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 lives on the Gunsite ranch and oversees Jeff’s library and museum in their home.
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.
We are conveniently located thirty miles south of Interstate 40 and within two hours of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. General aviation and military aircraft will find Prescott’s Love Field even more convenient. Numerous hotels and restaurants abound in Prescott, the original capitol of the Arizona Territory. There’s a great deal of history, and much to see, including the Grand Canyon, nearby Sedona and Flagstaff.
Gunsite’s operation covers 4.5 square miles, with modern facilities, large classrooms, a fully stocked Pro Shop and a full-service gunsmith operation. We have a modern new campground with pavilion , laundry facilities, hot showers and hookups for travel trailers and recreational vehicles (or our clients only).
We have a variety of different ranges purpose-built for our class offerings, including outdoor and indoor simulators, a 2,000 yard rifle range, an unknown distance range, and various steel ranges for specific purposes. Most of the target arrays move, turn, run, pop-up or appear and disappear.
We are ready to help you with your training requirements. Call us today at 928-636-4565.
Welcome to Gunsite!