A Jeff Cooper Retrospective

Among life’s little irritations is the proliferation of this annoying…

Among life’s little irritations is the proliferation of this annoying phrase “Nothing could be further from the truth.” Of course it could. Show me any statement at all and I will come up with something, which is further from the truth than that. The same rejection can be lodged against “I couldn’t agree more.” I guess that people who write like that must go for “spray-and-pray” in a gunfight—sloppy thinking and sloppy marksmanship.

● It is clear that modern rifles and ammunition are capable of astonishing accuracy at unreasonable ranges, but it is the shooter who does the work, not the weapon, and shots in the “way over yonder” range are not only improbable, they are grossly unsporting. No one who has ever seen a buck mule deer with its lower jaw shot off dying in misery will ever run the risk of bringing that about himself. We say it again loud and clear: Do not brag about how far away your shot was. Brag about how close you were able to get to your target.

● If you do not know history, at least superficially, you will have no idea of where you came from, where you are now, or where you are going. I think a satisfactory word for this condition is “disconnected.” To the extent that you do not know history, you are disconnected, perhaps not technically, but socially and philosophically and emotionally. This may be a harsh view, but it seems to me that a person who is disconnected has no real right to his opinions on any subject of importance. You gain your grasp of history through reading—recreational reading. You certainly cannot get it through class-work. When I was teaching history at the high school level, I remember actually lighting a few intellectual fires. I suppose I did not get through to the majority of my students, but I remember several of them coming up after class and asking me where they could find out more about the subject we had just discussed. These occasions were small triumphs, and I recall them with great pleasure.

NOTE: The intellectual property of Jeff Cooper is owned by Gunsite Academy and reprinted from Gargantuan Gossip 2 with their permission. Jeff Cooper’s books are available from the ProShop at Gunsite (928-636-4565; www.gunsite.com) and www.jeffcooperbooks.com.

Load Comments
  • Churchill said it:”The farther back you can look, the farther ahead you are likely to be able to see”.