Modern Technique of the Pistol

This photograph first appeared in the Tenth Anniversary edition of American Handgunner magazine; to be specific, the September/October 1986 edition. It’s the only photo ever taken of the five original combat masters who are credited with reinventing practical pistol shooting.

Facing the photo they are from left to right, Ray Chapman, Elden Carl, Thell Reed, Jeff Cooper, and Jack Weaver. Of the five only Elden Carl and Thell Reed survive.

The principal founder of modern combat pistol shooting, Jeff Cooper, called Elden Carl “the original ‘grand master’ and best overall pistol shot I ever knew”.

Even with the passage of time there’s still interest in Elden Carl’s shooting career. The fact that he and Thell Reed are the last of the founding masters of modern combat pistol shooting has intensified the pressure, especially on Elden whose history in the sport precedes Thell and Ray Chapman.

As a result of the renewed interest in early combat pistol shooting history Top Gun will begin to include articles on the history of combat pistol shooting. Future articles will include:

  • The interesting story behind the “original five” photograph.
  • The history of the two-hand hold; particularly how it came to be for auto pistols.
  • Development of the first full combat 1911A1 45 semi-automatic, including innovations that remain popular on auto pistols today.
  • Profiles of interesting and important participants and contributors to the art of combat pistol shooting.
  • And much, much more!

In addition to presenting lots of interesting historical information we will furnish pictures from Elden’s photo archives. With a little luck we’ll also get Thell Reed to furnish some photo images from his great shooting career and stories of training movie stars on handling guns during filming.

Keep in touch with as we attempt to expand what we hope is an interesting and  informative website.