Jeff Cooper's Commentaries

Previously Gunsite Gossip
Vol. 6, No. 10          September, 1998

Summer's End

And none too soon for us. Warm weather is all very well in its way, especially when you think about it in February, but enough is enough, and we may now look forward to the first touch of Fall in the air. We had a very poor growing season here on the Yavapai Plateau, but we still hope that our garden tomatoes may hold out until the first freeze. The pears and apples are doing fine, and soon it may be cider time. The countryside is unusually green for these parts, following an almost continuous succession of thunderstorms.

By now you have satisfied yourself as to the zero of your rifle with the ammunition you intend to use. You may now continue practice on snap shooting and quick assumption of position without going to the range.

"You know you are in trouble when Geraldo Rivera is your principle character witness."

Joseph Sobran

In view of the continuous complaints we get about the sale price of the Steyr Scout, we now offer a proper response. It seems that Herr Budischowsky of Eislingen, Germany, is now offering what he considers to be the pistol to end all pistols. This is the "Korriphila Model HSP 701" and its retail price in Germany is 15,900 Deutsch Marks. (Last we heard there were about 1.7 DM to a US dollar.) This, of course, is in its deluxe version in solid Damascus steel. Its less ornamental brother in plain blued steel is way down at DM 8,000. Basically it is a 9mm crunchenticker, but it may be offered in the future in a major caliber. I do not know if Herr Budischowsky is taking orders at this time, but you might check with him at the SHOT Show.

An overseas correspondent tells us that a left-hand bolt-action rifle is of no particular interest since European shooters always take the weapon out of the shoulder when they work the bolt. That is rather like telling a motorist that he has no need for opposite lock in a power slide since all Europeans always turn in to a skid. Apparently the word is "Right or wrong, that's the way we do it!"

I see by a couple of notices (which I did not supervise) that I am due to teach a course in "Tactical Pistol." I am sorry, but I do not know what a "tactical pistol" might be. As I see it, a pistol is a totally defensive weapon, intended to be used to stop a fight that somebody else starts. I do not know where the term "tactics" got into this. Whenever I think of tactics I think of group combat. Pistols are not correctly used in groups. Of course there are exceptional circumstances.

Our good friend Shep Kelly, a director of Federal Ammunition, sent us the print of a 5-shot 100-meter group that measured an inch and five-eighths side-to-side, and half-an-inch vertically. I did not respond to this properly, since a good shot with a good rifle and good ammunition might consider such a group good, but not outstanding if fired from a bench one slow shot at a time. What we did not realize until we heard the rest of the story was that Shep fired that group from loop sitting, snapping the bolt as rapidly as he could. Now that is indeed good shooting. Shep pulled it off with his SS, mainly in response to those who claim that the bolt lift is too heavy and the bolt handle is too flat. Shep is an extraordinarily good shot, but the friendliness of the SS is what made this possible.

We are off shortly now for Whittington where we expect to conduct both a pistol and a rifle class, thus there will be a three-week gap in our communications. Sorry about that!

Our esteemed patron, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., is on record to the effect that voters should choose for their elected representatives people who are "honest, courageous and wise." Those are three excellent adjectives, but we do not observe them as much as we should in our halls of legislature. Honesty has been made ridiculous by the highest officials of the land. Courage is conspicuously absent when it comes to taking a stand which might conceivably lose votes. Wisdom is hard to judge, but it does not seem to be high on the list of the attributes the voters like. Ronald Reagan may be the last chief executive who might be considered to be honest, courageous and wise. People to whom those words apply seem reluctant to put themselves forward in our current political system.

