Shooting Instructors

The "Master"

Golly, there’s a lot of finger-pointing and animosity flying around whenever you start to talk about shooting classes and the people who teach them.  Ask a simple question about the qualifications behind someone’s reputation, and all of a sudden you have people calling you names and making accusations.  Are Jeff Cooper and Barack Obama related?

What are the qualifications of a shooting instructor?  There’s actually 2 relevant questions there: what are the actual qualifications of the instructors?  And: what should the qualifications be for an instructor?  Does anyone think that those 2 questions are not legitimate questions to consider?  Ideally, that Venn diagram would have 100% overlap, but the world is not a perfect place.

Most of us have seen the youtube videos of “shooting instructors” doing questionable and dangerous things.  What sane person would take a class with the guy who advocates running at his assailant while shooting? Shoot you to the ground” I think he called it.  Stupid is what those of us who watched the video call it.

(click the title for more)

Different types of shooting means you need different qualifications to teach them.  I wouldn’t go to a benchrest shooter to learn about room-clearing techniques.  Does anyone think that the best instructor is a person who has no experience in what they are teaching?

The issue of Jeff Cooper’s qualifications as an instructor came up.  And when it did, a whole bunch of people started making some bold statements about them, while simultaneously attacking me for asking the question.  Rather than providing Cooper’s qualifications, I kept getting asked who was a qualified instructor, and I mentioned that Massad Ayoob seemed qualified, better qualified than Jeff Cooper anyway.  Well, that just opened the floodgates for people to start besmirching Mr. Ayoob’s reputation.

What is a reasonable person supposed to do when he hears 2 drastically incompatible versions of the truth?  Compare the facts.

Massad Ayoob has made his c.v. public, and his qualifications are easy to find if you look for them.  But where are Cooper’s qualifications?  Did he ever compete in the courses he created, let alone in anyone else’s class?  Did he win any marksmanship contests?  Even the most staunch members of his cult of personality angrily try to change the subject when you ask these questions.  Did Cooper keep his resume in the same safety-deposit box as Obama’s birth certificate?

Here is what is available:

The Facts

The Facts

Whole lot of white space in the left column.  I asked repeatedly, but none of Cooper’s kool-aid imbibers would provide me with any information about their tin god’s qualifications.  (And, there is the issue of whether I could decipher Cooper’s resume, given his tendency to pompously butcher the English language to sound learned).  The offer still stands: provide me with documentation of Cooper’s qualifications, and I will post a correction and apology.

Would you enroll in a martial arts school where the sensei never competed or sparred?  Do you think a celibate priest is the best source of marital advice?

Bottom line:  Which of the 2 men in that chart is the person you want to teach you how to use your gun to defend yourself?  And, why?

I have been accused of being an attention-whore, of being a link-slut, a comment troll and worse.  My detractors are sorely mistaken in assessing my internet skills.  I don’t know (or care) how many hits I get; I have no idea who does and does not link to my blog.  I have no ad-revenue program, I have no affiliate program, and I am not sucking up to anyone to get free swag or membership in a cult of personality.

I am a gun guy asking questions, looking for information.  Why are people so scared to answer the questions?

UPDATE:

Cooper also popularized the 4 Rules of Gun Safety.  Didn’t want to leave that off of his list of accomplishments.

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20 Responses to “Shooting Instructors”

  1. Aaron says:

    Oooh, you’re going to hurt some feelings with this one.

    I’m not a fan of the color codes. But Cooper is also credited with the 4 rules. I don’t know if that’s legit, but it’s a common impression.

    My personal unfavorite is people who mock shooting instructors for not being “tactical” enough. Without mentioning that in the course of executing whatever tactics, being able to shoot fast and accurately might be important.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Good point. Cooper popularized the 4 Rules.

      I am not out to hurt feelings. I am looking to find a reason to take Cooper’s teachings seriously. And none of his worshipers will even try to establish his bona fides.

      To me, that is suspicious.

