“Shoot from the hip” is an American saying that has to do with the choice of a course of action. In most cases, the expression refers to a decision that is reached and implemented without stopping to consider the possible outcomes of the decision. From this perspective, choosing this action means going with first instincts and choosing to react quickly to a given situation.
There are two distinct schools of thought then it comes to the concept represented by this idiom. One idea holds that to shoot from the hip is a rash reaction. Because there is no time taken to weigh possible options, the possibility of choosing a wise course of action is minimized considerably. The lack of thoughtful consideration is much more likely to produce consequences that may be worse than the event that triggered the rash reaction in the first place.
A second approach to shooting from the hip holds that the instincts of the individual make it unnecessary to stop and analyze the situation in order to choose the right course of action. Instead, instincts quickly draw on the collective experience of the individual and make it possible to arrive at the proper course of action immediately. Proponents of this approach note that many opportunities are lost because time is wasted going over the minutiae of how to respond. If the individual decides take a chance, the potential for a desirable outcome is very high.
In general, most people tend to shoot from the hip in at least a few situations. This is especially true if the situation is similar to something that has occurred in the person’s past. If the past experience had a beneficial outcome, instincts may dictate that the individual react in the same manner. However, if the past experience did not result in a desirable outcome, instincts may dictate that an opposite course of action takes place.
To shoot from the hip means to make a snap decision in a matter of seconds. There is no time for the conscious mind to weigh options or look deeply into the situation. The first idea for a course of action becomes the last and is implemented immediately. People who tend to be risk takers are usually more comfortable with shooting from the hip, while people who are more conservative in their approach to life will often prefer to investigate possible outcomes rather than going with this approach.