The ‘Fastest Gun in Hollywood’

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 13, 2024

When Western films were at their most common between 1940 and 1960, they involved a lot of quick-draw gunslingers.

There is a lot of debate as to who has the fastest gun in Hollywood, including Glenn Ford, Sammy Davis Jr., and even Jerry Lewis.

Glenn Ford Is Said to Have the Fastest Gun in Hollywood

Many publications, including Collider, are saying that Glenn Ford had the fastest gun in Hollywood. 

A black and white photo of Glenn Ford wearing a suit and holding dice.

Source: Unknown author/Wikimedia Commons

He was supposedly able to draw a gun in 0.4 seconds, which was needed, given that he starred in many Western films throughout his career.

Glenn Ford Was a Western and Comedy Actor

Glenn Ford has a career that spanned around 50 years, with the genres of film he was most famous for being Westerns and comedies.

A black and white photo of Glenn Ford in “3:10 to Yuma”. He is holding his chin with one hand and is wearing a cowboy hat.

Source: thirdgel/YouTube

Some of his most famous films includes “3:10 To Yuma,” “Pocketful Of Miracles,” and “Superman.”

Having a Fast Draw Helped Glenn Ford in Western Films

Western films involved a lot of gun use, with many actors having to pull a gun out and shoot at the enemy quickly.

Glenn Ford in “The Fastest Gun Alive”. The image is in black and white. Ford is holding a gun and a few cowboys are surrounding him, drinking and smoking.

Source: High-Def Digest/YouTube

Glenn Ford having a supposed draw of 0.4 seconds helped with the authenticity of the filming and helped audiences believe that he was a real cowboy.

Glenn Ford Received Many Awards

Many actors dream of receiving an award in recognition of their hard work, or at least being nominated for one.

Glenn Ford in “Pocketful Of Sunshine”. He is wearing a white suit and is talking to three people.

Source: DK Classics V/YouTube

Glenn Ford was fortunate enough to receive many awards and nominations. Some of these included two Golden Apple Awards for Most Cooperative Actor and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his film “Pocketful of Miracles,” according to IMDb

Glenn Ford Almost Didn’t Become an Actor

He may have had the fastest gun in Hollywood and won many awards, but there was a time when Glenn Ford wasn’t going to become an actor.

A black and white photo of Glenn Ford and Pilar Pellicer. Ford is wearing a poncho and is holding onto Pellicer’s shoulders whilst looking at her. Pellicer has her back to him.

Source: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons

During an interview in 1990 with Dina Di Mambro, Ford revealed that he had started out as an assistant stage manager, which required him to work as an understudy to other actors. It was doing this that made him realize that the actors were getting paid more than him, regardless of whether they showed up to work or not, so he became an actor instead. 


Glenn Ford Was Made to Get a Trade Behind Him

Not quite believing that acting was going to be a lifelong career for him, Glenn Ford’s family got him to learn a trade first, according to Movie FanFare

A black and white photo of Glenn Ford upstairs in his home holding onto the banister whilst looking at the camera. He is wearing a suit and has his hand in his trouser pocket. There is a chandelier above him and some plants and photos.

Source: Los Angeles Times/Wikimedia Commons

They wanted him to do this in case he needed something to fall back on, as these were skills he would have for a lifetime. They wanted him to work in construction and home repair, and learning these everyday skills may have helped Ford come across as more believable when acting, as he already knew what he was doing. 


Other Qualities Made Glenn Ford a Believable Western Actor

The best films are ones where audiences can believe the actor is the character they are pretending to be, and Glenn Ford was a master at this.

A black and white photo of Glenn Ford, Joseph H. Lewis, and Barry Kelley behind the scenes of “The Undercover Man”. Many other people are standing around them and some cameras.

Source: Fiklr member/Wikimedia Commons

Ford was able to ride horses, which is essential in any Western film, and would also do some of his stunts. However, since then, he has said that actors should use stunt doubles, so as not to hold up filming or cause injury to themselves. 


Glenn Ford Learned How to Ride Horses with a Real-Life Cowboy

Years before making his acting debut, Glenn Ford was taught how to ride horses by cowboy-turned-actor Will Rogers, according to Arizona Memory Project

Glenn Ford and a horse with another man in “The Rounders”.

Source: Rotten Tomatoes Classic Trailers/YouTube

During high school, Ford was working at the polo games, where he would hand out tickets. Rogers let Ford hold his horses and said he should learn how to ride them, and later gave him lessons. 


Peter Breck Also Had a Fast Gun

In comparison to Glenn Ford, Peter Breck is another who supposedly had the fastest gun in Hollywood.

A black and white photo of Peter Breck and Anna Lisa next to a horse.

Source: NBC Television/Wikimedia Commons

Giggster writes that Breck was able to draw his gun in 0.16 second, which is the fastest anyone has ever drawn a gun in TV history. 


There Was a Fast Draw Competition

There is no way of knowing 100% who the fastest gun in Hollywood truly is, but there was a competition in 1954 to test this.

Hugh O’Brian holding a gun. There is a horse slightly out of shot.

Source: Vargyas Szabolcs/YouTube

The competition took place on Knott’s Berry Farm, with Hugh O’Brian being declared the winner with a draw of 0.25 seconds, according to True West Magazine


The Fast Draw Competition Didn’t Have a Clear Winner

Despite many witnessing the competition, it has been reported that while Hugh O’Brian is believed to have won, others claim that Sammy Davis Jr. or Jerry Lewis won instead.

A black and white photo of Sammy Davis Jr. He doesn’t look happy and is holding a cigarette in his hand.

Source: Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons

Other names, along with Glenn Ford, are believed to have a fast draw, including Wally Cox, Hugh Downs, Donald O’Connor, Marty Robbins, Frankie Lane, Clu Gulager, Ernest Borgnine, Jock Mahoney, and Clint Eastwood.


The Fastest Gun Draw Isn’t in Hollywood

While Glenn Ford, Peter Breck, and other Hollywood actors might have had fast gun draws, the reported fastest comes from elsewhere.

Bob Munden and Becky Munden wearing cowboy hats.

Source: Kate3686/Wikimedia Commons

This record has been set by Bob Munden, with Inverse reporting that he could draw a gun in .02 seconds. However, there is an issue with the validity of this as there is no concrete proof that he could draw a gun this quickly. So whether Munden, Ford, Breck, or anyone else holds the record for fastest gun draw is completely unknown.