64 Jeff Cooper Quotes On Success In Life

John Dean “Jeff” Cooper was a United States Marine, the creator of the “modern technique” of handgun shooting, and an expert on the use and history of small arms. During World War II he served in the Pacific theatre with the Marine Detachment aboard USS Pennsylvania. By the end of the war he had been promoted to major. He resigned his commission in 1949, but returned to active duty during the Korean War, where he was involved in irregular warfare, and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. These Jeff Cooper quotes will motivate you.

Best Jeff Cooper Quotes

  1. “The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  2. “If violent crime is to be curbed, it is only the intended victim who can do it. The felon does not fear the police, and he fears neither judge nor jury. Therefore what he must be taught to fear is his victim.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  3. “That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  4. “The police cannot protect the citizen at this stage of our development, and they cannot even protect themselves in many cases. It is up to the private citizen to protect himself and his family, and this is not only acceptable, but mandatory.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  5. “An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  6. “Fight back! Whenever you are offered violence, fight back! The aggressor does not fear the law, so he must be taught to fear you. Whatever the risk, and at whatever the cost, fight back!” ~ Jeff Cooper
  7. “If you don’t understand weapons you don’t understand fighting. If you don’t understand fighting you don’t understand war. If you don’t understand war you don’t understand history. And if you don’t understand history you might as well live with your head in a sack.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  8. “One bleeding-heart type asked me in a recent interview if I did not agree that ‘violence begets violence.’ I told him that it is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure – and in some cases I have – that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more in return than he can enjoy.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  9. “Blessed are those who, in the face of death, think only about the front sight.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  10. “If you don’t understand weapons you don’t understand fighting. If you don’t understand fighting you don’t understand war. If you don’t understand war you don’t understand history. And if you don’t understand history you might as well live with your head in a sack.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  11. “The only acceptable response to the threat of lethal violence is immediate and savage counterattack. If you resist, you just may get killed. If you don’t resist you almost certainly will get killed. It is a tough choice, but there is only one right answer.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  12. “Political correctness is neither political nor is it correct. It amounts to social censorship, and the sooner we spit it out, the better.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  13. “Observe your cat. It is difficult to surprise him. Why? Naturally his superior hearing is part of the answer, but not all of it. He moves well, using his senses fully. He is not preoccupied with irrelevancies. He’s not thinking about his job or his image or his income tax. He is putting first things first, principally his physical security. Do likewise.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  14. “It appears that the murder rate inside prisons is ten times higher than that outside prisons. It must be due to all those Kalashnikov rifles that are issued to prisoners upon their incarceration.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  15. “In the larger sense, however, the personal ownership of firearms is only secondarily a matter of defense against the criminal. Note the following from Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government. That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  16. “A smart man only believes half of what he hears, a wise man knows which half.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  17. “One of the notable aspects of the democratic process is that one need not know anything about a subject in order to pass laws about it.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  18. “The consensus is that no more than five to ten people in a hundred who die by gunfire in Los Angeles are any loss to society. These people fight small wars amongst themselves. It would seem a valid social service to keep them well-supplied with ammunition.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  19. “One correspondent, who is into psychology, notes that in his experience people who are hoplophobes are nearly always nutty in other ways, too. Hoplophobia [fear of guns], of course, is not simply an attitude but rather an aberration in which the sufferer clings to an idea which he himself knows to be unsound, such as the idea that inanimate instruments have a will of their own or that lawbreakers abide by the law.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  20. “Owning a handgun doesn’t make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  21. “One cannot legislate the maniacs off the street… these maniacs can only be shut down by an armed citizenry. Indeed bad things can happen in nations where the citizenry is armed, but not as bad as those which seem to be threatening our disarmed citizenry in this country at this time.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  22. “The media insist that crime is the major concern of the American public today. In this connection they generally push the point that a disarmed society would be a crime-free society. They will not accept the truth that if you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  23. “Weapons compound man’s power to achieve; they amplify the capabilities of both the good man and the bad, and to exactly the same degree, having no will of their own. Thus we must regard them as servants, not masters – and good servants to good men. Without them, man is diminished, and his opportunities to fulfill his destiny are lessened. An unarmed man can only flee from evil, and evil is not overcome by fleeing from it.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  24. “Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  25. “According to Herodotus, the ancient Persians felt that what was necessary in the background of a young man entering adulthood was his ability to ride, shoot straight, and speak the truth. Perhaps we should now grant our college degrees to young men who measure up to that standard.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  26. “Not long ago it was easy to tell who the bad guys were. They carried Kalashnikovs. Now it is much more complicated, but one thing is sure – any man who covers his face and packs a gun is a legitimate target for any decent citizen.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  27. “The will to survive is not as important as the will to prevail… the answer to criminal aggression is retaliation.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  28. “Already a couple of the faithful have sent in checks for a foundation memorial to the innocents who perished at the hands of the ninja at Waco. … I have been criticized by referring to our federal masked men as “ninja” … Let us reflect upon the fact that a man who covers his face shows reason to be ashamed of what he is doing. A man who takes it upon himself to shed blood while concealing his identity is a revolting perversion of the warrior ethic. It has long been my conviction that a masked man with a gun is a target. I see no reason to change that view.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  29. “Remember the first rule of gunfighting … have a gun.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  30. “What are we going to do if citizens are disarmed, and the government doesn’t obey its own laws?” ~ Jeff Cooper
  31. “The essential thing is to bear always in mind that trouble can appear at any time.
    Be aware. Be ready. Be alert.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  32. “The perfect fight is one that is over before the loser really understands what is going on. The perfect defense is a counterattack that succeeds before the assailant discovers that he has bitten off more than he can chew.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  33. “Your mindset is your primary weapon” ~ Jeff Cooper

