Two Deadly Men

There are many Men in the history of this Country who have been killers. There is a difference between a killer and a murderer. Clyde Barrow was a murderer, a murdering outlaw.

There are a lot of myths surrounding Bonnie and Clyde. One myth that was perpetrated by Hollywood was that he and Bonnie Parker preferred Thompson .45 Cal. Submachineguns. That’s not true at all.

While they might have possessed Thompsons, Clyde preferred the Browning Automatic Rifle, the infamous BAR. This is a magazine fed, Fully-Automatic .30 Cal. Rifle [.30-06 Springfield Caliber-commercial designation or 7.62x63mm]. He was known to load it with Armor Piercing Ammunition. That’s a very wicked combination in a gunfight.

The Barrow Gang were well known for their ability to shoot their way out of situations where Police surrounded them. This is probably the reason Law Enforcement grew tired of chasing them and surrounding them, only to be shot to pieces by this heavily armed Gang.

So, they were ambushed, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow did not have a chance to fight back, they were ambushed and killed by a Posse. They were each hit approximately 50 times with 167 projectiles striking their stolen Ford. People can debate the legality of that forever. That’s what happened. I certainly cannot condemn what that Posse did, as many like to do. Bonnie and Clyde simply died as violently as they lived; they finally had to take some of what they were skilled at dishing out to others.

There is more than one BAR that Clyde left behind at the scenes of shoot-outs that had a cut down stock and barrel so he could conceal it under a long coat. That’s a serious piece of equipment folks…Clyde did not mess around. The Thompson is most certainly one of the most effective close quarters automatic weapons ever devised, but a cut-down BAR is in another league entirely.

The Thompson .45 ACP Caliber Submachinegun would be effective against cars [Anite Productions’ "Deadly Weapons" Video shows graphically what a drum magazine loaded Thompson SMG can do to a car]. However, the BAR with Armor Piercing Ammunition would be much more effective.

By the way, as a historical note on Gun Control… The National Firearms Act of 1934, brought about by Alcohol Prohibition and "Gangsterism," in an effort to keep Automatic Weapons and Sawed-Off Shotguns out of the hands of criminals was easily proven to be symbolic by the likes of Bonnie and Clyde. Bonnie and Clyde burglarized National [Guard] Armories in several areas; they were also rumored to have used hand grenades in a couple instances. If true, they were also stolen. They did not waltz into a General Store and buy BARs or anything else. They stole them from The Government Armories. Colt Government Model 1911 .45 Cal. Handguns, BARs and thousands of rounds of ammunition were stolen from an Armory in Enid, Oklahoma, for example. Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed the year that Act was passed.

Bonnie and Clyde also made extensive use of Sawed-Off Shotguns. Remington Model 11 .20 Ga. Semiautomatic Shotguns, Browning Auto-12s and at least one [reported] .10 Ga. Lever Action, Sawed-Off Shotgun.

The Other Side of the Law

A Fast Draw…

FBI Agent Delf "Jelly" Bryce is virtually unknown to the Public when compared to the various criminals of his time. Even among Lawmen, the name of "Bryce" is not often heard. He remains one of the most Deadly Gunfighters of his time. I’m sure he is much better known in the Oklahoma and Texas Areas where he operated way back then…

At the same time Bonnie and Clyde were robbing banks and murdering people, FBI Agent Delf Bryce was tracking down notorious criminals as a Police Detective in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. In fact, he did not become an FBI Agent until the year Bonnie and Clyde were killed, 1934. As an Oklahoma City Police Detective, he actually shot a friend of Clyde Barrow’s in a hotel room in Oklahoma City. Bryce entered the hotel room intending on questioning the man, J. R. O’Donnell, and as Bryce forced his way into the room, O’Donnell held two handguns. Before he could fire, Bryce shot him once in the face and fired five more times, striking him with each shot.

I first read about Delf Bryce in the "Handguns Annual" Edition of Guns & Ammo Magazine in 1994. The Article, "’Jelly’ Bryce-Fast Gun of The FBI" by K.B. Chaffin immediately caught my attention.

In that Article, Mr. Chaffin referenced a Life Magazine Pictorial:

"On November 12, 1945, Life Magazine ran an unusual story. It was a photographic study of an FBI Agent named Jelly Bryce drawing and firing his .357 Magnum in two-fifths of a second, faster than the human eye can follow…"

By one of life’s rather odd coincidences, I happened to have a friend who had hundreds of old issues of Life Magazine in their attic. They would have simply rotted up there forever. I asked if they could possibly find me the issue I was looking for and they simply told me to go up there and find it myself! Which I did after about two hours of going through stacks of Magazines.

The Magazine was in almost perfect condition and remains one of the most interesting things I have in my collection. The Magazine is too large to scan or I would scan the cover for you. However, I did scan the main picture of the Article. And here it is, a stroboscopic series of shots from a high-speed camera showing Bryce’s fast draw in stages.

This is an interesting picture. Delf Bryce could drop a silver dollar, as shown in the picture, and he could draw and fire before the coin passed the gun which was at waist level. Bryce was one of those incredibly and naturally skilled men who could point shoot and hit everything they aimed at.

Don Rearic


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