Ed Head, Operations Manager of the American Pistol Institute (better known as Gunsite Academy), Paulden, Arizona, writes today via Free Republic:
At the request of the family it is my sad duty to report the passing of our founder, Jeff Cooper. Jeff died peacefully at home this afternoon while being cared for by his wife Janelle and daughter Lindy.
John Dean “Jeff” Cooper was born in Los Angeles in 1920. He earned a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford., and an M.A. in History from the University of California. He served in the United States Marine Corps during WWII and the Korean War, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After retiring from the service, Cooper worked as an author, lecturer, small arms trainer, security consultant, and arms designer.
He began writing while still in the service, ultimately producing 20 books, around 500 magazine articles and columns, and a dozen videos. Cooper produced books on rifles, big game hunting, and personal memoirs, but he was perhaps best-known for his writings on practical pistol shooting, and for his fondness for the Colt Model 1911 and its variations.
For many years now, Cooper’s Corner -Thoughts from the Gunner’s Guru has been the closing page column of Guns & Ammo Magazine, America’s leading firearms journal. Cooper’s Corner columns were an informal and colorful mixture of decidedly unmelted opinions, anecdotes, and firearms lore. The editors were regularly deluged with indignant letters from outraged readers to the political left of Colonel Cooper, but evidently concluded that the constant controversy was good for circulation. As the years went by, protests grew fewer. Jeff Cooper seems to have successfully functioned as a filter, screening out the element that should not have been reading Guns & Ammo in the first place. For the last few years, more of the letters arriving in response to some highly politically incorrect expression by the Colonel seemed to be viewing Jeff Cooper and his writings with rueful affection.
Despite his salty Marine Corps style of self-expression, Jeff Cooper was a deep and original thinker on his preferred subjects, and he had a gift for finding the better way of putting things. Over the years, he invented a number of very useful neologisms which became widely accepted.
To describe the alternative ways of carrying the Model 1911 pistol, Cooper invented the Condition system of describing the level of readiness of the handgun:
Condition One: a round in the chamber, hammer cocked, safety on.
Condition Two: a round in the chamber, hammer down.
Condition Three: the chamber empty, hammer down, a loaded magazine in the gun.
Condition Four: the chamber empty, no magazine.
He was also the coiner of the invaluable term hoplophobia (from the Greek noun ÃŽu201eoÃu20acÃŽÂ»oÃŽÂ½ “arms” and the Greek verb Ãu2020oÃŽÂ²ÃŽÂµÃu2030 “to strike with fear”) to refer to the not-uncommon contemporary irrational aversion to weapons.
In 1976, he founded the American Pistol Institute (“Gunsite”), as a training facility for police and military personel, in order to promulgate his personal philosophy of shooting. Its programs soon proved popular with civilians seeking formal self defense training and with competition shooters.
Also in 1976, he founded the International Practical Shooting Confederation, an organization intended to promote and sponsor self-defense-style shooting as a competition sport
He became a member of the National Rifle Association Board of Directors in 1985, and was elected to the NRA’s Executive Council in 2002.
Guns & Ammo is never going to be the same without Jeff Cooper. He will be missed.
NRA Board of Directors profile (at an anti-NRA site, no less)
Cooper’s Corner at Guns & Ammo
Jeff Cooper bibliography project
LATER POSTINGS (as of 9/27)
Lt. Col. P, at OPFOR, 9/26, quotes a classic Jeff Cooper line:
In 1492 we threw the Moors out of Spain. Apparently, we didn’t throw them far enough.
Who knew that Glenn Reynolds read Guns & Ammo and Jeff Cooper’s books? I thought he was just a law professor, but he’s probably packing a customized Model 1911 somewhere under his tweed jacket with the leather elbow patches. 9/27
Armed Liberal 9/27
Front Sight, Press 9/25
Jeff Cooper Quotations – Front Sight, Press 9/26
Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.”
Front Sight, Press 9/30
Col. Jeff Cooper finally shot to slide lock on September 25, 2006…