November 4th, 2020

Annie Oakley — America’s First Shooting Superstar

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Profile by T. Logan Metesh
Annie Oakley learned to shoot at a young age. It started as a skill developed to help feed her family when she was still known as Phoebe Ann Mosey (or possibly “Moses”). Annie began shooting and hunting by age eight, to support her siblings and her widowed mother. She honed her skills, adopted the stage name Annie Oakley, and earned the nickname of “Little Miss Sure Shot” for her expert marksmanship.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley’s trick-shooting and marksmanship skills were so good that she toured the world as part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for more than a decade and a half. It was rumored that she was one of the highest paid performers in the show. Annie was known for making some truly astounding shots: hitting dimes in midair, aiming backwards through a mirror, and more. She traveled overseas with Buffalo Bill and performed for royalty in England, France, Italy, and Germany. Annie even shot the ashes from a cigarette held by Kaiser Wilhem II!

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill
Biographers say Annie met her husband, Frank Butler, at a shooting competition when she was just 15. Young Annie beat Butler in a one-on-on shooting match, and they later married.*


Here is rare 1894 footage of Annie Oakley shooting, filmed in the Edison Black Maria studio.

“Annie Oakley was arguably America’s first female superstar, touring the U.S. and the world in the late 1800s and early 20th century and demonstrating her legendary Wild West sharp-shooting skills.”
— Tom Slater, Historian for Heritage Auctions.

Annie Oakley’s Favorite Firearms
Annie Oakley’s sharpshooting feats were impressive in their own right, but the equipment she used to accomplish these things made them even more impressive. Annie favored basic, commonly available firearms. She didn’t need modified guns to make her shots.

She enjoyed shooting her Parker Bros double-barrel shotgun, but it wasn’t fancy in appearance. It had just standard grade wood and, aside from the standard scrollwork on the locks, it was just a normal gun.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

She also owned a Smith & Wesson Model No. 2 revolver. The gun was nickel-plated and had mother-of-pearl grips, but those were options that anyone could have had on their own revolver. Another one of her pistols, a Stevens single-shot tip-up, was gold-plated and had mother-of-pearl grips, but it had not been modified or accurized in any way to improve its performance. Annie simply didn’t need the help.

Annie’s firearms may not have been modified for trick shooting, but she did own a number of one-off specials. For example, she owned one of the 800 Remington Beals rifles made between 1866 and 1866, but hers is the only known example to bear factory engraving.

Of course, many arms makers saw Annie’s fame as a way to promote their guns, so a large number of engraved and/or gold-plated guns were gifted to her. Some of these include a Winchester Model 1892 carbine and a Stevens Model 44 rifle.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Continued to Perform at Age 60+ during the 1920s
A consummate performer, Annie continued to wow crowds even as her craft took its toll on her body. A lifetime of exposure to gunpowder residue and smoke led her to experience repeated eye infections. Despite the advent of smokeless powder, she had spent years using blackpowder beforehand. Even if it had all been smokeless, the quality we know today was not the quality they had back then. Plus, the sheer amount of powder she encountered certainly added up.

Her public appearances required lots of travel, which wasn’t without its own dangers. She underwent spinal surgery from a train accident in 1901 while travelling with the Wild West Show. Years later, she had to wear a steel brace on her leg due to a car accident in 1922, but she got back to performing and continued to set records in 1924 at the age of 64. By this time, though, her health had begun to decline. Annie Oakley passed away in 1926 at the age of 66. Her husband, Frank Butler, was so fraught with grief that he stopped eating and died of starvation just 18 days later.

Annie Oakley shooting biography little sure shot Buffalo Bill

Annie Oakley Championed Women’s Rights
While most of the world remembers Annie for her accomplishments with a firearm, she used her fame in a different way during her lifetime. She was an advocate for women’s rights and shooter education. She is quoted as having said, “I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns as naturally as they know how to handle babies.” It’s believed that she taught some 15,000 women how to shoot during her lifetime. Today, educational shooting experiences geared towards women often use her name to their advantage. After all, what shooter wouldn’t want to be as well regarded as Annie Oakley?

About Author T. Logan Metesh
T. Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Logan has more than a decade of experience working for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, and the NRA Museums. Logan has been a frequent guest on the “Curator’s Corner” program for NRATV and has served as an historic firearms facilitator for American Rifleman TV and other shows.

