Jeff Cooper: A Bigger Jerk than I Thought…(Updated!)



My non-membership in the cult of Jeff Cooper is well-documented.

While I credit Cooper for his early contributions to training, his lack of real-world experience made me hesitant to take his endless advice at face value.

Also, aside from training, I knew Jeff Cooper was a blowhard, an attention whore, and had a poor track record of picking equipment (Bren Ten, CZ75, etc.).  His tortured sentence structure made deciphering his ramblings a tedious chore.  And he loved to take credit for things for which he was a mere spectator, rather than a pioneer.

After reading the new issue of Guns & Ammo, we can apparently add “Shit-Talker” and “Sore Loser” to his resume:


Yes, it is an anecdote.  But a very specific one; far more specific than Cooper’s vague hints of covert swashbuckling.  If the IPSC keeps records, it should be possible to verify the attendance at this match, as well as the winners.

What kind of insecure jackass needs to play to his sycophants that way?  If you have the confidence to talk shit to someone before a match, you had better win.  And you better have the integrity to talk some more when they beat you.  Or even congratulate them.

Which is probably the heart of the matter: lack of integrity.

Before Cooper, civilian handgun training was rare, informal and inconsistent.  Into that abyss came Jeff Cooper, and in that vast abyss, an undistinguished career in the Marines (before being forced out at middling rank), a deliberately vague resume, and a lot of bullying are all it took to become the premier trainer of pistolcraft.  The one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind, so to speak.  Cooper must have known how mediocre he was, and it made him behave like an asshole.

Imagine if someone with better credentials and a less loathsome personality had come onto the scene first.  We might not have to deal with so many personality cultists, and brainless 1911 ditto-heads.


Speaking of brainless ditto-heads…see if you can count the hypocrisies in this angry screed:

To: Webmaster

Name: Chris


Subject: Go fuck yourself

How classy - attacking a defenseless dead man.
I knew Jeff well, obvious you based an entire person on one brief meeting.
Ever have a bad day yourself, bitch?
Sometimes people don't always act themselves.
I'll put my .45 up against any pistol you can aim & fire, any day, any time.
Name it, asscrack.
Oh and by the way, when you write a hit piece on someone, at least have the courage 
to use the author's real name, chickenshit.

Sent from (ip address):
Date/Time: October 7, 2015 12:35 pm
Coming from (referer):
Using (user agent): Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64)
AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/45.0.2454.101

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12 Responses to “Jeff Cooper: A Bigger Jerk than I Thought…(Updated!)”

  1. sezeye says:

    Attacking a dead man. Class act there slick.

  2. Gunnutmegger says:

    The truth isn’t an “attack”.

    If Cooper didn’t want to be known as a jerk, he should have conducted himself as more of a class act, to use your term.

    And, I notice that you have no comment on Cooper’s obnoxious behavior. Just an oversight on your part, I am sure.

    Don’t know what Cooper’s upbringing was like, or yours for that matter. But I know that I was taught that being a braggart and a sore loser were not admirable traits.

  3. 2heavyb says:

    I believe that when a person or thing is given unquestioned reverence you are exposing your own limitations more than those of the object you are worshipping.

  4. Maluka says:

    I did not know Jeff Cooper so I am unable to comment on his personality. But I do know nothing is accomplished by making disparaging remarks about a dead man.

    This article reminds me of the saying that goes something like “If you want people to know how intelligent you are it is best to keep your mouth shut so you don’t demonstrate how dumb you really are.”

    • Gunnutmegger says:

      Your premise is flawed.

      “But I do know nothing is accomplished by making disparaging remarks about a dead man.”

      When the dead man is blindly worshiped by people who don’t know who the man really was or what his qualifications were, people need to know the truth.

      Unless they like being ignorant. In which case, they can keep bowing at the altar like serfs.

      Think of Cooper as the Che Guevara of the gun world. Both were idolized by thousands who don’t know who they were or what they did.

      But, hey, if it makes your buddies think you are cool, who am I to stop you?

  5. skullhumper says:

    Jeff Cooper was a fool. I remember watching him at Gunsite a few years back. He was severely bow legged, and he walked like he had a load in his pants, which he most likely had.

    • Calvin says:

      Jeff cooper died in 2006, at the age of 86. If you saw him a few years ago, that would have been a minimum of 8 years ago, which would have made cooper 86, and near death. What kind of shape will you be in when you are 86 and near death?

      The man fought in WW2 and Korea. He had a masters degree in history, and if you are a conservative at all, you know that his political views were spot on, given the mess that the nation is in right now.

      So exactly what is your problem? Exactly how many times and what length of time did you spend with this guy. Where can we read about your research and influence on firearms development?

      • GunNutmegger says:


        Cooper was a staff training officer in WW2, and also served as a shipboard Marine. He wasn’t leading a rifle platoon. A suspicious person might look at that fact, and the relatively low rank Cooper attained, and wonder if the Corps judged him and found him not worthy to lead Marines in combat.

        A general master’s degree in history is a bullshit degree, with about as much utility as a women’s studies degree. It proves you can read a book and regurgitate it, nothing more.

        While I am glad that Cooper popularized the 4 rules of gun safety, that was done a long time ago. His accomplishments since then (until the time of his death) have been, um, less significant.

      • skullhumper says:

        Hey Calvin, you so fiercely defend Jeff Cooper, did he leave you a few bucks in his will? Or are you just another taken in by his endless BS? I didn’t say how many times I was at Gunsite, or what years. I went there to enjoy shooting, but more often than not, I witnessed Cooper humiliating anyone who disagreed with him.
        I don’t care what his age was, that was no excuse to be a mean person. Oh, sorry, but I am not a gun writer or researcher. I just enjoy shooting. Sorry to disappoint.

  6. Mike D says:

    How many people can actually say they met the man?????????
    I did…. and he was every bit of a jerk.

    • Calvin says:

      The man may have been a jerk in person all the time, or may have been having a particular bad day the day you met him.

      On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily negate much of what he has written as being decent information.

      Jack O’Connor, the famous gun writer who pushed the .270 Winchester, absolutely hated the equally famous gun writer Elmer Keith, who he thought was an uneducated, uncouth, untalented oaf. That doesn’t mean that the writings of either O’Connor or Keith are necessarily unworthy of consideration.

      Now, exactly what have you accomplished in the way of published knowledge that has moved the sport of shooting forward?

      Now, I would add that most any celebrity, be they actor, writer, politician, preacher, doctor, engineer, etc. could develop a serious ego problem. That doesn’t necessarily mean that in their field of expertise that they are right or wrong most of the time, just that they are human. Perhaps you are a perfect gentleman 100% of the time, and no one would ever accuse you of having an ego that was bigger than your britches, but you would be the rarity.

      • GunNutmegger says:


        So, all of the various people who have shared their recollections of Cooper being a jerk are “mistaken” in your view?

        Other than the 4 safety rules, what exactly are we all supposed to bow down to Cooper for?

        His mangling of the English language?

        His coy hints of clandestine derring-do, without a shred of proof?

        His color codes, which weren’t actually developed by Cooper at all? The military developed them early in WW2.

        His dogged devotion to the only pistol the Army was using since WW1 was touching. His refusal to accept any of the newer, better handgun designs that followed the 1911 is indicative of a man who is senile and unable to recognize his own biases.

        How about the Bren Ten? Or the CZ75? Two more symptoms of less-than-stellar judgement.

        Jerk or not, he wasn’t a horrible human being. But, to paraphrase Churchill (Winston, not Ward): he was a modest man, with much to be modest about. And a person in such a position needs to be less of a jerk.