  2. Miguel says:

    I have to find where I read this, but he was a pistol instructor during WWII Some said he also trained OSS agents)and not happy about the way it was taught. He learned his pistolcraft under Rex Applegate who was a nasty taskmaster from what I hear.
    He was in central America during troubled times down there…doing what, Who knows? Officially he taught many personal security people involved in personal protection. Unofficially?
    His accomplishment IMHO was instructing a new generation of pistol instructors.
    What we know about pistols nowadays comes from him. I know people that took classes with him and some that actually had to apply what they learned from him in real life. They are breathing so I am guessing he taught well.

    Was he perfect? Not at all. He hated 9mm caliber even though it has killed more people than the .45 will ever do. Everybody agrees that he was abrasive to a fault and loved to blow his own horn quite loudly. I am sure he had many other faults but when people like Jim Cirillo considered him great, who am I to argue the point?

  3. Miguel says:

    PS: I hope I didn’t sound like I was attacking. It was not my intention at all.

    • crapgame says:

      Naw, looked like a pretty reasonable reply to me. If anything Miguel, you’ve been more than reasonable, engaging in the conversation and providing interesting insight.

      Have some patience, the real attacks will come soon. ;)

      When I chatted with GunNutmegger this morning, I told him this:

      His bona fides are he was doing it before anybody else. The validity of his teachings are a separate issue. And he at least made an attempt to put some structure to the issue

      I would say that this is another case of challenging assumptions – there is so much orthodoxy amongst a segment of the gun enthusiast community. It’s not my job, nor my interest to defend GunNutmegger, he’s capable of fighting his own battles. However, another blog (who snarked at us without giving any link), made it sound as if these posts were done for nothing other than link-whoring. We gained a lot of traffic (in a relative sense), but I can promise you, our posts were not written simply to troll.

      You will also note that the Four Rules are prominently displayed in the sidebar.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Don’t sweat it. Even the attacks are fun for me!

      I never disputed that Cooper was a trainer. But he has never documented any actual use of a gun in combat. I have a hard time taking his teachings on gunfighting at face value, given his lack of experience.

      Applegate wasn’t a one-trick pony; he learned a lot from others and incorporated it into his teachings. I believe his point-shooting techniques are more effective than Cooper’s. Then there’s Fairbairn and Cirillo, who both lived through a lot of fights.

      • Miguel says:

        To me the “been in a gun fight” is not an inflexible requirement to teach good “gunmanship”. I am reading Ed McGivern’s Fast and Fancy Revolver Shooting and it is one of the best books about pistolcraft ever. He never was in a gunfight, but he could make any hand gun sing. He taught many police officers and FBI agents and he was well respected anyways.
        I think we have a glut of “instructors” claiming that they’ve been there, done that & have the T-Shirt because it gives them a “tough Hombre” rep and therefore they must know. Very few people have been in lethal force confrontations where a civilian can actually learn something (just because you were serving overseas does not mean what the person learned can be translated to civilian life) and only a fraction of those can teach.

  4. Gunnutmegger says:

    McGivern was a very impressive shooter. Ditto guys like Jerry Miculek.

    But they both proved their skills, publicly and repeatedly.

    How many shooting competitions did Cooper win?

    I mean, if he isn’t bringing documented shooting skills to the table, and he isn’t drawing on a wealth of real-world experience, why is he viewed as an expert?

  5. Miguel says:

    I can’t offer you any “paper” just the people who trained under him and now are top instructors themselves and keep passing along good training.

    http://www.worldlingo.com/ma/enwiki/en/Gunsite_Training_Center

  6. j t bolt says:

    I’m no expert, and Cooper’s quals are sparse on the web because he stopped teaching before the internet really came about. It is my understanding he was involved in the beginning of IPSC in the 50s and competed much and won some. He lost interest in that group when it became more of a game with game specific equipment and not ordinary defensive pistols. Then came IPDA as a response to gamesmanship shooting to bring it back to its roots. In time another league will come up in response to IPDA losing track of its roots, methinks.

