In case you aren’t familiar with the late Col. John Dean “Jeff” Cooper—which probably means you’re new to defensive shooting—allow me to introduce you. Born in 1920, Cooper earned a political science degree from Stanford before receiving a commission from the United States Marine Corps, and he fought in the Pacific in World War II and later in Korea before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Cooper went on to earn his master’s degree and taught high school and college classes before he opened American Pistol Institute (API), now known as Gunsite, one of the nation’s top training destinations for civilian shooters as well as law enforcement and military professionals.
Col. Cooper changed the way shooters handled their guns, how they engaged enemies and, perhaps most importantly, how they managed to develop a mindset that prepared them to face a lethal threat at any time and place. In his written works and his teachings, Col. Cooper made it clear that technical skills—how to load and fire your weapon—were of little value without being mentally prepared to win a gunfight.
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