During a pistol duel how do the participants know when to draw their gun?

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I’m basing all my knowledge about gun duels on movies. Based on the movies I’ve seen there was never any countdown other than taking ten steps forward and then draw. But usually they stop at the 10th step and either a rooster crows or something else happens and then they draw.

In: Culture

In the context of movies – whatever the writer and director thinks looks cool.

Outside of the context of movies – whatever is agreed upon. Believe it or not, duels didn’t happen a ton.

In a traditional gentleman’s duel (for them snobby elites), they would have the pistols out aimed at each other before the signal was given that they may fire on the other party. This is was how a duel may be setup. Both parties were expected to be given a fair chance of shooting the other one, no removing from a holster or anything, you both point your guns at each other, get the signal, and shoot.

Now them cowboys movies of people dueling in the frontier did happen too, its not all movie magic, but a lot of it is movie magic. There was at least some of that style of dueling out there.