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Why is aiming called "drawing a bead?"

5148 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
When you aim a gun at something you look down the barrel to line up the front sight and the rear sight with your target. This way you know that the barrel of the gun is aimed correctly to hit your target.

Today gun have two rectangular sights but early guns only had a small round ball on the front end of the barrel for which was lined up with the back edge of the barrel.* This ball is called a bead. To "draw a bead" literally means that someone is lining up their sights to take a shot. While the bead has long faded into history, the expression has spread to refer to any type of aiming, regardless of whether a gun is involved or not.

*This might not sound too accurate, but because early guns didn't have rifling to spin the bullet and used tremendous amounts of black powder it was hard to hit anything more than a few yards away regardless of the aiming method.

Posted 5148 day ago

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