    It is also my understanding that his Institute was as much to explore new techniques using people that knew what they were doing, adopting what worked in the field and discarding what didn’t. LOTS of LEO people were attracted to the course. Maybe that was because it was the only (or one of a very few) thing around that taught more than the basics.

    Before Cooper you were either trained to stick one arm straight out and put your other hand in your back pocket, or you learned a type of point shooting. After Cooper you used the Modern Method. And most decent training you get today will look a lot like what Cooper did.

    I think of him like the founder/dean of Harvard. It wasn’t just him teaching and hasn’t been since not long after I was born. And I’m old.

    “He popularized the Modern Method” is the big thing he did.

    (he did look kinda silly on his tactical trike, tho)

  7. Mark Hines (shoot more talk less) says:

    Gunnutmegger,

    You should really do a little more homework on a subject before you slander somebody like the late, great, Jeff Cooper. It’s one thing to float an un-informed oppinion about a gun or some style of shooting, but to attack a man like Jeff Cooper is quite shameful…And yes, you attacked him by floating out your little chart, with such little knowledge of the man.

    I’ll keep it short. Jeff Cooper did more than his share of shooting while honoring his country with his service as a marine in the early 1940s. Back around 1955 Jeff Cooper founded the Bear Valley Gunslingers (he was tops in competition) which was the start of the IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation). You should enjoy the classic photo (it’s out there as “proof”) of the early Combat Masters, Ray Chapman, Elden Carl, Thell Reed, Jeff Cooper and Jack Weaver (a la “Weaver Stance”). In his day Jeff Cooper was one of the best. I’m guessing you know little of the other Master shooters in the picture.

    Nothing against the fine shooter, instructor and author, Massad Ayoob (I think I own every book he’s written), but Jeff Cooper in his day was considered one of the “best” as a competitive shooter.

    Side note: Jack Weaver cleaned up in competiion for several years after he came up with the “Weaver Stance” until his friend Jeff Cooper learned Jack’s method of shooting. Jack Weaver seldom won after that.

    Jeff Cooper, did so much more over the years. Having designed, built and lauched the IPSC he stepped down as President in the mid-1980′s and started his “Gunsite” training school. Still today one of the best schools in the world to learn tactical shooting. I’ve not even scratched the surface on the accomplishments of Jeff Cooper but there are many.

    I’m sorry if I offended you, but you touched a nerve and it’s amazing how others knew so little about one of the greatest gunman of our times. I’ll leave you with one of Jeff Cooper’s great lines. When asked if a 25 cal. pistol was enough gun. Mr. Cooper replied with a straight face “If you shoot someone five times in the face with a 25 cal. you’ll definently have an advantage in the fisticuffs to follow. That was Mr. Cooper at his best…I hope you’ll read some of Jeff Cooper’s writings now that you know a little more about the man. You’ll learn a lot from a man who’s been there, done that, kind of guy.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Well, Markie, I want to thank you for stopping by.

      As you might have guessed from the other posts on this blog, I am a big fan of facts and documentation. And, in the same vein, I am not impressed by boasts, innuendo and myth (nor by the un-informed (sic) opinions generated by such things).

      Those 2 factors formed my conclusions about Cooper’s qualifications as a combat shooting instructor (take note of my wording, Mark; this is not about target shooting on a range). And, you have provided no facts whatsoever to cast doubt on my conclusions.

      Since you decided to be snarky, you will simply have to accept a little in return as I dissect your application for membership in the Cooper-for-sainthood club:

      “I’ll keep it short.”

      We would all prefer that you kept it factual.

      “Jeff Cooper did more than his share of shooting while honoring his country with his service as a marine in the early 1940s.”

      That’s it? No round counts, or even the events he participated in? Just a vague unsubstantiated claim that he did some shooting?

      For the record: he was the staff training officer on General Vandegrift’s staff. NOT leading a platoon, NOT serving in combat. I can find no record of the campaign ribbons or decorations that Cooper was authorized to wear. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

      “Back around 1955 Jeff Cooper founded the Bear Valley Gunslingers (he was tops in competition)”

      Numerically speaking, what is “tops”, exactly? Or do you not actually know how Cooper did?

