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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.


Sunday, May 29th, 2016 by Mas | 1 Comment »

Let none of us forget that Memorial Day is a time to remember the Americans who gave their lives to preserve our freedom, and we can’t forget our wounded warriors, either.

Yes, we’re still fighting our own politicians to keep some of those rights, as any gun owner who has listened to Hillary Clinton’s rants against the NRA (and, by extension, its five million plus members). But we can’t shape our future if we don’t understand our past.

I don’t particularly need to do any shooting on Memorial Day, but I always try to do so. The sound of gunfire in good people’s hands is the sound of freedom, a one-gun salute to those who gave their lives for the rights we enjoy.

Feel free to share here your plans for recognizing Memorial Day, as well as your memories of those in your family and circle of friends whose sacrifices we honor.


Friday, May 27th, 2016 by Mas | 16 Comments »

I try like heck not to make mistakes, but every now and then I suffer a brain fart. This month, I’ve felt like the Cerebral Flatulence Poster Child.

For one thing, I learned I had made an error in my article on pistol-caliber carbines in the current print edition of Backwoods Home. I had described the neat little Tresna 9mm carbine, which runs on Gen4 Glock 9mm magazines in an AR15 format, as having a polymer lower. It does not: the lower is 7075 aluminum, thank you very much. The gun was not in front of me when I wrote the article, and I suspect what happened is that since I was impressed with its light weight, it looked polymer-ish to me in the photos I was working with that we’d taken while shooting it, and I also had an assignment at the time to write up the polymer-lower PolymAR from ROBAR, some conflation occurred.

All I can say is mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Within the same week, I found myself shooting a United States Practical Shooting Association match. Hadn’t shot one in a while, but remembered that while the International Defensive Pistol Association game I shoot more of has very tight rules about shooting sequence, shooting from behind cover, etc., USPSA is more free form. Basically, solve the shooting problem however you like so long as you’re safe, and whoever gets the best finish (time divided into target hit score) wins.

Not as free form as I remembered, though. On my first stage, the range officer told me I had four penalties because I wasn’t standing where I should have been when I shot a series of targets. Happened again on the second stage. And again on the third: acute and chronic brain farts! By then I had accumulated about 140 penalty points and was totally in the tank. Finally got focused and managed the next three stages with no penalties and won one of them in my division (I was shooting Limited Minor with a 9mm Springfield XDM 5.25 out of a Comp-Tac holster). The one I won was a classification stage that had no running and was therefore geezer-friendly.

I was reminded of a time a while back when I forgot something and asked my significant other, “Gail, could it be early Alzheimer’s?”

“No,” she replied sweetly, “at your age, it wouldn’t be early.”


Or Watch video here.

My one good run on brain fart day. Farthest distance, 6-reload-6 time into score. Intermediate distance, 6 rd. dominant hand only. Closest distance: 6 non-dominant hand only. 


Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 by Mas | 41 Comments »

So, I’m in Chicagoland. I pick up a Chicago Tribune. And I read this crap, taken from the Washington Post.

Good Lord.

A man tried for murder is totally acquitted after two brilliant lawyers lead a defense team which clearly establishes self-defense based upon hard evidence. Almost three years later, major newspapers show his pictures alongside those of serial killers John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, and Dennis Rader. They put the word “murder” in the story title. The same mass media that became the willing puppets of a plaintiff’s lawyer, his PR man, and an ambitious prosecutor and made George Zimmerman unemployable – “the most hated man in America,” some say – now declare that he’s able to sell his gun for significant money “because Americans have always been fascinated with murder.”

Those of us who followed the trial and the evidence instead of the headlines and the meme understand that he was righteously acquitted.  Those who aren’t up to speed on it can go to the archive next to this column and start reading my blog entry on the day he was acquitted, July 13, 2013, and read the nineteen subsequent entries to understand the reality.

Some, of course, are comfortable with dwelling in ignorance and anti-self-defense bigotry.

Contemporary journalism is reminding me of contemporary politics.


Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 by Mas | 21 Comments »

While deer season is the traditional time for sighting in, and that’s a ways off from now, it’s never too early to get things nailed down. Besides, self-defense knows no season, and the protection guns should always be sighted in, if only for verification. Something bumps the gun, eyesight changes…ya never know, so it’s best to be currently sure.

GlockWebI had two guns to select and sight in last Sunday. For an upcoming class, significant other’s 19-year-old grandson will be attending, and needs us to bring a handgun for him. He asked for a Glock 9mm, and it seemed logical to select one of the three I had earned recently at matches.

Only one had already been sighted in, a 4th generation Glock 17, which I’d had fitted with Trijicon night sights. It had been dialed in with the three glowing green globes in alignment, but we wanted the kid to learn a conventional post in notch sight picture, and with that it hit a tad right. (LESSON: Dots, fiber optic modules, and conventional sight pictures don’t always send the bullets to the same point of aim/point of impact coordinates.)  Group size was a bit under three inches.

Next up was a 3rd generation specimen of the same pistol, just in. The 115 grain American Eagle full metal jacket training ammo put five shots exactly into an inch and a half, the best three half an inch apart center to center, but the group hovered a tiny bit to the left of point of aim. Finally, I tried a likewise new from the box Gen 3 Glock 19, the slightly smaller version of the 17. The group ran 3.65”.  I let the Evil Princess decide, since it’s her grandson. She chose the Gen3 G17.  There’s enough difference between two shooters’ eyes that what’s off for me might be spot on for him, and if it’s not, it’ll be no trick to push the rear sight a whisker to starboard.


1911WebThe other thing I needed to sort out was the gun to wear on our next trip after this one, which will encompass a state with a strict ten-round magazine limit, so I decided I’d take a 1911 .45 with single-stack mag. Two that I pulled from the safe were Springfield Armory guns. One was a TGO-II match pistol I’d just gotten back from a friend, who’d borrowed it as a spare to his twin of it for a major match. (His ran fine and he didn’t need the spare.) He told me he’d adjusted the sights some, and sure enough, at 15 yards the group averaged two inches left for me. Fortunately, that’s easy to fix with adjustable sights. I was happy with the 1.70” group, three of them touching. REDUNDANT LESSON: What’s “sighted in” for one shooter’s eyes, may not be for another. A much less expensive .45 from the same maker – the Springfield Range Officer, which I consider the best buy in an all-around 1911 pistol today — ran 3.45” and a compact Nighthawk Custom T3, 3.70”. There were “called flyers” with both of the latter that expanded the groups: I caught myself starting to look over the sights to spot the shot with the Nighthawk, causing a predictably high hit I can’t blame on the gun, and with the Range Officer, I felt myself rush the shot that went lowest.

On that last set, since I’ve got time, I’ll give ‘em another run before the next trip. LESSON: The sooner you start sorting and sighting, the more time you have to get things right.

All those .45s, I know for certain from testing, will group two inches or better at 25 yards with the ammo they like best, from a bench rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if all those Glocks shoot better from the bench at that distance than I did here, shooting offhand from 15 yards.  LESSON: The bench rest is used intentionally to test the GUN more than the shooter. When I demonstrate for a class (or lend a gun to a student shooting that class), I want to know what the gun will do from the human hand, and in these upcoming classes the 15 yards I shot these at will be the farthest distance. LESSON: Once you’ve tested the gun, test the shooter with that gun, at a predictable distance. If testing for another shooter, test it the same way he or she is likely to be shooting it.

I suspect y’all out there have also learned some lessons about sighting in and verifying point of aim/point of impact. Feel free to share here.



Saturday, May 14th, 2016 by Mas | 37 Comments »

A recent meme in the armed citizen community has been arming Little Red Riding Hood (and/or her grandmother) and predicting the outcome.

Turns out James Thurber was ahead of the rest of us. This, from his collection “The Thurber Carnival,” published by Harper Brothers and encompassing Thurber work from 1931 through 1945.





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