Jeff Cooper on Small Caliber Guns

Jeff Cooper and 45Col. Jeff Cooper was known as someone who believed that there was no point in a handgun whose caliber did not begin with .4. (Had he lived to see it, he’d probably warm up to the .500 S&W). He was very influential in the late-century police adoption of 10mm and .40 caliber pistols, and had nothing good to say about smaller rounds.

Of course, Cooper is an interesting cat. He was an entertaining gunwriter, an excellent shot and competitor, and an instructor with a massive and sometimes slavish following. He insisted on the title Colonel, and made broad hints about being some kind of secret squirrel, but as far as we know he was a reserve ordnance officer without combat service, let alone command. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; somebody had better be running the depots and making sure the gunplumbers stay organized and get paid.

While working up the book on Czech and Czechoslovak guns, it seemed like an amusing idea, given the European penchant for .25 (6.35 mm) or .32 (7.65 x 17SR) pistols as military and police sidearms, to contrast European, particularly Czechoslovakian, midcentury practice with Cooper’s preferences. We hit several varieties of pay dirt, in an excerpt below from an early draft of the book. And then, in this post, we move on to another famous fictional secret squirrel! But first, Cooper:

American pistolero and writer Jeff Cooper, Col., USMC (Ret.), once had occasion to meet Hans-Ulrich Rudel, a famous German Stuka pilot, best known for destroying over 500 Soviet tanks with a version of the  dive-bomber armed with two Rheinmettal-Borsig . Naturally, Cooper, a strong proponent of .45 and 10mm pistols, wanted to know what sort of pistol Rudel, a man facing a high risk of capture by what would certainly have been a furious enemy, carried on his combat flights. Cooper remembers:

I asked Rudel about this and he told me personally that he packed one of those miniature 25 caliber automatics on his antitank missions. When asked why, he replied, “Because I have never been a pessimist.”[1]

What Cooper said to Rudel on this occasion, he did not bother to record; but he’s on record at other times as referring to, the “25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses,”[2] and this aphorism in-the-round:

[C]arry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.[3]

Bear in mind that the “anemic” .38 special of Cooper’s day was once the “hot” round, replacing even lighter loads such as the .32 Colt and .32 S&W (interchangeable cartridges, the different names were marketing eyewash) and the .38 S&W, a round the Brits happily issued to soldiers as the .38/200 in World War II! He lived in a period of great firepower expansion, even before he gave it a push, but the old, small-caliber guns died hard, both in police agencies — NYPD stuck to the .38 special until they finally went to automatics, far behind other departments — and in the popular culture.

Ian Fleming wrote without irony, in Dr. No in 1956, and after consulting with a Scots expert in firearms, that the .32 ACP PPK with which Major Boothroyd — named after the expert — replaced James Bond’s preferred .25 Beretta, had “a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window.” Geoffrey Boothroyd had written to Ian Fleming:

I dislike a man who comes into contact with all sorts of formidable people using a .25 Beretta. This sort of gun is really a lady’s gun, and not a really nice lady at that.[4]

Boothroyd (as has been recorded elsewhere in these pages) suggested several upgrades for Bond, including a Smith & Wesson Chief’s Special, but the book, Dr. No, and the film, set him up with the .32 PPK instead. Boothroyd’s lines:

Walther PPK. 7.65mm, with a delivery like a brick through a plate glass window. Takes a Brausch silencer with very little reduction in muzzle velocity. The American CIA swears by them.[5]

Bond and BoothroydIn the movie, Dr. No, Hollywood quotes the scene verbatim, but the producers and property master/armorer botch it by using a .380 Beretta 1934 — a more powerful pistol than the .32 PPK — as a stand-in for the .25 Beretta of the novel.

In both versions of Dr. No, at the end of the discussion, Bond attempts to leave with both pistols. But as Jeff Cooper might have told him, .32 + .25 does not equal .45.

Notes

[1] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 14, No. 5, June-September 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff14_5.html

[2] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 2, No. 2, 31 January 1994. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff2_2.html The whole comment is brief and is worth reproducing here:

We hear of an unfortunate woman who, during an nighttime asthma attack, confused the small handgun she kept under her pillow with an asthma inhaler and proceeded to relieve her symptoms. It was not a fatal mistake, partly because she used a 25 ACP, which everyone knows is not sufficient to clear sinuses.

