Cooper, Jeff 1920-2006

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Cooper, Jeff 1920-2006
(John Dean Cooper)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 10, 1920, in Los Angeles, CA; died September 25, 2006, near Paulden, AZ. Soldier, educator, businessperson, journalist, and author. The founder of what is now the Gunsite Academy and a longtime columnist for Guns & Ammo magazine, Cooper developed handgunning techniques that are now standard in the military and law enforcement. He graduated from Stanford University in 1941 and immediately joined the U.S. Marine Corps to serve during World War II. He left the Marines as a lieutenant colonel to teach military history and combat intelligence in Virginia for three years. From 1950 to 1953, Cooper lent his expertise to aid guerrillas in Southeast Asia. Moving to Big Bear, California, he taught history courses at the local high school and community college level. Meanwhile, he founded the Southwest Combat Pistol League and the Bear Valley Gunslingers, firearm groups that practiced their skills and held competitive matches. It was during this time that Cooper developed his techniques for improved gun control. Prior to then, police officers and other professionals often shot handguns from the hip without taking advantage of gun sights. Cooper taught that handguns should be held at eye level, using two hands and with a broader stance for balance. One of the original contributors to Guns & Ammo, he was also departmental editor for the magazine from 1958 to1965. In 1968, he completed a master's degree in history at the University of California at Riverside. In 1971, he founded the American Pistol Institute in Paulden, Arizona, which was later renamed the Gunsite Academy. There he taught others his techniques, which have since been credited with helping save many lives. Cooper sold his school in 1999. He continued to teach until 2003, and to write for Guns & Ammo. The 1995 recipient of the Outstanding American Handgunner Award, Cooper penned several books on his favorite topic, including Fighting Handguns (1957), Complete Book of Modern Handgunning (1962), Cooper on Handguns (1974), and TheArt of the Rifle (1997). He also published two memoirs: Another Country: Personal Adventures of the Twentieth Century (1992) and C Stories, written with Paul Kirchner.



Cooper, Jeff, Another Country: Personal Adventures of the Twentieth Century, Gunsite Press (Paulden, AZ), 1992.


Los Angeles Times, October 1, 2006, p. B12.

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Cooper, Jeff 1920-2006

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