Previous Post
Next Post

Most of us have seen the YouTube videos of “shooting instructors” doing questionable and dangerous things. What sane person would take a class with the guy who advocates running at his assailant while shooting? “Shoot you to the ground” I think he called it. Stupid is what those of us who watched the video call it. And even when you find an instructor whose philosophy you trust, it can sometimes seem as if they’re speaking a different language. So what are the qualifications of a shooting instructor? There’s actually two questions: what are the actual qualifications of the instructors and what should they be? Ideally, that Venn diagram would have 100 percent overlap, but the world is not a perfect place . . .

Different types of shooting means you need different qualifications to teach them. I wouldn’t go to a bench rest shooter to learn about room-clearing techniques. Does anyone think that the best instructor is a person who has no experience in what they are teaching?

On a gun blog to be named later, the issue of Jeff Cooper’s qualifications as an instructor came up. And when it did, a whole bunch of people started making some bold statements about them, while simultaneously attacking me for asking the question. Rather than providing Cooper’s qualifications, I kept getting asked who was a qualified instructor. I mentioned that Massad Ayoob seemed qualified. Better qualified than Jeff Cooper anyway. Well, that just opened the floodgates for people to start besmirching Mr. Ayoob’s reputation.

What is a reasonable person supposed to do when he hears two drastically incompatible versions of the truth? Compare the facts.

Massad Ayoob has made his c.v. public, and his qualifications are easy to find if you look for them. But where are Cooper’s qualifications? Did he ever compete in the courses he created, let alone in anyone else’s class? Did he win any marksmanship contests? Even the most staunch members of his cult of personality angrily try to change the subject when you ask these questions. Did Cooper keep his resume in the same safety-deposit box as Obama’s birth certificate?

Here is what is available:

The Facts

The Facts

Whole lot of white space in the left column. I asked repeatedly, but none of Cooper’s kool-aid imbibers would provide me with any information about their tin god’s qualifications. (And, there is the issue of whether I could decipher Cooper’s resume, given his tendency to pompously butcher the English language to sound learned). The offer still stands: provide me with documentation of Cooper’s qualifications, and I will post a correction and apology.

Would you enroll in a martial arts school where the sensei never competed or sparred? Do you think a celibate priest is the best source of marital advice? Bottom line: which of the two men in that chart is the person you want to teach you how to use your gun to defend yourself? To quote Bo Peep in Toy Story, I’ve found my moving buddy.

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. A couple of things about Ayoob: I like the fact that he “begins with the end in mind.” I think his emphasis on how one handles the “post-shoot” part of a self-defense situation is spot on and very realistic.

    Full agreement about Cooper’s stilted language – I was never that crazy about his writings.

    I actually disagree a bit about your description of Ayoob’s “plain language, presented logically.” Ayoob certainly is clear and logical, but he is incredibly articulate and a bit erudite, too, which (among other things) elevates him far above the “veteran street cop giving advice.”

  2. JEFF COOPER IS A GREAT AMERICAN HERO! Massad Ayoob is a great instructor and Gabe (also a great instructor) is not INSANE.

    • Gentlemen in my 33 yrs active service (before I was permanently injured by a 240mm Iranian Fajr missile in Baghdad) I always found the instructors / self proclaimed experts who taught in the manner of the pronouncements and attitudes of Mr Jeff Cooper (not sure he was ever an active service full bird Colonel – I was) to be looked on sceptically. The “do what I decree without question or #$% off” smacked of a system & seller afraid to be challenged.

      I just watched a G & A TV episode that got up my nose when they espoused “COL Jeff Cooper’s WW2 & Korean War veteran experience…” and I thought ?? wasn’t he an rear area officer’s instructor (schooly) officer?

      He’s made a very successful product which has traded almost on some shooters desire to be almost bullied into certain processes – but good to see the new owner has changed the ethos and manner of instruction.

      The author of this article is dead right. As “FOBBIT” senior staff officer I took the instruction from my Warrant Officer Class 2 SAS Sergeant Major as my weekly dose of survival in CQB training – not theoretical wannabe’s.

    • I’m with you , John. That is a singular credibility killer. You know what they say: ‘Sigs are for people who don’t know about CZs.’

      Further, the 1911 may not be ‘the perfect handgun’. It is, however, the most enduring, and when a design transcends a century, and is still very popular, one must certainly conclude that it has a lot going for it, even if it is not perfect.

  3. Cooper’s pretty decent for some philosophical introspection on mindset but when it comes to advice on when to shoot and the aftermath I refer people to Ayoob.

