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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.


Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 by Mas | 6 Comments »

Glock 26 in Precision IWB

So there I was, teaching a class of 42 shooters with almost 20 training staff.  I can about guarantee you that in a class like that, you’re going to find someone whose holster is simply unsafe, and a few or more than a few whose holsters are suboptimal.  Ya can’t carry a giant box of loaner holsters for every possible handgun, particularly when you’re flying, like I was since the class was in Northern California.

Enter the Precision Holster Company.  The guys who run it are graduates who were kind enough to come and assist as range safety officers.  And, kinder still, they set up a small tent on the range to display and sell their wares.


Full size, full weight 1911 .45 carried comfortably in Precision IWB (inside waistband) holster.

Talk about service and convenience.

I taught the class with one of their inside the waistband holsters for my .45.  It fit perfectly. These
guys do good work, whether your carry preference is appendix, cross draw, or strong side hip.  You can order the degree of tilt you prefer, with or without sweat guard, left hand or right, etc.

Good people, good work, good product.  Thanks, Precision Holster!






The California class was a good one!



Saturday, November 26th, 2016 by Mas | 17 Comments »

A book about people being killed seems warningsincongruous with the holiday season. Yet a book about saving human lives is a natural part of a celebration of human spirit. “Warning Unheeded” by Andy Brown lands squarely in the latter category.

In 1994 at Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, a former Airman turned mad dog killer ran wild with an AK47 clone until he was put down by a courageous Air Police officer. Under fire from the crazed rifleman at a distance of 70 yards, Andy Brown coolly dropped him with two 9mm hits from his Beretta M9 pistol, and stopped the murders. In retrospect, many believed that the slain gunman’s growing psychosis had gone without timely treatment or institutionalization, despite accumulated warning signs.

In a close timeframe, a senior pilot with an increasing reputation for recklessness crashed while attempting aerobatics with a B52, killing himself and other USAF personnel. Once again, obvious signals had not been acted upon by those in authority, with tragedy resulting…thus, the title of “Warnings Unheeded.”

In juxtaposing and documenting these two tragic events, Andy downplays his own courage. He presents a dispassionate and even sometimes sympathetic portrait of the men responsible for the deaths of the innocent.  In macrocosm, “Warnings Unheeded” teaches us all graphic, object life lessons.  It is in microcosm, however, that the gun element comes into things.

From President Obama down, anti-gun people have publicly scoffed at the idea of a single armed “good guy or gal” stopping a mass murder, sometimes flatly (and falsely) saying it has never happened.  Au contraire. “Warnings Unheeded” is to my knowledge the fourth book written by someone who shot down a mass murderer and ended the slaughter. Two armed citizens have done so. Read “God, the Gunman, and Me” by Jeanne Assam, the volunteer church security person who cut down the mass killer at a Colorado church, or “Shooting Back: the Right and Duty of Self-Defense” by Charl van Wyk, who alone with his 5-shot .38 revolver ended the mass machine gun and grenade attack on a church by a squad of guerrillas. And don’t forget “They Call Me Ranger Ray” by Ramiro Martinez. He was one of the cops who killed Charles Whiteman atop the Texas Tower in 1966, led to the top of the tower by armed citizen Allen Crum. Martinez states flatly in the book that it was return fire from citizens with rifles on the ground who pinned Whitman down and stopped the killings until he and brother officer Houston McCoy could ascend the tower and fatally shoot the gunman.  “Warnings Unheeded” joins these classic first person accounts of heroism prevailing over mass murderers.

I was deeply honored when Andy asked me to write the foreword for this book. I think you will be moved by it, and educated by it, as much as I was, and so will anyone to whom you give this book for Christmas. “Warnings Unheeded” by Andy Brown is available on Amazon.

Or watch Video Here.


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 by Mas | 3 Comments »

‘tis holiday season and gift-buying time. shotgunned  Books are among my favorite gifts, both to receive and to give.  Let me suggest one to you now – a story of courage, survival, and justice that should resonate even with those you love who couldn’t bear to touch a gun, or imagine themselves wearing a badge.

When I met Dana Owen, he was already retired from a distinguished police career in Massachusetts and, a long-time law enforcement firearms instructor, working in his second career at SIG-Sauer.  What I didn’t know until I read his book was the nightmare he and his family endured after a terrible incident in which he and a brother officer had to engage a gang of armed, deadly human predators.  The story is found in “SHOTGUNNED” by Dana Owen, available on

Dana and his partner Bob Power were on routine patrol (and about to prove that there is no such thing) on the day in 1975 when their radio came alive with a report of a hijacking. Soon the two officers were in pursuit of the fugitive vehicle…and under fire from the hijackers.

I won’t spoil the story for you, but to make a long story short, Dana was hit in the head by two double-O buckshot pellets from a 12 gauge shotgun.  The perpetrators managed to escape.

You’ll read Dana’ story, and much more, compiled by the officer himself and two writer/researchers, Ron Gollobin and Athena Yerganian.  You’ll learn it from multiple perspectives, including those of his family, particularly his wife.  You’ll go through his recovery and his return to duty as a Metropolitan District Police officer and later, a Massachusetts State Trooper rising to sergeant.  A parallel story details the long investigation that followed, in which the victim officer played a very significant part.  I will say only that, in the end, justice was done.

No, it’s not an action movie thing where the wounded officer hunts down and kills the would-be cop-killers.  Instead, it shows how the criminal justice system works, and the importance of dedicated investigators and victims who cooperate in the hunt for their predators.  It might not make a wild action movie, but it would make one HELL of a character study movie, including the path of one man and his family back from being listed as a victim, to normalcy and a return to his role as a protector of the public.

