Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 1, No. 1           June 1993

With this issue, I am abandoning the editorial "we" along with reference to Gunsite in the title since I no longer exercise control over the output of the Gunsite Press. What may henceforth appear as "Gunsite Gossip" will be a censored and abbreviated version of my periodical commentary. Times change, and secretarial assistance, along with access to the class room and the firing range, is now denied me. I must work on a somewhat different basis. However, I will attempt to keep the commentary coming and we will see what turns up.

I have in hand a pretty fascinating document from New York entitled "A Firearms Discharge Assault Report, 1991." It is so thick that tabulation is impractical but it is certainly interesting to note that the law enforcement establishment seems to have forgotten about the use of sights, providing they ever knew about the use of sights. Again and again we have reports of shootings at ranges of 5 feet and under in which many shots were exchanged with no hits.

I suppose it must be accepted that the majority of people who opt for a job in law enforcement are not interested in marksmanship and only people who are interested in marksmanship can be counted on to hit what they shoot at. This is hard for me to accept. I can sympathize with Simon Bolivar, when on his death bed, he sighed, "I have plowed the sea."

Not long ago it was easy to tell who the bad guys were. They carried Kalashnikovs. Now it is much more complicated, but one thing is sure - any man who covers his face and packs a gun is a legitimate target for any decent citizen.

As time passes we discover that there are a good many readers who have not been to school and who are puzzled by our reference to "The Mozambique Drill."

I added The Mozambique Drill to the modern doctrine after hearing of an experience of a student of mine up in Mozambique when that country was abandoned. My friend was involved in the fighting that took place around the airport of Laurenco Marquez. At one point, Mike turned a corner was confronted by a terrorist carrying an AK47. The man was advancing toward him at a walk at a range of perhaps 10 paces. Mike, who was a good shot, came up with his P35 and planted two satisfactory hits, one on each side of the wishbone. He expected his adversary to drop, but nothing happened, and the man continued to close the range. At this point, our boy quite sensibly opted to go for the head and tried to do so, but he was a little bit upset by this time and mashed slightly on the trigger, catching the terrorist precisely between the collar bones and severing his spinal cord. This stopped the fight.

Upon analysis, it seemed to me that the pistolero should be accustomed to the idea of placing two shots amidships as fast as he can and then being prepared to change his point of aim if this achieves no results. Two shots amidships can be placed very quickly and very reliably and they will nearly always stop the fight providing a major-caliber pistol is used and the subject is not wearing body armor. However, simply chanting "two in the body, one in the head" oversimplifies matters, since it takes considerably longer to be absolutely sure of a head shot than it does to be quite sure of two shots in the thorax. The problem for the shooter is to change his pace, going just as fast as he can with his first pair, then, pausing to observe results or lack thereof, he must slow down and shoot precisely. This is not easy to do. The beginner tends to fire all three shots at the same speed, which is either too slow for the body shots or too fast for the head shot. This change of pace calls for concentration and coordination which can only be developed through practice.

Mike Rouseau was later killed in action in the Rhodesian War. May he rest in peace!

"Look out, they've guns!"

"Who, the wackos?"

"No, the Feds!"

Perhaps you have noticed the warning from SIGARMS which insists that the hammer on the Sig must always be dropped by the decocking device and never by the thumb. This is curious in view of the fact that for many years the Walther people always recommended that the weapon be decocked with the thumb and not with the hammer dropper. This is still more evidence of a world in which we are to depend on machinery rather than upon ourselves. Dropping the hammer with a decocker is usually safe. (Just be sure the weapon is pointed in a safe direction when you do it.)

Lowering the hammer with the thumb is always safe if the operator is safe. Of course, if you must assume that the operator is inept, then decocking with the thumb is not safe. We dinosaurs prefer to put our trust in our own abilities rather than in any reliability of a mechanism which can fail.

I learned from Bill Buckley's National Review that a new technique that store owners are using to cleanse the atmosphere is the broadcast of good music at high decibel levels. It appears the Brandenburg Concertos at full blast are quite sure to keep the scene free of street people.

I suppose nothing can be done about the erroneous assumption that hand held fully automatic fire is somehow more efficient than aimed fire. As I used to demonstrate, when I had a teaching job, quick semi-automatic fire is far more likely to produce results than bursts. Thus the preoccupation of the Feds with the idea that is it somehow an offense against God and man to convert a semi-automatic weapon to a fully automatic capacity is simply a manifestation of ignorance. If a man is shooting at me, I would much prefer that he were on full auto than carefully holding and squeezing. The automatic option is the greatest encourager of the spray-and-pray technique, which I have long done my best to discourage.

Note that among the other changes instituted here at Gunsite, I no longer have any control over the products of the gunsmithy. You're on your own!

"The society of late twentieth century America is perhaps the first in human history where most grown men do not routinely bear arms on their persons and boys are not regularly raised from childhood to learn skill in the use of some kind of weapon, either for community or personal defense - club or spear, broadsword or long bow, rifle or Bowie knife. It also happens to be one of the rudest and crudest societies in history, having jubilantly swept most of the etiquette of speech, table, dress, hospitality, fairness, deference to authority and the relations of male and female and child and elder under the fraying and filthy carpet of politically convenient illusions. With little fear of physical reprisal Americans can be as loud, gross, disrespectful, pushy, and negligent as they please. If more people carried rapiers at their belts, or revolvers on their hips, It is a fair bet you would be able to go to a movie and enjoy he dialogue from the screen without having to endure the small talk, family gossip and assorted bodily noises that many theater audiences these days regularly emit. Today, discourtesy is commonplace precisely because there is no price to pay for it."