  4. Don’t know a whole lot about Jeff Cooper’s accomplishments, but Massad Ayoob’s many and varied skills and accomplishments are well known, and a source of petulant envy in some who cannot get beyond the superficiality of Cooper’s braggadocio. You can always identify an Ayoob article: articulate, even erudite, as pointed out earlier, well considered prose. The easiest job in the world must be that of his editor. Compare the editing (or lack of it) of other articles in, say, Combat Handguns. It appears to me that Ayoob delivers finished text requiring little or no editing, while many of the other articles read as if they never came near an editor, and are very much the worse for it.

  5. Ayoob will never tell you to do something and when you ask “Why?”, say “Because I said so”. He will give you a list of reasons, studies, and practical experiences related to why he has come to the conclusion that he has. He is also more than happy to tell you about things he has changed his opinion on.

  6. “which of the two men in that chart is the person you want to teach you how to use your gun to defend yourself?”

    Neither one, for myself, nor would I suggest either for the great majority of ordinary people who just need to learn how to defend themselves in the real world.

    Far too many competitions and big name “schools” are heavy on cop/military tactics and gear, cop/military mentality and methods. They concentrate far too much on the gun and gun handling, while shortchanging the mental and emotional adjustments and attitude that anyone needs to be effective. And that attitude has to be substantially different than what cops are taught.

    In addition, not nearly enough emphasis is placed on regular and ongoing personal practice, both in gun handling and all the other aspects. Nothing can replace that for creating muscle memory out of class material, however well learned.

    I’ve gone to some of the nationally offered schools, and found plenty of good instruction in the guns and gear department, but far too little in the other areas. All too often they are teaching cop, military and hardware, not truly self defense. I especially discourage women from spending their time and money on these schools, unless they happen to LIKE playing aggressive cop and soldier.

    I’ve already had to shoot a man to save my life. I know what it takes.

  7. I don’t know why people like putting down Jeff Cooper. He is a true american hero and he proved it many times. Now both these men are good instructors with different styles and I would have liked to learn from them both.

  8. (For the record, this post appears in a slightly different form, with altered text, on my own site.)

    Mama, it is obvious that you did not bother to look at Ayoob’s classroom curricula before passing judgment:

    No military or police tactics/mentality there. Not even close. So, I don’t think that the readers of TTAG are well-served by your exhortation that they not take one of Ayoob’s classes (which clearly do not fall into the category that you describe).

    But, I am very interested in hearing about which schools you did attend. Also, the process you used to decide upon them. Help the readers avoid the mentality you describe when they are selecting a class.

  9. A couple of years ago, Gunnutmegger and I went to a talk Mr. Ayoob gave in support of the beleaguered Blue Trail Range in Wallingford, CT. It was a standing-room-only crowd (I should know, I was shoved up against the back wall for the whole thing…). Mr. Ayoob’s talk was on just the topics that Mama Liberty complained that she hasn’t seen from instructors. This was not a “cop attitude” type discussion, but one that focused on important things that those of us who carry need to keep in mind. He offered practical advice on what to do in the aftermath of a defensive shooting. He advised avoiding heavily modifying their weapons, or using reloads in your every day carry (A prosecutor could use these against, as in “his gun had a hair trigger…” or “he was using super powerful bullets…”).

    All in all, the talk was a couple of hours long, I honestly don’t remember everything, but I do remember that he spoke in a plain, entertaining, informative and understandable manner. After the talk, he stuck around for a long time, talking individually with the folks who came out in support of Blue Trail Range. I have never taken one of his classes, but I would be happy to do so when he offers one locally. He’s a nice guy, and a great ambassador for our interest.

    To be honest, I have never paid much attention to Jeff Cooper, so I can’t offer an opinion about him. I think the guy was a pioneer, offering structure and instruction to a subject we all care about, but I don’t put anybody on a pedestal.

      • Ayoob, in discussing Cooper in 2006, referred to two combat engagements that Ayoob was aware of in the Pacific theater and one in Southeast Asia in the intelligence service in the 1950’s in which Cooper fought and killed opponents in active armed engagements using a handgun. = military service + heroics + winning real life or death “competitions”

        As to source of training for Cooper: He assembled the best in the field to both receive and develop training starting in 1956 at the Leatherslap events, and used what was learned to develop IPSC and earlier practical competitions in California, which would not be available for anyone to “win” without Cooper’s efforts.