Strongly recommended.  As is usual in this blog at this time of year, be expecting more reviews of great gift books and items.

Dana, thank you for your service, and for the lessons you and your loved ones have shared with all of us who might face life-threatening crisis in any of its many forms. You and your brother officer most certainly earned the Medals of Valor you both received.


Saturday, November 19th, 2016 by Mas | 23 Comments »

With a rare weekend not teaching and realizing we hadn’t shot a match since first quarter 2016, the Evil Princess and I did a quick look for what was available and found a .22 steel match at the friendly Little River Sportsmen’s Association.  We grabbed some bulk box .22 ammo, threw an ACOG atop her 10/22, blew the cobwebs out of the Clark Custom 10/22 I had used years before to make Rifleman at my first Appleseed event, and as an afterthought grabbed an out of the box S&W M&P15 .22 rifle I had won at a match in 2010 or so. For pistols, we grabbed two of the EP’s Ruger 22/45 pistols, the only .22s we had on hand for which we had four magazines) and headed for the shoot.

We didn’t win a damn thing, but the shoot was still a hoot.  We were reminded that when you’re “away from the game,” you get slow. Lesson learned.  We were reminded of something else: autoloading .22 rimfires are not the most reliable firearms on Earth.  Long and narrow with a big protruding rim at the rear, the .22 Long Rifle cartridge is not ideal for feeding from box magazines. On our whole relay, only one shooter escaped malfunctions, and the EP and I both had several.

Our ammo had been purchased during the long ammo drought of the Obama administration, brought on by the well-grounded fear that there was an anti-gunner in the White House.  In discussing the matter with other shooters who regularly hit this neat little .22 match, the general consensus was that CCI Mini-Mag is currently the most reliable ammo for self-loading .22 firearms.

The Evil Princess took some iPhone video, and on the way back I remarked, “You should be able to put together a helluva montage of jam-clearing vids.”  “Oh, (expletive deleted)!” she replied. “I didn’t think of that, and I deleted most of them.  They mostly had comments you wouldn’t want on the Backwoods Home blog, anyway.”

Still fun.  And cheap.  (The ammo, not the Evil Princess. She is fun, but not cheap.) Yes, we all kvetch about the price of .22 ammo, a direct result of its near-unavailability for the last eight years.  I recall being offered a 500-round brick of economy grade Winchester .22 in West Virginia in 2013…for a hundred dollars even. (I passed.)

On Facebook today, friend (and occasional commentator here)

22 Ammo on sale today in Lewis County Washington. Photo courtesy Tom Walls.

22 Ammo on sale today in Lewis County Washington. Photo courtesy Tom Walls

Tom Walls posted a photo of Federal’s good quality American Eagle .22 ammo for sale in Lewis County, Washington at $2.89 per box of fifty.  While that provokes us geezers into fits of what the Evil Princess diagnoses as “fogey-ism” – “When I went to the Western Auto and bought .22 Long Rifle for my dad when I was a boy, it was fifty cents a box!” – we have to remember that just about everything else costs ten times more now than it did then.  That would translate to .22 Long Rifle at under thirty cents a box if old money were new…not as bad a deal as we seem to think it is today.

My take-away? .22 rimfire in a semi-automatic firearm is not reliable enough (and certainly not powerful enough) for life-or-death firearms use…but it’s still affordable…and it’s darn sure still FUN!


Evil Princess runs her RB Precision Evolution stocked Ruger 10/22 under Trijicon ACOG. You know they’re serious when the sight costs more than the rest of the gun.

LRSA RBP Evolution Ruger 10/22


Lee Turner does a masterful  run with Ruger 10/22 rifle.

Or watch video here.

Overall match winner Lee Ovaert shows how it’s done. Pistol is S&W Model 41 target .22 with C-More optical sight.

Or watch video here.



Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 by Mas | 18 Comments »

Ah, November. Depending where you are, it’s either deer season already, or it’s about to commence.

Have you scouted out where you’re going to hunt yet?

Are you sighted in yet? Be reminded, “It was sighted in when I put it away last season” is not enough.  Consider:

Guns get bumped and dropped. That can alter point of aim/point of impact.

We traditionalists who like walnut or other wood stocks on our rifles have to remember that wood absorbs moisture. When it expands and bears on the barrel, point of aim/point of impact can be altered by that, too.  The mount screws on our telescopic sights can loosen with time and use, and that changes POA/POI coordinates as well.  Are we absolutely SURE that the ammo we set out for THIS season is EXACTLY the same as what we used last season, and are sighted in for?  Same concerns.

Hunters’ ethics:  We owe the animal a swift, clean kill.  It’s what makes our harvesting the creature more humane than the miserable death a wild animal can expect from old age out there in the wilderness.  If anything has happened to make the shot go somewhere other than where we aimed, the humane demise can turn into hours or even days of the animal slowly dying in agony, not to mention that all that meat for the table is lost.

Take the time to verify POA/POI coordinates, preferably off the bench at the distances from which you are most likely to take a shot in the field.  Then, verify from field shooting positions (kneeling, standing, whatever) that you and your deer rifle are still in tune with one another in that respect.

I suspect there are readers of this blog who can share stories of where the whole point of aim/point of impact thing went well, and where it went wrong.  Those comments are, as always, invited.

Good luck, and safe and happy hunting.


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