Samuel Francis
As Heinlein put it,
"An armed society is a polite society."

Note that in Israel today the Israeli region of IPSC prescribes the training necessary for the acquisition of a pistol permit.

According to Health Magazine the most popular assault weapon in the United Kingdom is the beer glass. Naturally, there is now a move afoot in Britain for "beer glass control."

You may recall I reported a few issues ago on the activities of the "Mad Bambiist" who has apparently been roaming the woods of the Mid-West murdering hunters and fishermen. One Thomas Lee Dillon has now been apprehended and indicted in Noble County, Ohio. Police suspect he may have slain as many as ten outdoorsmen in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. That will be an interesting case to follow.

There appears to be a movement afoot now in Southern California to drive the regulators wild by observing the speed limit. When Tina VanCuren was passed on the freeway in her Alfa Romeo by a Yugo, she decided the time had come and organized the National Civil Obedience Day. There may be some merit In this sort of action, but there certainly is a danger of being rammed from behind if you drive less than about 70 on the freeways of the LA basin.

J.D. Jones, the prominent advocate of pistol hunting, dropped by the other day to show us a most curious ballistic development. He has taken the 223 case, blown it out to 30 caliber and installed a match bullet inside which takes up practically the entire case. A pinch of the proper powder pushes this bullet out the muzzle at subsonic velocities, thus permitting silent fire. There have been similar endeavors in the past, one of which I developed myself, but this one is unusual in that it is adapted to the M16 rifle, hence the finished cartridge will work through the magazine system of the M16. J.D. assures me that when the piece is fitted with the proper noise suppresser, a full magazine of 30 rounds may be sprayed out the muzzle, with good short range efficiency in dead silence. I am not clear about the tactical niche of silent full auto fire, but there it is, if you want it. It sounds like the sort of thing the BATmen would be Interested in.

A while back I queried the family about the origin of that quotation, "I speak of Africa and golden joys," with which Theodore Roosevelt opens his classic work on African hunting. It was gratifying to receive a whole sock-full of answers from readers of these pages. It turns out that line comes from Henry IV by Shakespeare and is attributed to one "Ancient Pistol." Curiously, the statement has nothing to do with the "golden joys" that Roosevelt was talking about, but TR certainly picked the right statement for the right place.

"The government and Its lap-dogs in the media are naturally focusing everyone's attention on David Koresh. That is a red herring. The attention should be focused on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, as well as on the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

Charley Reese, from the Conservative Chronicle.

Last year I received a most interesting letter from an Irish mercenary in Croatia discussing the situation in that land. He said he found the work fascinating, the country beautiful, and the people charming. He noted that while the English language was not common amongst the men, all the girls he met seemed quite fluent. Mostly, of course, these were militia-types. He could not give me a return address because he naturally did not know where he would be, but just this last week I got another letter from him in Ireland, whither he had gone at the expiration of his contract. The soldier home from the wars clearly wanted a bit of rest and recreation in his green and pleasant homeland, but it was not to be. He discovered at once that one cannot breath free In the UK nor in Ireland. In effect, personal weapons are outlawed and a man who is any sort of a man cannot live without his personal weapons. After going the rounds at great length attempting to obtain a 6mm rifle for deer stalking, our correspondent has about given up. He intends now to emigrate to Israel. The situation in Israel may not be of the best - especially for a goy, but at least in Israel one is permitted and encouraged to fight back. Israel may be a lock-step theocracy where one must speak Hebrew, but at least one is permitted to fight back and that, in the last analysis, is the absolute measure of liberty.

Certainly we live in "interesting times."

The following illuminating epistle was prepared by one Raymond Bonner and passed along to us by George Mandes. You might keep it at the ready for any situation when you may run into a hunter-hater:
"From a conservation perspective it can be argued that hunting should be promoted over tourism. While researching a book on conservation in Africa, I discovered that ecologically tourists do more damage than hunters, and not because there are so many more of the camera clickers. They speed across the plains in their minivans tearing up the grass, creating dust bowls and cutting ugly ruts. Then they surround a lion pride or rhino, reducing the animals to fright, boredom or what sometimes seems like tears. In effect, man-as-tourist is taking the "wild" out of the wildlife of Africa."

The heroic recitation held at the sconce at the time of the last GAS was such a great success that I am now looking for a method of repeating it. In order to see if this is indeed a good idea, I would much appreciate your interest in the proposition. As of now, I think that Theodore Roosevelt's birthday would be the appropriate occasion and I would be glad to set up a time and place if the faithful want to participate. Let me know!

In connection with the numerous incidents with American deer over the past year, we note that one Mr. Popeye Golossi was recently run over by a herd of kudu not far from Port Elizabeth, suffering bruised ribs, bruises to face and head and some loose teeth. The press first suggested that he was attacked, but kudu do not attack people. These were simply trying to get from point A to point B in a hurry and found Popeye in the way.

That piece I reported about a restaurant owner in Marysville, Indiana who smoked a goblin with a cylinder-full of 357s without result, has been criticized by a couple of correspondents as being unbelievable. Interestingly enough, my friend just called the other night to ask me some more questions about the kind of weapon he should use to protect his establishment. I told him that people had been expressing doubts about his story and he said that all they had to do was to check with the records of the Marysville Police Department. Among other things, his story was so bizarre that I couldn't possibly have invented it myself - nor could he.

"The dead take with them to the grave only that which they have given away."