Why Do Rappers Hold Their Guns Sideways?

From Slate:

As police chased Raymond “Ready” Martinez through Times Square on Thursday, the street hustler and aspiring rapper fired two shots, holding the gun sideways “like a character out of a rap video.” According to the New York Post, Martinez’s side grip caused the gun to jam, enabling police to shoot and kill the suspect. What’s the point of holding a gun sideways?To look Hollywood, of course. Journalists and gun experts point to the 1993 Hughes brothers film Menace II Society, which depicts the side grip in its opening scene, as the movie that popularized the style. Although the directors claim to have witnessed a side grip robbery in Detroit in 1987, there are few reports of street gangs using the technique until after the movie came out. The Hughes brothers didn’t invent the grip, though. In 1961′s One-Eyed Jacks, Marlon Brando used it, as did Eli Wallach in 1966′s The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Directors may prefer the style because it makes it easier to see both the weapon and the actor’s face in a tight camera shot.

[Read more at Slate]

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  • d351

    It seems that they should design guns to accommodate this habit. It seems like it would be relatively simple to design a gun so that it would fire properly when shot sideways… not to mention that they'd probably look interesting as well.

  • Kevin

    tommy guns were held sideways in the old gangster days too. it worked better actually. the recoil would cause the gun to move side to side so they could spray bullets horizontally. instead of it kicking up causing them to bring the gun back down to aim again. simple physics….

    • Zippy

      Kevin, as a former military weapons instructor, I will simply state, no.

      • faronhite

        Zippy–as a former instructor did you study the ergometry of hand-held weaponry? The reason that I ask that I do see “some” benefit to the “sideways grip”, ie; that it can allow more and better developed muscle groups to come into play with targets moving to “strong side”. The pistolero's adage of “run to the gun” (that is–in a combat situation involving handguns one should generally move to one's left *assuming* the enemy is right-handed) is based upon the fact that moving a pistol away from the body-center engages fewer “quick twitch” muscles with the net effect of making acquisition more difficult. Rotating the grip allows for engagement of the larger tricep group.

        • Navysealteam7

          Easy on Zippy. He was a drone used by our industial-military complex to copy and repeat directions without question and probably has little creative insight or independant thought aside from what has been drilled into his cranium ;)

  • radiac

    it looks cool, why else?

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/PDDVWRQVUPMKRGHURIEQVNYWHQ Sean

    who cares why undisciplined street trash do it,
    why do they wear their pants around their knees
    or do other stupid shit to make themselves easy targets.

    • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

      This is, unfortunately, a good point. It seems as though their fashions (awkwardly holding a gun, pants worn so one cannot run, flashy clothing, and so on) are specifically designed to weed them out of being good at crime either because they are easy targets or incapable of proper escape. I've asked some thugs in training and their answers boil down to (less eloquently) “that is what is done, I do not know why.” Perhaps these styles are devised by exactly who they are raging against in order to keep them effete and obvious.

      • radiac

        whoa

      • Chopper

        Really? How incredibly stupid are you? Some dumbass wears baggy clothes and uses handguns in the commission of felonies, and you blame the victims for making him wear baggy clothes and hold his gun funny? Get a clue, you moron!

        • http://www.xenex.org/ xen

          I promise to try to get a clue when you figure out “sarcasm” and “dry humor”.

          But, hey, while you are flailing and failing to grasp that words have nuances in context, do YOU happen to know why these idiotic and counter-intuitive fashions are so popular?

          • Navysealteam7

            lol, chopper probably still wears baggy jeans and takes pictures for his FB with a pistol held sideways ;)

  • Zippy

    In the old days when handguns werent so prevalent in the urban areas, zip guns were made with metal pipe usually heavily taped to a wooden handle with another smaller pipe behind it holding a nail with rubber on the end. The bullet was inserted into the larger pipe and the nail was pulled back with the rubber by one hand while the other held the wooden handle. This was done side ways like using a slingshot. Sideways allowed for more and easier back pull than straight up and down. the nail was released causing it to hit the bullet on the cap discharging it through the pipe at the target.

  • Anonymous

    Zippy–as a former instructor did you study the ergometry of hand-held weaponry? The reason that I ask that I do see “some” benefit to the “sideways grip”, ie; that it can allow more and better developed muscle groups to come into play with targets moving to “strong side”. The pistolero’s adage of “run to the gun” (that is–in a combat situation involving handguns one should generally move to one’s left *assuming* the enemy is right-handed) is based upon the fact that moving a pistol away from the body-center engages fewer “quick twitch” muscles with the net effect of making acquisition more difficult. Rotating the grip allows for engagement of the larger tricep group.

  • Navysealteam7

    lol, chopper probably still wears baggy jeans and takes pictures for his FB with a pistol held sideways ;)

  • Navysealteam7

    Easy on Zippy. He was a drone used by our industial-military complex to copy and repeat directions without question and probably has little creative insight or independant thought aside from what has been drilled into his cranium ;)

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