There seems to be no agreement amongst our leaders as to what must be done about these ragheaded terrorists. It is adduced that if we kill the leaders there will simply be more to take their places. This may or may not be true, but we can be pretty sure that blowing up installations with Tomahawks is not going to accomplish much, apart from making a number of uninvolved people angry. The Tomahawk is a marvelous instrument and I stand amazed at its efficiency, but the way to take out irregular murderers is individually - one at a time. You will remember the tale of Herman Hanneken, CMH. In 1918 in Haiti we were being tormented by an ephemeral guerrilla leader known as Charlemagne Peralt. Nobody knew what he looked like or where he was, but Sergeant Hanneken, then acting as a Captain of Haitian Constabulary, set up an artistic spook action and took out his man with one round of 45 ACP.

No two tactical situations are ever identical, but Hanneken was the right man at the right place at the right time. As of this date we need another.

Thomas Sowell, who is one of our favorite commentators, points out three things that make the collectivists uneasy. These are cars, guns and home schooling, all of which grant to the individual a degree of independence of action which terrifies the champions of the super state. Cars, guns and home schooling reduce the need for the statism so prized by the socialists. They do not wish you freedom to move around. They do not wish you to be able to protect yourself. And they do not wish you to decide what your children should be taught. Such things reduce the power of the state over the citizen. If you know any Democrats you might make that point to them.

There seems to be some confusion about the dates of the Reunion this year. It will be held two weekends before TR's birthday - on 16, 17 and 18 October.

We are given to understand that the term used by the Rangers for the MP5/9 is "skinny popper." This seems to have shown up first in Somalia, where the locals appeared to be conspicuously scrawny. The Parabellum cartridge did not work particularly well even on them.

We hope to test out the "sporting rifle trail" shortly now at Whittington. We will give you a report.

Despite a hundred years or more of fiction, we should realize that the heart shot is not an "icer." A man shot or stabbed in the heart may manifest no particular discomfort or disability for several seconds - the time it takes for the blood supply to his brain to shut off. A quadruped shot in the heart usually runs quite a good distance before falling down. Only a hit in the central nervous system turns your target off like a light - without fail. The violence of a blow transmitted to the heart naturally has something to do with this, and if more tissue is destroyed the lethal effect may be more immediately apparent, but it is rarely instantaneous.

"The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted by the Convention of 1787, not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The purpose was, not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among these departments, to save the people from autocracy."

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis in the 1922 case Myers v. United States

From the great world of business, wherein we have a couple of spies, we hear of a man who achieved conspicuous success at an early age. You could tell he was a success because he boasted "a pony tail, a mistress and three Cadillacs." Is this the standard of the Age of the Common Man?

"According to a study by Mark Helprin of the Hudson Institute, the following are gone from our military: four aircraft carriers; 121 surface combatants and attack submarines (plus the support that normally accompanies such a force); 13 ballistic missile submarines (with more than 3,000 nuclear warheads on 232 missiles); 500 intercontinental ballistic missiles; 232 strategic bombers; 20 air wings of the Navy and Air Force (about 2,000 combat aircraft); two Reserve Army divisions; eight Regular Army divisions; 293,000 Reserve soldiers, and 709,000 Regular Army soldiers. Had an enemy inflicted such losses, it would have been termed a military disaster."

The New American, Vol. 14, No. 17, Page 19

It is time to mention this again. We know who killed Nicole Simpson. We know who killed Vicki Weaver, but we still do not know who killed Vince Foster. We have a pretty good idea, but up till now nothing that can be proven. Well, we do not know who killed Jimmy Hoffa either. This would seem to be ripe ground for a couple of really good fiction writers. According to Hemingway, really good fiction is truer than fact.

"I remember peering out of the T.C.'s hatch and seeing a large number of enemy soldiers alongside of the tank. We had outrun our support. The grunts had not yet caught up with us, and we were alone. We were in the unique position of having advanced past a retreating, disorganized enemy company. I grabbed my M14, and as I climbed out of the tank, one of the enemy raised his K-50 smg, and at a range of 10 feet, emptied the magazine at me. Above the noise of the rest of the battle, the sound of those bullets passing by my head was easily the most distinctive. I put the front sight on his chest, and shot him. He went down, but there were many of his comrades close by. Some were retreating along a trench, and some were attacking O.G. Clank, the closest obstacle to their perceived survival. I will never again hear the term "target rich environment" without thinking about this incident. I started engaging as many as I could, one at a time. While changing magazines, I caught sight of movement below me, and saw Gene standing in the driver's hatch, shooting enemy soldiers off of the tank with his .45, buying me time.

