In the video below, JayDaYoungan’s crew violate The Four Rules of Gun Safety with the usual aplomb. Students of the rap genre will not be surprised to see the vocal artist aim his handgun at the camera, then turn it sideways. Now you might think . . .

That this is a bad idea. After all, there’s no support hand involved to stabilize a shot and the sights are useless.

What’s more, any shot fired will cause the gun to recoil sideways. Human anatomy being what it is, putting the gun back on target after a lateral move is slower than doing so when the gun recoils vertically.

Speaking of human anatomy . . .

When shooting a handgun with one hand, it’s a good idea to tilt (i.e. cant) the gun slightly sideways.

As Sam1911 points out over at highroad.org, the adjustment places the arm bone in a more natural position. “Picture a boxer with his ‘dukes up,” Sam1911 suggests. By the same token, point at something and see how your hand is tilted.

Anyway, that’s how pro shooters roll (so to speak), so it cant (so to speak) be a bad idea.

FWIW, there are a lot theories offering explanations for gangstas tendency to rotate their gun sideways.

One blames Hollywood; directors told actors to hold their prop pistol sideways so the gun didn’t block their face. Another possible reason: it’s easier to hit multiple targets during a drive-by with the gun held sideways; the “logic” being that rapid, unaimed follow-up shots flying sideways will cause more damage than bullets that whiz over the heads of a rival gang.

In any case, a little one-handed hand tilt goes a long way.

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78 Responses to Turning Your Handgun Sideways is a GOOD Idea: Gun for Beginners

  1. Oh lord…I believe it’s called “canting” yer gat. Don’t encourage homie. It’s like a freakin’ war zone outside as I type. Happy 4th…

  2. This is as dumb as the pants sagging thing. A trend that started in state prisons as a mark of a man that is….shall we say…..”claimed”?….”Owned” maybe…either way, pants falling off a bitch and holding the piece sideways is just low class.

    • I don’t know why you people keep parroting that myth with such glee. It originated in prison culture simply because prisoners were given ill-fitting clothing and no belts as a form of extrajudicial punishment. From there, in naturally crossed over to ‘gangsta rap’ culture as a form of ‘street cred’, and eventually wound up becoming popular with white teenagers, as all black musical trends are wont to do. A little bit of research and basic human intelligence goes a long way. I know it’s hard for you people, but try to think critically.

      • I remember watching a prison documentary sometime ago where one of the former inmates stated basically what matty 9 said above, so perhaps it is not a myth? I don’t know, but that is what the fellow in the documentary said. Also, what do you mean by “you people?”

      • I was just thinking to myself, “I hope somebody clears up that insignificant baggy pants thing in the most condescending way possible.”
        Thank you, Verendus, for stepping up and making it happen.

        • its advertisement for fags. they’ll sag their pants and wear their boxers with the opening in the back. its strange, a lot of thugs in prison have 10 kids but when they’re doing time, its butthole time. I’ve heard a few say, “I aint no damn faggot, but I still gotta get a nut.” It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching or catching. your still playing ball…. they think its ok as long as they’re in prison. Their daddies came home from prison sagging his pants because we was probably turned into a punk against his will in prison. Now, we all know they’re creatures of habit, so he does it on the street, looking cool. Then everyone else is doing it, with no clue at all.

      • Actually he’s right…I think you’re just too quick to be a SJW… also, you don’t know what the term extrajudicial means.

      • Whenever you hear someone repeat that little factoid about baggy pants you know they have no idea what they’re talking about. Which might be partially a good thing, insofar as you know they’ve not a crook (or at least an incompetent one) but talking about things you don’t understand still isn’t a good look.

        You know how we make fun of media bozos that act like they know about guns while mentioning how they know a rifle that fires 30 clipazines a second?

      • Being discriminatory for white, black or yellow is stupid. The trend of loose baggy clothing is a little more than stupid.
        The clothing is cumbersome and dangerous and the prisons were initiating an inference of prisoners being so dominated that they could be made to look stupid. It caught on, not only did they accept stupid it became cool to look as stupid. it became a fashion. I do not think it caught on for my generation or the rocket science community. It is what it is, stupid. It still makes the wearer look like they are not in control of themselves. Too bad. We see it and pop them right into the pitiful category and not capable. I have not been disappointed with this assessment in years.

