“If violent crime is to be curbed it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore, what he must be taught to fear is the victim.”-Jeff Cooper, May 20, 1920-September 25, 2006
The modern technique of the pistol, which was later branched out to other small arms, features five elements, including the Weaver stance, named for Jack Weaver, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who used two hands to grip the pistol, which created isometric tension to steady it, and used the gun sight.
“Before that, everybody had been hip-shooting — shooting with one hand, without the use of the sights,” said Head. “It made a big difference.”
The modern technique “has been widely accepted by all the law enforcement agencies in the world,” including the Los Angeles Police Department, Mills said. “The man’s probably responsible for keeping more soldiers and law enforcement officers alive than anyone in the world.”
Cooper, said Wiley Clapp, former handgun editor for Guns & Ammo, “has been referred to as the father of modern handgunning — accurately, I think. He is the guy who developed the technique of using a handgun defensively, the technique that is almost universal in both police and military circles and civilian circles.
“If you go to the movies and see Tom Cruise fighting his way through the bad guys â€¦ in the way they hold the pistol, the way they fire multiple shots, all of that is a somewhat Hollywood-ized version of the modern technique. The position they’re generally in is a Weaver.
“So this thing that one ultra-conservative, right-wing retired colonel started in the mountains of Big Bear is so permeated in our culture that they’re using it in the movies and so forth.”
John Dean “Jeff” Cooper was born in Los Angeles on May 20, 1920. As a Marine during World War II, he served on the battleship Pennsylvania and later conducted what he described as “clandestine services” during the Korean War.
Cooper, who was discharged from the Marines in 1955, earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Stanford University and a master’s degree in history from UC Riverside. From the late 1950s through the early ’70s, he taught history part time through a community college and at the high school in Big Bear.
His books include “Cooper on Handguns,” “The Art of the Rifle,” “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth,” “Sports Car Annual,” two volumes of “Gunsite Gossip,” “Fireworks” (a collection of essays) and the memoirs “Another Country” and “C Stories.”