        He, and fellow Gunsite instructors (Louis Awerbuck, Ken Hackathorn, Greg Morrison, Russ Showers, Clint Smith, Chuck Taylor, Ed Stock) assembled and cataloged a large portion of the techniques taught at nearly every reputable firearms school to this day; and despite being a surly old grouch who bitched that my hair was too long, gave credit to people like Weaver and others he took techniques from.

        No, Cooper did not invent the wheel. He did, however, compile a whole bunch of data about the wheel, and why it should be round and not square… or to remove ourselves from wheel metaphors, why it is important to do more than just square range bullseye work. He continued the conversation started by George Silver in the 1600s with swords, and Fairbairn and others with firearms in the 20th century, and others are continuing it today.

        To ask what competitions a teacher has won is missing the point. How does Angelo Dundee’s lack of a fight record indicate that he was not successful in training Mohammad Ali, and 15 other champions? Cooper is best known as a compiler of history and practical information, and a teacher of the same.

        I like what I know of Ayoob, and would never seek to discredit him. He seems like a smart guy, although I do not know him personally. He knew Cooper personally, and had a high opinion of him. I knew Cooper personally, and have a similar opinion of the man. The fact that the curriculum of Gunsite has changed and evolved over the decades shows that the “Modern Technique” has been continually modernized over the years, just as the current thinking of Ayoob is not identical to his first writing. Everyone has room to improve.

        A straw man graph not including Cooper’s training that he orchestrated and created out of necessity, and yet including a ton of schools and shooting events on Ayoob’s side of the graph that didn’t even exist when Cooper began his work in the field, and owe their existence to the groundwork set down by Cooper is clearly biased. It is akin to asking why Ghengis Kahn didn’t go to West Point, or why Ali a his advanced age and condition doesn’t fight in the UFC. Cooper was done competing in the 1960’s, and was 54 years old by the time IPSC was even founded. A guy who has been dead for 5 years and would be 91 if he were alive today has every right to have been out of the competition circuit for decades.

      • This is a joke right? Not that competition means much but Col. Cooper founded IPSC and remained the Chairman (Internationally, he left the US Regional Directorship in 1980), and before that the Southwest Combat Pistol League where he was one of the original Combat Masters.

        The creator of the incomplete chart really doesn’t know that Jeff Cooper served as a Major of Marines aboard the Battleship Pennsylvania? In that service he went ashore on several of the island landings in World War II and, though his work in S.E. Asia during the Korean Conflict is classified, we know he fired more personal rounds during that conflict. And then trained individuals in the hot spots of the world throughout the cold war (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Rhodesia, South Africa…and so on).

        College Professor (American History), Race Car Driver, Author of many books, he is known as “The Father of the Modern Technique of the Pistol .” and widely regarded as a “Renascence Man”. The number of lives his training has saved is countless.

        I’ve been privileged to know Mas Ayoob for more than 35 years (I don’t mean to imply I am a personal friend nor intimate acquaintenance) and have taken classes from him and have taught in the same venue on occasion. I’ve also known Col. Cooper for many years and taken classes from him and have taught for him. Both are excellent instructors and I seriously doubt you will find Mas Ayoob agreeing with the thread here…indeed he wrote one of the more moving tributes to the Col. after he passed away.

        I am certainly not going to try to score the two… the objective person will listen to what folks have to say, perhaps consider where they are coming from, and take from the training experience what they can gain from it. Col. Cooper excels at solving “Problem One” (surviving the gun fight), Mas Ayoob excels at solving “Problem Two” (Squaring it with the authorities)… Both of them could do well at the problems they don’t emphasize. Both are articulate. Perhaps Col Cooper comes from a different age…listening to him is more like listening to Theodore Roosevelt or Joshua Chamberlain.

        Police before Cooper, at normal encounter ranges, shot almost universally one handed from the hip (The Col. BTW was the best hip shot I have ever encountered – I knew and watched Bill Jordon also).

        There have now been over 50,000 graduates of Gunsite, close to 40,000 at RangeMaster (who’s training is based on the Modern Technique – and a place where Mas Ayoob has taught several times), over 15,000 from my meager efforts training mobilizing military troops – we merely adapted the Modern Technique of the Pistol to the rifle and pistol – and 5,000 more Police and CCDW holders. The combat record of these students is amazingly efficient. Add to these the students of Scotty Reitz (former LAPD SWAT), John Farnam, Tiger McKee, The Former Chapman Academy, Ken Hackathorn (who trains the FBI HRU) and a host of other folks who train folks to survive lethal encounters. Every individual instructor usually develops his own particular interpretation of the fundamentals but very few are not touching on those same fundamentals articulated by Col. Cooper – I even found them in the manual from the Special Forces Advanced Urban Combat school. They were taught at the FBI Academy when I attended (they have modified it slightly but not much since). They were also covered at the NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Development course.