      • I worked in corrections 13 years. It is no myth. Males that wanted to show they were availible would dye their underwear in red koolaide which dries pinkish and would wear their pants sagging to display their underwear. Now just because your daddy,brother, buddy told you it was not for that reason when they came our sagging to f’ing bad that is where it came from.

      • That’s only the beginning. There seems to be an allergy that has spread to all ganstas and wannabe ganstas to seatbelts. How many drug/gun charges would never have been laid but for some dummy cruising down the street and getting pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt, we’ll never know.

      • It is also harder to jump over fences with yer crotch down around yer knees. (I shouldn’t be giving them these practical hints)

    • I can personally vouch for the ill-fitting prison pants. I worked for a while as a videographer for FLDOC, shooting training videos in prisons across the state before the whole “baggy pants” started, I recognized the “fashion” and “gansta walk” from seeing inmates having to hold up pants that didn’t fit. I recognized it immediately when I started seeing it on the street.

      The “it means you’re somebody’s bitch” story is wrong and perpetuates homophobic stereotypes. An elementary school teacher I know would actually tell her students that myth. What a terrible thing to say to little kids.

    • As a retired cop, I can’t tell you all how grateful I was of the hangin’ baggy pants thing when in a foot pursuit – I almost didn’t catch them from laughing so hard as their pants fell down around their ankles and watching them trip and try to pull them up while trying to run. While working gangs, I asked a couple of them why they wore their pants hanging down – reply was to show off their underwear. I don’t think any of them really know why they do it other than it’s a culture thing.

      • All you have to do is consider the source. It’s not like gangbangers and other lowlife criminals are very bright. Even people on welfare are smarter than them, because at least they figured out how to steal by having the money handed to them! Just think about a money at the zoo, they copy everything that the people or other monkeys do, so while these low IQ morons are in prison they copy what they see – pants around their knees, turning a gun sideways, holding their nutsack, and the limping thing when they walk!

        • LOL! Yes, no doubt you’re right! These guys aren’t super bright – thank God.

    • Actually, the sagging pants thing on the street originated back in the day when police pat-downs didn’t allow for aggressively feeling the crotch area, and sagging the pants allowed people to hide things in their underwear or pants with less danger of them being found.

  3. Wow! Well, I hope Mr. Farago is not a certified FA instructor, otherwise he’s teaching people a lot of bad stuff. Gansta style eh?

    I don’t know any pro shooter, me been one, who uses the “gangsta style” to shoot one handed.

    Poor article!

    • At no point did he say to shoot sideways, he only recommended a slight tilt when shooting one handed. FWIW, I don’t tilt my strong hand when I shoot one handed, but I do tilt my weak hand to better align with my dominant eye.

      You must not have read the article very closely if you think he is advocating gangsta style.

      • It’s standard practice to advise students shooting one hand only/support-side to cant the gun about 10 degrees inboard. This counteracts the natural ‘twist’ of the arm structure to help recoil absorption and makes it easier to get the sights in front of the dominant eye (unless you really WANT to handicap your shooting by using your non-dominant eye, of course). It also tends to keep errant bullets fired before full recoil recovery hitting in the upper left quadrant of the target/adversary–where the important bits are located.

    • You should post less until you read more. Like… at least beyond the first sentence of the article.

  4. The sideways thing comes from drive-bys. Try pointing a gun out of a car window holding it the proper way, you’ll notice you have to sit forward, exposing your head and chest to return fire as well as your face for identification. Lean back gangster style and use one hand, you can hide everything but your wrist below the widow or behind the b-pillar. Remember aiming isn’t important, strictly spray and pray, if you can’t see the target they can’t see you.

    • Aiming isn’t important? I’ll suggest you get some conceal carry insurance, you’ll be needing some with that advice.

    • Its just because it looks cool. How much thought and planning do you think an uneducated and untrained gang member would put into a drive by?

      • “Its just because it looks cool. How much thought and planning do you think an uneducated and untrained gang member would put into a drive by?”

        I think you’re on the right wavelength on that.

        The version I have heard is that a Hollywood movie was being shot, and in their ‘research’, the producers of the movie asked law enforcement to see a bunch of security cam footage of actual store-business armed robberies.

