Who Is The Fastest Draw In The West?


If you’re like me, you grew up watching television shows about cowboys and the Old West. The Lone Ranger was a regular in our home, and John Wayne was a favorite. And maybe you were left wondering who was the fastest draw in the West.

Well, some people are wondering who is the fastest draw now. On August 19, 2017, the Owatonna (Minnesota) Gun Club gathered for the Cowboy Fast Draw Association Minnesota State Championships. William Morris gives us details:

To compete, gunslingers — most of them wearing period garb such as fringed jackets, calico dresses, and of course cowboy hats — take to the firing line with hands hovering over holstered single-action .45 long Colt revolvers loaded with wax bullets. The objective is to shoot a 24-inch plate, 21 feet away, before the other shooter, but only once a light set into the plate turns on.

“The fastest three hits gets the win. The loser gets an X,” [Mark] Burnham said. Four X’s, and a shooter is out of contention.

Of course, being fast on the draw is only one aspect of winning. Morris continues,


It’s not an easy challenge, and many rounds saw more shots miss the target than hit, despite the fast-shooters adage cited by Bollock: “Fast is fine, but accuracy is final.”

“The guy who won the U.S. National this year is not a fast shooter,” Burnham said. “I’m faster than him, a lot of people here are faster than him. But when it came to the final, he did not miss.”

So, if you want to be the best gunfighter in the West, you’ll have to make sure that you can hit what you are shooting at.

And, if you’re still wondering who was the fastest draw in the Old West, Troy Bollock of Mitchell, South Dakota has this to say,

“Honestly, when you look at the history, there were very few stand-at-10-paces-and-draw fights. It was mostly two drunk cowboys leaving the hotel, and whoever was stupid enough to go first got shot in the back. That was your fast draw.”

 So, maybe the advice to take away from the Old West, after all, is not to get into fights with drunk cowboys.


  1. The fastest I have ever seen is a fella from Montana. You can still see his videos on YOUTUBE. He died of a heart attack a couple of years ago. He was an incredible fast draw and a pretty fair gunsmith for those who wished to compete. His name was Bob Munden. You can still have some smithing done by his assistant. Look up the videos.

  2. I read “Wild Bill” Hickock was the fastest draw in the old west. He got dejected after accidentally killing his friend in a night gunfight, and he was himself gunned down in Deadwood, SD several years later. I also saw a modern shooter on TV once who was also fast & accurrate.

  3. About 10 years ago I saw a video, of a man who pulled his gun, made 6 hits and put the gun back into the holster so fast the limited frames per second hid most of the action. It was like he pulled the gun and placed it back in the holster, having 6 hits.

  4. Fastest Real lawman I have met was Bobby Wilson of Salmon Idaho, A friend of Elmer Keith I saw him shoot 2 shots at a running Jack Rabbit hit on the second shot dump 2 empties reload 2 and re-holster the Ruger 44 Super Blackhawk with a cut down barrel 5″ before the rest of the party could react to the Jack jumping up almost under our feet. My dad who Had seen Elmer shoot 5 shots for 5 hits on hand thrown aspirin bottles with the then New Chief Special said Bobby was faster than Elmer. Bobby used a cross draw holster with the right side of the belt having the loops for the ready rounds. Loads were Keith 260 gr bullets on a very large charge of 2400 from what I can remember.

  5. Re this fast shooting contest with”wax bullets”, which generate no recoil right, proves what.

  6. My friends bob and Becky Munden were the best and fastest at drawing and hitting the targets of anyone out there at the time my friend bob was alive, he died in 2012 on the way back to butte with Becky driving, I sure do miss him a personal friend. By bob. Show the Angels how to draw and shoot. All our love to his wife Becky Munden, from William and Jerry Graybill

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