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Old April 1, 2012, 02:46 PM   #1
SPEMack618
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Jeff Cooper

So, I stumbled upon Colonel Cooper's "Commentaries" and I am reading through them with great delight. The man's writing style is certainly unique. However, I was wondering if there was a better way to put them in context.

Such as the difference in Orange and Gray Gunsite?

What is a "family member"?

Also, I wondering if anyone knew a could place to read critical reviews over some of his writings.

All input is appreciated.
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Old April 1, 2012, 05:43 PM   #2
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For people that have written books I've found it very interesting to go to Amazon and look up their books and then read the readers comments on them.

Jeff Cooper was famous enough that there is a lot of information about him and his writings on the internet and Google can be your friend.

(Well you said ALL input would be appreciated!)
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Old April 1, 2012, 05:51 PM   #3
Willie Sutton
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The Colonel was likely the most influential proponent of practical pistolcraft since Sam Colt.
He was a polymath warrior/scholor in the Greek mold.

Orange Gunsite was Gunsite before The Colonel sold it and gave up day to day control of it, something he rued to the day he died. He's buried behind the sconce there in a private place.

Family Members are those who have attended a course at Gunsite.

The Orange Gunsite 250 course (Pistol) was the standard by which all other were and still are measured.


Willie

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Last edited by Willie Sutton; April 1, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old April 1, 2012, 06:29 PM   #4
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IIRC to Cooper a "family member" was someone who had trained at Gunsite or under Cooper or simply shared his views and corresponded with him.
Cooper's Color Code was White-Yellow-Orange-Red. Perhaps that is the "Orange" you are thinking of?
I don't think I've ever seen any critical reviews of Cooper's writings-or of any other well known gun writer. I have seen some criticisms from people who met Cooper and were underwhelmed, thinking they would meet a Great Man and instead met someone whose manners they felt were lacking. I have read the same from people who met Charlie Askins.
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Old April 1, 2012, 09:40 PM   #5
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I am not especially familiar with his work (other than to note that he has a somewhat checkered past,) and this does not constitute an endorsement, but Gabe Suarez appears to offer criticisms of Cooper here and there.
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Old April 1, 2012, 11:39 PM   #6
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Of course, more than two people have been known to criticize Gabe Suarez, too.

Cooper was Cooper. He was erudite, he was opinionated, he was dogmatic. I never met the man so I have no opinion of his personality. I have read numerous of his books and magazine columns, and I find his writing style to be amusingly condescending. Some folks of my acquaintance who have met him in person say that also describes the man, as well as his writing.

If I had a choice between following Cooper's advice or Gabe Suarez's advice, I'd pick Cooper.
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Old April 2, 2012, 01:11 AM   #7
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There's a lot of background information on Jeff Cooper here: http://www.frfrogspad.com/ (scroll down to the bottom of the index).

Check out this site for Wisdom Publishing: http://www.jeffcooperbooks.com/. Lindy Wisdom is his daughter.
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Old April 2, 2012, 06:51 AM   #8
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@Aguila:

For the record, I was not endorsing Suarez, simply pointing out that he is on record as critiquing Cooper, which is what the original post asked for.

I trust that if someone is curious, he will be able to read both and make up his own mind regarding the two.
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Old April 2, 2012, 08:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aguila
Cooper was Cooper. He was erudite, he was opinionated, he was dogmatic. I never met the man so I have no opinion of his personality. I have read numerous of his books and magazine columns, and I find his writing style to be amusingly condescending. Some folks of my acquaintance who have met him in person say that also describes the man, as well as his writing.
I corresponded with Cooper a bit. I'd been having fantastic luck with Remington 7400's and Sig P220's, so I mentioned this to him in a letter. Cooper wrote back saying essentially, "It's obvious there's nothing I can tell you on this subject so go forth and conquer the world with them."

This of course was Cooper's way of saying "Since you're so damned smart..."

I LOL'ed when I read it; it took nothing from my opinion of the man, his work or his many contributions to handgunners.
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Old April 2, 2012, 09:02 AM   #10
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"Cooper's Color Code was White-Yellow-Orange-Red. Perhaps that is the "Orange" you are thinking of?"


Uhh... no. See my answer above. It defines the epoch at Gunsite.

Who's Gabe Suarez? Ants critiquing Elephants these days?
Cooper was a mountain. Suarez is a speedbump.


Sarge's note above is so typically Jeff. You had to laugh and smile even when you disagreed. He had no time to waste trying to convice others, other than to articulately write his ideas for contemplation. I treasure my letters from him on various subjects, including the scout rifle, of which I own one of the first few prototypes constructed at the Ranch. A Remington Model 7, kevlar stock, Burris scout scope on brazed on forward rings, with Ruger Mini-30 flip up emergency aperature and front emergency sight on the forward scope mount, in one of Coopers favorite cartridges: .350 Remington Mag... Jeff shot it many times after I had it built there, it's a prize to treasure.


Willie (Orange 250)

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Old April 2, 2012, 09:29 AM   #11
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Thanks, Mr. Ettin. That's exactly what I was looking for.
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Old April 2, 2012, 10:14 AM   #12
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I'm fortunate enough to have met and spent time with Jeff.

In 2002, I took my first class at Gunsite -- a special 250 with Jeff as Range Master. During a break, he and I were chatting, and he discovered I like auto racing. That was another interest of his, and he invited me up to his home on the Sunday after the class to watch the Monaco Grand Prix. I of course took him up on the invitation and had a wonderful afternoon with him and Mrs. Cooper.

