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What does bullseye mean in quick draw?

In the sport of quick draw, the bullseye refers to the small circle in the center of the target that competitors aim for when drawing and firing their revolvers. Hitting the bullseye requires tremendous speed, accuracy, and precision. The bullseye is the most difficult part of the target to hit consistently, and competitors who can repeatedly hit the bullseye are considered expert marksmen.

Origins of the Term “Bullseye”

The term “bullseye” originated from archery and shooting sports. When targets first began being used for practice and competition, concentric circles were drawn on them to delineate different scoring areas. The innermost circle became known as the “bullseye” because it was seen as the most difficult area to hit, requiring the utmost skill and precision to strike consistently. This inner circle on a target resembles the eye of a bull, hence the name “bullseye.”

The term carried over to the sport of quick draw when circular targets marked with concentric rings began being used. Just as in other shooting sports, the bullseye – the small inner circle at the heart of the target – represents the most challenging area for competitors to hit. Striking the bullseye perfectly demands that quick draw shooters draw, aim, and fire their revolvers with flawless technique and timing.

Scoring in Quick Draw Competitions

In quick draw tournaments and competitions, targets feature a series of concentric scoring rings radiating out from the bullseye. Each ring has a different point value, with the bullseye worth the most points. The rings get progressively larger and worth fewer points as they extend outwards. A common scoring breakdown is:

  • Bullseye: 10 points
  • Inner ring: 9 points
  • Middle ring: 7 points
  • Outer ring: 5 points
  • Outer edge: 3 points

A perfect bullseye shot earns a competitor 10 points. Shots landing outside the bullseye but still within the innermost ring score 9 points. The further the shot strays from the bullseye towards the outer edge of the target, the fewer points it garners.

This concentric ring scoring system rewards competitors for accuracy and precision. Competitors aim to hit as many bullseyes as possible during their quick draw runs to maximize their scores. Consistently drilling the small, inner bullseye under the pressure of the clock demonstrates true mastery of the sport.

Hitting the Bullseye in Quick Draw

Hitting the tiny bullseye at high speeds is an incredible feat of marksmanship and accounts for why the top quick draw shooters in the world are so revered. World champion quick draw shooters are able to draw their revolvers from the holster, fire, and hit the bullseye dead center in less than half a second. This requires tremendous technique, timing, focus, and precision.

There are several keys to hitting the bullseye consistently in quick draw:

Premium Equipment

Having a finely crafted, well maintained revolver and properly fitted holster gives competitors the best chance for accuracy. Quality equipment that functions perfectly is essential.

Proper Gun Handling

Drawing the revolver smoothly, getting a firm grip on it as it clears the holster, and keeping the barrel aligned correctly are critical. Master quick draw shooters grip and handle their guns with fluidity and precision.

Drawing Technique

An efficient, economical draw stroke where the revolver comes straight up and out of the holster in a straight line is key. Any extra motions can throw off the shot.

Trigger Control

Experts caution not to jerk or yank the trigger, but rather squeeze it back fluidly while exhaling to fire the shot.

Sight Alignment

Keeping the sights aligned correctly on the bullseye a split second before firing increases accuracy dramatically.

Follow Through

The best quick draw shooters hold their form and focus for a brief moment after firing until they see the bullet hit before relaxing.

Mental Focus

Intense concentration and pushing out all distractions are required to laser focus on the bullseye in the blink of an eye during a quick draw.

Mastering all these techniques and executing them flawlessly allows top quick draw shooters to drive bullets into the tiny bullseye time and again.

Famous Quick Draw Bullseye Shots

There have been many historic quick draw bullseye shots that have showcased incredible skill and highlighted the pinnacle of the sport.

Bob Munden

Bob Munden was considered one of the fastest and most accurate quick draw shooters of all time. At exhibitions he would have martial arts experts throw knives, axes, and even tomahawks at him from short distances while he stood in front of a target. In a stunning display of reflexes and precision, Munden would draw his revolver and hit the bullseye while the blades were still spinning midair and just before they struck him.

Jerry Miculek

Renowned exhibition shooter Jerry Miculek holds the world record for most consecutive bullseye hits on a quick draw target in one minute with 92. That equates to 1.53 precision bullseye shots per second – an incredible feat of speed and accuracy.

Quick Cal

At the 1952 National Fast Draw Championships, quick draw legend Quick Cal demonstratively hit eight successive bullseyes in under three seconds from a distance of 16 feet. The concentration, timing, and precision required was a marvel to behold.

Exhibition at Tombstone

During an exhibition at the historical Tombstone in Arizona, quick draw expert Hugh O’Brian wowed the crowd when he shot through a tossed playing card and hit the bullseye behind it. Cutting that card with a bullet as it tumbled through the air demonstrated unbelievable timing and pinpoint accuracy.

These are just a few examples of extraordinary quick draw bullseye shots cementing legends in the sport’s history. They represent incredible displays of human skill and marksmanship.