        I don’t run into many instructor’s who do not think that Cooper’s Color Code and Principles of Personal Defense are not two of the most important milestones in developing the combat mind set. They are both taught by people who do not even teach shooting.

        If one is going to publish such a chart, then one should do the research…it would take the normal person about a year just to read the works of Col. Cooper (the Three Gunsite Gossips are about 2500 pages I think and they are but a drop in the bucket). That is just read: Absorbing the essences of his work has taken me about 40 years and I’m still learning. I train SWAT teams as part of my occupation, very few SWAT officers can score well on the Gunsite Standards *for their entry level class*…let alone for their more advanced classes. That is OK, BTW, you can survive and shoot a lot worse than a successful Gunsite grad.

        I read voraciously – am a full time instructor – and for the last 13 years watched over a million rounds per year go downrange…I have seen very little that improves on the Modern Technique for getting new shooters up to an adequate level for facing an armed aggressor. While I competed in both IPSC and IDPA for years, and in some more practical venues, I don’t regard that as particularly relevant to shooting to survive. Ultimately neither did Col. Cooper, once the “practical” was gone from competition.

        Sorry for the rant, and certainly no hard feelings, but get real.

        Best regards,


        • That’s good stuff Jim H.! I have been instructing for about 5 years and still have much to learn but, my experience would have me agree with you on the effectiveness of the Modern Technique when it comes to new and novice shooters. Thank you for sharing all that great information.

        • You are talking about two different times.I have taken 2 Ayood courses and found him to be an excellent , patient teacher.You will find he has taken the best of Fairbane,Cooper,Weaver and others and shaped them into his shooting methods which are very good.Talk to some that competed against Ayood in the old days he did have an ego.I have known a few excellent surgeons I shared patients with they all had big egos,I would want a good surgeon with a big ego,calms the hands.You will never know what Cooper did in the Korean War it’s protected by the govt.Cooper used the leather slap days as his lab for what worked.He gave us mindset.

      • Neither was 40 second Boyd an ace much less a combat pilot. Cooper lived by his accomplishments, not his history record. Know people who served with him. Their word is good, his track record speaks for it self.
        As for Ayoob, his defense of the New Mexico uniformed rapists ended his credibility for me forever.

  10. Gunnutmegger, I have obviously not read everything on the subject, nor have I been to every “school” in the country. All I can share is my general impression and experience. I have read Aoob’s articles many times, especially those at Backwoods Home. He comes across as an arrogant cop, and his cop background is the qualification that is endlessly promoted.

    If some schools are teaching real self defense to ordinary people, without the aggressive crap, then that’s wonderful. I’ve just not seen very many. One of the exceptions is, of course, the NRA training available. It isn’t world class, but it is what most people can afford and gain access to. I am an NRA certified instructor.

    American Firearms Training and Tactical is another excellent school that takes training TO the average person at a cost they can afford. I’m a graduate of their handgun classes.

    Another is Tactical Shooting academy, run by D.R. Middlebrooks. I have yet to attend that school, but it is on my short list.

    And even so, there is a lot of “cop” stuff in their curriculum and classes.

    Each person needs to decide what is right for them, by their own criteria. I’m not trying to speak for anyone but myself. But I do have a right to express that opinion. Nobody would be more delighted than me if I were completely wrong.

    • Mama, did you read the course descriptions at LFI and Ayoob group?

      The classes Ayoob created are specifically geared for training civilians how and when to use a gun to protect themselves. Not bogus “tactical” tomfoolery. And I am not sure where you got the “arrogant cop” attitude from.

      I looked at the TacticalShooting website and, I have to say that when I see things like “Find out why Fist-Fire is being called “THE Martial Art” of Combat Handgunning. That’s why it’s being endorsed by leading MMA experts and why it’s being called “THE Martial Art of Handgunning”” my mall-ninja detector goes to DEFCON-1. But, hey, it’s your money…

      • ..and what exactly are your certifications Adams? The NRA is about the only way to break into firearms instruction without being LEO where I live. Florida will only recognize NRA and state licensed instructors (K License = LEO) to qualify ccw applications. I am a NRA instructor but that doesn’t mean I can only teach NRA methodology. I can teach any class curriculum i choose unless i promote it as an NRA class.