[3] Cooper, John Dean “Jeff”. Cooper’s Commentaries, Vol. 4, No. 14, December 1996. Retrieved from: https://www.molonlabe.net/Commentaries/jeff4_14.html Again, the whole exchange is worth reproducing, although a bit longer than the last:

Our old buddy Gene Harshbarger from Guatemala reports a recent episode with the 25 ACP pistol cartridge. It seems that Gene’s cousin was set upon by a trio of car thieves who shot him once almost dead center with that dinky little pistol. The bullet entered at a very flat angle, however, proceeded laterally just inside the pectoral muscle, and exited after about 5 inches of traverse, continuing on into the target’s left arm.

The cousin hit the deck and started shooting back, whereupon the assailants split. When he stood up the bullet slid out of his left sleeve and bounced on the pavement. It penetrated the jacket, but not the skin of his left arm.

As we used to teach in the spook business, carry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.

[4] Packard, Scott. Inside Bond’s Weapon of Choice, the Walther PPK. Gear Patrol, 9 November 2012. Retrieved from: http://gearpatrol.com/2012/11/09/defense-journal-bonds-gun/

[5] ibid.

49 thoughts on “Jeff Cooper on Small Caliber Guns

  1. Boat Guy

    Cooper made Lt Col; not full-bull; his autobiography states (IIRC) that he went aboard one of the BB’s (I think California ?) as CO of the MarDet and so would have “seen” some action (as in “be in the combat zone”).The allusions to “other” stuff seem not to hold up under scrutiny.
    I attended API (“Orange Gunsite”) when Cooper was still holding forth – he was in negotiations to sell to Rich Jee at the time (Jee served as a “Provost” for my class). It was my first “real” pistol course and I thought it pretty good at the time. Cooper was a complex guy; I still like his writing, even if I don’t buy into a lot of his dogma anymore.

      1. Boat Guy

        Thanks. Knew it was on one of the BB’s that were at Pearl Harbor. Didn’t have my copy of Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth handy.

    1. CMac

      Just wanted to correct one thing – the 32 S&W cartridge and the 32 Colt cartridge are NOT interchangeable, the 32 Colt Short and 32 Colt Long both use heeled bullets, so the brass case is smaller in diameter than the 32 S&W and 32 S&W Long. The 32 Colt New Police and the 32 S&W Long are interchangeable. Actually the 32 Colt Short and 32 Colt Long are the same dimensions as the older 32 Short Rimfire and 32 Long Rimfire cartridges, and some firearms (Marlin 1892 and I believe at least one of the old single shot rifles) did have interchangeable firing pins so that either set of cartridges could be fired.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Obviously, I knew less than I thought I did. That the .32 Colt rounds are the same dimensions as the 19th Century rimfire .32s is entirely new to me. And thanks for setting me straight on the .32 New Police being the round that interchanged with the .32 S&W Long.

  2. Mike_C

    Bond and Q must concur with Col. Cooper’s assessment because they’re nonchalantly pointing what-ever-it-is pretty much at Q’s xiphoid process.

    >Nighttime asthma attack.
    I’ve heard a similar story but with a fatal ending, from a pulmonologist as an example of why no one should have a gun. This was part of a medical school lecture (which ostensibly had nothing to do with guns) this fellow gave every year. Personally I have a hard time believing that anyone would be unable to tell the difference between a handgun and an asthma inhaler, but what do I know?

  3. Desertrat

    Having read almost all of Cooper’s writings, I give him high marks, overall, for worthwhile opinions. Even in disagreement, his writing was interesting. Seems to me that much of his reasoning was valid for the times in which he lived.

    My father was given a Lilliput .25ACP while in Dortmund in 1945, complete with a holster much like our old GI holster for the 1911. I’ve always envisioned it as a badge of office for some pudgy burger in a cheap blue serge suit and black lace-up shoes. :-) My uncle would occasionally use it for entertainment, spinning clothespins on the line–of which his mother did not approve.

