Book Review – Complete Book of Combat Handgunning (Chuck Taylor, 1982)

Chuck Taylor is another of the original set of traveling trainers that began offering classes nationally in the late 70’s and early 80’s. This is the revised edition of his book, published in 1982. As you might expect, it’s all about the Weaver stance and the 1911, with a section on ballistics showing how awesome the .45 ACP caliber compares to 9mm and other calibers, using the Hatcher Stopping Power formula and his own “short form” version of that calculation.

As an archive of what was considered “state of the art” in 1982, it’s an excellent historical document, covering a wide variety of topics, with lots of pictures showing techniques.

The book includes a lot of discussion of gear, including this nice full page spread of all the different types of pistol front sights available on production and custom guns.

The part of the book of most interest to me, as a student of pistol shooting standards and their evolution, are these drills. The importance of dry fire practice was not emphasized, or explained clearly, in most gun books from the 80’s. This is one of the earliest examples of par time dry fire drills being included in a pistol training book that I can find, and the par times for the advanced drills (dry and live fire) are still relevant and challenging for the advanced level pistol shooter of the current era.

These illustrations show state of the art low light gear and techniques, circa 1982. The book also contains examples and photos of older techniques for comparison.

Another section provides documentation of two famous drills used in the Cooper Era: the Cooper Assault course and the Flying M. I’ve seen references to these courses of fire many times in articles, but this book has the best drawings of them that I’ve found. Sadly, it does not include the actual course of fire instructions.

The book also includes his target design, derived from the IPSC “Milpark” target design. The smaller, narrower A zone in the head was later incorporated into the IPSC target later in the 1980’s, and can be found in a variety of training targets in wide use today. Similarly, the idea of a smaller A-zone area in the torso, and the placement of the A Zone higher in the chest and not “center mass”, can be found in any targets in modern use.

The book was originally published by Paladin Press, which went out of business in 2018. Used copies are available for a wide variety of prices, and the book (like many classic works on pistol shooting) is not available in e-book format.