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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Femmes Fatale: 1930

Femmes Fatale: 1930

Washington, D.C., circa 1930. Girl sharpshooters take aim in this unlabeled Harris & Ewing glass plate. Pardon us while we get out of the way! View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Offhand Comment

A poster mentioned offhand (standing position) shooting being difficult. To the right of the photo are the stations to acommodate such shooting. We see one place in the picture, but there are certainly more available.


That spotting scope appears to be tied to a Graflex Camera Tripod, probably a number one model.

I See Professionals

The lack of eye and ear protection was common years ago and thankfully that has changed. However, everything else appears to be very professional, safe and supervised. A range master and spotting scope is present, slings are in use, at least one shooter is wearing a heavy shooting glove and gauntlet, bolts are visibly open and the target trolleys are retracted indicating no targets, hanging at least, are down range. Certainly some artistic license is taking place by the photographer to get the shot as indicated by some of the off positions. I would say these ladies know exactly what they are doing, and doing it well. I applaud them and I wish this scene were more common.

Eye and Ear Protection...

I was on a smallbore competition rifle team (indoor and outdoor) in the late 1950s to mid 1960s and very few folks used eye or ear protection back then.

Our matches consisted of four different positions...
Prone (as shown in the photo)
Offhand (standing)

The Offhand position would be a bit tough on this range as the wood cross member would probably be in the way unless the shooter is really short.

We had similar wheels on our indoor range except the wheels were mounted at a more convenient waist height.

Indoor Shooting Range

That's the nature of this (basement) space. Used for law enforcement personnel training and practice. The pulleys are to bring the targets to the shooters for examination.

Re: What kind of building?

A gun range - the pulley wheels operates the target hanger clotheslines.


Safety Gear

No eye or hearing protection either.

Gunny Would Be Doing The Prone Groan

A Marine gunnery sergeant would be kicking some left elbows here to get them "well under the piece" while yelling about sight alignment and sight picture.

They're unloaded.

The rifles are clearly unloaded.

Pump action!

Check out the shiny black high-heel pumps on the right hand woman! What a great photo. What kind of building was this, with the pulley wheel-like apparatuses?

Safety first

All of the rifles have their bolts open. They can't possibly be fired like that.

Today's grade: F in Safety 101

Either the photographer used a remote-controlled camera, or this violated just about the most basic rules of gun safety.

Marksman (woman)

Just noticing siting and downrange rifle alignment, the young woman in the middle is most likely to be the real marksman.

Could This Be

Some of the gals from that famous 1925 Christmas office party photo that is also from Washington D.C.? At least 3 of them look slightly familiar! Especially the 3 on the floor taking aim.

I'd be concerned if I were the photographer

They don't seem to have any other targets to aim at.

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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