1936 LA Sheriff’s Department Video: Don’t Try This At Home

I know this is a long video, but the cringes you’ll feel (as these LASD marksmen shoot chalk from each others’ fingers and cigars from each others’ mouths) will be worth it . . .

These were clearly brave men from a tough age, but why would these cops risk disfigurement and death for the sake of a movie? Maybe they just thought it was good clean fun, or maybe they just didn’t have the benefit of all the knowledge (learned from tragic experience) that guides our gun-safety doctrine today.

Either way this colorized vintage video shows gun-handling so dangerous it’s almost NSFW, but they’re still better than FPSRussia: at least they used ear pro (at 5:30).


  1. avatar WA_2A says:

    Good thing cops have exemptions from most gun-control laws!!! [/s]

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    Historic viddy, but the music? It started with the theme from “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.,” which was cool, but descended rapidly after that. And yeah, there was a time when Flent’s Ear Stopples were the height of auditory protection, just beating out filters broken off some Old Gold cigarettes. I sh1t you not.

  3. avatar g says:

    We had a similar discussion on NWFA… crazy to be the guy holding the chalk.

    But who wouldn’t want to write their name with a full-auto for fun?

    1. avatar ChuckN says:

      No need to worry, these guys were clearly magicians with
      firearms. Seriously, they must have practiced regularly
      or something. Why, the halls of LASD and LAPD
      precincts still reverberate with the tales of policemen
      who could actually hit what they were aiming at.

  4. avatar tron says:

    Another lift from reddit

    1. avatar Doug says:

      Because if it was on Reddit, it’s not allowed to be posted anywhere else?

      BTW it’s worth noting that if it was posted to Reddit, it was lifted from somewhere else first…

  5. avatar Russ Bixby says:

    “These were clearly brave men from a tough age, but why would these cops risk disfigurement and death for the sake of a movie? Maybe they just thought it was good clean fun, or maybe they just didn’t have the benefit of all the knowledge (learned from tragic experience) that guides our gun-safety doctrine today.”

    Um, they were not alone in this sort of behavior. It was a different age, when the Superman in the serials was known to twist arms to make bad guys talk and soldiers would still crouch in snow for weeks at a time. We Americans were then closer to our roots, the land and the beasts. We were tougher, individually and as a people.

    Playground equipment was made of steel, had gravel beneath it and kids openly carried knives in school. Guns were not evil death machines, and… well, you get the idea.

    These deputies knew safety, even though the Four Rules yet to be engraved on tablets. However, marksmanship mattered more to cops back when the lawless west was still within living memory and a demonstration team might do some risky shooting with little regard for accidents because they trusted one another.

    I’m a perfectly good pilot, but I’d not try to do what the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds do – because I know my limitations.

    With the best shots in what was at the time a very good department… I might just hold the chalk myself, but I don’t smoke.

    1. avatar William says:

      Or maybe it was the Phillies Blunts.

  6. avatar In Memphis says:

    “I invented this gag, Rabbit. Only in my day, the rookie got naked. And we also used blanks. You’re a sick [email protected]%er, Mac.”

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Broken Lizard. Funny as hell.

  7. avatar LeftShooter says:

    Cool video, thanks for sharing. Think the trick shots were performed with wax bullets?

    Also, it seems like those cops were into gun culture and sure practiced (once a month!) much more than the current breed, which is a shame.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      “Think the trick shots were performed with wax bullets?”

      Deffinatley chocolate.

    2. avatar Azman says:

      Would it make a difference at that range if they *were* wax bullets if someone got shot?

      1. avatar Erik says:

        Uh,yeah it would.

        I load wax bullets to practice .38 in my garage. As a joke a friend and I once shot each other in the feet with wax bullets. You don’t even feel them through an average sneaker

        However those are not wax bullets, wax wouldn’t punch a hole through the wall behind them

    3. avatar FrankDio says:

      Saw some regular city cops shoot one weekend. Very disappointed, any of the guys we just saw could beat them with triple blind folds on.
      Asked one how often he shot. He said most just shot to qualify once a year.
      They were just at the range this day for a bet. God help us! Maybe we should let some concealed Carry’s give them a “POLICE” Course in safe shooting? Or how to really hit what you AIM at?

  8. avatar Fabian_CH says:

    Can’t believe no one got shot!

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      Maybe they were aiming for each other.

  9. avatar Sean says:

    Aww hell no is all I have to say to that video. thankfully though the marksmanship training as of late has been SUB PAR with the LAPD, or those two women in the truck that looked nothing like Dorner’s might be dead.

  10. avatar gof says:

    Nice, video can’t play unless you go to crack tube. Can we get a link or alternate source?

  11. avatar Phil says:

    I shot the Sheriff’s…cigar

  12. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

    Notice how many were badly off balance when they were shooting?
    Jack Weaver was 8 years old when this film was made, which explains
    the wobbly one hand shooting on the range. It wasn’t until 1959 that
    he developed his now famous canted, and two-handed shooting stance.
    The Weaver stance is so ubiquitous now, it’s more than a little amazing
    that someone didn’t think of it before 1959. Basically, they were using the
    shooting style of the old West gun fighters with their Colt Peacemakers.
    I just loved that skirmish line firing and advancing. Anyone else? Yikes!

    This would be perfect for a MST(Mystery Science Theater) voice re-dub.

  13. avatar ensitue says:

    I remember being the guy (kid) who took my JR High School class to the LAPD Academy for a day trip, I’m the kid who got to shoot a 45ACP Riesing FA w/no supervision and put down the 6’2″ “Judo Instructor” with a fist shot to the SP-A (I was 13yo and weighed 76 pounds but the ash hat got outa hand, tried to prove how tough he was on a 13 YO, he also used impolite language just prior to his learning moment)
    That Sensei lost his job, [paid a visit to my dad for some ‘pay-back’ and HE ended-up in the hospital that time; second learning moment]
    For some reason my “respect” for LEO’s (and all other I gotta gun/badge ash hats) has been tempered by RWE ever since.)
    PS LASD LEO trick shooters did use wax bullets, at least when shooting inside school auditoriums (really)

  14. avatar BLAMMO says:

    Too foxtrotting funny.

  15. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I found a similar video from the mid 1960s glorifying around-the-clock Sheriff helicopters over Los Angeles County. Of course they portray everyone as totally helpless (and unarmed) facing prowlers, burglars, stalkers, and attackers which is why the residents “need” the expensive measure. And the objective? One of the proponents announces that they are attempting to achieve a “crime free city” (at 18:02). The narrator also mentions, “To even approach the utopian goal of a crime free city …” (at 20:58).

    I am somewhat surprised to see that the civilian disarmament movement was in full swing 55 years ago. I am also somewhat surprised to see that our “overlords” wanted pervasive aerial surveillance — the precursor to aerial drones — 55 years ago.

    Here is the video:

  16. avatar mike says:

    Range fee 25cents…. no hearing pro anywhere…. no masks and gloves when handling lead….. ahhhh the good ole days!

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