Riding shotgun: Difference between revisions

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[[File:Indians Attacking a Stage-Coach BAH-p243.png|thumb|right|200px|Riding shotgun. The driver is holding the whip with the shotgun messenger on his left.]]
'''Riding shotgun''' was used to describe the guard who rode alongside a [[stagecoach]] driver, ready to use his [[shotgun]] to ward off bandits or hostile [[Native Americans in the United States|Native Americans]]. In modern use, it refers to the practice of sitting alongside the [[driver (person)|driver]] in a moving [[vehicle]]. The phrase has been used to mean giving actual or figurative support or aid to someone in a situation.<ref>{{cite web|work=dictionary.reference.com|url=http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/shotgun|title= Define Shotgun at Dictionary.com|publisher =Dictionary.com|accessdate=11 February 2013}}</ref> The earliest coining of this phrase dates to at most 1905.<ref name=phrases/>
 
== Etymology ==
=== Historical weapon ===
 
When [[Wells, Fargo & Co.]] began regular stagecoach service from [[Tipton, Missouri]] to [[San Francisco]], [[California]] in 1858, they issued shotguns to its drivers and guards for defense along the perilous 2,800 mile route.<ref name="pmo">{{cite news | last = Jones | first = Spencer | title = Revival Of The Coach Gun | publisher = Popular Mechanics | date = 2004-06-01 | url = http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/1277346.html?page=1 | accessdate = 2007-03-18 | deadurl = yes | archiveurl = https://web.archive.org/web/20070930024328/http://www.popularmechanics.com/outdoors/sports/1277346.html?page=1 | archivedate = 30 September 2007 | df = dmy-all }}</ref> The guard was called a [[shotgun messenger]] and they were issued a [[Coach gun]], typically a 10-gauge or 12-gauge, short, double-barreled shotgun.<ref name="Peacemakers">{{cite book |last=Wilson |first=RL | title=The Peacemakers: Arms and Adventure in the American West |year= 1992|publisher= NAL|location=New York |isbn=978-0-7858-1892-2 |pages=121, 197, 244}}</ref>
 
== Modern usage ==