At the height of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Gunsite Proshop put their books and videos on sale. I took advantage of the sale prices and ordered three DVDs (as of this writing, they are still on sale). I ordered the Gunsite 250 Pistol, the Gunsite 223 Carbine, and the Gunsite 40th Anniversary DVDs. I finally had opportunity to watch them after my kids and spouse got me a portable DVD player for Father’s Day.
I started with the “Make Ready with Gunsite 250 Pistol” DVD. The video starts with an obligatory safety rules segment, and then progresses through the basics of the Gunsite 250 Pistol curriculum. Of course, it’s impossible to cram a week’s worth of material into a little over an hour, but it is definitely a solid overview. I remembered much of it from my own experience at Gunsite over 15 years ago! (I’ve actually taken two classes at Gunsite, an AZ CCW permit course and the 250 class, both in 2004. These days, I find myself wanting to go back and explore some other course offerings.)
The Gunsite 250 Pistol DVD is an excellent and thorough reference for basic pistol safety, manipulations, and tactics presented by Gunsite Rangemaster Dave Starin. If you are a visual or auditory learner, I highly recommend the DVD. This opinion may draw ire from some corners, but I think The Modern Technique as envisioned by Jeff Cooper has indeed evolved to remain modern and relevant among current tactics, techniques, and procedures, especially for the average armed citizen. There’s nothing flashy or intricate, just robust and simple techniques.
Next, I moved on to “Make Ready with Gunsite 223 Carbine.” This DVD is a little longer, but again starts with the basic safety lecture and then moves on to cover manipulations, marksmanship, and tactics. I can’t say that I agree with absolutely everything presented, but my quibbles are minor and the instructor (Cory Trapp) explains the logical rationale for everything taught. I appreciated the thorough explanations and demonstrations of the various kneeling, sitting, and prone positions, and everything presented was very well thought out. The chapter on cleaning and lubrication is particularly valuable, as Trapp shares valuable insights from running the smithy at Gunsite for several years. I wouldn’t suggest trying to learn how to manipulate and shoot a carbine from a DVD alone, but if you are already familiar with the AR-15 platform, then this is an excellent review of the fundamentals, or would be excellent for familiarization prior to a class. Highly recommended!
Finally, I watched the Gunsite 40th Anniversary DVD and almost wished that I had watched it first. I say this because the DVD is a deep dive into the beginnings and evolution of Gunsite. Filled with interviews with the late Mrs. Cooper, Gunsite staff and instructors, as well as vintage footage of Colonel Cooper himself, the DVD gives a real appreciation of the entire Gunsite experience. Had I watched it first, I would have better understood the backgrounds and experience of the instructors featured in the 250 and 223 DVDs. I briefly met both the Colonel and his wife while I was there in 2004, and my copy of “C Stories” signed by both is a treasured memento of that experience. I wish that I had put some more thought into what to ask Cooper when I had the chance, but at the time I simply expressed my appreciation for his writings and asked him to continue writing his “Commentaries.” In truth, I had to shout this, as Colonel Cooper was nearly deaf by that point. Indeed, he was an old man by that point. We are lucky that he put so much of his knowledge and wisdom to paper, and I feel blessed to have been able to meet both him and Janelle at their home in Paulden, AZ.
If you’re looking for some solid reference material, the Pistol and Carbine DVDs are a valuable resource, and if you are looking for insight into where it all began, then the 40th Anniversary DVD is a bargain.
Other than being a paying customer, I have no affiliation with Gunsite Academy, the Gunsite Proshop, or Panteao Productions. As always, thanks for reading. we welcome comments, questions, and civil discourse. Please follow the blog either by email or on our social media!