        As an instructor and a student of firearms and martial arts I try to take advantage of any quality training and advice I can get. It just adds more tools to my toolbox and in many cases it’s not a matter of what works best but what works best for you. I am registered to take Mas’s MAG 40 class shortly and I also plan on training at Gunsite when the opportunity is there. May plan is to keep an open mind and take what I can from each, grow from it and pass that information along to whoever may want it.

        I think both instructors have a hell of a lot to offer and they both know a hell of a lot more then me…which means either class I choose to take (if I was only allowed one choice) would, in the end, make me a better shooter, and isn’t that the objective when seeking instruction?

        I say learn whatever you can from whoever you can and never fool yourself into thinking you know everything you need to know, because you don’t know what you don’t know.

  11. I believe that the majority of armed citizens aren’t going to be involved in shootouts with criminals nor are they going to involve themselves in stopping crimes unless personally threatened. The armed citizen should learn how to draw, fire, and hit what they’re aiming at. Instructors should have two courses, one for law enforcement and one for armed citizens. Most police officers never experience a criminal trying to rob them or car jack them. Citizens experience this every day. As far as who is the best instructor, I would have to say the person who has the experience and the knowledge to teach both courses.

    • Most cops will never be involved in shootouts with criminals nor are they going to involve themselves in stopping crimes. They just show up after the crime to take measurements and harass witnesses.

      • I’ll have to remember the next time I save some vic’s life and put down their attacker. Next, time, I’ll just wait outside until the incident is over, let the assailant go, then stop and take measurements.

  12. I thought I would just put this out there, Massad Ayoob has acknowledged that he has been a student of Jeff Cooper, and many of the other greats in the firearm world.
    Why don’t you ask Mas yourself what he thinks of Jeff Cooper, he has the utmost respect and admiration for Mr. Cooper. Jeff Coppers’ philosophy on firearm handling and the mindset required to live through a gun battle, your State of Awareness is one of the first fundamental lessons taught by Cooper and it alone could save your life.

    • Cooper made some valuable contributions to the shooting world. I haven’t denied that. The Color Codes, the 4 Rules, popularizing training in general; all good things Cooper did.

      But Cooper’s experience was all theoretical; he was never at risk when using a gun, except from an accident. And he didn’t explore other training philosophies and improve his teachings over time.

      Contrast that with Ayoob, who explores other trainers & ideas, and incorporates plenty of proven information from people who have solid real-world credentials.

      The fact that Ayoob is a polite guy and part of the “gun community” should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of Cooper’s image as an infallible last word in training.

      • Cop’s have real-world credentials? Are you kidding me? Most of them get shot with their own guns and if not they unload ninety rounds to hit an unarmed suspect twice. Take a look at the video of the Kehoe brothers being stopped. They tried to cover all the misses by saying they were hits but kehoe was wearing a bullet proof vest. What a crock.

        • Most cops are trained with Cooper-style techniques. No wonder they can’t hit anything when they are under pressure.

          Get your google on and type “Jim Cirillo”. And while you’re at it, give “W. E. Fairbairn” and “Rex Applegate” a look too.

          Or…hmm, let’s try a different approach. Why don’t you tell all of us who IS credible?

        • There are bad teachers out there that are just in it for the money. My approach is to listen to everything I can and train with what feels best to me. I would give more credibility to the experience of those that are not professionals but have been faced by home invasion, car jacking or other violent crimes. We all act differently under pressure an nobody really knows how they will respond. The more information and training that we have will make it more likely that we will survive an encounter. This “Who’s Better” nonsense is more childish than productive.

  13. Cooper’s kool-aid imbibers would provide me with any information about their tin god’s

    If somebody were to refer to me that way I would be so angry I would stop listening to anything they were saying and verbally attack them.

  14. If you took the worst articles from gun magazines and took the best posts from you would end up with Kind of the mom’s basement of the gun world.

  15. It appears you are wrong about Cooper not having any combat experience:

    Read Paul Kirchner’s “More of the Deadliest Men who ever lived”. He has a whole Chapter on Cooper, and reports that Cooper did in fact have a few lethal encounters.

    The book is available from Paladin Press

  16. I remember reading a list of Mr Cooper’s competitive awards in a book published in the 1960s or 1970s. His competitive time was in the 1950s and early 60s if I remember right. His combat experience was mentioned as well but he was using an issued rifle not the 1911. I will post the book if I can find it.

    Cooper’s competitive shooting skill is mentioned generically in Wikipedia in the Modern Technique of the Pistol under the Combat Masters subsection.