      “You should enjoy the classic photo (it’s out there as “proof”) of the early Combat Masters, Ray Chapman, Elden Carl, Thell Reed, Jeff Cooper and Jack Weaver (a la “Weaver Stance”).”

      As an avid photographer, I undoubtedly would.

      But, as a shooter, what exactly would that prove to me about Cooper? That he successfully photo-bombed Jack Weaver?

      “In his day Jeff Cooper was one of the best.”

      Is that an opinion? Or do you have some actual facts to back it up?

      “I’m guessing you know little of the other Master shooters in the picture.”

      You guessed incorrectly. Nice try though. If you don’t have any facts to make your case, I suppose lying to insult your debate opponent is considered sporting in some circles.

      “Jeff Cooper in his day was considered one of the “best” as a competitive shooter.”

      …and yet again I must ask: do you have any facts or numbers to back that up?

      You keep saying it, Mark, but each time you “forget” to document the proof.

      I am starting to get suspicious about all of your unsubstantiated claims…

      “Jeff Cooper, did so much more over the years.”

      No question about that. The CZ75, the Bren Ten, the Scout Rifle…world-beaters all. (That was sarcasm, Mark, in case you don’t get it.)

      “Having designed, built and lauched the IPSC”

      The information I have says that: “IPSC was founded at a conference held in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976. Practical shooting enthusiasts from around the world participated, creating a constitution and establishing the rules governing the sport. Jeff Cooper served as the first IPSC President.”

      Which does not exactly agree with what you claim.

      “…started his “Gunsite” training school. Still today one of the best schools in the world to learn tactical shooting.”

      That is the opinion of some people. But is it the school itself, or the instructor and curriculum, that make a school effective?

      “I’ve not even scratched the surface on the accomplishments of Jeff Cooper but there are many.”

      The reason you haven’t scratched the surface, Mark, is that you have presented almost no factual information to back up your claims. Yes, as you said, he was in the Marines; and yes, he stepped down as IPSC president. Other than that, you provided a lot of claims and boasts. Not facts.

      “I hope you’ll read some of Jeff Cooper’s writings now that you know a little more about the man.”

      Nice try, Mark. But I am very familiar with Mr. Cooper’s writing (or perhaps more accurately, his tortured mangling of the English language for what he apparently thought was dramatic effect). My opinion of Mr. Cooper is based upon his documented words and deeds, not a bushel of boasts and myths bandied around by his sycophantic worshipers like Chuck Norris Facts.

      “You’ll learn a lot from a man who’s been there, done that, kind of guy.”

      What exactly am I supposed to learn about combat shooting from a dude who never served in combat, and never fired (let alone heard) a shot in a gunfight?

      Rather than admit his lack of practical experience, and seeking out bona fide experts to expand his knowledge (like Ayoob has done), Cooper appears to have avoided the issue and bluffed his way through. Many gullible people have fallen for his act. I am not one of them.

      As always, if someone has some actual facts about Cooper that contradict the observations I have made, I will be happy to post them and eat crow.

      Until then, I am going to keep asking the difficult questions that Cooper’s brainwashed fan club refuses to answer.

    • Steve Lee says:

      I have to agree with you about Jeff. Nearly all of the more popular instructors now extant can trace their lineage back to Cooper, Applegate and Cooper’s first operations manager, Chuck Taylor. Taylor taught Gabe Suarez, and Nash at Front Sight. Taylor brought them both up to four-way combat master, of which there are only five that I know of, Chuck being the first. Other than Gabe, who is a combat ace, the only other instructor I personally know of who has killed men in self defense at least five times, and in battle in four wars, is Taylor. He still teaches. By the way, Taylor works with Ayoob frequently.

