The Godfather Of Gun Training: Jeff Cooper

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OldDude49, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. OldDude49

    OldDude49 Just n old guy

  2. Sgt Nambu

    Sgt Nambu RIP 4/19/2018

    I dig me some Jeff! I can't remember how long ago I read Cooper On Handguns!
    Tully Mars and Ura-Ki like this.
  3. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    A lot of people like to blast Jeff on his thoughts and ideas, and I just laugh, the man was beyond question! Much of his work is still used and trained to this day for very good reason!
    Sgt Nambu likes this.
  4. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    Interesting article! Thanks!
  5. AD1

    AD1 Monkey+++

    When I was shooting for the Outdoor channel I was hired to do a interview with him at Gunsite here in AZ before he died.

    Loved meeting him and his family.
    Tully Mars, GOG, Ura-Ki and 1 other person like this.
  6. Legion489

    Legion489 Rev. 2:19 Banned

    While Jeff could be great, and even charming, for short periods of time, the man was no saint. There is a lot of stuff out there on what Jeff was really like when not in front of a camera or didn't have his wife there to head off his stupidities. I can tell you a few if you can't be bothered to look for yourself, but it all easily available, just a google click away. What he did for pistol (and rifle) shooting in this country is absolutely amazing and not to be denigrated, but the man was not the end all and be all he is made out to be. Of course no one is, but I get tired of hearing "St. Jeff" being quoted like Holy Script.

    Yes I saw the "color code" posted too. Another thing that drives me nutz when people hear it and bend over forward. If anyone else but Chairman Jeff had put that forward, would any one have cared? No.

    Yes the man did a lot, but he worked just as hard to undermine his legend as he did to build it, in real life. If you think I am wrong, just go study the man, and not the myths and legends that are surrounding him.
    Lone Gunman likes this.
  7. Lone Gunman

    Lone Gunman Draw Varmint!

    For a number of years Jeff Cooper actively promoted Jim Cirillo as one of the greatest — if not the greatest — living (American) pistol gunfighter.

    Jim Cirillo, however, had nothing but contempt for Cooper's theories of sighted combat pistol gunfire. So did Rex Applegate; but comparatively few American pistoleros ever listened to Applegate and considered the aging and portly Applegate to be lost somewhere between the good old fashioned combat methodologies of W.E. Fairbairn, and the (presumed) modern day gunfighting genius Jeff Cooper.

    Cirillo, for his part, finally stopped attending technical lectures with Cooper, and resigned his position as Cooper's official 'poster boy '. It is also know that when Cirillo complained to Cooper about Cooper's erroneous ideas of CQB pistol gunfighting, Cooper gave Cirillo his, 'I am a great man ' speech! (A bombastic little lecture that Cirillo seemed to have never quite gotten over!)

    Jeff Cooper appears to have had a knack for ' fronting' himself behind other more prominent and accomplished (Read, 'genuine') pistoleros. Early on in his rise to national prominence Cooper fronted himself behind Chuck Taylor; and, then, towards the end of his public career he used Jim Cirillo for exactly the same reasons.

    Personally, I've always found this situation to be more than a little ironic: W.E. Fairbairn is reported to have participated in 'hundreds of police gunfights ' — Meaning that Fairbairn was no stranger to using a pistol in CQB. Chuck Taylor, usually writing in the third person as was his wont, used to report the events of several spectacular pistol gunfights in which he appears to have been a leading protagonist; and, as everybody knows, Jim Cirillo racked up quite a score of dead bad guys while he was a member of the NYPD's Stakeout Squad.

    Jeff Cooper, though, wrote some informative and widely entertaining books on guns and how to use them; and, from everything I know about the man, never got closer to an actual CQB pistol gunfight than the competitive shooting matches at Big Bear Lake.

    I'm also going to agree that Cooper's Four Rules Of Firearm Safety are very well done; but, at the same time, I'll point out that they are only four rules; and there are other, equally important and necessary-to-remember rules that Cooper chose to entirely overlook. Cooper's adaptation of the military's 'Readiness Codes ' for individual use is also imaginative and useful; but, as of today, I'm a long way from being ready to canonize Jeff Cooper as the patron saint of modern CQB pistol gunfighting.

