Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lt Col. Jeff Cooper and his Cooperisms

John Dean "Jeff" Cooper - U.S. Marine and expert on the use of small arms - was a pioneer of modern gun-fighting techniques.  In 1976 he founded the American Pistol Institute, teaching shotgun, rifle and handgun classes to civilians, LEO and military alike.

The Lt Col favored large caliber guns, preferably semi-auto - the Weaver stance - the flash sight picture - the draw stroke - and the compressed surprised trigger break.

 Cooper was a devotee of the M1A 1911 semi auto pistol.  Designed by John Moses Browning and the workhorse sidearm for the US Military for over 70 years, the 1911 is still used to this day, by Marine Corps Special Operations, F.B.I. Hostage Rescue Team and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta (Delta Force). 

Anyone who has carried a 1911 should know it was Cooper who devised the Conditions of Readiness for this particular gun.

  • Condition 4: Chamber empty, empty magazine, hammer down.
  • Condition 3: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 2: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
  • Condition 1: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
  • Condition 0: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.

 Colonel Cooper felt the ideal carry condition for the 1911 was in Condition 1 - "Cocked and Locked"

Of course he is also known for the introduction of the conditions of awareness...

The following is from The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition, 2011:[6]
  • White: Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be "Oh my God! This can't be happening to me."
  • Yellow: Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that "today could be the day I may have to defend myself". You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that "I may have to shoot today". You don't have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don't know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to "Watch your six." (In aviation 12 o'clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft's nose. Six o'clock is the blind spot behind the pilot.) In Yellow, you are "taking in" surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, "I might have to shoot."
  • Orange: Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to "I may have to shoot that person today", focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: "If that person does "X", I will need to stop them". Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.
  • Red: Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. "If 'X' happens I will shoot that person" — 'X' has happened, the fight is on.