      Back to Cooper, he has written many books. He has also hunted in Africa and elsewhere. As to shooting ability he was excellent with a rifle as well as handgun. He and his friends used to shoot flying clay pigeons with rifles. I don’t think Ayoob can do that. On the rifle range at Gunsite, he blew people away with his rifle skill. In years past he was an instructor in Central America to military groups.

      One of the reasons he wrote and spoke in such an erudite manner is because he was very well educated, having a masters in history from Stanford University. His wife, Janelle, also graduated from Stanford. Jeff expected people around him to live at an erudite, educated and polite level where he lived. He gave me a splitting headache the first time I conversed with him because I was straining so hard to follow the conversation. The only other man or woman who has done that to me was Bill Ruger. They were both from the same generation. My vocabulary and history (and literature) reading list have expanded tremendously for having known him.

      In conclusion, the foregoing can be used and verified to fill out your instructor matrix.

      Cheers,
      Steve

  8. Robert Shimizu says:

    Hello, all. I’m Bob Shimizu of Prescott, AZ. I would be happy to weigh in on this topic and will endeavor to answer any questions that I can.

    I will begin by addressing Col. Cooper’s documented combat experiences. My source materials are World War II’s history concerning the USS Battleship Pennsylvania, which you can read
    here: http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=136

    My second source is the biography of Col. Cooper, “The Soul and the Spirit”, by Lindy Cooper Wisdom, which is published by Wolfe Publishing Company, ISBN 0-9621342-6-0.

    Between 31 January and 3 February, 1944, The Pennsylvania bombarded Kwajalein Island in the Marshall Islands. Shortly after the bombardment, the Lieutenant Cooper was assigned to a shore detail to ascertain the effects of the shelling, to report on the condition of the beach and to conduct burial operations. During one of these shore parties, a Japanese soldier approached the party’s position, apparently unaware of the marines in the vicinity. Lt. Cooper presented his Colt Peacemaker and put one round center-mass on the soldier, dropping him immediately. Against the larger backdrop of the Pacific war, this was not considered remarkable by anyone, least of all Lt. Cooper.

    Between 17 and 25 June, 1944 Pennsylvania anchored off Saipan to cover the ground action there. Again, Lt. Cooper went ashore to seek out a marine battalion. While trying to locate these troops, Lt.
    Cooper scaled a tree to get a better view. A Japanese soldier in the bush noticed Lt. Cooper just as Cooper noticed him, and the Japanese soldier raised his rifle. On this occasion Lt. Cooper discharged his
    1911 pistol with the dominant hand at short range, knocking the Japanese soldier down, possibly killing him. Lt. Cooper’s detachment moved on, and this incident too was not considered remarkable.

    These are the two documented incidents regarding Cooper’s combat experiences. The others may have occurred in southeast Asia. During the Korean conflict, then Reserve Major Cooper was attached to the CIA, operating on multiple missions between that country and his home in Arlington, VA. He later operated in Thailand, and again on Saipan. His duties during this period were classified and so remain undocumented. To the end of his days, Col. Cooper refused to discuss these matters, and there it ended.

    In my own experience, combat soldiers do not readily discuss their “kills”, even as we civilians attempt with liquid eyes to draw them out. It is not for those of us who have not “been there” to pry. One learns such things if one is around veterans very long. It is a story for them to tell when and if they wish to.

    I can’t say I was an intimate friend of the Colonel, but in the years from 1995 until his death in 2006 I was a regular presence at his hearth and his table. So, I’m well placed to answer any questions that may arise, and as a multiple Graduate of Gunsite Academy I have made it my business to absorb the doctrine of the Modern Technique of the Pistol, a concept authored by Col. Cooper.

    Col. Cooper was an unusual man, even a great one. His patrician upbringing positioned him for an excellent education at Stanford, where he earned a degree in history. He remained both a student and a teacher all of his life, and while others might be struck dumb in his presence (which he had little patience for), or might stammer out a question about guns or hunting, he and I discussed history and languages, chiefly the English language, of which he was a remarkable practitioner.