    Re: Cooper’s real life shooting experience mentions 3 generically in a blurb for the book mentioned above.
    “Jeff Cooper. The founder of the modern technique of the pistol and a personal friend of the author. Several years before his death I interviewed him about the three shootings in which he was involved. “

  17. Logic is cool, you might want to investigate it. I know you might get great SEO out of tearing down a famous person and building up someone else, but here is an easy logical exercise: A rapist with Down’s Syndrome says that ice Cream is served cold, and a Harvard professor that sidelines as a priest says it is usually served warm. What is important, the speaker or the fact? 10 points if you can name the logical fallacy this article is based upon.

    A suggestion, if you choose not to focus on shooting instruction, and positively helping others enjoy and improve in this awesome activity… at least attack ideas and not people. Jeff Cooper& Massad Ayood & Gabe Suarez and Clint Smith and Shepard Humphries and Tony Copper & other “Top 10 Shooting Instructors” have weaknesses and strengths. Some may smoke too much, some have avoided fights, some have sought fights and some may be passionate about something different than you, but to focus on tearing down a legend who is not even in competition with you for a personal email from Massad? Come on!

    Qualifications should be open and honest. I can honestly say that I provided counter-sniper operations for the Vice President of the United States. In reality, I froze my butt off on the roof of an airport building… does this “experience” qualify” me to share my knowledge with others if I am a bitter short man that really, really wants to be friends with a shooting instructor that is still alive? Heck no!

    Think about it, do you want a great teacher that can’t fight to teach you or a great warrior that cant teach to teach you? Do you want a great teacher that cant fight to fight your war or a great warrior that cant teach to fight your war? Massad is an incredible instructor and deserves his place on the Top 10 list. So does Cooper.

    If a person without any combat, law enforcement, military, mafia or other martial experience is really good at teaching me how to shoot – I will hire them. Jeff and Massad rock!

  18. Each of these men have made significant contributions to students of the gun. One of them actually made his living, going in harm’s way with a gun in his hands. One of them survived three times because he kept his head and and answered imminent harm with precisely-directed fire. One of those occasions was a flat-out sub-machinegun ambush of the vehicle he was riding in.

    Cooper wasn’t hand holder, he scoffed at PTSD and he didn’t suffer fools gladly. He was however responsible for great improvements in the serious application of the handgun. What he lacked in training skills he more than made up for in choosing an excellent cadre of instructors.

    I have to chuckle when I see the New Order kicking the headstones of people like Askins, Cooper and Skelton.

    ‘The Truth About Guns’, huh? How fortunate of us to be availed of it.

  19. Shooters can genuinely benefit from the teachings of both Cooper and Ayoob. It seems to me the keen student skims the cream from individual barrels. Best identifying the cream calls for an evaluation based upon relevant experience. I would say relevant experience involves a lengthy pursuit of the development of combat shooting skills and proper mindset, and it is greatly enhanced by at least one instance in which you have in Cooper’s words “seen the elephant.” I doubt any reasonable and honest person coming from that frame of reference would engage in bashing Cooper.

  20. Cooper´s teaching have been under review in many european police agencies and by many european gun experts, as real life combat experience agasinst terrorist like IRA or ETA, as well as against organized crime gangs from eastern Europe, prooved many flaws in his theories.

    one of the was the famous WEAVER instance. European experts observed tht during long fighs, in an unconscious way, people reverted to the more instictive ISOSCELES. The other one was the shooting position, Weaver with and left leg forward, if you are a right hand shooter. Kneeling down in ISOSCELES prooved a lot safer and more natural.

    using your sights allways has also proofed as not adequate in very fast attacks, thats why Rex Applegate and Fairbarns techniques of “INSTICTIVE SHOOTING”, which unfortunately and thanks to Jeff were abandoned, are once again taught here.

    in short, at least in this part of the WORLD, Applegate, Cirillo, Fairbarns and Ayoob have proofed more adequate to the combat situations a policeman or civilian can encounter in the european streets.

  21. The real pros were the Dillingers, and Bonnie and Clydes. Massad Ayoob loves whatever gun company sponsors him. As far as ‘Jelly Bryce’, or Frank Pape, or any modern day police gunfighter, they were simple ‘Bushwackers’.

    As to self defense – practice situational awareness, and be carrying. Carry the largest caliber, with maximum rounds, and be able to get it out without shooting yourself. And the gun has to be the utmost in reliability.

  22. I started Reading Jeff’s work in the early 60’s, I began written correspondence with him in 1970, met him in 1976 when we set up the IPSC. I know many others who had known him well. Jeff himself said that one of his 3 handgun kills was really just an ambush of a man who had no idea that Jeff was anywhere around, but the Japanese man had an automatic rifle and was moving in a way certain to bump into Jeff’s (clandestine) group, so Jeff just aimed carefully and shot him. Strangely enough, Jeff started WW2 using a Colt SA revolver, based upon “advice” by elmer Keith, who had no combat experience at ALL, never pointed a gun at a man, nor had one pointed at him (by his own written admission).