The Bullseye’s Role in Quick Draw

The bullseye plays a critical role in the sport of quick draw for several reasons:

  • It represents the ultimate test and demonstration of speed, precision, and accuracy.
  • Hitting it under the pressure of the clock and competition shows true mastery.
  • It allows both competitors and spectators to instantly recognize an expert and precise shot.
  • It provides a clear visual focus point that draws the eye while competed or watching.
  • The small size epitomizes the difficulty and challenge of quick draw.

For these reasons and more, the iconic bullseye remains integral to quick draw as the preeminent symbol of peak skill and performance in the sport.

Bullseye Shooting Drills

To develop the skills needed to consistently hit the bullseye during quick draw, competitors need to spend hours perfecting their speed, accuracy, and precision. Here are some practice drills top shooters use:

Drawing and Dry Firing

Practicing the fast, efficient drawing motion and pulling the trigger without live ammunition trains muscle memory and technique.

Shooting from Draw

Starting with the gun holstered and rapidly drawing and firing helps integrate the separate motions.

Drawing at Speed

Focusing on consistently decreasing draw times trains quickness while maintaining accuracy.

Point Shooting

Drawing and firing instantly without using the sights hones instinctive shooting skill.

Shooting on the Move

Steps or lateral movement during the draw can simulate pressure and motion during competitions.

Strong Hand Only

Drawing and firing with the dominant hand isolates and trains key shooting muscles.

Weak Hand Only

Drawing and firing support hand only builds critical off hand competency and strength.

Drawing Under Stress

Integrating physical, mental, or auditory stressors while shooting simulates pressure.

Combinations of these drills and other training techniques allow quick draw shooters to develop the skills to accurately and consistently hit the challenging bullseye shot after shot.

Famous Quick Draw Associations

There are several iconic quick draw shooting associations that have helped govern, foster, and grow the sport over decades:

Association Founded Significance
National Fast Draw Association 1958 One of the earliest quick draw shooting organizations that helped pioneer formal rules and competitions.
World Fast Draw Association 1976 With affiliates globally, the WFDA is a premier sanctioning body of major international and regional quick draw championships.
Canadian Fast Draw Association 1995 Governs quick draw shooting in Canada with numerous annual national tournaments.
Australia Fast Draw Association 2003 Oversees quick draw events across Australia.
New Zealand Fast Draw Association 2010 Sanctions quick draw in New Zealand.

These leading quick draw associations, among many others, have been instrumental in standardizing rules, organizing events, recording results, and growing the sport’s popularity across the globe. They help showcase the incredible skill of top competitors hitting targets and bullseyes.

Women and Quick Draw

While historically a predominantly male sport, plenty of accomplished women quick draw shooters have made their mark in competitions over the decades. Some notable female champions include:

  • Lillian Smith: One of the pioneers of women’s quick draw in the 1960s and renowned for her speed and showmanship.
  • CheChe White Eagle: Trailblazer who dominated women’s divisions in the 1970s and 1980s including shooting 437 of 500 targets in the 1983 Florida State Championship.
  • Misty Dawn: Considered one of the top female quick draw exponents today with numerous world titles starting in the late 1990s.
  • Leslie Lee: Hong Kong champion who bested competitors in Asia throughout the 2000s.
  • Alotta Lead: Current star setting records in the 2010s and first woman to win overall (not just female) titles.

These amazing women and others have proven female quick draw shooters can hit targets, drill bullseyes, win championships, and become legends right alongside the men.

Quick Draw Technique Mistakes

Even expert marksmen can fall into bad habits that negatively impact accuracy and prevent regularly hitting the bullseye during quick draw. Some key flaws in technique to avoid include:

  • Gripping revolver too tightly – Causes tension and shaking.
  • Jerking trigger instead of squeezing – Pulls the barrel off target.
  • Incorrect gun angle during draw – Fails to line up sight picture.
  • Overarching the back – Throws off balance and stability.
  • Failure to align sights – Greatly reduces accuracy.
  • Lowering head/aiming with chin – Inconsistency aiming this way.
  • Ignoring or rushing follow through – No confirmation of shot accuracy.
  • Insufficient practice – Developing and honing muscle memory of proper technique is essential.

Dedicated practice and getting coaching from expert shooters helps identify and eliminate these types of flaws in form. This allows quick draw marksmen to keep improving their shooting technique on the road to consistently nailing bullseyes.

Stance and Footwork

Proper stance and footwork are critical to quick draw success. Key elements include:

  • Feet shoulder width apart – Provides stability.
  • Dominant foot back – Puts body in optimal position during draw.
  • Weight forward – Keeps energy directed downrange.
  • Knees bent – Allows movement and absorbs recoil.
  • Head level, eyes forward – Maximizes sight alignment.
  • Balanced motion – Draw, fire, and recoil should flow smoothly without overcorrection.

Proper footwork and stance allow quick draw shooters to maximize power, balance, speed, and accuracy during the sub-second draw and shot needed to hit the demanding bullseye.

Common Quick Draw Competition Formats

There are several standard competition formats used in professional quick draw events and tournaments:

Single Shot Contests

Competitors take one shot each, aiming for the bullseye in the fastest time possible. Fastest time with a hit wins.