  4. Law of Self Defense

    Re: “He insisted on the title Colonel … ” Is that true? Surely everyone ELSE insisted on calling him “Colonel,” and I did so myself upon meeting him. But in my personal conversation and correspondence with him HE never referred to HIMSELF as “Colonel,” but merely as Jeff. Letters I received from him (yes, ACTUAL WRITTEN LETTERS, on PAPER, I’m THAT OLD) were simply signed “Jeff Cooper.”

    As I recall, there was something about the nature of his honorable separation from the military–perhaps the fact that it was a post-WWII draw-down, and not an actual end-of-career retirement?–that would have made him using that rank-title in civilian life inappropriate. Having never served, I don’t really understand the nuances of such things. In any case, my vague recollection is that this is why he did not refer to himself as Colonel (assuming I’m correct about that).

    It’s certainly true, of course, that he obviously didn’t discourage other people from referring to him as “Colonel.” :-)

    That said, Cooper and I spent no great time in each other’s company–I attended a multi-day pistol class he conducted post-Gunsite at the NRA’s Whittington Center–and our correspondence was limited to a few letters back and forth.

    Anyway, that’s my personal experience, limited as it is.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    1. Boat Guy

      “But in my personal conversation and correspondence with him HE never referred to HIMSELF as “Colonel,” but merely as Jeff. ”
      That’s my recollection as well. I have served (and appreciate many of the nuances) and still think it inappropriate in most circumstances to use ones rank in address. I have noted that Clint Smith refers to him as “Mr. Cooper”.
      It’d be great to have letters from him. As I wrote above I think he wrote really well (as he should have, being the product of a pre-socialist California education). My sole souvenir is his autograph in my book; the generic “DVC”.

      1. Law of Self Defense

        Sadly, I don’t believe I’ve retained his letters. Intervening years and divorces and moves and, well, life. And, yes, I feel like an idiot about that.

        –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        1. LSWCHP

          Bummer. Two divorces here and I know the feeling, Sir.

          You think “Now where is that book, record, photo etc” and eventually realise that it must have gone to the tip with many of the other remnants of the relationship.

          It’s almost enough to turn a man gay, but not quite.

          1. Boat Guy

            I also can attest to the pain and disruption ONE divorce can bring. Certainly makes one wary of a second attempt.

  5. DSM

    As for the Rudel and his .25, in that situation it is totally correct. His goal would have been 100% evasion at that point and not trying to duke it out with the Reds. Knowing that the downed aircrew is armed makes people more wary about sticking their face into any possible hidey holes. Any thoughts of shooting small game and cooking it over a fire as taught in SV80 will not get you very far. Training missions over Alaska or elsewhere, sure. Combat, no.
    The exact wording escapes me but it was in our manuals of the day instructing our aircrew that it was not advisable to bail out over a target they had just bombed.

    1. James

      Rudel actually went down twice (iirc) behind enemy lines. Once near Stalingrad(?) in the winter attempting to rescue a buddy, and another in the summertime near the Caucuses. Both times he made it back safely, but not without several close calls. The second time he was actually captured but escaped after feigning injury, running off when the guards briefly left him alone. I don’t recall any mention of the .25 in his excellent book, Stuka Pilot, but it’s been a few years sine I read it last. The Blonde Knight is also highly recommended (about too ace Eric Hartman).

      1. archy

        ***Rudel actually went down twice (iirc) behind enemy lines. Once near Stalingrad(?) in the winter attempting to rescue a buddy, and another in the summertime near the Caucuses. Both times he made it back safely, but not without several close calls. ***

        ***In all, Hans-Ulrich Rudel was credited with 2,530 missions, one battleship, one cruiser, a destroyer, 70 landing craft, some 800 vehicles, 150 gun positions, numerous armored trains and bridges, 519 tanks and nine aircraft. He had been shot down more than 30 times (never by an enemy pilot) and wounded five times.*** Source: http://www.donhollway.com/hans-ulrichrudel/

        *Uli* Rudel apparently liked his small .25 as much for the small size of it in its holster, being less likely to hang up in a crashed or burning JU87G or Fw-190F [Yeah, he flew the Focke-Wulf fighters, too] than a larger 7,65 or 9mm handgun. And in the event of inescapable cockpit fire, a muzzle-contact shot from the little pistol would have been as useful and certain in the hands of he who knew how to use it thus as a larger one would, the same reason tank crewmembers all carry handguns when the real soldiering begins.

