“We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
September has arrived in the high desert of the Gunsite Ranch. The classes are back to pre-pandemic numbers. Some classes have increased, possibly because of the pandemic and the on-going violence in some of the Republic.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” — Isaiah 9:2
So many have now “seen the light” and recognize they are responsible for their own safety and security. The government cannot protect us. We cannot stress enough for all gun owners, especially the new gun owners, to get good training. As our founder Jeff Cooper said: “Just because you own a piano, does not make you a pianist.” We are not being self-serving with this. There are good training opportunities out there. The important thing is to avail yourself of the good training. So, help those who the light has dawned upon and support their firearms education.
Please keep all that is happening across the Republic in mind as you prepare to cast your ballot. Four (4) years ago we reminded you that the U.S. Supreme Court was at stake. While we have had some good appointments to the Supreme Court and many other benches, we cannot risk leftists to be able to appoint leftist thinking Judges. The Constitution, Bill of Rights and our way of life continue to be at stake. Make sure you register to vote and exercise that right that so many have given the supreme sacrifice for.
This morning we learned of the passing of one of our long-time staff members. Major Bill Maughan (USMC RET.) was a legend amongst our cadre. He joined the United States Marine Corp at age 16, assigned to the 3rd Raider Battalion and participated in the Battle for Okinawa. Seventy-five (75) years ago today, he landed with the 3rd Bn, 4th MAR on mainland Japan as part of the U.S. occupation Forces Japan. He went on to serve in Korea (Inchon landing and “Frozen Chosin.”) He also served in his 3rd war in Viet Nam. Upon leaving the USMC, Bill served as a police officer for over 28 years at various agencies in the State of Arizona from 1966 to 1993. His service included Chief of Police for three (3) different agencies and head of the AZ Western Counter Narcotics Sector. He was also a 7th Don Blackbelt in Judo. He and his wife Hope were married over 65 years when she passed about five (5) years ago. Bill taught for many years with us at Gunsite and was often visiting with the students when he was not instructing. To say he will be missed is an understatement. Bill was a wonderful man, a devout Christian and full of wisdom and knowledge that he could share in his humble ways. We are diminished.
The postponed 100th Celebration of Jeff and Janelle Coopers Birthday Pistol Match is this Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. There is still room for you to bring your single-stack 1911 and shoot the match. The morning courses of fire are modified from some of the old Southwest Pistol League courses. The top twelve (12) shooters will shoot off on a traditional “J-Ladder” after lunch. Long-time Gunsite Rangemaster Ed Stock will be running the J-Ladder for us. Enroll right away if you are interested.
The annual Gunsite Alumni Shoot is on target for October 3, 2020. Many of your Gunsite family/friends are already enrolled. This is the “social event slightly interrupted by gunfire” with about 95% of the match proceeds going to the Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation and about 5% to the Yavapai County Friends of the NRA. The prize table is always heaped with great prizes from our industry partners, with all winning something. Lunch and dinner is provided. If you have not attended, it is difficult to grasp how much fun it is to be around about two hundred (200) Gunsite family members shooting as well as the throng of Gunsite Instructors and volunteers.
Remember we have the coolest shooter auction in the business at GAS. We save memorabilia from the Gunsite Ranch and auction it off pre-dinner. The Milt Sparks leather Gunsite embossed trash (circa 1976) can will be returned and auctioned off again. (Tradition is that the purchaser holds the trash can for a year and returns it to be auctioned.) We also have an early Scout Rifle that belonged to Jeff Cooper, with documentation, that was donated for the auction (See photos here). Remember to bring cash or your checkbook for the auction. One hundred percent (100%) of the auction proceeds go to the Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation (501©3), so it is a tax-deductible donation.
As part of the Cooper Memorial Shoot and the GAS Match, family member Matt Olivier coordinated a project that is a-one-of-a-kind. Matt obtained a Springfield Armory 1911, had former Gunsite Gunsmith Ted Yost build it to the original Gunsite Service Pistol (GSP) specs. (See photos here.) Ted also donated some Milt Sparks leather that Jeff Cooper had given him. This is at least a $3000 rig. We will begin our auction for this GSP and leather at the Cooper Memorial Shoot and it will conclude at the GAS Match Awards Dinner. All the proceeds from this auction will go to the Jeff Cooper Legacy Foundation. What an opportunity.
We are finishing up another double 250 Pistol class this week along with a Bushnell media event and a Royal Range (Nashville TN) 250 Pistol class followed by the increasingly popular Tactical Medicine course. Next week our friends from Gun Stories return for more filming, the 223 Carbine Class, and IN 150 Pistol Class and a South Carolina 123 Course. We close the month with a 270 General Rifle course, Nashville TN Close Quarters Carbine, Pistol Range Day 2, Close Quarters Pistol, Ladies Close Quarter Pistol, and multiple private courses. And, of course we have the sold out double 250 Pistol and double 350 Pistol classes the week preceding GAS. The ranges are full and it is often a chess board to make sure all the simulators are in full use!
I’ve rambled on quite a bit this month. If you can’t make it to Gunsite for another class, make sure you get out and practice or do good dry practice. Your skills are perishable, and you don’t know when you will need them. Stay sharp!