I have read a few comments about how impossibly good Gardener is with a gun. No one could be that good. This is who I partially modeled him on. Bill Jordan was not only good but he used his skill in the line of duty.
The first reaction to Jordan’s gun work is amazement at his speed. A pin pong is held on the back of his gun hand, the palm hovering six inches above his holstered gun butt. The hand moves, the Smith & Wesson is drawn and fired, and the ball rests inside the holster, displacing the revolver after a travel of less than a foot. For encores, the stunt is started from the same point, but this time the sixgun is drawn, then poked forward , the muzzle striking the falling ball and propelling it forward like the serve of a table tennis ace. Bill claims that his speed is not a big factor in these exercises. The hard part, if you would believe him, is to hit the holster with the ping pong ball.
The Jordan speed is a matter of record. The Robot Dueller, an electronic tester of gunsharks skills, has recorded Bill’s time for draw-and-hit at .27 of a second. A similar device, the McAvoy timer, marked him at .28 of a second. Both instruments include the reaction time of the shooter, who draws only after a signal is given, in the total score.
More startling than his quickness is the fantastic accuracy that attends Bill’s hipshooting sessions. After a bit of kidding around with 12” balloons and aluminum baking tins, he settles down to the real meat of his routine. Two-inch wafers, sliced from a cedar pole, are zapped calmly with quick hipshots. The range is 10 feet – good shooting, but nothing you would stomp your feet and whistle about. Next comes a line of Necco candy wafers, which are smaller and shatter in pleasing fashion. Bill’s guests nudge their drowsy neighbors awake as he blasts Lifesaver mints with quick hipshots, and everyone is muttering in awe when he reaches the finale, unerringly obliterating aspirin tablets with his Magnum held at waist level. Worried that the folks were getting blasé, Willie has added a new target to the series. He now finishes by centering a saccharin tablet with a wax bullet.