    During his life he produced an extensive bibliography – all titles that can be readily obtained and reviewed – as well as thousands of articles, letters and quips, which when collected became the “Gunsite Gossip”. This body of work speaks for itself and stands on its own without any need for me to defend or elaborate upon.

    In my small circles, I am considered a good writer. I certainly do a great deal of it in my work as Partner in a small software company. However, Col. Cooper spoke, and speaks today in an unusually clear voice through his writing. He had a ready command of English, German, French and Spanish, having been schooled in Latin in his childhood. Therefore, his library of references was vast, far exceeding my own.

    Often my questions to the Coopers were on the fine points of grammar. Both Col. and Janelle Cooper were people of the early 20th century, and could be counted upon to provide a ready answer. And that is perhaps why some may consider his writing style “elaborate”. It was because he had the greatest minds of Western thought in perspective. He wrote for the ages and as a man of his time would. I find his prose refreshing, descriptive and immediate.

    Even in his “Yukon Journal”, written in 1940 and unpublished until 2010 he already had the fine observation and a flair for declamation that would continue to develop until his death.

    To this day, when I sit to write, he often reads over my shoulder, proof-reading as do many other of my favorite authors. “Is it true? Is it clear? Could it be conveyed with fewer words?”

    Throughout his life, Col. Cooper maintained a sense of curiosity about all things. He was therefore a oenophile, a gourmand, a great appreciator of life. He became curious at one point about sports cars. This led to his interest in racing, and the machines themselves. I own a little-known book known as “Sports Cars Annual”, by Jeff Cooper which was published in 1957 and is long out of print.

    Another subject of Cooper’s curiosity was of course shooting. What enabled one man to prevail over another? With WWII and his covert duties of the 1950s in mind, he began to seek the essence, the “eidos” of this discipline.

    In this inquiry, he paralleled the earlier intent of Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings” in which one of the world’s most celebrated swordsmen sought to convey the essence of strategy.

    Cooper’s method, at its core, was observation and measurement. The stopwatch was his primary instrument in the early years in Big Bear, California where he observed pistol shooters in the “Leather-slap”
    series of matches. It was during these years that Cooper synthesized his observations into what would later be called the Modern Technique. Why does one man shoot more quickly and accurately than does another? Is it equipment? Is it technique? Is it innate ability? Why is this so? This last question is one of the truly human questions. It may be the greatest of questions.

    The Modern Technique is composed of five elements: The Weaver Stance, the Flash Sight picture, the Compressed Surprise Break, the Presentation and the heavy duty self-loading pistol. These are all discussed in “The Modern Technique of the Pistol” by Gregory Morrison (Jeff Cooper, Editorial Advisor).

    Another of the distillations that we can attribute to Col. Cooper is the Combat Triad, which is composed of Marksmanship, Gun-handling and Mindset, the latter being the most important of the three.

    Another of Cooper’s distillations is the famous Color Code: White – lack of awareness; Yellow – relaxed awareness; Orange – non-specific threat; and Red – immediate action.

    Another of Cooper’s distillations are the four rules of Gun-handling which I will go into in the interest of completeness: Rule One: All guns are always loaded; Rule Two: Never cover anything with the muzzle you do not wish to destroy; Rule Three: Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned with the target: and Rule
    Four: Know your target, know what is in line with your target, know what is beyond your target.

    Each of these distillations found form in Cooper’s work as it has with many others. Taken together with many additions, these principles form the “Doctrine”, a body of thought that began with Col. Cooper and has evolved from his early work.

    As a consequence of his study of the matter, Col. Cooper founded the International Practical Shooting Confederation in 1976.

    In 1977, Col. Cooper founded what is today Gunsite Academy, Inc. a school that has been in continual operation since. This school has informed thousands of students from elite military, to civilian law enforcement and to private citizens of all walks of life.

    The Doctrine itself, however, has informed thousands more who seek education at the many schools that have sprung up after Gunsite, and in the Gunsite model.