"I remember thinking, for a brief moment, that this kid was going to be all right."

Pat Rogers

You may remember Amy Biehl, the white girl who went down to Africa to help the downtrodden and who was murdered by a black mob with rocks. Four of her killers have now been turned loose, one remains in custody. The only reason Amy was killed was because she was white.

Now on the other side of the world we have this particularly nasty murder of an unarmed black man by three white thugs in East Texas. It seems that the only reason they killed him was because he was black. I am willing to bet that they will not go free. It is more likely that in this case the death penalty will be invoked - and quite properly so.

Shall we conclude that it is okay for Negroes to kill a white girl because of the color of her skin, but it is a dreadful sin for white men to kill a Negro because of the color of his skin?

I am sure that there are those who will call this "racial justice."

The next thing we can expect is to see street kids wearing their football helmets on backwards so that the face guard can protect the back of the neck. Cool!

Those of you who found the Keneyathlon to your taste will be interested to know that Dave Wheeler (505-576-9529) is putting on a rifle contest that examines practical hunting skills at the "Blue Steel Ranch" at San Jon, New Mexico. This promises to be a very interesting event and I regret that I could not get the information to you in proper time. For further information and details you may call Dave at his telephone number listed. Deadline is 11 September, which I guess is right now.

You may order a night light assembly for your SS from
Medesha, Box 367, Apache Junction, Arizona 85217, phone: 602-986-5876
(Price is $30.00).

In view of the difficulties that shooters have been having with the Mexican border, it has been suggested by John Stalmach that the NRA post a billboard at all border-crossing points emphasizing that the US citizen in a foreign country is not protected by the Constitution, and especially not by its Second Amendment. This could be sponsored by the NRA, both protecting the interests of American citizens and calling attention to the fact that they are indeed protected, insofar as possible, by the National Rifle Association. I do not know if I can get this idea across to the Board of Directors, but I will try.

"Our principle trouble today in this country seems to be that too many people have too much time on their hands."

Clarence Thomas, Justice of the Supreme Court

Note that the only place that you may now get a copy of "Another Country" is from Blacksmith Press, which has relocated to Ohio
PO Box 280, North Hampton, OH, 45349, 1-800-531-2665.
I believe this is my best book, and under present circumstances it seems to be going to remain out-of-print.

It is curious to note that Sylvester Stallone, who has the screen reputation as the epitome of Rambo, has no interest in living up to his image. He has now moved to England, and he has stated publicly that the US has no need for the Second Amendment. He is making a movie about motor racing in Europe, and the McLaren people offered him a ride in their fantastic two-place Formula I car in order to give him a feeling for the job. Rambo found it necessary to be elsewhere at the time.

The General Orders for a sentry, which I was required to memorize in my youth, specified (number 7): "I will allow no one to commit a nuisance on my post." It may be that those general orders have been rescinded - or perhaps they do not apply to chief executives.

The more we study it, the more it appears that people do not usually miss because they are bad shots, they miss because they are not paying attention. Concentration is what puts hits on the target. Distraction is what causes misses. The effective marksman learns to blot out all aspects of the situation but his sight picture and his trigger press. He must wear "psychological blinders" until after his target is down. This should be obvious, but apparently it is not.

Too many people seem to think that the president of the United States "runs the country." No man - not even George Washington - was ever able to run the country. It is too big. No president can even memorize the number of federal agencies under his authority, still less what they all are supposed to do. What the president should do, and must do, is to serve as an example of what a distinguished citizen ought to be. Washington did that. Theodore Roosevelt did that. In my opinion, Reagan did that. And look what we have now!

Please Note. These "Commentaries" are for personal use only. Not for publication.