  23. I”d certainly prefer that anyone I cared about take their classes from Ayoob, by the way. Jeff had some things to teach us, but mostly he was a storyteller, hearing from lots of people all over the world, for 50 years or so, in his capacity as head of GUNSITE training, as shooting editor of Guns and Ammo magazine, as head of IPSC for several years, as head of the Southwest pistol league for many years, as a well-received author of interesting books.

    Ayoob covers far more territory, and to much greater depth. If you see him, ask him if he’s melted any Micros lately. 🙂 he’ll know it came from me. 🙂

  24. Ayoob has known for a long time that mostly you don’t have to fire, that misses often suffice, that speed is of the essence, that the range is almost always MUCH closer than the 10 yds range, at which Jeff had you do most everything.

  25. I corresponded with Jeff for about 10 years. I was at the Columbia Conference in 1976, the 77, 78, 80 US IPSC nati’s and the 77 and 79 IPSC world shoots in Africa. So I learned quite a bit about the Man. Jeff was not all that fast on the draw, but he was very accurate, especially from prone. He could routinely deliver 3″ groups from rollover prone at 50 yds. Jeff was fos about the scout rifle. When GGG came out, he invited criticism. I sent him 140 of my handwritten pages, using nothing but his own words in contradiction. 🙂

    Many a top coach in sports was nothing much as a player. The Weaver stance has been well proven to be inferior to the modern Isosoles. Search youtube for Jerry Miculek’s vids. Jerry’s never shot anyone, or even pointed a gun at anyone. Neither had Elmer keith, by the way. I”ve pointed guns at people 8x in my life. Every time, all of them fled the scene, at top speed. I fired twice, over their heads, to give them impetus. This was back in the 60s. Today, given cell phones, I’d have been locked away forever.

  26. I’ve met Mas Ayoob a few times, and have read his work. He’s a very reliably coherent, aware man, and nowadays he can really shoot. Back when I knew him, in the late 70s, he was just a C class competitor.

  27. I find it odd that you praise Ayoob and damn the 1911. He likes the 1911 too. There’s one with his name on it from Ed Brown made to his specifications. I have a very similar model. Yes, he shoots other weapons. A lot of shooters do, but I’ve seen him many times with a 1911 in hand.

  28. Massad says he has been a cop for 35 years. Flat out lie. He has been a citizen volunteer in a small department with only 3 officers. CALL THEM & CHECK!

    • I lived in NH for 15 years ,there are not many towns in NH that are big enough to require more than a few policemen,still can be a good cop.I once read of a shrimp sized guy that that was literally born in a cotton patch.somehow became the most decorated solider in WW2.I really rambered on this one , sorry

  29. I’ll vouch for the long comments by Mickey and Jim H. I’ve studied under both men.

    Cooper’s qualifications are that he “been there done that” multiple times in the military and lived thru numerous lethal (too others) encounters. Yes, he has won competitions. More so, he CREATED major competitions – as a tool for learning about the subject, and to train others. He started and ran Gunsite, long noted for top notch training. He IS Jeff Cooper – and yes that is suitable qualification, akin to “resume? He’s Albert Einstein! Yes he knows something about physics!”

    Ayoob hadn’t killed anyone, but he has studied the realm of armed self defense in great detail and is a master of aggregating and presenting that information.

    Don’t disparage either. Per the adage, “they’ve forgotten more about the subject than you can ever hope to learn”. Belittling Cooper in particular belies gross ignorance.

  30. Jeff Cooper was a snob who really believed in himself. He didn’t need anyone else as a fan. Mas Ayoob is a fine man with a terrific pedigree. I have communicated with him and he is very humble and down to earth.

  31. Pretty despicable to ignore the well-documented combat experience Jeff Cooper had, as well as the well documented accomplishments as a competitive shooter of Col. Cooper. I have no doubt this was done on purpose – one would have to be moronic or not have access to the internet to be prevented from researching and knowing of Cooper’s past experiences. And it’s ironic that if asked, Massad Ayoob himself would find this “comparison” to be very troubling. Though current techniques have branched out a bit in recent times, they all trace their way back to Cooper’s “Modern Technique of the Pistol”. He literally wrote the book(s).