In March of 2006, I was again at Gunsite for 270 (General Rifle) and had a chance to go by and visit with the Coopers once again. Jeff was rather frail at that time. He died in September of that year.
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Old April 2, 2012, 11:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
SPEMack618

So, I stumbled upon Colonel Cooper's "Commentaries" and I am reading through them with great delight. The man's writing style is certainly unique. However, I was wondering if there was a better way to put them in context.

Such as the difference in Orange and Gray Gunsite?
Regarding "Orange Gunsite" v. "Grey Gunsite":

In 1992 Jeff Cooper sold the American Pistol Institute.
Under the new owner the instruction shifted away from Modern Technique as taught by Jeff Cooper.
To distinguish between the two schools, Jeff Cooper referred to Gunsite and its graduates from the period when he owned and operated Gunsite as "Orange Gunsite" and to the subsequent operation as "Grey Gunsite". This is because when the school was sold, the color scheme was changed from the original color of orange to grey. Richard Gee owned Gunsite from 1992 - 1999 when he sold to Colonel Buz Mills. The instruction at the school returned to that of the Modern Technique as taught by Jeff Cooper. Jeff Cooper once more associated himself with the school.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunsite#cite_note-10

Quote:
I have been recently asked by several correspondents about the difference between "Orange Gunsite" and "Grey Gunsite." When the Countess and I moved over here many long years ago, she selected as our official colors orange and chocolate brown. All of our signs, notices, and banners were thus rendered in those colors, establishing a tradition which we intended to follow, rather like those of "Navy blue and gold, or forever and forever Stanford red." When the current owner purchased the estate he decided to wipe out that tradition and change the colors to drab grey and black, and repainted all the signs. This was rather a favor to us, since it marked a clear-cut dividing line between the Gunsite tradition and the GTC operation. Now we can call Orange Gunsite that institution which the Countess and I created. Grey Gunsite is whatever the current owner desires to make of it. Hence in conversation Orange Gunsite means one thing and Grey Gunsite another. (And never the twain shall meet.)
"Jeff Cooper's Commentaries Vol. 2 No. 5 May 1994".
http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff2_5.html

I am an "Orange" family member. (API 250, 260, 350, & 499)

One little known fact about the Gunsite experience, many students experienced performance anxiety when Col. Cooper showed up on the range while training was going on. Cooper would usually ride to the range on a three wheeled motorbike. The sound was distinctive. When students heard this sound, they knew he was coming and most fired groups opened up as the students manifested their anxiety to do well before the master, with the opposite result. I forget the term the instructors used to refer to the phenomenon, to try to get the students to relax and concentrate on shooting. I think it was something like "tricycle group".
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Old April 2, 2012, 12:01 PM   #14
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Cooper did a bit of auto racing, and wrote about that, too. Road & Track magazine has published some "collections" of old articles, and as I was reading one, the writing style of one story seemed very familiar. Sure enough, it was written by Cooper. In his book Another Country, I believe, there's an amusing tale of a road trip in a Corvette that's worth reading.
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Old April 2, 2012, 12:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mello2u
...Richard Gee owned Gunsite from 1992 - 1999 when he sold to Colonel Buz Mills. The instruction at the school returned to that of the Modern Technique as taught by Jeff Cooper. Jeff Cooper once more associated himself with the school...
And now known as Gunsite Academy.

I'm in the Gunsite Academy era -- 250, 270 and 350.
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Old April 2, 2012, 07:05 PM   #16
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What colors are associated with the "Gunsite Academy" era?
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Old April 2, 2012, 07:15 PM   #17
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkp1187
What colors are associated with the "Gunsite Academy" era?
No special color. The Gunsite "epochs" are referred to as Orange Gunsite, Gray Gunsite, and Gunsite Academy.
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Old April 2, 2012, 07:15 PM   #18
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"Cooper did a bit of auto racing, and wrote about that, too."


The story you are thinking about is "Travels with Corvy", which was published in whatever book preceeded C-Stories.

I raced Porsche 356's and early 911's, and The Colonel was a fan of these. Many an interesting conversation was had over the years.



Willie

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Old April 3, 2012, 02:00 AM   #19
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other books

Cooper wrote well and I am a fan of this other writings that were not necessarily Gunbooks. Fireworks, To Ride...., and Another Country were great reads for me.
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Old April 3, 2012, 10:14 AM   #20
Willie Sutton
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Thanks for the reminder:

Fireworks is where "Travels with Corvy" was published most recently.

C-Stories is great too: A play on the term "Sea Stories", which had USMC connotations to the old man. Wonderful stuff. Perfectly illustratrated by a friend.


Willie

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Old April 5, 2012, 04:52 PM   #21
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What I don't understand is this business about Suarez, who at one time was Cooper's protege. Heck, I have one of Suarez's early books, and it reads exactly like Jeff Cooper material. Why is he critical of Colonel Cooper?
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Old April 6, 2012, 04:33 AM   #22
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Probably due to bad luck. Cooper was the only gunery officer in WW-2 to have a battleship totaled out on his watch post pearl harbor.
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Old April 6, 2012, 02:14 PM   #23
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That's interesting; what responsibility does a Marine officer have for gunnery on a battleship?
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Old April 9, 2012, 05:53 PM   #24
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During WWII, one side of a Battleship's secondary armament, five-inch guns, would be manned by the ship's Marine detachment. These guns often had the Eagle, Globe and Anchor painted on the side.

During, WWII the five-inch gun was heavily used in the anti-air and shore bombardment role.
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Old April 11, 2012, 01:51 PM   #25
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I know nothing of the man personally, but I have read a few of his books. He seems to be very opinionated and some of his advice is now antiquated, but he strikes me as a "call it as he sees it" type guy and that I have to respect. His humor shines through quite well and he speaks of a time when men were more honorable. I particularly enjoyed "To ride, shoot straight, and tell the truth".
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