Successful with the BB gun, Blanton went back to the .22 rifle and, finding he could now shoot spectacularly with that, swore Lucky to secrecy and "went out and clipped everyone." Next day Blanton brought another student to Lucky and his teaching career began.
Lucky guesses that he has taught thousands in the past few years, among them members of several police departments. In addition to hip shooting Lucky instructs the cops in the quick draw, at which he is most adept. He demonstrated this to me by having me point an unloaded pistol at him.
"I'll draw and fire," he said, "before you can pull the trigger."
He did, too.
But the quick draw is a dangerous sport. The first policeman Lucky taught was Maurice Phillips of the Dalton, Georgia force. Phillips prevailed on his chief and the mayor to pay Lucky $20 a man to instruct the department's 23 cops. The policemen were so enthusiastic that they took to practicing against each other with empty guns. But one day Maurice Phillips was killed in such a match with a fellow officer whose gun, it turned out, was not empty. On the other hand, Patrolman T. J. Blake of Prichard, Alabama owes his life to the quick draw, which came in handy when a burglar attacked him.
Alabama police now have restricted Lucky to teaching the draw to police and to civilians approved of by the police chief of a town. Lucky himself is not enthusiastic about teaching it to civilians. It is dangerous, he points out, because once trained the shooter is so conditioned that he finds it difficult to remove his gun from the holster without pulling the trigger. Both movements blend into one. The tendency, furthermore, is to shoot at whatever catches the eye, which might be the family cat.
Lucky's method of instruction is a marvel of simplicity. There is, in fact, very little instruction because Lucky does not want to clutter the pupil's mind with inhibitions.
The pupil is handed a BB gun and told to shoot it at nothing a couple of times. He is asked if he has seen the pellet leave the barrel. When he has satisfied Lucky that he really has seen it, the pupil is permitted to shoot at objects tossed into the air by Lucky, who stands at his right side and a half-step to the rear. Practically the only advice he gets is to cheek the gun lightly and to look at the object without sighting along the barrel.
"Cheek it and shoot it," Lucky tells the pupil as he tosses up the first target, a rather large iron washer, a little bigger than a silver dollar.
The pupil generally misses.