Apparently, if we were watching the Olympics 110 years ago, we might be watching the gold medal pistol dueling event. That’s right, pistol dueling – like how cowboys used to settle their differences in the wild west – used to be an Olympic event.

Shooters wore a mask and had a hand-guard fitted to their guns to protect their hands

The shooters used wax bullets and no gun powder. Instead, the primer was all they needed to propel the wax bullet. Like fencing, the athletes wore a mask, and a hand-guard was fitted to the gun to protect the shooter’s hand. Looking at the photos in this TFB article, the two competitors seem to be a decent distance apart from one another, but this sort of event would still have me on the edge of my seat.

Pistols and wax bullets used for competition
Shooters dueling with wax bullets

I don’t know about anyone else, but this might be my favorite event to watch if it were to become a thing again. Like watching a natural disaster, car chase, or your buddy going up to talk to that girl at a bar, you can’t seem to take your eyes off it. I can’t decide if this is really a good idea or not, but it had to have been removed for some reason.

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6 thoughts on “Pistol Dueling was Once an Olympic Event 110 Years Ago

  1. We could make it legal , ala Burr vs. Hamilton , for Senators , and Congressman in their second term onward and solve both the term limit debate and add new entertain value to politics

  2. Sure, why not? Modern paint ball guns would easily replace wax bullets. In fact, why not team style paint ball combat? The Olympics as practiced by the ancient Greeks was intended to showcase martial skills, not trivial pursuits like volleyball or synchronized swimming.

    1. Simunition rounds work as well. Patented parts drop the preassure, allowing more gas than usual to escape, rounds have less powder, and they have a plastic projectile with a bit of paint in it. Just as accurate as any firearm amd safe to use!

  3. The dueling pistol event was held in 1906, the Intercalated Games,
    which is considered by some to be an Olympic Games, though it is not
    officially recognized by the IOC. This pistol duelling event was popular
    at the time at the Gastinne-Renette galleries in France. It required
    competitors to shoot at human silhouettes dressed in frock coats, with a
    bull’s eye on the dummy’s chest. They didn’t shoot at other humans.

    1. Why would they use the head gear, hand guards, reduced charges and wax bullets then? Dressed-up dummies usually don’t shoot back at you so why all the precautions? Even modern competitors shooting targets at the Games use more ‘deadly’ weapons and don’t dress funny.

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