Story by Elden Carl (Second from the left.)
There were five pistoleros who are credited with developing the modern technique of the combat pistol. Jeff Cooper, practical pistol shooting’s founder and driving force, arrived first in the mid 1950’s followed closely by Jack Weaver. I arrived on the scene in 1960, with Thell Reed and Ray Chapman joining the fray the following year. By the end of 1961 all of the important techniques of the craft had been developed.
At a later time I will discuss the developmental process that led to the modern technique of the pistol, but for now I’d like to focus on the story behind the photo. This was the only picture ever taken of the five founding masters of the combat pistol.
In early 1964, airline pilot Herb Richards and his son Skip asked me if the newly formed Southwest Combat Pistol League would like to hold a match on his ranch in Poway, San Diego County, California. Since the setting was ideal, with a mountain to shoot against and the Richards offering to set up the range, approval came quickly from Jeff Cooper and the board. As the date for the event approached, I discovered that Ray Chapman, Jeff Cooper, Thell Reed and Jack Weaver would all be attending the match, which I had been asked to direct.