The Fastest Man Who Every Lived.
Being known as “the fastest man with a gun who ever lived” is quite a title to live up to. The legendary Bob Munden not only embraced this rank, he lived it on a daily basis.
Born in Kansas City, Mo., on February 8, 1942 and later moving to California, Bob had his own BB gun by the time he was eight years old. As he grew older, he mowed lawns so he could afford a pellet rifle to shoot crows for bounty in the orange groves.
While in California, the Munden family came across a group of men who shot “Fast Draw” at a makeshift shooting range. The sport captivated Bob, so his dad traded a rifle for a pair of Iver Johnson .38 revolvers. Entering his first match at age 11, Bob wore a revolver on his hip with a cap gun holster and the sash from a bathrobe. From then on, Bob was hooked.
Moving to Big Bear Lake, Calif., in 1956, Bob worked a variety of jobs to fund his passion — including working for Jeff Cooper, who later founded Gunsite Academy. Bob raked pine needles for the Cooper family to earn the privilege of borrowing Col. Cooper’s Colt single-action revolver to compete in Big Bear shooting matches.
Walk And Draw
By 1960, Bob had earned enough money to buy his own Colt single-action .45. Soon after getting his first sixgun, he heard about a fast draw match in Los Angeles.
The competition was a “Walk and Draw Level” match where shooters started 110 feet apart and walked toward each other. There was a signal light between the shooters and when the signal lit, they fired blanks. The fastest time won if the three level judges determined it was a level shot. Draw and fire times of under one second were common.
At this match, Fred Stieler, one of the sport’s top shooters, outshot Bob, and told him, “Better luck next time, kid.” Some people get upset about losing and never return, while others take on the challenge with a vengeance. Bob was the latter.
Taking to long hours of practice, Bob perfected his drawing technique. He entered the California State Championship, defeated Stieler in the semifinals with record-setting speed and went on to win the championship.
Bob’s fast draw, fire and re-holster became so fast you would literally miss it if you blinked. This speed allowed Bob to win countless trophies and was eventually listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “The Fastest Man With A Gun Ever Alive.”
Bob met his wife Becky at a fast draw tournament in 1964. Not one to waste time, Bob married her three months later. Bob and Becky did extensive work educating people about gun safety around the country.
Bob and Becky Munden in an early photo.
In 1978 the Mundens moved to Butte, Mont., and organized the first professional action shooting match there. I signed up to shoot the challenging match, which featured 8″ stop plates at 50 yards from an offhand shooting position. Top shooters in the event — Bob included — could repeatedly drop the stop plates with single shots from their .45 autos.
The Mundens performed on TV shows such as Guinness World Records, Good Morning America, and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. In 2010 at age 68, Bob was featured on Stan Lee’s Superhumans, shooting “faster than a rattlesnake.”
On his various appearances, Bob demonstrated his fast draw skills and other feats of exhibition shooting. Splitting playing cards in the air, shooting a .38 snubbie at 200 yards, shooting a .44 Magnum at 600 yards and opening a safety pin with a bullet from a 1911 without damaging the safety pin were some of Bob’s many creative achievements.
Bob later turned his knowledge of sixguns into a gunsmithing and fast draw training business where he would customize sixguns and then train people in their use. Bob worked on Colts, Colt clones, Ruger revolvers and more. Before his passing in December 2012, Bob trained Jeff Ault to continue his brand of gunsmithing for Munden Enterprises.
Bob Munden has been described as “America’s Shooter” and a great ambassador for the Second Amendment. He always supported the shooting sports, entertained audiences worldwide and assisted budding shooters.
He thought big, thought fast — and shot faster.
If you’d like to learn more about Bob, his legacy, gunsmithing or to buy DVD’s about him, go to www.bobmunden.com or call (406) 494-2833.
By Dave Lauck