all the cops would do it. It’s all for show.

The ineffectiveness could, possibly, be the motive. It’s easier to squeeze the trigger if you think there’s a decent chance you’ll miss and you’re more likely to go out and be a criminal if the odds of getting shot by your fellow crims is lower.

Obviously, this would be a sort of subconscious thing and totally unprovable. :wink:

I don’t know the way that cause and effect runs with this, but the popularity of this ‘technique’ was coincident with the rise of Steven Seagal as an action movie star[sic]. Seagal, of course, likes to do this hand over head gun turned horizontal thing that would be impossible to control or actually shoot if the gun wasn’t firing blanks synchronized with squibbed blood packs on the target.

A similar technique was at one time adopted by tactical shooters with submachine pistols like the Mini- and Micro-Uzi, the Beretta 93, and the HK VP70Z, the idea being that the muzzle rise in automatic or burst fire would pull the muzzle across the target zone. However, anyone who has actually fired automatic weapons will realize that this is a pretty uncontrolled technique that is unlikely to hit the kill zone on a target. Modern subgun and carbine tactics employ a 2- or 3-round burst that is aimed at the target’s center of mass with the intent of multiplying the probability of an effective hit. Experienced users with the HK MP-5 submachine gun can put three rounds inside of the 9 ring on a B27 target, virtually guaranteeing that a target will go down, which is far better than putting ten rounds out in space or through a target’s fleshy arm or leg.

There is a technique called point shooting (or from an US Army manual on the training, “Quick Kill”), in which the iron or optic sights are not used; instead, the shooter is trained to aim the weapon by feel. The merits of this method are questionable at any range longer than three or four meters, although I have seen well-trained shooters capable of hitting the black on a target at 25 or 30 feet using this method. This also violates Safety Rule #3 (“Keep your finger off the trigger until sights are on the target.”) Personally I would only use it at near-touching distance, with the drawn back laying along my ribcage in combination with a horizontal arm bar to prevent gun snatch, which is a stance I borrowed from wing chun training. In any case, the gun is held in the normal vertical orientation in all forms of point shooting.


IMO it looks like the guy is so tough that he’s ‘screwing the bullet in’ with his mojo instead of just letting it go on his own. He’s so bad and angry that he has to give the bullets that ‘extra twist’ so the target knows he’s being shot by him instead of just some random bullet that happens to be flying by.

I think it was J.B. Hickock who said that accuracy is more important than speed. If he were alive today, he’d probably add ‘or posing’.

The history of “bandit shooting” which made its way into John Woo films and from there to gangbangers’ poses can be found here. Interesting to learn that that stance originally stemmed from a need to overcome the Mauser Broomhandle Pistol’s early design flaws.

That the police secretly invented and promoted this shooting style as “badass” so the criminals would be rendered ineffective.

I think I may have heard that here

One can suggest a very weak rational reason for it - it causes the brass to be ejected straight up or straight down, making it easier to scoop up as you leave, so the cops don’t get it for evidence. I seriously doubt that that consideration enters into the “gangsta” mind set, but it provides a possible advantage.

I heard somewhere (sorry, only cite is a friend in Texas who’s a gun nut) that you’d use this pose when you’re more concerned about rate of fire than accuracy – “spray and pray”. Perhaps it’s something in the way the arm is positioned that allows the muscles to squeeze off shots more quickly.

This might also be connected to the brass casings yabob mentioned: If they fall straight down out of the gun, that might in principle lead to getting the brass out quicker, and thus rendering the gun ready for the next round sooner. In practice, the difference would probably be negligible, but that might be the reasoning someone had for coming up with this pose.

I have a buddy that used to be a hospital administrator. He told me that the cops successfully arrested the shooter when he came in to have his broken wrist treated.

Ejected cartridges don’t fall into the gun, they are (forcefully) ejected out of the ejection port, like the opening in the middle top of the slide in this picture. Although most pistols have an ejector arm that goes out to the side, ejected brass can actually go anywhere from straight right to upward, and in fact with many modern handguns (the Glock design in particular) the brass is typically ejected directly up and has the mild hazard of coming right back down on the shooter, which sucks when you have a hot cartridge get caught in your open-necked shirt or between your brow and shooting glasses. (You’ll find most experienced Glock owners wearing a billed cap and crew-necked shirt just for this reason.)

There are a handful of weapons, like the FN P90 Personal Defense Weapon, that eject spent cartridges down, but this is more to support fully ambidextrous use than to promote reliable feeding; you could turn this gun upside down and it would eject cartridges forcefully upward, well clear of the action.

Oh, and that line in Lethal Weapon uttered by Danny Glover’s character about the Beretta 92F, “…fifteen in the mag, one up the pipe, wide ejection port, no feed jams,”? Not true. I’ve seen the 92F feed jam (admittedly, on subsonic ammunition that had an OAL outside of specification), and I’ve also had one stovepipe on me (where the cartridge gets caught between the chamber and the breechface). The open slide design was intended to save weight on this pretty massive gun, and has the side effect of making it particularly susceptible to contamination, especially in sandy or gritty environments as discovered during Operation Desert Storm, which is why most USSOCOM units went either to the modified Browning-type enclosed slide SIG Sauer P226, or back to some customized variation of the 1911 pistol. (The Marine Corps Force Recon never let go of their 1911s…apparently they weren’t too impressed with how the 92F performed in trials and were disappointed with the decision that the SIG Sauer was too expensive.)

Anyway, there is no logical reason that gangbangers shoot this way except that they’ve seen other 'bangers (in real life and on the movie screen) shoot this way, which is just another reason why you shouldn’t look to Hollywood for any information on firearms, or indeed, any factual topic.


Right, which is why the difference would be negligible: Any velocity gain from gravity over the distance it takes the casing to clear the gun would be much smaller than the ejection velocity. But even if everyone who does it nowadays is copying off of someone else, someone, at some point, must have come up with the idea on their own, and it seems like that (fallacious) thinking might have been part of the reason.

But there isn’t even a perceived advantage to this, in terms of ejection. The limit to fast a firearm can cycle is typically the speed it can be fed from the magazine, and is governed by the inertia of the slide and the spring force. With regard to fads like firing “gangsta-style” or some of the other silliness portrayed in films (i.e. walking around with one’s finger on the trigger, jumping or rolling while firing, et cetera) it is done essentially because someone thought it looked cool, and was subsequently copied by other filmmakers and then by the general population of uninformed and untrained gun users. No logic necessary.


In Hollywood, however, or in HBO television, a low-level mafia guy reprimanded his gangsta recruits for holding the guns sideways. It was in an early episode of The Sopranos.

See, you can learn something from watching TV!

The rationale I’ve heard for the sideways style is that recoil will bring your weapon more quickly to the next target if you’re shooting from right to left (or left to right if you’re right handed). That’s nonsense, though. To quote Frank Castle, they put the sights on the top for a reason.