Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Jeff Cooper, R.I.P.

Jeff Cooper, the "Gunner's Guru", died Monday at age 86.

Jeff was a well-known figure in the world of pistol shooting. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in WWII, he practically invented the modern technique of combat pistol shooting, and dedicated his life to teaching and promoting practical marksmanship skills and espousing practical, no-nonsense firearm and ammunition design.

His philosophy of life was summed up in the title of one of his books: "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth". His column in "Guns & Ammo" magazine was one of the highlights I have looked forward to each month for many years.

Strong-willed, outspoken, and highly opinionated, Jeff was for some people a controversial figure. Personally, I think his lifelong history of accomplishments and service to our country and the shooting community entitled him to express his opinions freely, even if he was something of a curmudgeon.

Those of us who take combat pistolcraft seriously owe him a debt of gratitude we can never repay.

Thanks in large part to Jeff Cooper, the .45 ACP cartridge and M1911 pistol design remain among the most popular for serious self-defense and tactical work. I personally have a Colt Combat Target Model, and Jeff Cooper's articles helped me learn how to use it effectively. Too bad they won't let me take it to war or issue me something similar.

I am not happy about the prospect of going to war with the 9mm, especially when I have to use round-nose FMJ (full metal jacket) NATO ammunition instead of the more effective 9mm hollowpoint ammo our law enforcement community uses. Reports I've read indicate that while the M9 pistols are pretty reliable, the magazines the Army bought are crap, and they cause most of the malfunctions. Yesterday I took delivery of ten Mec-Gar magazines for the Beretta 92FS / M9. I may be stuck with the M9 pistol, and I may not be allowed to use effective ammunition, but at least I can make sure I have reliable magazines.

I suggest that we honor Jeff Cooper's memory and help our troops at the same time by asking our congressional representatives to look into why the Army has dropped out of the interservice program to move back to the .45 ACP cartridge in its combat pistol. We owe our troops a handgun that is an effective manstopper, and the 9mm M9 Beretta ain't it.

Give me back my M1911A1 in .45 ACP!

Thanks, Jeff. R.I.P.

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