    2. staghounds

      Not just for evasion. A .25 is good enough to be a pilot’s last friend, and not just a pilot’s-

      The automatic pistol wasn’t ‘warranted to stop a man’, but it could be slipped into the pocket. It was only a plaything, but I was weary of my Colt revolver, with which I knew I couldn’t hit anything, although I had blazed it off a few times in the dark when I was pretending to be important in No-Man’s Land. The only object I could be sure of hitting was myself, and I decided (in the Army and Navy Stores) that I might conceivably find it necessary to put myself out of my misery, if the worst came to the worst and I was lying out in a shell-hole with something more serious than a Blighty wound. To blow one’s brains out with that clumsy Colt was unthinkable. The automatic pistol, on the other hand, was quite a charming little weapon. Not that I’d ever been fond of firearms. I had never shot at a bird or an animal in my or an animal in my life, though I’d often felt that my position as a sportsman would be stronger if I were “good man with a gun”.

      Seigfried Sassoon, 1916

  6. BAP45

    I’ve always thought that brick through glass quote odd. If that was their idea of high power I wonder what their impression of the service calibers was.

  7. Tom Stone

    I turned 21 in the early 70’s and my first pistol was a lightweight Commander in .45.
    Not the best choice for a novice, but back then Col. Cooper was the Guru of guns and I read his work avidly.
    Times have changed, ammunition has improved greatly and I have been around the block a few times since those long ago days.
    Shot placement counts more than anything else, any bullet that penetrates sufficiently will do the job if well placed.
    Clearing deer out of vineyards with a .22 LR ( And a depredation permit) showed me how lethal a small caliber can be.
    In my first year doing this for friends I killed 5 deer with 7 rounds, 4 were one shot kills and the farthest any deer traveled was 50 yards…the one that took 3 rounds.
    A .32 loaded with silvertips that you can shoot well and that is comfortable to carry concealed is not a bad choice.
    That said a .45 is still my first choice and will be as long as I can shoot it accurately and with celerity.

  8. Phil Wong

    If you were going to quote Ian Fleming, I’m surprised you didn’t use this:

    “Do not attack me with a knife or a fork or that bottle. If you do, I shall shoot you with this.’ A small-calibre pistol grew like a black thumb out of Goldfinger’s right fist. He put the hand with the gun back in his pocket. ‘I very seldom use these things. When I have had to, I have never needed more than one .25-calibre bullet to kill. I shoot at the right eye, Mr Bond. And I never miss.’”

  9. votan

    paul kirchner in his book “more of the deadliest men who who ever lived” states that cooper shot 3 people in combat. one on Kwajalein in 1944 with a colt SAA .45 revolver. the second was on saipan 1944 with an M1911A1. the third was 1951 when he was working for the CIA in Thailand and used the M1911A1 again. my personally autographed cooper books are simply signed ‘DVC Jeff Cooper’.

  10. Thad Coyne

    I enjoy Weaponsman.com, and I thoroughly enjoyed training with Jeff Cooper. Jeff’s wife typically carried a S&W model 60 in .38 Special, so while Cooper remained a prominent advocate of the large bore handgun for defensive use, he understood that even the J-frame had its place. I have no doubt Jeff would have preferred commanding a Marine rifle company in WWII combat instead of commanding the USS Pennsylvania’s Marine company, but he did manage to get ashore and kill two Japanese soldiers with his sidearm in separate engagements. He was indeed employed by the CIA in SE Asia in the 1950’s, and killed with his 1911 an enemy who shot at him with an SMG. He volunteered for duty in VietNam but The Corps considered him too old for his rank of Lt. Col. and Cooper was not reactivated I admired Jeff Cooper since I was a young teenager and did not meet him until my late 30’s. I hope I am not a slavish cultist, but I reckon him among the great men of my lifetime along with St. John Paul II and Ronald Reagan.

