A Jeff Cooper Retrospective

We discover, not without some difficulty, that Rodney King was…

gunsite.gifWe discover, not without some difficulty, that Rodney King was shot twice with a TASER without evident effect. When you cannot wrestle a fellow to the ground, and when you shoot him with a TASER and nothing happens, you have two choices left. You can hammer him out with bludgeons, or you can shoot him dead. Funny nobody mentioned that.

● In a grim tale from Zambezia we learn of a buffalo incident where both the client and the professional hunter were killed. All we have is a news clipping, but we will learn some more about this when we go down there and see for ourselves. It appears that the buffalo was hit a bit high in the foreshoulder on the evening hunt, and got clear under cover of darkness. When the two riflemen took up the trail the following morning, the bull apparently employed the classic 270° loop and blind-sided his pursuers. This is a very sad event, but we cannot help admiring the buffalo, who got clean away. Here, indeed, was a worthy antagonist.

● A quote we recently heard attributed to a young housewife in Texas, when she was scolded for carrying her pistol illegally, since legal concealed carry is not possible at this time in that state: “It is easier for my husband to get me out of jail than out of the cemetery.”

● We all know, and most of us accept, the principle that a good citizen is obliged to submit to lawful authority. A serious question arises, however, about the citizen’s responsibilities in regard to unlawful authority. Recently, down near the Mexican border, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Customs Office conducted a combined operation against a house suspected of harboring criminal druggists. It was the wrong house. The agents attacked in the wee hours of the morning, and attempted to break down the door with a flash-bang. The householder, who happened to be innocent of any criminal involvement, quite properly elected to repel boarders. The attacking force, with true Pat Schroeder gallantry, elected to throw a copchick in first. The householder shot her once in the leg, fortunately not seriously. At this point the agents opened up on the householder and shot him three times; fortunately again, he was not killed.

Now it has been pointed out that this action may result all to the benefit of the householder, who will probably never have to work another day in his life when all these matters are settled. However, one wonders what would have happened if this man had acted expertly, and laid out three, four, or five federal agents. The chances are that he would languish in durance vile for a very long time, while the authorities decided what sort of offense he had committed. If nothing else, they would probably charge him with VBA (Very Bad Attitude), and he certainly would not receive any largesse from the government.

● It has been pointed out by one of our political thinkers that other nations are organized to protect the government from the people, whereas the United States government was organized to protect the people from the government. That is a nice thought, but if we lose this coming election it may well no longer apply.

● When we set up Gunsite, back in the middle ages, about half of our students in the pistol program chose to be trained in the use of revolvers. Today revolvers are seldom seen, and we cannot regard this as a progressive development. While the Colt .45ACPs and clones remain the most efficient defensive sidearms for people trained to use them well, the major caliber revolver is probably a better choice for those who are not willing, or able, to devote attention to the manipulation of the autoloader. The small-caliber double-action autopistol is distinctly harder to use well than the foregoing types; besides it seems to encourage the deadly “spray and pray” technique we see so much of in the street today. The DA auto is not only harder to use well than the DA revolver, but it is considerably more likely to encourage negligent discharges with their attendant safety problems. As we have often maintained, no weapon is any more or less safe than any other, in and of itself, but there are weapons that are more apt to negligent use in untrained hands. On careful consideration, it even appears that the proper sidearm for a person who is not willing to become skillful might be a single-shot piece. At least with such a weapon the user would be more inclined to pay attention to where his shots were directed.

● In that connection we have noted over the years a continuing and annoying tendency on the part of some writers to assume that men are sent into combat to die. Soldiers are not sent into combat to die. They are sent into combat to kill. You are all familiar with George Patton’s statement, “I do not want you to go out there and die for your country. I want you to go out there and make the other bastard die for his country.”

● An increasing number of correspondents have asked us what we mean by “ghostring” as applied to a sight. For those who came in late, ghostring is a term we applied to that form of aperture sight with a large aperture and a thin rim. When used properly the focus on the front sight causes the rear aperture to fade so the shooter has no problem in trying to center his post. Note that this does not affect shot placement, as can easily be proved by shooting comparison groups with the “target disk” in place or removed. Group size remains the same. This is not a new idea, having been around since before World War I, but we have revived it here at Gunsite for use on combat shotguns, police rifles, and heavy rifles for dangerous game.

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  • I agree with you. It’s better to fight for something than against something. ~Author Unknown

  • Where exactly is Zambezia??…New country or just americanism at its zenith?

  • Russell Carmean

    It is good to read some more of Chairman Jeff. I had the pleasure of attending GUNSITE in August of 1982 with two other pilots from my squadron. He was a fascinating person and quite the character. Very intelligent and self assured. A gentleman and a scholar. I brought a P-35 Browning Hi-Power and they (Clint Smith was lead instructor) and a friend, also an instructor always set the targets to require a Dead center hit from a 230 grain ball round to knock over the steel plates, they delighted in my having to place two rapid hits from the 9mm to topple the plate, 115 grain hard lead. It was great training and I, a combat veteran with a pistol kill to my credit, learned very much. The shooting community lost a wonderful firearms proponent and spokesman when Jeff was called home to his reward.