Advantages of Cowboy Weapons in an Emergency

As a prepper, it is not uncommon to think about the days before technology, when everyone had to fend for themselves, and the meals on your table came from using your own two hands. It is hard to think of a historical figure more capable than the cowboy—or at least one that is more desirable to most American boys growing up.

The cowboy helped tame the wild west and establish the new frontier. Known for their ingenuity and effective hunting and corraling skills, the cowboy was the original American symbol of strength, freedom, and adventure.

How does that reputation stack up today? The weapons and tools cowboys used to hunt, fight, and survive were capable back in the day, but are they still useful today. Is it worth practicing the use of a lasso, whip, or six-shooter, when you have the state-of-the-art weapons and advantages of now?


The invention of rope occurred sometime in 26,000 BC, but the lasso's history is not as specific. A rope with a noose in one end, the lasso has been around likely for centuries, with Native Americans using the tool as a weapon to significant effect as they fought off Spanish invaders.

It is likely that cowboys also used the lasso as a weapon, throwing the rope, so the nose wrapped around an opponent's neck, pulling them to the ground, and dragging them behind their horse or hanging them until they were dead. While brutal, it was effective at the time.

Today, the lasso is more for sport than anything else. People use it in rodeos to capture animals. Many skilled individuals use the tool for entertainment, dancing, and jumping through the noose to significant effect. As a survival tool, it is possible to use the tool to capture animals, similar to a snare, but a snare is more effective. Additionally, the advancements in weaponry make a lasso inferior to other hunting options.


A bullwhip is a pastoral tool — not like a minister for a congregation. It is a single-tailed whip used primarily when working and training livestock. When swung and snapped the right way, the braided leather tool makes a loud cracking noise, helping cowboys corral cows and other livestock, guiding the herds.

In the wild days of American history, the whip was also used to punish people, marring their flesh. However, despite the severity of injuries, whips were never meant to kill. Today, people, including modern cowboys, still use whips to help put order to their fields, but most use the whip to entertain, performing tricks to captivated audiences.

As a survival weapon, the whip is likely ineffective. Indiana Jones aside, the tool does not stand a chance against modern weapons, not to mention its limited range. For a whip to be effective, you need to maintain a specific distance from your attacker, and your opponent is not likely to oblige.


The six-shooter was the trusty sidearm of the cowboy. As a gun, it is still a decent weapon, but the improvements to firearms have been vast and significant through the years. The idea of limiting yourself to six shots when so many magazines hold at least 30 rounds is ridiculous in a survival situation. Now, as a showpiece or a weapon for demonstrating trick shots, the six-shooter has some historical significance and gravitas, but when it comes to survival, choose modern weaponry.

No matter how badly you wanted to be a cowboy as a kid, the tools they used on the prairie are no match for the options today. What do you think?  Leave a comment below.

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Jamal Quick - March 18, 2021 Reply

I think the Canteen, Compass, and good Ol’ crafty Bone and Metal Knife in many cases was and still can be as or more effective than just Six Shooter or Whip. Those three things used properly would almost certainly ensure survival, where as Six Shooter used improperly would almost certainly end fatally anyway.

Johnny Crumpton - March 25, 2021 Reply

The six shooter is still an effective weapon today as it was 150 years ago. In most cases six shots is all you need if you know how to use it.

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