*On Thanksgiving Day 1875, the Baughman & Butler shooting act was performing in Cincinnati, Ohio. Traveling show marksman and former dog trainer Frank E. Butler, an Irish immigrant, placed a $100 bet per side (equivalent to $2,300 in 2019) with Cincinnati hotel owner Jack Frost that Butler could beat any local fancy shooter. The hotelier arranged a shooting match between Butler and the 15-year-old Annie, saying, “The last opponent Butler expected was a five-foot-tall, 15-year-old girl named Annie.” After missing on his 25th shot, Butler lost the match and the bet. He soon began courting Annie and they married. They did not have children.

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November 4th, 2020

Talladega 600 Match Postponed — Will Be Held in Early 2021

Talladega 600 cancellation November 2020 reschedule 2021

The Civilian Marksmanship Program will postpone its November Talladega 600 rifle and pistol event due to storm damage to portions of its 500-acre marksmanship park. The annual event, scheduled for November 16-22, will likely be rescheduled in January or February 2021. The new date will be set based on what works best for the 125+ competitors who had registered for the November 2020 event. Participants will be contacted by the CMP to determine the best dates to hold the event in early 2021.

Talladega 600 cancellation November 2020 reschedule 2021
The Talladega 600 features a wide variety of service rifle, vintage rifle, rimfire rifle matches, and pistol matches plus firearms training programs.

Hurricane Zeta Damaged Kongsberg Electronic Targets
“Unfortunately, our facility suffered damage to portions of our electronic targetry when Hurricane Zeta made landfall in our area,” said Mark Johnson, chief operating officer of the CMP. “Key components necessary to repair the system ship from [Kongsberg in Norway] and the timing will not allow us to complete repairs by November 16. That takes us into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, leaving us no choice but to move the event into next year”. Organizers hope to have the big event in January or February 2021.

Talladega 600 Will Be Rescheduled
The CMP will reschedule the event as quickly as possible to best fit the schedule of more than 125 competitors who have registered for the event. “Participants can expect contact from us soon to determine the best time slot to get the competition back on track,” Johnson said. “We recently performed a number of upgrades to our High Power range, so the timing of the damaging storms is unfortunate. We look forward to providing our participants with the best experience possible.”

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November 4th, 2020

30 “Every Day Carry” Holsters Reviewed for CCW Holders

Holster CCW review EDC Every day carry pistol handgun

Here at AccurateShooter.com, we’re more about rifles than pistols. But we know that the majority of our regular readers own handguns, and many also have concealed carry (CCW) permits. And with the prospect of social unrest following the election, we expect more reader than ever will be “packing” a sidearm. Accordingly, we’ve found a great resource for CCW holders that can help you select a holster. On the Shooting Illustrated website you’ll find a detailed review of 30 different holster types. Each holster is illustrated, with pros and cons explained. These are all EDC holsters, meaning those designed for “Every Day Carry”.

SEE Full HolsterPallooza Story with 30 Holster Reviews »

Shooting Illustrated calls this article “HolsterPallooza” and it really does provide a ton of helpful information. Most other holster reviews on the web may feature a half-dozen holsters at the most. In this Holsterpallooza article you can see 30 holsters, with a wide variety of materials, designs, and applications. There are small molded IWB holsters for CCW, conventional on the belt holsters, leather shoulder holster rigs, and even ankle holsters. This is a great place to start if you are in the market for a holster.

Holster CCW review EDC Every day carry pistol handgun
Here’s sample of the many holster options reviewed, an innovative hybrid IWB holster constructed with leather over Kydex. That gives you the “best of both worlds” — the secure fit/retention of a molded Kydex shell, with an attractive leather exterior.

Shooting Illustrated explains: “As the interface between your gun and your body, the holster is a vital component of your carry rig. In many cases, the circumstances of your daily life will determine the method of carry you choose. This, in turn, will determine what type of holster you need, which may end up determining the handgun you carry. Therefore, choosing the method and type of holster may be as, or even more important than, choosing a firearm.”

MORE Reviews — Hickok 45 Reviews 15 CCW Holsters:

If you want to see even MORE holsters for “Every Day Carry” (EDC), check out this video from Hickok 45. This popular YouTube host looks at 15 different IWB holsters from a number of manufacturers. Hickok 45 examines many hybrid holsters that combine Kydex or plastic with leather for increased comfort. He has his favorites… and they might not be what you’d expect. NOTE: As this video has been watched over 900,000 times, you may also want to read the viewer comments. There are many helpful suggestions from CCW holders who carry daily.

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