        In one of them, the robber was holding it sideways. That made an impression on the film researcher for its novelty, so the movie was made with guns held sideways.

        Then life started to mimic Hollywood ‘artistry’, and more movies started doing it that way.

        Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy thing, I suppose…

    • I figured that the side ways tilt came from when Mac-10 machine pistols were cheap and full auto capable when americans citizens could still buy and register new select fire firearms.. So while a felon could still not legally own a gun, full auto Mac-10’s were more commonly available.

      I’d read that the Mac – 10 had been a favorite of drug gangs in the seventies and eighties for drive by’s and that the Mac-10, because of it’s high rate of fire, worked more reliably tilted side ways to clear the chamber of expended brass.

      So maybe it was a combination of better concealment for doing drive by’s, and to make the Mac-10 operate more reliably. Who knows.

      For what ever reason, it is better for gangsta’s to stay gangsterish, and keep holding the pistol sideways; it greatly improves the survival rate of law abiding citizens, if they get shot at by such a “cool” and ineffective technique.

  5. I don’t cant my auto loading pistol at all when shooting strong hand only and never had a problem hitting center of target and was surprised how fast I could shoot one handed.

    • That’s the difference: ‘Strong hand only.’ Using your ‘regular’ hand and dominant eye, there’s no point in canting the gun–it’s already lined up. It’s using the support-side hand only and your dominant eye that needs a bit of cant–otherwise, you have to bring the gun over to your ‘shooting side’ to align the sights.

      • Lining up the sights with a cross dominant eye requires no cant at all. A simple drift of about two inches is all it takes.
        I would also point out that canting alone does not move the sights significantly to reach the opposite eye’s line of sight.

  6. Roughly 50% of people’s arms become more stable with a slight cant. I’ve seen this demonstrated in handgun classes. There is some or no improvement in accuracy.

  7. My 9 year old son ridicules the sideways “gangsta” style and says “The sights are on top for a reason!“.

    The only time I ever heard the sideways method was useful was by the Chinese with their full-auto copies of the C96 pistol. The recoil would cause the shots to spread in a fan shaped pattern.

  8. I shoot one handed more often than not since I shoot in a Bullseye league. I find the cant tends to happen naturally. It feels more relaxed and I haven’t noticed any decrease in accuracy. It’s not the same as a sideways hold.

  9. If this were true, those $4000 race pist ols would have the si ghts mounted on a cant.

  10. In that raps video, I think that’s an airsoft gun at 1:22. Nothing says “dangerous” like a little plastic pellet flying at spit ball velocity.

  11. Interesting. I’m a cross dominant shooter, so I tend to put a slight tilt in my gun anyways, to more easily align the sights to my dominant left eye. this is interesting to read.

  12. Self-conscious urban youths and their wannabe/groupies avoid doing anything that might be seen as legitimate, customary, or mainstream in order to distinguish themselves from their imaginary oppressors. Proper firearm handling is just another example of “acting white.”

  13. Back in the early 90’s, when this started being discussed on rec.guns, two points were mentioned.
    1) An American Olympic shooter started holding a revolver canted sideways.
    2) Black GI’s taught this because that was the way they held the M3 Grease Gun.

  14. Really as long as you can put projectile on target in a critical situation it shouldn’t matter if the weapon is sideways or upside down……survival is what matters

  15. Ask martial artists about “natural position”, and don’t forget the camera – the proverbial bar fight will be spectacular. It has less to do with bones and more with perceived and real advantage in alignment of forearm tendons and muscles.

    For close-in point shooting, why not? Not unlike old technique of firing pure tracer from sideways-placed long gun, you do not need sights here.

  16. When I was in Vietnam, we grunts would sometimes rotate the auto rifle to the left (ejection port up) so the recoil on full auto would cause the rifle to recoil left-wards, resulting in a fan-shaped spread of rounds downrange, rather than the weapon climbing in full-auto recoil. It wasn’t so noticeable in M16A1’s if the automatic burst was limited to three rounds – if one let rip the entire magazine on full auto, the rifle would climb significantly. In Vietnam I once had a select-fire M14 with bipods, and when I fired it full auto from any other position than prone/on the pods, even a three round burst would result in the rifle being at 45-degrees on the last shot. I learned never to use the weapon in full auto except in the most dire circumstances. Troops in subsequent conflicts undoubtedly learned these things, too.

