Gunsite’s chief operating officer Ken Campbell does not spend time mixing words when it comes to what the long-time Paulden academy does for people.
“We’re doing God’s work,” he says. “We keep good people alive.”
Campbell is dedicated to the good work the Gunsite does, and the gun safety, preparation and thoughtful and proper use of fire arms is exactly what Gunsite, and Campbell are all about.
Originally founded in 1976 by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper, an author, columnist and a Second World War and Korean War combat veteran, Gunsite was opened with the intention of spreading the modern technique of the pistol – which is a method that believes in using a handgun for self-defence, and was created by Cooper during the years he spent living in Big Lake, California.
Gunsite, also known as the American Pistol Institute, was opened nearly 20 miles north of Prescott, in the Sonoran desert, and was only 210 acres when it opened. Now, the Gunsite spreads over nearly 2,800 acres.
Cooper passed away in September 2006, at the age of 86. However, his wife, Janelle, still lives on the Gunsite ranch, and is in charge of overseeing Jeff’s library, and the museum that is located within their home.
Still flourishing a decade after Cooper’s passing, the Gunsite will mark its 40th anniversary on October 1, and that cannot make Campbell more proud.
“As far as we know, we are the oldest shooting school in the world,” Campbell said. “We are proud of the program that Jeff and Janelle Cooper started.”
In any given year, Gunsite offers up over 50 different types of classes that range from contact-distance combat to long-distance combat (which involved firing at targets located over 2,000 yards away.) There are also speciality classes such as shooter/terrorist response for civilians, and predator defence classes which are normally held for federal agencies that have workers operating in environments with dangerous animals.