Gunsite was founded in 1976 by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, author, columnist, professor, WW II and Korean War combat veteran.
Col. Cooper intended Gunsite to be the vehicle for spreading the Modern Technique of the Pistol, which he created during his years in Big Bear Lake, CA.Jeff Cooper built the facility which was known then as the American Pistol Institute (API), just west of Paulden, Arizona, north of Prescott AZ. Cooper began teaching pistol, shotgun and rifle classes to both law enforcement and military personnel, as well as civilians, and did on-site training for individuals and groups from around the world. He was known for his advocacy of large caliber handguns, especially the Colt 1911 and the .45 ACP cartridge. Jeff passed away September 25, 2006 at the age of 86. Janelle passed away July 28th, 2019.
Gunsite Academy is now the curator of Jeff’s library and their home is a museum. Gunsite 250 graduates still visit the sconce after graduation on Friday.
Cooper’s modern technique defines pragmatic use of the pistol for personal protection. The modern technique emphasizes two-handed shooting using the Weaver stance, competing with and eventually supplanting the once-prevalent one-handed shooting. The five elements of the modern technique are:
- A large caliber pistol, preferably a semi-auto
- The Weaver stance
- The draw stroke
- The flash sight picture
- The compressed surprise trigger break
Cooper was the first one to define and stress the Four Basic Rules of Firearms Safety
- All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
- Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule.
- Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.
Here is a link to an article written in 1993 by Finn Aagaard that appeared in the NRA Publication American Rifleman called ‘Jeff Cooper: The Man Behind The Modern Technique’