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They see me patrollin’. They hatin’

Richard Mann on the trend among newer serious shooters to poo poo Jeff Cooper:

Heres the other thing, and Im paraphrasing Robbie Barrkman (ROBAR) here, just about everything related to handguns today, can directly be traced to Jeff Cooper. Cooper started the defensive handgun movement that continues today, and his 1972 book, The Principles of Personal Defense, is still the best resource on that topic. Oh, and for you competition shooters out there, would you happen to know who was the founding president of IPSC? For most, I doubt it. Were it not for Jeff Cooper, you would not have a game to play and we still might be shooting PPC.

What those of you who are not all that long out of diapers may not realize is that Cooper founded the way of life you like to think youre living. At a time when this country needed it, he conveyed a message that struck at the heart of patriots and folks of good character. The sermons he delivered in print and in lecture shaped the future of firearms in America.

Yes. Cooper should be held in high regard because he was revolutionary. He was a pioneer. He contributed greatly to how modern pistol technique. And for that, I respect him. And I always liked reading his commentaries.

But shooting has changed a lot. Particularly since the advent of the internet. Now information gets around and people communicate instantly. Some of that information is bad and some is good. In fact, sorting through the good stuff and the crap would be a full time job. But the good stuff seems to rise to the top. A lot of smart people are looking at techniques in different ways. And that’s a good thing. And technology changes. And, frankly, Cooper was wrong about some things.

He’s contributed more to the shooting sports than I ever will. So I’d never bash Cooper. But that doesn’t mean the young guys are wrong and have nothing to offer.

17 Responses to “They see me patrollin’. They hatin’”

  1. Patrick Says:

    Well said. I smile at a lot of “Cooperisms”, but at the end of the day he gets credit for building a network of people who saw handguns as defensive rather than icky. Also, there is always the chance that Cooper was right in his day even if it doesn’t fit today. The dude didn’t have 100 choices for lasers on his gun.

    The NRA would not be organization it were today had Cooper not built the environment for firearms as defensive tools. They’d be Fudds, arguing that nobody needed semi-auto anything to hunt ducks.

    God bless the man. Not one of us will achieve what he did. Oh, and I hate the 1911 and don’t own one. So I’m not some fanboy.

  2. Steve in TN (@sdo1) Says:

    “And, frankly, Cooper was wrong about some things.”

    Dude. You were doing so well…

  3. BenC Says:

    One of the things He was wrong about was one handed point shooting until Jack Weaver proved him wrong

  4. Huck Says:

    “One of the things He was wrong about was one handed point shooting until Jack Weaver proved him wrong”

    I strongly disagree. I’ve been one-hand shooting handguns for over 40 years and it works just fine. I’ve tried the Weaver Stance more times than you can shake a stick at and am not impressed. I feel like my movement is restricted and it looks retarded to me as well.

    The one-handed point shooting works just fine. Ask folks like James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, John R. “Doc” Holliday, “Buckskin” Frank Leslie, and Jeff Kidder, how well it works.

  5. Alien Says:

    I’m sure someone said it, or something like it, before him, but it was Isaac Newton who is credited with “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

  6. SPM Says:

    I liked shooting PPC, it was relaxing.

  7. emdfl Says:

    Yeah, the Col. was the MAN of his time. I ended up with copies of everything he ever published, and shipped a whole box of his books out to him at Gunsite many years back. He was nice enough to sign ever one of them and ship them back.
    I also remember when he was first attempting to establish Gunsite in Arizona. For a time you could have bought into the ranch he eventually set up for not a lot of money.

  8. Tam Says:

    Yeah, you might have what you think is a better way and, hell, it might even be a better way – it might even be Timney trigger good.

    I bet he still tells his mom he plays piano in a whorehouse.

  9. SayUncle Says:

    Dude. You were doing so well…

    I know. I mean all the serious face-shooting people on the planet carry single action 10mms with their scout rifles.

  10. mikee Says:

    I have found over the years that important people in any field are the ones who make you stop and think about what they are doing, forcing a comparison with what you think might be a good way of doing that. Cooper falls into that category, even in his now-old and sometimes obsolete epigrammatic Corner statements from the last page of Guns&Ammo. I know that when he stopped writing there, a large reason to buy that magazine disappeared for me.

    Caliber wars? 1911 fetish? Scout rifles? Number of colors in a range of situational awareness? Those were mere bagatelles compared with the main purpose of his life, living to a standard above that of the “common man.”

  11. O.B. Server Says:

    Cooper was, like, totally right about everything.

    Just look around: all the “serious” shooters today use Bren Ten handguns right?

    Or, CZ-75s? You Cooperites all carry one of those 2 guns, or a 1911, right?

    And those scout rifles…every single Cooperite has one, right?

    Taking the military’s color codes and slapping his name on them was just brilliant. He totally fooled people into thinking he invented them.

    And seizing leadership of the IPSC organization that was invented by a group of people was just more brilliance. Just look at how many saps think it was his sole creation.

    Anyone who respects relentless, shameless self-promotion must tip their hat to Cooper. Truly a master.

  12. Mike V Says:

    The owners/operators of all the top shooting schools in the country are, in a sense, Cooper’s children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren. In that they or their teachers, or their teachers teacher learned from him.

  13. Jerry The Geek Says:

    Everybody is ‘wrong about some things’.

    The Colonel was wrong about fewer ‘things’ than most of us, and those few ‘things’ are (and remain) debatable. One of the best parts about the Shooting Sports is the eternal arguments/discussions about the finer things in life. Wine, women, guns … we won’t agree with each other.

    But it’s always A Good Thing that someone with a learned opinion is willing to publish his views in a popular forum … and yes, I always turned the page to Cooper’s Corner FIRST because he always had something to make me think.

    A short barrelled rifle? I hated the M16 for a lot of reasons, but I liked that it was short, adequately accurate, and eminently easy to handle in a firefight. That’s a short barrelled rifle, and entirely within the parameters established by Cooper. Thank GOD I didn’t have to carry an M14 in the jungle, even though I thought the caliber was preferable! (I ended up carrying an M79 Grenade Launcher … it was shorter and had a wide range of munition choices.)

    I’ve never had a bad word to say about Cooper .. his ego was entirely justified.

  14. Jonathan Says:

    I think Mann was acknowledging that new guys have new ideas that may be better.

    But attacking old ideas because they’re old, or because of who originated them, doesn’t help them prove that their ideas are better.

  15. SPQR Says:

    I see a lot of dwarfs standing on the shoulder of a giant bragging they can cap on his head.

  16. aerodawg Says:

    In terms of equipment choices, i think cooper was right for the time, as said above, but the positions have since become dated. I’ve taken a couple courses from guys who trained under and with him back when, that are still teaching the same fundamental principles. Those fundamentals are just as right today as they were 30 years ago and will be 30 years from now.

  17. Wingman Says:

    Blesses are those who, in the face of death, think only about the front sight.