    Cheers and DVC,
    Lionhound
    Indianapolis

    1. Hognose Post author

      Thanks for the info. I was not aware he ever commanded a line unit (I think that a Marine company or det aboard ship counts). Thanks for the correction. Of course, in the .mil you can influence your assignment sometimes, but it’s hard to choose it.

      I am impressed with the calm reasoning Cooper’s friends and partisans have used here, and it’s just one more sign I have a better comments section than I deserve.

      1. "Greg"

        As much as it is YOUR blog, the comments section might be considered one example of the connectivity of the internet. You *might* be correct to say “better than i deserve” but as I look at it, your blog articles are *conversation starters* and sometimes external to the blog that you might never be aware of – like i wonder how many readers/commenters have started a conversation with “I read it on weaponsman that…” and on so many more topics that produces 20 or more replies (and anything that get’s Kirk’s fingers a-typing!) So deserved or not, I am thankful for the resultant conversations both internal and external!

      2. archy

        ***Thanks for the info. I was not aware he ever commanded a line unit (I think that a Marine company or det aboard ship counts).***

        I recall the Marine detachment aboard the U.S.S. Texas as varying between 80 and 300 Marines, a bit smaller or larger than the usual infantry company, depending on *when*. And of course the USS Pennsylvania’s ship’s complement may have been larger or smaller as well; the Texas was the first modern US Navy warship to carry a Marine unit aboard full-time.

  11. SPEMack

    In thumbing through his Daughter’s somewhat fawning biography, you get the feeling the Colonel (I’m a Southern. You get called your mustering out rank as an officer until you die) was always miffed he never led an Infantry unit ashore or fought with a Garand, but he did engage in a few one on one gunfights as previously discussed.

    A most interesting man for sure. I love his writings concerning hunting in Africa.

  12. Trone Abeetin

    God, that is the worst picture of him. Old mans big butt pants. My daughters always wonder why I say “no pictures”. That picture is why. Live fast, die young, leave a normal sized ass.

    1. LSWCHP

      Yeah, my thoughts too. I’ve seen pics of Cooper as a young man and he looked like a stud.

      1. archy

        ***Yeah, my thoughts too. I’ve seen pics of Cooper as a young man and he looked like a stud.***

        The photos of him in the early Southwest Combat Pistol League shoots at the Big Bear resort area in California fit that description well: athletic, competitive, and looking for something more than *just another win.* He was still very much learning both what worked well, and why. Nevertheless, this is the pic of the old Watusi I think catches him best:

    2. Law of Self Defense

      That’s pretty much what he looked like when I met him. He’d recently fallen backwards through a rotted porch railing and fractured one of his vertebra. He still managed the 1911 skillfully. He didn’t do much shooting in my class, but when we’d start half-assing it he’d stop the class, step up to the line, and show us how it was done.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

      1. Hognose Post author

        For the record I just picked a picture of Jeff Cooper with a .45; he had a long life and carried that thing through all the Ages of Man, and good on him. I used to love getting his Commentaries by email back in the 1990s.

    3. John M.

      May we all live long enough–especially those among us with combat experience–to look dopey in pictures.

      -John M.

  13. Aesop

    [C]arry a 25 if it makes you feel good, but do not ever load it. If you load it you may shoot it. If you shoot it you may hit somebody, and if you hit somebody – and he finds out about it – he may be very angry with you.

    Cooper FTW.

    During my time behind the counter of a local SoCal firearms retailer, we sold metric buttloads of Raven .25ACP 6-shot semi-autos. They came from the factory, no sh*t, in a used Nike shoebox, with 4 blue ones, 4 nickel-plated ones with plain grips, and four nickel-plated ones with faux mother-of-pearl pimp grips. They retailed on sale for $49.99, and my employer made no small amount of profit on each purchase nonetheless. We must’ve sold hundreds of them over the years, and the chain thousands.

    Were one to have the time and stomach for going through the LATimes and/or LADailyNews archives from the late 1980s, they would find the following story, in so many words:

    Traveller A was seated on a metro transit bus in the greater LA crapopolis one afternoon, when seatspace was at a premium. Traveller B, somewhat lacking in marbles, boarded the bus, full to SRO, and decided that his craziness entitled him to demand Traveler A surrender his seat.
    Traveller A’s retort was doubtless pithy and short, and definitely a negative to the request, whereupon Traveller B drew his fully loaded Raven .25 bullet launcher, and emptied all six rounds into Traveller A’s chest at a distance between point-blank, and some number of inches capable of calculation on one’s own fingers. So far, so good, right?

