Jim Cirillo, Dead at 76.
From 1968 to 1973, Cirillo was a member of the New York City Stake-Out Squad. His job was to confront the worst in the criminal world. He lived through no less than seventeen separate shootouts. He was involved in many more armed confrontations. He later moved on to U.S. Customs. After retirement from law enforcement, Jim Cirillo took up writing. His book, Guns, Bullets, And Gunfights: Lessons And Tales From A Modern-Day Gunfighter is a compilation of articles he wrote over the years.
Jim Cirillo was the "go-to-guy" for street smart analysis of gunfighting theory. He was the real deal, a no bullshit BTDT guy with the scars to prove it. He had seen the elephant. Hell, there were some who said he ate the damned critter. Jeff Cooper dubbed him "Cirillo the Great." Massad Ayoob agreed that he was one of the great law enforcement gun fighters of the modern era. For many years, Jim depended on a revolver to survive. Later, after careful analysis, he accepted the Glock pistol as a sidearm.
Jim would tape over the sights on semi-automatic handguns to teach instinctive shooting based on the silhouette of the gun. He believed in utilizing the unconscious mind to get shots on target faster than the son of a bitch trying to kill you. He also taught other alternative sighting methods, all formulated to allow the practitioner to survive in a gunfight. Jim taught survival with a gun inside five yards. 15 feet. Beyond seven yards, he believed the odds were against an adversary, and the trained shootist had more time to go to sights or cover.
It seems ironic, therefore, that Jim would tell of being able to see every ding in the front sight of his S&W Model 10 in his first gunfight. Ironic, at least, until one realizes that Jim Cirillo was not in the business of selling a technique to dedicated legions of disciples for profit and fame. No, Cirillo was in the business of making it possible for people to survive when the chips were down, when lead would shortly be screaming by them. Jim Cirillo did not teach gunfighting. He taught fighting with a gun, and surviving to go home for supper. He did not care that there was apparent conflict in what he might say or teach. He just wanted to get at the truth, the crux of the matter, when it came to the survival tool pouch in armed conflict. That is what made Jim special. Because he did not care if he would be remembered at all, he will be remembered fondly and he takes his place alongside the likes of Cooper, Jordan, Applegate and Bryce. Godspeed Jim.