  32. Well Yankee Gunnuts, I don’t blame you for leaving your name off of that steaming turd. Talk about getting your ass handed to you…

    Some people are just so full of self-loathing they have to pass it around to others.

    You are clueless about firearms too. Get a new racket.

  33. Why I am wasting my valuable time replying to a so called “author” of an “article,” I have no idea. Other than the fact that you are a disrespectful, blowhard with an unknown agenda.

    I personally knew Jeff Cooper and know Mas. Your so called facts and spread sheet are poorly researched. Jeff did in fact see combat. He did in fact win competitions. He did in fact do more for the shooting industry and sports than anyone else dead or alive. We would not be where we are today, as a whole, without him. Any current instructor worth his salt, can trace a direct lineage back to Jeff or an instructor he trained.

    With their styles, beliefs, and methodology Jeff and Mas are worlds apart. Both are valid.

    I have spent the night under the good Colonel’s roof, at his personal residence many times. I’ve trained under him many times. I’ve taught at some of the same conferences Mas has. I have almost two decades of law enforcement experience, and a long cv that more than justifies my comments and views. However, I don’t feel the need to jump on the anonymous internet and “publish” an “article” attacking a legend that has passed.

    You would do well to actually research a topic, and keep your inadequacies out of public view in the future. It serves nothing more than to show everyone your poor taste and character.

    Very Disgustidly,


  34. Two points/questions:
    1. How is a Marine officer, assigned to a battleship which is providing naval gunfire support to a major invasion and fighting off kamikaze attacks allowed to leave his post and go ashore as part of the invasion?

    2. Cooper, to his dying days, said he couldn’t talk about his guerilla warfare activities during the Korean War because they were allegedly “secret” (although the pictures of him in Thailand make him look like some sort of Sak’s Fifth Avenue fashion designers fantasy of what a 1950’s mercenary should look like). Seriously? People buy that nonsense that 50 years after later what he did was STILL classified!?

  35. Col Cooper’s qualifications include the complete and total modernization of the use of the pistol ( “The Modern Technique of the Pistol” ). He came up with the 4 basic rules of firearms safety. He came up with Conditions white through black. EVERY firearms instruction class uses the 4 basic rules. Every firearms instructor uses some variation of the modern technique on a daily basis. Almost all tactical schools refer to the color condition chart. His books go into philosophy and mindset that people in these comments say so many instructors lack.

    Cooper put pistol training on the map by founding the first of its kind and an amazing school which assembled some of the best instructors to offer training that had never been offered before. API (“Advanced Pistol Institute”…later called “Gunsite”)was the genesis of everything we are discussing. Even Ayoob got his start there and happily put it on his resume to give himself credibility in his early years. I don’t agree with everything Gunsite does and it is not Cooper’s Gunsite anymore. In my opinion, “G” and his bunch of cronies did much to tarnish what it originally was.

    Cooper had an incredible understanding of firearms. Perhaps him never addressing his critics regarding his shooting experience was more because he did not feel a need to justify that which spoke for itself? He shot with Brown, King, Pachmayr, Wilson and the likes in the 70’s. At that time, the 1911 was THE sidearm for combat. They were all SoCal steel shooters. You may have heard of some of those names if you have been around guns some.

    Cooper put modern shooting on the map. He put firearms schools on the map. His facilitation of this, is his accomplishment. That facilitation has saved countless number of lives.

    Ayoob is alright. He is an alumni instructor from Gunsite who went out on his own. He is an accomplished competitive shooter and wins awards. That is cute. He loses court cases as an expert witness.

    Another alumni instructor is a guy named Scott Reitz. He was a cop for 3 decades with multiple deadly force encounters. He is a deep thinker too and as an expert witness has NEVER lost a case.

    Lastly, Cooper NEVER billed himself as an instructor. He came up with a philosophy and then assembled a group of instructors to teach it….basically. This entire argument is pointless and seems to be slanted to make Cooper look bad and Ayoob look good. Looks like someone had just taken an Ayoob class.

    I happened across this old article and was taken aback by it. It seems the newer generation has little appreciation or understanding for the origins of these things and looks back at then with today’s knowledge base instead of putting themselves back in that time when NONE of this existed.

  36. Strange.. I remember reading of Jeff Cooper writings about the five times he had to use his weapons in WW2. He said he observed the fall of his five victims and that most fell backwards but one fell forwards. I think that means he was in combat. During World War II he served in the Pacific on the USS Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania was in Aleutians and Makin Atoll battles, Marshalls and Marianas campaigns, and the Philippines campaign.

    I suspect his unit on board when into action on the ground in one or more of those incidences.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here