Dr. Dre’s dead, he’s locked in my basement – so spoke the poet Eminem, using the metaphorical murder of one of the icons of hip-hop to signal the changing of the guard to a new generation of rappers. Unfortunately, no one ever wrote a similar line about the late Lieutenant Colonel Jeff Cooper, and such whenever discussions about “stopping power” or “DA/SA” or even AR15s come up, someone will always drop into the comments, genuflect towards Prescott, AZ and say “but Jeff Cooper said” blah blah blah.
Now before you burn my house down, Jeff Cooper has contributed more to the art of modern pistol shooting than I could in 5 lifetimes. Without Jeff Cooper and the Modern Technique, we’d probably still be still stuck with Applegate’s point shooting nonsense, and that would be awful. Furthermore, I still recommend Gunsite as my first choice for someone with no pistol/CCW experience to attend, because the immersive environment of a 250 goes much further beyond “just a pistol class.”
But not all of Jeff Cooper’s ideas were great. He was unequivocally wrong about 9mm, the AR15/.223 cartridge, and DA/SA autos. While as a young man he may have been an innovative, outside the box thinker; in his old age he became a bit of a hidebound traditionalist. Which is fine. I aspire myself to be a crotchety old man, sitting on my porch complaining that these dang laser guns with their electronic triggers can never stop a man like a good old 9mm.
That’s not what I’m talking about, thought. I’m talking about people whose knowledge of defense shooting and tactics starts and stops with the light colonel’s ideas. Look, the Modern Technique was awesome, but we’re way past that now. We’ve fought two enormous wars with poodle shooter rifles and crunchenticker pistols, and when our elected leaders let our warriors do their jobs, we actually did pretty well.
So what’s the point of this simple rant? Open your mind. After you read Jeff Cooper’s book Principles of Personal Defense, read something else. Read Your Defensive Handgun Training Program by Mike Seeklander and learn to shoot better than you ever could have using just the modern technique. I’m not saying we shouldn’t respect Jeff Cooper’s contribution, but at the same time we should apply some critical thinking. Just because he said it, doesn’t make it right.
Please don’t burn my house down.