    Natzsofast, Slick.

    Traveller A then arose, and commenced to pummel Traveller B, thrashing him handily. This being well before the cellphone era, the bus driver threw the bus into full stop, and everyone aboard exited post haste, except our intrepid hero, and the villain. At some point, probably summoned by the sound of falling molars, LAPD’s finest arrived, and took now-miscreant Traveller B into custody, lest Traveller A finish killing him, robbing the district attorney of an easy belt-notch.

    The article then went on to note that Traveller A had helpfully installed in his shirt pocket a $4.95 Radio Shack AM/FM pocket radio. Which sopped up the full destructive force of six .25ACP rounds with 100% success. In the article, the story was bolstered by a photo of now-hero Traveller A, holding out his shattered, disassembled, but nonetheless bullet-resistant radio, now in kit form, in the palm of one hand, to prove the veracity of the tale.

    Besides posting the clipping on the store’s backroom bulletin board, we sent a letter to Radio Shack with a clipping of same, advising them of their radio’s combat-proven NIJ Level 1/2A status, but we never received a reply.
    Doubtless they were not amused.

    Our standard advice to those contemplating such hardware for personal protection afterwards, company policy be damned, was to suggest they buy a brace of half a dozen or more, and throw them at anyone upon their jamming, while they drew the next one from a convenient chest bandolier of same (h/t Blackbeard);
    and that they be very, very careful, because if they ever shot someone with it, there was a strong risk that they might actually hit them, and then get walloped for their cheek.
    And then to direct them towards more serious weapons more suitable to their intended purposes.

    1. staghounds

      And yet I worked a case where criminal A did something to upset criminal B, who offered to fight. A ran, B chased. A drew his Raven .25, pointed it back over his shoulder, and, according to witnesses, fired while looking straight ahead. The pistol failed to feed the second round and he discarded it.

      The fully jacketed bullet hit B right in the sternum, piercing it, going directly through his heart and lodging inside his spinal vertebra, dropping him like a rock.

      Measured distance from fired casing to corpse, 56 yards.

      Second strangest shot I ever dealt with.

  14. Simon

    I think I remember being told that the small calibre weapons used by the German police in the Weimar Republic were a result of a ban on larger calibres in the Treaty of Versailles. I will try to chase it up later if I have a chance.

  15. cm smith

    Two small caliber recommendations from “Cooper on Handguns” (his monthly column in Guns & Ammo) in 1969

    A .. My personal choice in this piece [Walther PPK] is the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. You will probably shoot it a lot more than the centerfire version and you will rely on placement rather than illusory power.

    A. The PPK is perhaps the very best example of a pocket auto pistol. I feel, however, that you have come up with its least efficient caliber. I like it in both .22 and, to a lesser extent, in .380 put the .32 auto cartridge is neither fish (powerful) nor fowl (cheap to shoot).
    A defensive pistol should either be powerful, or so familiar to your hand that you can always hit ten ping-pong balls with ten shots across a tennis court.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I have a few .32 pistols (and even some .25s). Kid and I just took two Czech pistols to the range and discovered that my Vz 50 has grievous feeding problems, at least with the Winchester truncated 71 grain FMJ. PPKs eat that with no problem.

      I have a beater, rusty PPK that fires incredibly tight groups.

      Of course, the conventional wisdom about ammo prices and availability was that there would always be .22LR. How’s that working out?

  16. looserounds.com

    I have always enjoyed Cooper’s writings though many times I did not agree with some of his thinking. is disdain for the 556 service round and AR15 being an example. I have even worked to accomplish the 20/20/20/1K challenge he made before he died I have have come within a few seconds of making it. Author of this blog will be one of the first people to know about it when I do. For those who do not know the challenge is 20 rounds on a 20 inch square target in 20 seconds at 1000 yards. Cooper thought it could only be done with something like an M14. He was wrong..
    I do and I have always agreed with his opinion on hand guns and handgun rounds. Never in this life will I use anything other than a Colt M1911 ( redundant I know for the only real 1911 is the Colt made ones) for serious use if I have any choice, and I am a 45 devotee for all my life.

