On the fifth of May, we lost Chuck Taylor, one of the most famous defensive firearms instructors of our generation, to cancer.

Chuck Taylor on the FAS Range
Photo: Marty Hayes

I first met Chuck in the 1970s, when he was head of training at Jeff Cooper’s famous facility, Gunsite.  Chuck was still competing then, skillful enough to earn a slot on the US National Team of IPSC, the International Practical Shooting Confederation.  He leaves behind a large body of written articles – for some time, he was editor of SWAT magazine – and several books that can be found on Amazon, including the fourth edition of Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery.

Chuck was a decorated Vietnam combat vet with the scars from enemy bullets on his body. A highly accomplished shooter, he was one of the few men I’ve seen perform the supposedly impossible “one second reload” of a .45 pistol.  I knew him as a patient coach and excellent diagnostician.  I can tell you from one personal experience back in the ‘70s that he was also a good man to have on your side when serious danger reared its head.

Taylor retired last year, and had all too short a time to enjoy that.  His ashes will be scattered in a National Forest where he spent a lot of time hunting.

I know people who credit their survival to what they learned from Chuck.  We have lost an important source of knowledge.



    • God speed Chuck, a friend of mine shot at a Bianchi Cup match years ago and told me all about you. It’s a sad day, Mas.

  1. Rest In Peace

    I remember as a young man reading his articles in magazines

    I wonder what happened to the Glock 17 he tested for years and wrote about

  2. There is always people calling the WW II generation America’s greatest generation…well I grew up during the Vietnam War and to me those men and women are my HEROESand they will ALWAYS be the Greatest of Their Generation!Mr. Taylor was and forever will be an American who continued to give,well beyond even Vietnam,Semper Fidelis Chuck!

  3. Never had the pleasure, always wanted to take classes with that man. The magazine articles about him made him seem bigger than life.

  4. As a former part time police officer for many years I always wanted to attend classes at LFI too, maybe someday. Read many of your books starting with The Gravest Extreme way back when I was a prison guard at our states only maximum security prison.

  5. He taught me to shoot. I attended Gunsite in 1979, API 250. He knew his stuff and he has seen the elephant. May he rest knowing he did good.

  6. I remember reading SWAT magazine when it first came out. I became a huge fan of Chuck Taylor, and remained so for decades. RIP, Mr. Taylor.

  7. I attended many of Chuck’s classes. He was a great instructor, a gentleman and a great story teller. RIP Chuck

  8. I was just wondering the other day if he was still around. I remember back in the 70s and 80s reading a lot of intelligent, informative articles written by him. He seemed to be more interested in passing on life-saving information than in putting his name on everything. I put some of his teachings to good use during a 30-year career in LE. He was a lot like a few other people I learned a lot from, including Detroit copper Evan Marshall and some guy with an Arab-sounding name. It’ll come to me pretty soon.

  9. RIP, Warrior.

    I still remember many of his magazine articles from all those years ago.

  10. Another victim of Agent Orange I fear.Chuck was the editor for SWAT when I wrote for that magazine and he always brought a very practical approach to all the articles he edited and put into the magazine.He also, I think, is the person who lead the development of the use of the submachine gun for law enforcement work which has now developed into the pistol power carbine world.He made it legitimate for a Department to buy and deploy such things rather than just 12 gauge shotguns and 30/30 lever actions which were the standards when he got started promoting the SMG.

  11. RIP. I was able to take Chuck’s Tactical Handgun I & II Courses multiple times each when he used to travel to Markham Park, Florida. He was definitely the real deal.

  12. Chuck Taylor’s many informative articles in numerous magazines, all still in my possession, have greatly influenced my thinking of combat guns and how to use them. I continue to carry a full size 1911 in .45 ACP as wisely advised by Jeff Cooper and Chuck Taylor. May they and the other great gun writers R.I.P.

  13. Another Brother gone. We who fought for America on foreign soil to be spit on when we returned
    home, we who believed that “To Protect and Serve” meant was a way of life to be betrayed by
    the System again; but we never gave up. I didn’t know Chuck other than by his articles but I know
    the man he was because I’ve served with many like him and his death saddens me deeply because
    there are so few of us left. R.I.P.

    • Friend Dano, in the early 1970’s, 2 of my USAF buddies with time in ‘Nam, one a Security Policeman in his early 20’s dying with cancer who taught me to shoot the 1911 .45 ACP, the other a young Combat Controller who was scared to death about an unknown illness that would now be recognized as obviously dioxin-related. I was told that the Controller died in combat involvement overseas during Operation Nickel Grass, which was the gigantic airlift that USAF Military Airlift Command performed to re-equip Israel, which totally preserved the existence of that country at the end of the Yom Kippur War. I would like to go ‘way out on a limb now, and say that I have learned since those days about a reliable alternative cure to cancer, having seen it work for myself, some friends, and even one of my dogs. The substance has some side effects, and may work better for some people than others, but I would sooner try it it any day than anything prescribed by an experimental-medicine oncologist. It is a black salve called “Cleansing Time,” and it is best used under the direction of an expert, non-quack naturopath. I promise you that if my 2 suffering USAF buddies had gotten treated reasonably early with this stuff, which is based on ingredients used for thousands of years by natural healers, they would have gone into recovery. So can many others. This is probably the most important thing I will ever be able to say on the Inernet, and I hope it flies.

  14. Remember reading his articles in SOF, back in 74 to 1980. After he left, the magazine started to change, and I started to not buy it anymore. Finaly met him in person, and took pistol I, and II in 2005 in Switzerland. Then again in 2006, always in Switzerland, where he taught shotgun, and combat rifle. Was not able to go to train with him in the US, because of money problems. But always kept in contact with him. He was a real gentleman, and warrior. R.I.P. my friend.

  15. I met him and enjoyed taking his Intermediate Defensive Handgun course back around 1988 or so.Rest in Peace Sir.

  16. Founded SWAT magazine, which is now gone… His Passing and that of Louis Awerbuck, means s we are about out of JeffCooper’s sons”

  17. Only new the chap from his writings. But he came across as “The Real Deal.” Good to hear from Mas that he was.


  18. Still have the three books he wrote back in the 80’s about the rifle, pistol, and shotgun/SMG. More photos than text, but the best books available back then, and still interesting enough to hold onto.

    I suppose we have him to think whenever you see someone in Hollywood ape the modern technique. The director Micheal Mann sent James Caan to Gunsite to learn how to shoot for the 1981 movie “Thief”, and it was Taylor who taught him. As far as I know that was the first movie where anyone used the Weaver stance, press check, double tap, sliced the pie, tactical reload, etc. Interestingly, in the gunfight at the end of the movie (it is on YouTube Thief Final Scene) it took 2 or 3 hits from the 45 ACP to put anyone out of action–wonder if any real world experience of Taylor imparted to James Caan had anything to do with that?

    • I had read that Chuck Taylor was hit with three 7.62X39mm rounds when he was in Vietnam but was able to return fire with his Thompson SMG in .45 ACP and kill his attacker before he was put out of action.

  19. Chuck Taylor and I became friends.
    Took his class (American Small Arms Academy) in 1982.

    You will be missed and there is a “void” that can not be filled!

    RIP – Old Ranger — from an Old Airborne Grunt! Out. Kent Turnipseed

    • Yes , I am honored that I met Captain Chuck Taylor thru my original instructor Kent Turnipseed and was trained by both of them in the proper use of the 1911 Pistol. Because of their training I have survived several deadly force incidents. Chuck taught me to
      shoot to live not for trophies. He always told me his goal was to teach his students to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)and in the real world when you survive a gun fight your prize is your life,

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