In Col. Jeff Cooper’s words:

“The Columbia Conference was held at Columbia, Missouri at the instigation of Dick Thomas and Franklin Brown… a meeting of enthusiasts throughout both the United States and the world, attempting to devise some sort of international organization. With no authority but our own enthusiasm, we set up the International Practical Shooting Confederation, with representation in fourteen nations.”

(American Handgunner, March/April 1978)

The meeting was held during the week of May 24th, 1976. The week also included a course by Cooper and several stages hosted by the Midwest Practical Pistol League. There were 45 delegates in all, many of them from the U.S.

  • Dick Thomas (organizer)
  • Franklin Brown
  • Rick Miller
  • Jeff Cooper
  • Ray Chapman
  • Thell Reed
  • Bert Estes
  • Ron Lerch
  • Bruce Nelson
  • Mike Harries
  • Ken Hackathorn

From other countries:

  • Japan – Kei Kunimoto
  • England – Nigel Hinton
  • Belgium – Roger Swaelens
  • Rhodesia – Dave Westerhout
  • South Africa – Gerry Gore, Barry Miller, Herbert Wong
  • New Zealand – Graham Green
  • West Germany – Otto Degel, Albert Pauckner


Rick Miller wrote:

“Our first step, electing a president, proved to be rather easy. Someone nominated Jeff Cooper, and he was unanimously voted into office.” He also notes, “We decided to leave the word pistol out of the title because at some point in the future we may wish to promote practical rifle shooting.” Miller wrote that some of the subjects they tried to resolve were “the standardization of a practical target, an acceptable method of power factoring, and the definition of practical holsters.”

(Guns & Ammo, Oct. 1976)

To really appreciate the extent of the revolution of IPSC, consider the handgun shooting scene in the 1960’s. The only international handgun competition was at the Olympics and in the United States the NRA bullseye course was the accepted standard. The pistol of choice was a revolver. There were no moderately priced progressive reloaders, no electronic timers, and no race guns. There were few gun magazines, and none dedicated solely to handguns. Television and movie detectives carried snub-nosed revolvers and fired them one-handed from the hip.

A lot of lead has gone downrange since Cooper and his friends started slapping leather back in 1956 and today, the Confederation is truly an international sports shooting organization that has revolutionized handgun shooting on all levels.

15th Anniversary Columbia Conference 1991 Reunion

For the history buffs, following is the original proclamation signed by those present at the Columbia Conference in 1976.


We, the organizers of the sport of practical shooting throughout the free world, in order to protect the sport we practice, regulate its conduct, and further the safe and efficient use of firearms, do ordain and establish the following directives for the International Practical Shooting Confederation.