    It's true, Jeff Cooper is responsible for the rather spectacular rebirth of (so-called) modern pistol gunfighting techniques and methodology, here, in the United States; but, truth be told, it took the technical insights and contributions of other more competitive and genuinely outstanding pistoleros like: Ray Chapman, Brian Enos, Rob Leatham, and D.R. Middlebrooks to add a significant amount of technical refinement to Jeff Cooper's rather rather primitive and crude, 'Big Bear style' pistol gunfighting techniques; and, do you want to know 'Why '?

    As far as this older (admittedly 'below the radar' and 'no name') CQB pistol gunfighting analyst is concerned: American pistoleros still aren't quite there yet. Again, 'Why '? Because, as of today, no working synthesis has been achieved between the pistol gunfighting methodologies of: Applegate, Cirillo, and Fairbairn; and the current CQB pistol shooting techniques so amply demonstrated by: Chapman, Enos, Leatham, and Middlebrooks.

    (Although I will add that in a very recent video from Rob Leatham he DID show me that he's, now, onto it! Leatham just needs to stop with all of that goddamned cursing he too often lapses into, and learn how to better explain his useful technical insights to the interested public.) ;)
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
    Legion489 likes this.
  8. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    I was always of the mind that he over-complicated things after rule 1. ;)
  9. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    Chuck Taylor had a drill at gun site when he was a teacher there with a 1911 pistol and a soda can at 100 yard mark .it was a trurly a thing of pure joy to watch it been done .
    Mr taylor said that if you have to it can be done to keep a person off you intill you can get a rifle to keep in the fight
  10. Lone Gunman

    Lone Gunman Draw Varmint!

    :) OK, but I've got to answer this remark. Over the past 50 years I've started a lot of younger people down the road of successful firearm use, and safe gun handling. I, myself, have been grazed by ND's on two separate occasions while I was on a firing line. Make that five times; but only two events involved bullets; and the other three times were with spent birdshot which actually did hit me. (Spent birdshot DOES hurt!)

    There were, also, several other occasions when I was very narrowly missed by repeatedly fired rounds of centerfire rifle fire; and I had to hunker down from much too close, really loud, passing bullets and whizzing ricochets.

    Over time, and after reflecting upon my own as well as numerous other people's MORE FATAL events, I have slowly developed additional rules which, whenever I'm personally involved in the training experience, I always tack onto Jeff Cooper's (I think) actually excellent Four Primary Rules.

    When it comes to 'instant killers' like guns I don't think these rule extensions are either overly complicated or too excessive; and, on occasion, I've been reminded that someone (sometimes an instructor like myself) has accidentally died because one or more of these rules were either overlooked, or carelessly broken.

    Allow me to preface the following remarks: I once worked with high voltage electricity in a very technical, but highly dangerous business. If one of the technicians got into an accident and was hurt (or worse!) the whole company suffered an immediate loss because none of us could be easily replaced. So, under these circumstances, we were additionally trained to scrupulously obey the following four rules of what, I guess, could be called 'industrial safety'.


    (1.) IMPATIENCE. A personal unwillingness to do things right, to follow standard safety procedures, and/or take the prerequisite and normal amount of time to do things properly and, ‘by the book’. (‘I got ‘a get home by 6!’ or, ‘The game’s going to start in an hour; and I just wanted to finish everything up before I sat down to watch!' )

    (2.) IMPULSE. Just wanting to get the job done so that you can hurry up and move onto something else is the beginning of a great many accidents! (‘Hey, at the time, it seemed like a good idea; and I thought it might be turn out to be a better way to do things.’) or, because I actually know somebody who did something like this, my own personal favorite: (‘I didn’t see the harm! It’s a popular shortcut; everybody uses it!’ )

    (3.) IMPROVISATION. Just get the job done! (‘I thought I could get the job done with the tools I had on hand!’ ) (‘Yeah, I knew there was a slight risk of fire; but who would have thought something like this was going to happen!’ ) This popular excuse almost sounds like the Will Of God; doesn’t it!