    I still find his scout rifle concept as he imagined it curious. At least in its bolt action format.

    Even though I started reading his books and articles in the early 80s, he did not have the influence on me that most people automatically assume giving my pure lust for 1911s and the 45ACP.

    I know what I am about to say he gonna turn some people off, but I was always more of a fan of Colonel Charles Askins . Now he would make a great weaponsman post. Even now I wonder if that man was a psychopathic killer that just barely managed to keep himself under control. He had many flaws but he was entertaining and no doubt knew a few things about the close dirty gun fighting.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Many years ago, and I think he was a junior 18B at the time, Our Traveling Reporter gave me a book by Askins. It was definitely more cutthroat than Applegate’s Kill or Get Killed.

    2. John M.

      I recently stumbled across your M14 post on your blog, and the related M14 Weaponsman post. Not mentioned in either–that I saw–was Cooper’s fondness for the M14 platform. I think that may be part of what drives the M14 mystique. I certainly learned M14 love from the Colonel, though I’ve never handled an M14 or similar. (FWIW, your post and Hognose’s posts gave me second thoughts.)

      -John M.

  17. Law of Self Defense

    “I still find his scout rifle concept as he imagined it curious. At least in its bolt action format.”

    For it’s time, it was quite innovative, and it IS just a joy to shoot.

    Today, of course, we’re spoiled by very similar formats offered by the AR platform. Really, most all the long eye relief red-dot configurations on ARs are variations of the scout rifle optic theme. With ARs now in .308, Jeff himself might have been interested. :-)

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    1. Boat Guy

      Been wanting to weigh-in on the Scout. I was ALL OVER it when Cooper started writing (and then talking) about it. Saw some prototypes at Gunsite (one memorably built on an 03A3). On my second tour in Germany I managed to buy one (thanks to Outdoor Rec and a good dollar-mark rate) and shot it a LOT. Like many “concepts” this one did not pan out for me in person over time. Cooper specifically banned any kind of flash-hider and I regularly whited my scope out shooting M118 Special Ball. The integral bipod was “kinda neato” until you needed/wanted to use it on something less stable than a pool table. The “Steyr Safe Action” was unduly complex and the first (and subsequent) disassembly made me long for the 03A3 version.
      The locals certainly looked askance at it and one went so far as to tell me “You may not hunt with such a rifle.”
      Traded it straight-across for an Armalite AR-10 with an ACOG. One of the best deals I’ve ever done.

  18. archy

    ***He was very influential in the late-century police adoption of 10mm and .40 caliber pistols, and had nothing good to say about smaller rounds.***

    He was of course, along with Whit Collins, one of those behind the development of the 10mm *Bren Ten* semiautopistol and its early load development, as well as the *.38 Super Cooper* reworking of the minimal 9mm Parabellum chambering of the Browning GP/ Hi Power with a near-Super .38 cartridge based on .223 Remington brass, as suggested by my own friend and mentor, former ordnance Major George Nonte.

    While working in Central America in jurisdictions in which the use of military-caliber weapons, including handguns, was prohibited, Colonel Cooper most usually equipped himself with a Colt, 1911 or Commander in .38 Super, and did not seem to feel himself at any great disadvantage, even if it might not have been his first choice.

  19. John

    Always liked to read Jeff Cooper’s writing . Took two classes at gunsite, pistol, in 1977 and rifle in1988, Learned lots, but, I have recently gone over to the dark side and carry a .357 Revolver (shudder). I agree with “looserounds” that Charlie Askins is a good subject for an article , and always an interesting read.

  20. Al T.

    One thing to think about, prior to about the ’90’s, there were almost no good JHPs for handguns and semi-automatics in particular. We had SilverTips, but prior to the infamous FBI Miami shootout, we didn’t really know what we needed them to do. I’ve personally seem 9mm JHPs way out perform .45 FMJ on mammals…

  21. duchamp

    Rudell was known for carrying a K 98k in the cockpit of his stuka, I think he and Cooper stood on closer ground than they realized…

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