Jeff Cooper's Color-Code System

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Jeff Cooper's Color-Code System

Postby HanshiClayton » Sun Dec 21, 2008 1:19 am

I am privileged to be a Gunsite “family member,” meaning a graduate of one of the most advanced combat shooting schools in the world, the Gunsite Academy at Paulden, AZ. This school was founded by Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper.

The best part of Cooper’s training is the color-code system. It is a system of mental preparation leading to the split-second decision to pull the trigger. Every Gunsite graduate who has been involved in a gunfight comes back to the same point... it was the color-code system that saved his life. The rest was just gun-handling.

  • Condition White: Fat dumb and happy. Walking down the street with you mind on other things. Not seeing the situation. Radar turned off. Victim mentality.

  • Condition Yellow: Seeing the street. Not expecting trouble, but seeing everything. Loiterers, dark doorways, pretty girls, flowers... everything. Cooper says we should live in yellow, otherwise we aren’t really living. Radar turned on, but there is no blip on the scope.

  • Condition Orange: Something isn’t right, and it catches your attention. A guy walks into the bank carrying a long package. You remind yourself that bad things can happen... and a bad thing might be about to happen... to him. The radar is on, and you are tracking a possible target.

  • Condition Red: The potential threat turns into a real threat. The guy in the bank starts to open the long package and reaches inside. Your response is to present your weapon and issue the command, “Don’t move!” Real simple. Don’t move! If he moves, you shoot him.
This set of guidelines can be adapted to unarmed self-defense. It has to be married to the legal definition of self-defense... the perception of imminent bodily harm... but there it is. The color-code system tells you when to fight.
Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D.
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