The practice of turning a handgun sideways when firing to impress and/or look cool. This is quite common in movies these days (especially those with a little gangsta flavour) and even some games (in Unreal Tournament, for example, you can accomplish this by pressing alternative fire).

I can't for the life of me figure out why. The barrel of a gun is slanted slightly upwards to correct for gravity; this would mean that if I fire gangster style with a gun in my right hand I'd hit low and to the left of my intended target. About the only use I can see for it is if shooting repeatedly in a crowded environment at close quarters and I dont't really care who I hit, the recoil would jerk the gun to the left instead of up, thereby slightly increasing the chance that I hit the guy to the left of the target. But how often does that happen? My theory is that the gangster firing style is adopted just for the sake of coolness. And let's face it: it just looks stupid.

I can't say this with 100% accuracy, but I believe the phenomenon could be traced back to early Hong Kong ganster films. Look to John Woo and Chow Yun Fat for more. Personally, I've held a Glock in that fashion and fired the thing--it's a more comfortable feel and I found it easier to aim (as much as you can aim with a Glock, at least...terrible accuracy). Mileage may vary.

I must admit that I was on a firing range and not the local 7-11 when I shot the gun.

Part of being 'cool' is looking like you can do things easily which are generally considered difficult. If you are firing a gun, and you take the time to hold it properly and aim carefully, it shows that you have to really try to hit someone. However, if you can just point your nine offhand at some wack-ass punk even while holding it sideways (and perhaps simultaneously taking a swig from your 40oz.) and still take the bitch out, you must be some kind of badass. So, in that context, it kind of makes sense that it looks cool.

While with pistols this is more or less an affectation, short barrelled submachine guns (especially the uzi) are driven up by recoil (and I think gasses escaping from the barrel) to such an extent that it does often make sense to turn the weapon sideways if you are firing on full auto and trying to say, kill a room full of people, as the gun will be forced rapidly (and I do mean rapidly) sideways. But of course aiming is a total crapshoot with these types of guns anyway. Thus spray and pray.

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