    Both IPSC and Gunsite exist to spread the Doctrine, to a greater or lesser extent. I say “lesser” in the case of IPSC and USPSA, even IDPA. Once the emphasis became weighted on the side of competition instead of self-improvement, the Colonel (and many others including
    myself) turned away in disgust.

    In Colonel Cooper we have a well-educated mind, a hunter, a soldier, an historian, a philosopher, a father, a teacher, a gifted public speaker, a long-serving Board Member of the NRA, a prolific author and a long-term observer of human endeavor. Along the way, he founded a body of thought that examines small arms combat and what it takes to prevail under deadly conditions.

    Taken singly, any of these could be considered “interesting”. Taken together, these qualities – found in one man – is truly remarkable.

    I note that I have spent a great deal of my time in doing what I could to bring facts to this discussion. Truly, all of what I have conveyed herein can be found in a very large bibliography. In the end, Col. Cooper’s achievements stand on their own and it is up to each of us to inquire of them. He certainly needs no defense from me. The man exceeded me, and continues to exceed me in every way.

    Sincerely,
    Bob Shimizu
    Prescott, AZ

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Bob, thanks for your thoughtful reply.

      “My source materials are World War II’s history concerning the USS Battleship Pennsylvania, which you can read
      here: http://ww2db.com/ship_spec.php?ship_id=136

      There is no mention of Mr. Cooper at that link.

      “My second source is the biography of Col. Cooper, “The Soul and the Spirit”, by Lindy Cooper Wisdom”

      As I mentioned to Mr. Kirchner below, is that the only other corroboration you have, a book by his daughter?

      Are there any military records to back up that account?

      “During one of these shore parties, a Japanese soldier approached the party’s position, apparently unaware of the marines in the vicinity. Lt. Cooper presented his Colt Peacemaker and put one round center-mass on the soldier, dropping him immediately.”

      A Colt Peacemaker? Really? I find that hard to believe.

      “he and I discussed history and languages, chiefly the English language, of which he was a remarkable practitioner.”
      “However, Col. Cooper spoke, and speaks today in an unusually clear voice through his writing.”

      Cooper’s style of writing was not clear, nor was it concise. It was overly-elaborate well past the point of awkwardness. Many people have that opinion about his writing, even his fans.

      “As a consequence of his study of the matter, Col. Cooper founded the International Practical Shooting Confederation in 1976.”

      According to (not always accurate) WikiPedia: “IPSC was founded at a conference held in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976. Practical shooting enthusiasts from around the world participated, creating a constitution and establishing the rules governing the sport.[1][2] Jeff Cooper served as the first IPSC President.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Practical_Shooting_Confederation

      Which does not exactly square with Cooper’s version of events.

      Bob, it is clear that you are an unabashed fan of Mr. Cooper. And that adoration is affecting your critical thinking skills.

      Why is it that the only corroboration that anyone can find for Cooper’s deeds is Cooper himself (through people quoting him)?

      Going forward, I will be sure to mention that Cooper claims to have successfully used his gun in combat.

  9. Paul Kirchner says:

    I never disputed that Cooper was a trainer. But he has never documented any actual use of a gun in combat. I have a hard time taking his teachings on gunfighting at face value, given his lack of experience.

    Jeff Cooper shot and killed three men. Two in the Pacific and one in Thailand when he was doing some government work there. The details are in “Jeff Cooper: The Soul and the Spirit” by Lindy Cooper Wisdom” and “More of the Deadliest Men” by Paul Kirchner. He referred obliquely to these incidents in his writing but did not choose to talk much about them.

    If you are in touch with Massad Ayoob he will tell you that he has great respect for Cooper as a founder of the Modern Technique and as a teacher. I don’t think he would be comfortable with your chart.

    If you had ever taken a class with Cooper you would have no doubts about his qualifications as an instructor and diagnostician.

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      “Jeff Cooper shot and killed three men. Two in the Pacific and one in Thailand when he was doing some government work there. The details are in “Jeff Cooper: The Soul and the Spirit” by Lindy Cooper Wisdom””

      That’s the corroboration, a book by his daughter? And a book you seem to have written? That’s it?

