Bashing Jeff Cooper on social media or blogs seems to be the in thing to do now days. Mostly perpetuated by millennial shooters, Granny Hawkins would file these vain attempts to get attention under www.doodlysquat.com (If you don’t know who Granny Hawkins is, you’re a millennial for sure.) This bashing runs the gamut of proclamations that the Weaver stance is outdated, that the Modern Technique of the Pistol has been superseded, and even includes declarations that anyone who reads or remotely admires Jeff Cooper is a grey haired, dust covered, lunatic who’s not advanced into the 21st century.
I get it, I really do. Most millennial gun owners received their firearms training on television watching Hollywood pretenders act like operators, or on the web watching other tenderfoots play with their pistols. Or, alternately, they’ve taken a class from some tactard trainer who developed his own doctrine in his mom’s basement, while waiting for his on-lines friends to join in on a Call of Duty game.
Then there are the gamers. The competitive shooters who negotiate courses of fire where they know where they will always shoot from, how many targets there will be, where they will conduct a reload, and the time they have to beat. All of this by the way happens in an environment where the targets will not shoot back, try to take their gun, or beat the ever-loving daylights out of them while they’re trying to drop the slide on their pistol using their thumb.
Don’t misconstrue this as a knock at competitive shooters. I know several who are masters with a handgun. Shooters like Dianna Liedorff Muller and Mark Hanish. I have about as much chance outshooting them on the range as I do receiving a tantalizing invitation from Brittany Spears. I know this because I’ve tried. Here’s the thing; competitive shooting is not the same as fighting with a pistol in your hand. Yeah, I know, front sight – press. But let’s be very clear about something, fighting with a handgun is not just about shooting. If you think it is, you’re likely a product of paragraph two.
Here’s the other thing, and I’m 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 you’re 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.
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. Regardless, and I’d bet my last can of Skoal on this, the last thing you or anyone else wants to do is get in a fight, in a diverse, dusky, chaotic environment, with a well-trained practitioner in the Modern Technique of the Pistol.
As a final thought, if your technique, tool, or opinion is so high-speed, low-drag, and better than owl-shit on a butter sandwich, there’s no need to belittle the work or opinions of others while you espouse its virtues. Cream has a way of rising to the top; tell your story with the respect due those whose shoulders you’re standing on. If your thing makes sense, shooters will flock to you like crows to a dead opossum. And, while it might not sound like it, that’s a good thing.
We had already called seven coyotes from the stand we were on. I had shot three of them. One of which, after dropping like a rock, got up and ran off three minutes later. I did not see the dog get up, I was busy engaging another coming in on a string to my direct front. We were about to celebrate our success when our guide – Cody Glause of Cole Creek Outfitters – spotted two other coyotes out at about 780 yards.
I did not pay them any never mind, they were well beyond my range, and they’d laid down, uninterested in the tempting music we were making. My partner on this hunt however said rather confidently, “I’m gonna shoot that coyote.” Now, had this been a common man I would have laughed. But Neal Emery of Hornady is not your average trigger puller. I’ve seen his stuff in action; he once took a whitetail buck as clean at 702 yards as anyone else could have done at 25.
Neal asked, “Will you spot for me?”
“Yep. I’m on him. Tell me before you send it.” We had a bout a 15 mph, 50° crosswind and Neal was using a JP AR 15 chambered for Hornady’s new 6mm Creedmoor cartridge. I figured this might be a bit of a stretch of Neal’s skill and equipment; the whitetail I watched him whack two years ago was shot with a 300 Winchester Magnum on a graveyard calm day. This was a smaller target and a lesser cartridge.
The bullet struck about a foot high, just over the coyote’s back. I relayed the info to Neal as the dog jumped to its feet, sprinted about 25 yards, and stopped. Cody called out a new range of 806 yards and Neal said, “On the way.”
The coyote nose dived into the sand hills, gained its feet, and tried to navigate the sage to make the distance even further. It did not matter, in less than 100 yards the song dog was down for the count.
Without question that was the best shot I’ve seen in the field. It was made by an employee of Hornady, with an AR 15, and a 6mm Creedmoor shooting a 108 grain ELD bullet, in a wind a pirate would have died for. If you ever run into to Neal, in the field or on the range, my advice would be to not challenge him to a shooting match.