    (4.) IMPORTUNITY. Fearlessness has, probably, killed and wounded more people than the other three factors combined! ('Look, it seemed to make sense at the time!' or 'Come on, I never thought something like this would happen to me!') It’s always: the careless, the overconfident, the reckless, and the inattentive animals that the predators get to pick-off, first — Right!

    I've been following these four primary rules of accident avoidance for so long, now, that they've finally become thoroughly ingrained personal habits! OK, here are Jeff Cooper's Four Rules Of Firearm Safety as I have (very thoughtfully) amended and, now, teach them: (Are they too complicated or, perhaps, overthought? ...... No, not if you're bleeding! ;) )


    1. The gun is ALWAYS loaded!

    To those few internet gun forum idiots who repeatedly post, 'This rule defies common sense because it is, in reality, physically impossible to actually do this all of the time!' Well, ...... to these dunderheads I will point out that,


    and regardless of whether or not a gun is obviously unloaded. The #1 Rule is NOT, now, nor has it ever been, intended to be a simple statement of an obvious and impossible-to-achieve concrete fact!

    2. Never allow the muzzle to point at - or, even, so much as sweep across - ANYTHING you are unwilling to see destroyed!

    (Rule Number Two is the one that I, myself, particularly have to watch; and it is also the rule that I most often see someone else break!)

    3. Never put your finger inside the trigger guard until AFTER you have made a conscious decision to fire!

    4. CLEARLY identify your target, the target's backstop, and what is beyond!

    5. Finally, the frequently unstated fifth rule: NEVER PLAY WITH A GUN - NEVER!

    (Violations of this particular rule are, in my opinion, the greatest single leading cause of firearm safety violations and, too often, deadly gun handling mishaps.)

    6. Don’t embellish these rules. They are what they are for good reasons!

    In order for any firearm safety rule to become truly effective it must stop being just a rule, and become a PROFOUND PERSONAL HABIT, instead.

    7. Whenever you're on a firing line: Never allow the muzzle to coincidentally point anywhere except downrange at the targets.

    8. Whenever you're on a firing line: Never, ever, turn around with a gun in your hands. The muzzle always stays pointed at the targets.

    (Case guns at the firing line, too. At a shooting range near my home more than one customer has been shot while casing, or holstering a pistol behind the line; and, rather sadly, these accidents COULD have easily been avoided!)

    9. Whenever you're on a firing line: Never, for any reason, (like a jam or misfire) turn the muzzle to either side. Again, keep the muzzle pointed downrange at the targets!

    10. When you're finished shooting: Clear the weapon! Put the safety back on; and always return the gun to the shooting bench with the: magazine out, action open, and breech-side up and clearly visible for cursory inspection.

    11. Never touch a gun, or handle ammunition while someone else is downrange at the targets.

    (I see this serious handling error committed much too often on Pennsylvania's public firing lines. These guys always know that they're wrong; but they will do it, anyway!)

    12. Always stand BEHIND the shooter, and ON HIS GUN-HAND SIDE. ‘Why’? Because a novice shooter’s muzzle tends to break, or climb towards his support hand or, ‘weak’ side. (Which is where you do NOT ever want to be!)

    That's it, Chimo! After more than 50 years of shooting experience the above rules and safety precautions include almost every single thing I've ever learned about personal accident avoidance and gun safety. These are, in fact, the firearm handling and safety rules that I live by.
  11. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    The reason why I remember the drill I was at gun site when the trooper who was involved in the so-called 100 yard gunfight said the time he was trying to get back to his vechile to get a rifle but was kept from the vechile by the bad guy shots .So he used is service issue 357 mag to hit the person who just over 110 yards away .He was taking a class when I was there and Mr Cooper bought him up to speak about in the class one afternoon
    If I remember this right I was 19 at the time in the military and it was write about s few times it went down somewhere out west at the time .I want to think it happened in Utah in 1978-or-79 era .so we started shooting at diff ranges to get a feel for what our duty handgun could do at the time
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  12. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    I practice that with clay pigeons on the berm at 110yds...9 times out of 10 I just throw dirt around them!!!
    hank2222 likes this.
  13. hank2222

    hank2222 Monkey+++

    After having surgery on the right eye I have been practicing with my left hand I can do ok out to about 60 yards with my left eye .
    oldawg, Gator 45/70 and Mountainman like this.
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