  34. “All the people constitute the militia – according to the Founding Fathers. Therefore every able-bodied man has a duty under the Constitution to become part of the “well-regulated” militia, specifically to understand and perform well with the individual weapon currently issued to the regular establishment. . . . Thus one who has not qualified himself with the M-16 may not be considered to be a responsible citizen.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  35. “All the people constitute the militia – according to the Founding Fathers. Therefore every able-bodied man has a duty under the Constitution to become part of the “well-regulated” militia, specifically to understand and perform well with the individual weapon currently issued to the regular establishment. . . . Thus one who has not qualified himself with the M-16 may not be considered to be a responsible citizen.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  36. “It is true that a victim who fights back may suffer for it, but one who does not almost certainly will suffer for it.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  37. “We continue to be exasperated by the view, apparently gaining momentum in certain circles, that armed robbery is okay as long as nobody gets hurt! The proper solution to armed robbery is a dead robber, on the scene.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  38. “A free man must not be told how to think, either by the government or by social activists. He may certainly be shown the right way, but he must not accept being forced into it.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  39. “The conclusions seem inescapable that in certain circles a tendency has arisen to fear people who fear government. Government, as the Father of Our Country put it so well, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. People who understand history, especially the history of government, do well to fear it. For a people to express openly their fear of those of us who are afraid of tyranny is alarming. Fear of the state is in no sense subversive. It is, to the contrary, the healthiest political philosophy for a free people.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  40. “Offering democracy to an Arab is like bringing a horse to a steakhouse.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  41. “‘Heroism’ is not the same as coping. A man who does his job properly and succeeds through his own efforts is definitely to be commended, but he is not a hero in the classic sense until he deliberately lays his life on the line for a cause he deems to be greater than himself.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  42. “I have long had a tendency to tie marksmanship to morality. The essence of good marksmanship is self-control, and self-control is the essence of good citizenship. It is too easy to say that a good shot is automatically a good man, but it would be equally incorrect to ignore the connection.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  43. “The trouble with democracy is that 50 percent of the voters are below average.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  44. “Never assume that simply having a gun makes you a marksman. You are no more armed because you are wearing a pistol than you are a musician because you own a guitar.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  45. “When under attack, it is necessary to evaluate the situation and to decide instantly upon a proper course of action, to be carried out immediately with all the force you can bring to bear. He who hesitates is indeed lost. Do not soliloquize. Do not delay. Be decisive.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  46. “The 1911 pistol remains the service pistol of choice in the eyes of those who understand the problem. Back when we audited the FBI academy in 1947, I was told that I ought not to use my pistol in their training program because it was not fair. Maybe the first thing one should demand of his sidearm is that it be unfair.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  47. “Your physical safety is up to you, as it really always has been.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  48. “Anyone who appears to be triggered out of watchfulness and into action by your appearance must be explained. Anyone observing you carefully must be explained. Anyone whose behavior seems to be geared to yours must be explained. If the explanation does not satisfy you, be ready to take appropriate defensive action.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  49. “We are fully justified in valuing the life and person of an intended victim more highly than the life of a pernicious assailant. The attacker must be stopped. At once and completely.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  50. “Don’t try to be fancy. Shoot for the center of mass. The world is full of decent people. Criminals we can do without.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  51. “Buy ammunition! Remember that a man cannot have too many books, too many wines, or too much ammunition. Our adversaries on the other side are reaching for the excuse of lead poisoning. If they can push that idea through, you may wind up still owning your guns but without anything to shoot in them.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  52. “Most governments are designed to protect the government from the people, whereas the United States government was organized to protect the people from the government.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  53. “If it is ever your misfortune to be attacked, alertness will have given you a little warning, decisiveness will have given you a proper course to pursue, and if that course is to counterattack, carry it out with everything you’ve got! Be indignant. Be angry. Be aggressive.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  54. “The criminal does not expect his prey to fight back. May he never choose you, but, if he does, surprise him.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  55. “Under any sort of attack, keep cool. And if you must shoot, shoot with precision.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  56. “The best personal defense is an explosive counterattack.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  57. “The one who anticipates the action wins. The one who does not, loses.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  58. “Anyone who willfully and maliciously attacks another without sufficient cause jeopardizes the lives of others.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  59. “Let us remind ourselves again that the Second Amendment of the US Constitution should be referred to as the Statute of Liberty.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  60. “No sensible person ever opens the door of his house without knowing who is knocking.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  61. “It is high time for society to stop worrying about the criminal, and to let the criminal start worrying about society. And by “society” I mean you.” ~ Jeff Cooper quotes
  62. “Personal weapons are what raised mankind out of the mud, and the rifle is the queen of personal weapons. The possession of a good rifle, as well as the skill to use it well, truly makes a man the monarch of all he surveys. It realizes the ancient dream of the Jovian thunderbolt, and as such it is the embodiment of personal power. For this reason, it exercises a curious influence over the minds of most men, and in its best examples it constitutes an object of affection unmatched by any other inanimate object.” ~ Jeff Cooper
  63. “The purpose of the pistol is to stop a fight that somebody else has started, almost always at very short range.” ~ Jeff Cooper

  64. “I am sometimes perplexed by people who refer to defensive rifles, or defensive rifle shooting. The defensive arm is the pistol since you have it at hand to meet situations that you do not anticipate. If you have the luxury of anticipating a lethal encounter, you pick up a long arm, either a rifle or a shotgun, but in that case, you go on to the attack. This rifle shooting is offensive, and pistol shooting is defensive. Of course, life does not always duplicate theory, and there are exceptions to everything, but nevertheless, the rifle is not a defensive weapon in concept.” ~ Jeff Cooper

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