John Cole began shooting in 1955, and the following year he won the state handicap championship. In 1963 he became the first and only person to win two California yardage titles. He was the all-around champion in 1964 and in 1986 he earned the ATA Veteran Singles title. At the 1990 state competition, he captured seven awards, including the senior vet singles crown.

In 1957, John entered the high ATA handicap average in the 3,000 to 4,000 bracket with a .9064.

At PITA Grand Pacific tournaments, John twice shot on the winning state team, and he was a member of two record-setting squads: 499X500 and 995X1000. He was PITA southern zone singles winner in 1959.

John served as CGSTA president in 1967, and he was secretary the following year. He served as CGSTA director for 15 years, and he has nine years service as a PITA director. He accepted and served on numerous committees, such as handicapping, trapsetting, by-laws, finance and nominating in both trapshooting associations.

John Cole was inducted in to the California Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1990.