We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Col. Jeff Cooper, RIP

Jeff Cooper, the man many people will associate with the modern art of guncraft in the United States, has died at the venerable age of 86. Anyone who has learned to shoot a handgun, rifle or shotgun to a high standard is likely, certainly in the United States, to have heard about this man, about the disciplines and standards he laid down. A few years ago I spent four gruelling but extremely enjoyable days at the Front Sight course in Nevada and there is no doubt that such places of learning took much of their inspiration from people like Jeff Cooper. A fine man, and a life well led.

16 comments to Col. Jeff Cooper, RIP

  • Front Sight – Now that is a worthy accomplishment.

    Must of been a bit of a shock compared to the opportunities (or lack thereof) to train with handguns in England.

  • Fraser

    A fine man. Colonel Cooper changed the world of personal security. His colour codes are taught by just about every competent self protection instructor around. And the concept of private firearm schools (of whatever doctrine) is largely down to him.

    His work will live on in the body of knowledge he left behind.

  • bill

    A fine man. His work will be his legacy. He gave us much.

  • George L.

    The fact that I can actually hit a man-sized target at 30 feet is attributable to him. Thousands of people are alive today because they listened to Jeff Cooper and followed his advice. RIP, and always keep that front sight in focus.

  • Off and on, I’ve been reading Col. Cooper’s columns in Guns & Ammo magazine for more than thirty years. I wrote to him once through the magazine, and received a wonderful personal reply from him, which I’ve saved.

    I couldn’t begin to list the number and nature of that which I’ve learned from his writings, and he’s made shooting sports more rewarding and more enjoyable for me (and others) in ways I can’t begin to enumerate.

    A gentleman’s gentleman.

    RIP, sir.

  • Even many who would not recognize his name, my wee wifey among them, have learned and benefitted from his Four Rules of Gun Safety:

    All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.

    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)

    3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.

    4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

  • One of the “Selling the Impossible” suggestions over at 18DoughtySt is the adoption of the Second Ammendment into the UK law/constitution.

  • I learned to shoot a 45 from Col. Cooper at Gunsite Ranch around 1981. I will always be grateful to him.

    Remember him to for the concept of the Scout Rifle.

  • Brian

    Well damn.

    Jeff Cooper’s pretty much the guy who made me a conservative – or libertarian, or whatever the hell I am. My schoolmates and I would read the choice bits of his Guns & Ammo pieces out loud, reverently, in our corner of the school cafeteria. He was everything we wanted to be, and everything our teachers were not.

    His basic insight: Any civilization, if it is to remain civilized, depends on a class of good men skilled in the delivery of precision violence.

    His G&A archive is online here.

  • SO Cooper gets accolades, even if they are due to the immediacy of his passing. This is a man who believed in imposing xtian laws in the US and wrote publically that there was no right to freedom FROM religion. I know, I wrote a letter to Guns and Ammo mag objecting to that particular collumn of his. And never read that magazine again.

    Whatever the mans accomplishments in the arena of gun rights, training and activism, he was far from a libertarian and far from a conservative, at least in the pre-Nixonian definition of that term.

  • Brian

    Easier to use frames version here. Here’s some excerpts I cut out a while back:

    “Israel may be a lock-step theocracy where one must speak Hebrew, but at least one is permitted to fight back and that, in the last analysis, is the absolute measure of liberty.”

    “In my view, liberty is that condition which exists when men make their own laws, either directly or indirectly, and are protected from bureaucracy or despotism by unbreakable rules.”

    “What should a young male of 21 know, and what should he be able to do? There are no conclusive answers to those questions, but they are certainly worth asking. A young man should know how this country is run and how it got that way. He should know the Federalist Papers and de Tocqueville, and he should know recent world history. If he does not know what has been tried in the past, he cannot very well avoid those pitfalls as they come up in the future. A young man should be computer literate and, moreover, should know Hemingway from James Joyce. He should know how to drive a car well–such as is not covered in Driver’s Ed. He should know how to fly a light airplane. He should know how to shoot well. He should know elementary geography, both worldwide and local. He should have a cursory knowledge of both zoology and botany. He should know the fundamentals of agriculture and corporate economy. He should be well qualified in armed combat, boxing, wrestling and judo, or its equivalent. He should know how to manage a motorcycle. He should be comfortable in at least one foreign language, more if appropriate to his background. He should be familiar with remedial medicine. These things should be accomplished before a son leaves his father’s household.”

    “This fashionable buzz word “sensitivity” is beginning to gall. I do not see sensitivity as the necessary attribute of a considerable man. We may search through history for manifestations of sensitivity in the great without particular success. Pericles, Xenophon, Socrates, Caesar, and so on down through Washington, Napoleon, Roosevelt, and Churchill were not distinguished for sensitivity. Thinness of the skin seems to be one of the paramount troubles of the age.”

    “With all due respect to a great man, we must ask ourselves what he was doing with his guard down? All of us, from Harare to Hollywood, have a duty to the God who gave us life to look out for it. The war is never over, and peace is an illusion.”

    “This is not a world in which one can turn the other cheek. Doing so does not avoid violence, but rather encourages it. The bad guys threaten, but they do not seem to want to get hurt. They should be taught that their presumed victim is more dangerous than they are. This is not a matter of weapons but rather of will.”

    “In addition, terror is an undignified emotion. Young men should be conditioned to rise above fear at the earliest possible age, and to the extent that this happens, they cannot be terrorized. Nobody likes to look right into the cannon’s mouth, but he need not squeal about it.”

  • Tom, that is true and I also strongly disagreed with his views on race relations (to put it mildly). However that does not make him all wrong either.

  • Will

    He was certainly very Old School in many of his views. He would have never won public office, and I’d have never voted him for President nor Emperor.

    There are many who could find statements he made to be offensive, but on the other side of the coin, those statements or view do not necessarily invalidate his other views and philosophies.

    So, while some of his writings are the words of an old Grognard and curmudgeon, his others I hold with a deep respect of history and experience.

    I will miss the old man, as the Greatest Generation continues to pass on.

  • Steve Bodio

    Jonathan Hanson (Alpha Environmentalist blog) once remarked to me that he was a great man but “should have perished in the Cretaceous extinction event”.

    He once engaged in a correspondence with me in which he refused to believe that the Kazakhs’ trained eagles could kill wolves, even when I showed him photos. He remained cordial. I think he was too fond of wolves.

    Bottom line? Back to square one: a great man. When will (even) “we” abandon the practice of judging those who came of age in an utterly different and in some (I did say “some”) ways better time by present standards?

  • Bob Worcester

    Jeff Cooper was a great man. A true American hero, not some ficticious made-up type. His virtues of honesty and willingness to stand up and fight, not only for ones country, but for ones own personal beliefs are virtues that we should all look to possess.

    He is probably responsible for more of us learning how to defend our homes and lives than anyone else in history. I grew up reading his writings and will forever be in his debt for the things they taught me.

    He is a man I truly wish I had had the opportunity to meet and train under.

    Rest well Colonel.

  • COL(ret) Kelly

    A great loss to our country and world. COL Cooper has been a mentor for so many of us who never got to meet the guru. His insights on the world, the human condition and its changes from the time of his youth have provided an insightful look at how America and its culture have changed. His instruction on the rifle, the pistol and the mind set under which they should be employed have always held my utmost attention. I have used his principals in the training of children, my soldiers and myself. My warmest regards to his familiy friends for thier loss. I will truly miss the Colonels comments and monthly shot of sanity in this world.