      Are there any military records to back these stories up?

      “If you are in touch with Massad Ayoob he will tell you that he has great respect for Cooper as a founder of the Modern Technique and as a teacher. I don’t think he would be comfortable with your chart.”

      Whether Mr. Ayoob respected Cooper as a marksmanship trainer is not the issue. The issue is Cooper’s bona fides to teach combat gunfighting.

      “If you had ever taken a class with Cooper you would have no doubts about his qualifications as an instructor and diagnostician.”

      Yes, I would.

      • Paul Kirchner says:

        I knew Jeff for 20 years and I never knew him to brag or exaggerate. He never wrote about the men he killed in combat. When his daughter was writing her biography of him, she said, “Dad, you know that people who read this book are going to expect to find in it details of the men you killed.”
        And so he told her. I read her manuscript and later questioned him at some length about the incidents.

        What kind of documentation do you expect to support these stories? Do you think someone in WW II got a certificate every time he killed an enemy? If his intention had been to brag, why didn’t he include them in his writing, or even make up a more impressive number?

        You list being awarded “Handgunner of the Year” as one of Massad’s accomplishments. Why didn’t you list being awarded “Handgunner of the Year” in 1995 as one of Jeff Cooper’s accomplishments?

        Here are some other things you could to his credentials.

        He won first prize–a 1911A1 pistol–as top shot among the ROTC students in his class at Stanford.

        After WW II he was stationed at Quantico and practiced and competed regularly with the FBI agents who stationed there, including the famed Jelly Bryce. This was the time at which he saw the superiority of the .45 auto over the revolvers still favored for law enforcement.

        Cooper was the overall champion of the Big Bear Gunslingers in 1959, 1960, and 1961. As he got more involved in running the program and studying the techniques that worked, he no longer competed. But why is that important? Does a good instructor have to be a top competitor?

        If you look at gun magazines in the 1960s, you’ll see that all they wrote about was target shooting, collecting, and hunting. Cooper was the first regular contributor to write about combat pistol shooting–he virtually created the category.

        Cooper and some of his fellow competitors such as Thell Reed and Jack Weaver made numerous demonstrations of the advantages of the semiautomatic pistol to police departments throughout the West, and is credited by many with leading the transition to the semiautomatic among police departments.

        Throughout the 1960s and 1980s, Cooper made numerous trips to Latin America, Rhodesia, and the Far East to train police and executive bodyguards.

        And, as you know, he created the first combat pistol training school that catered to private citizens as well as police and law enforcement. In the early years he was one of the main instructors.

        I’d like to think you are pursuing this discussion in good faith and hope that I have helped you fill in some of the white space you left for his credentials.

        • Gunnutmegger says:

          Paul,

          “You list being awarded “Handgunner of the Year” as one of Massad’s accomplishments. Why didn’t you list being awarded “Handgunner of the Year” in 1995 as one of Jeff Cooper’s accomplishments?”

          Why? Because Jeff Cooper didn’t make his C.V. available. That’s why.

          And, exactly how much handgunning did Cooper do in the year leading up to that award? Or was it an honorary award for past accomplishments?

          You mention many events where Cooper was merely “present”. Others have no publicly-available documentation to back them up.

          And when I see malarkey about secret missions for the CIA, well I guess my olfactory detection system for bovine excrement (as Cooper himself might have described it) triggers an alarm.

          I have never denied that Cooper did a lot of thinking about shooting, or that his contributions (color codes, carry conditions, etc) are not valuable. And he undoubtedly spent time at shooting ranges.

          But that’s a far cry from being the last word on effective combat pistolcraft.

          Sure, I am from Connecticut. But I act like I am from Missouri: Show Me.

          One man’s self-serving claims are not adequate proof for me.

  10. Bob Shimizu says:

    Folks: I wish to append my apologies for the typographical errors in my rather long post. Sincerely,
    Bob