    As to the gangbangers rotating their handguns 90-degrees, I didn’t know the reason they do it outside of “street fashion” or copying the movies, and I don’t care. I just see gunsmiths losing an opportunity for work by putting a second set of sights on the side of the pistol slide. Maybe one of the gun manufacturers will pick up on that idea for a street cred handgun! As to the legitimate use of a slight cant when shooting with the non-dominant hand, I’d not heard of that – don’t do it myself when I shoot left-handed (I’m a rightie) – I just have to adjust my head so I get my dominant right eye in line to aim over the sights.

  17. You guys are over analyzing this. They hold the pistol sideways because that’s how it come out of the box. πŸ™‚

  18. I think it’s a traditional thing. I saw a Nat Geo pic of a pygmy holding a bow and arrow horizontal.

  19. I believe there’s actually something to tilting your pistol.

    For starters there’s the whole center axis relock stance. Not gonna go into it being good or not because others are far more qualified.

    However, I’m cross eyed dominant. Right handed with left dominant eye. I CAN shoot all the other methods by either forcing myself to use my right eye or just modifying my stance to use my left. But when I tilt, it blocks the sight from my right eye and I obtain a sight picture instantaneously. There’s a definite increase in speed for me.

    So I’ll say that for me it kinda works.

  20. I honestly see no problem holding a gun sideways its not the way to shoot if you aiming at a distance but rather clise quarters where aim is not specific i dont need to aim if im just shooting something less than 10 yards away and who mafe the rules for the proper way to shoot arent rules made to be broken if you need to use sights at less than 10 yards away you might as well run away screaming when i go to the range and shoot my handgun i try different kinds of ways to shoot from the hip sideways two handed right hand left hand etc.. when i use my ar its not as mobile as a pistol so its not many different ways to try different ways but a proficient shooter should feel comfortable in any position . Just think if someone breaks into your home and you have your gun are you going to say wait let me get into proper position to shoot if they coming at you no you react its not a deer in the woods 100 yards away

  21. “When shooting a handgun with one hand, it’s a good idea to tilt (i.e. cant) the gun slightly sideways.”

    A few years ago when I was struggling to shoot tight groups weak-hand only, a fellow instructor suggested that I incorporate a bit of a cant to my weak-hand presentation. Not Hollywood gangsta-style, much less of a tilt.

    This presentation worked like a charm, tightening up my groups considerably and enabling faster follow-up shots.

    However, I haven’t found the same to be the case when shooting with my strong hand only. In fact, it makes things worse.

  22. That was the worst song Eva!
    Rap music and the ” hip hop culture” that seems to have been embraced by black America are the source of a lot of their problems
    They would be better off listening to the country song ” Humble and Kind”

  23. Sideways is terrible technique for all the above reasons, but I think it also has something to do with how you make a fist. If you throw a punch that is the position your fist ends up in. For someone with no training that is going to feel more natural.

    I shoot with a slight cant. Cross-eye dominant, it helps line up the sights for me. YMMV

  24. I watched a Hickock45 video where he,using a full auto glock 18, was trying to find a way to prevent muzzle rise when firing. After many tries he found that holding the weapon with a cant gave more control putting more bullets on target.
    Myself,If I can get my arm out straight want to index the sights or at least get a flash sight picture.Plus I don’t do full auto,I have no use for it.

  25. Pants sagging, walking around with your pants on the ground.

    Reason for the sagging pants, when in the chain gangs down south,
    the Boss Man would feed the men minimal rations, many lost weight as a result.
    No new pants for the chain gang members.

    You talk back to the Boss Man and it did not end well for you or the rest of the gang.

    So the sagging pants were a way for the men to disrespect the Boss Man.

  26. The drive-by theory makes total sense as it supports the natural position of your hand when your arm is extended sideways while seated and facing forward.

  27. There’s no theory as to why these morons hold their guns sideways. The majority of people they hit are children.
    A more disturbing thing I’ve noticed in a couple of videos of thugs shooting is that they used perfect form and grip technique. It’s easy to figure out why.

  28. The headline is basically proved wrong by the details of the article; unless you are advocating drive-by shooting with your car window partly rolled up. Canting the hand-grip ten to fifteen degrees off of vertical is NOT the same as turning it 90 degrees sideways.

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