Multi-Shot Contests

Shooters fire multiple shots (often 5 or 10) per stage, with the lowest combined time across all accurate hits determining the winner.

Round Robin Tournaments

Tournament brackets where each competitor takes turns shooting against every other competitor one-on-one and accumulates their overall hits and times.

Elimination Matches

Head-to-head matches where the loser of each pairing is eliminated until only the overall winner remains.

Other contest types include team relays, long distance matches, silhouette target competitions, and trick shot exhibitions.

Choosing Quick Draw Revolvers and Holsters

Choosing equipment that complements a shooter’s natural technique and preferences can help improve accuracy and bullseye hits. Considerations include:


  • Caliber – Lighter rounds like .22LR have less recoil.
  • Barrel length – Shorter barrels clear holsters faster.
  • Grip shape – Customizable and replaceable grips impact comfort and control.
  • Action – Single action revolvers allow cocking the hammer faster.
  • Visibility – Adjustable sights, hammer spurs, etc. help sight picture.
  • Maintenance – A smooth action and tight barrel/cylinder spinning are critical.


  • Material – Leather or synthetic holster materials like Kydex have different properties.
  • Retention – The right tension to secure the revolver while allowing a smooth draw.
  • Position – Strong side, cross draw, and other carry positions change the draw.
  • Cant/Angle – Forward, reverse, and tilted holsters alter wrist alignment on the draw.
  • Cut/mold – Precisely fitted to the gun and shooter’s body type.

Finding the right revolver and holster combo tailored to a shooter’s preferences and mechanics is key to facilitating rapid, accurate shots on target.

Legendary Quick Draw Duelists

While real pistol dueling is an outdated and dangerous practice, some legendary exhibition quick draw duelists have emerged over the decades. Their mock gun duels put their lightning fast draws and pinpoint accuracy on full display.

Doc Carver

Arguably the father of quick draw, Doc Carver toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in the late 1800s, amazing crowds with his dazzling gun spinning tricks and blazing draws.

Annie Oakley

Famed exhibition shooter Annie Oakley incorporated quick draw skills into her shows, picking off tossed targets and cards fired from her hip at blistering speed.

Seth Hawkins

1950s quick draw showman who thrilled audiences with his .45 caliber dueling theatrics across the country.

Quick Cal

Cal Eilrich used a distinctive crossed arm technique to duel opponents and objects in his 1950s and ’60s traveling act showcasing his deadly speed and accuracy.

Famous Quick Draw Venues

Certain venues have become meccas for quick draw over the decades as major competitions and shows are routinely hosted at them:

  • Tombstone, Arizona – Famed Old West town where reenactments and shows are held along the dusty streets.
  • End of Trail – Long running annual match held in New Mexico.
  • Lazy Heart Ranch – Quick Cal’s home venue that still hosts monthly matches.
  • NRA Whittington Center – Home of the NRA National Championship and multiple annual tournaments.
  • Deadwood, South Dakota – Hosts quick draw shows playing up its Wild West history.

These venues and more continue to showcase top quick drawing talent hitting bullseyes in the spirit of the Old West.

Celebrity Quick Draw Shooters

A number of famous actors, musicians, and other celebrities have been known to try their hand at quick draw over the years, including:

  • Clint Eastwood – Iconic actor who starred in spaghetti Western films requiring quick draw skills.
  • Elvis Presley – Music legend and fan of revolvers who acquired quick draw training from renowned exhibitioner Bill King.
  • Johnny Cash – The famous country singer was also an amateur quick draw hobbyist.
  • Sammy Davis Jr. – Rat Pack member Sammy Davis Jr. featured quick draw stunts in some of his routines.
  • The Andy Griffith Show – Early episodes showed Andy trying to best others in quick draw feats.

Quick draw’s combination of Old West cool factor and demanding skill has long appealed to famous figures looking to channel their inner gunslinger.

Key Quick Draw Associations

There are several major associations supporting and advancing the sport of quick draw:

World Fast Draw Association (WFDA)

With over 1,000 members globally, the WFDA is the largest quick draw association. It sanctions competitions, sets rules and equipment standards, tracks records, and promotes the sport.

National Congress of Old West Shootists (NCOWS)

NCOWS hosts quick draw events at their Old West shooting competitions around the U.S. along with other cowboy action shooting matches.

Canadian Fast Draw Association (CFDA)

Governs quick draw in Canada with range certifications, national rankings, and the largest match – the Canadian Nationals.

Australian Fast Draw Association (AFDA)

Regulates quick draw in Australia with affiliated clubs and an annual national championship match.


Hitting the challenging bullseye in quick draw requires tremendous skill in technique, timing, speed, and precision. Top competitors are able to draw, aim, and fire in under half a second while striking the tiny target dead center. Associations support the sport by sanctioning matches, recording results, and celebrating this unique display of marksmanship. While demanding, with proper practice and dedication, the bullseye can be mastered by determined quick draw shooters.