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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.


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 by Mas | 30 Comments »

In November, a starry-eyed professor postulated that the first cartridge in every police officer’s gun should be a blank.

Had the prof done the slightest bit of research, he would have learned that blanks won’t cycle the slide of a semiautomatic service pistol, leaving the gun “jammed” after the first futile loud noise. To make an auto pistol work with blanks for TV and movies, the gun has to be altered in such a way that it can no longer safely fire live ammunition. In a situation where you are on the defensive and have to shoot or die in an instant, loading a defensive weapon with blanks is not only spectacularly stupid, it can be fatally stupid.

In December, some rocket scientist decides the safest way to identify your target before you fire is by pressing your trigger…to activate gun-mounted white light what-could-possibly-go-wrong/ .  The first prototype I saw like this was 25 years ago that the inventor had planted on a Glock, leaving the shooter a startle-twitch away from shooting anything in the light beam that surprised him. We laughed at it then. It’s better to laugh than to cry now, a quarter century later.

Video link

And, at SHOT in January, we saw a resurgence of a trigger that fires the gun once each time you press it…and again as soon as you take your finger off!  It’s an idea that has been around for a while. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has thus far let that skate with the maker’s argument that it’s only one pull of the trigger, and nothing in the legal definitions EXPLICITLY bans a shot firing when the trigger finger is removed therefrom (a/k/a “release trigger”).  I am not sure how long it will be before the Bureau changes its mind on that, but I for one don’t want to be the test case. Yeah, I know: “because fun.” Still, a firearm that discharges when you take your finger OFF the trigger after firing an intentional shot is far enough away from a normal “manual of arms” that it strikes me as an accident waiting to happen.

How many things do YOU think can go wrong with the above?

SHOT Show: “Pre” and “Post”

Friday, January 29th, 2016 by Mas | 14 Comments »

All the new goodies at SHOT Show were more than any one reporter – particularly me, who didn’t get there until the second night of the event – could cover.  But there were also new products I got to look at before…and after.


J-hook for belt on new Safariland holster at left of photo, and at lower right of same pic, pad which prevents holster from digging into body and levers muzzle outward away from groin and femoral artery if carried in appendix position.

Before: In early January the EP and I visited Bill Rogers at the Safariland facility in Jacksonville, FL and were sworn to secrecy on the new GLS inside the waistband holster scheduled for announcement at SHOT.
Regular pistol packers know that a holster inside the waistband is considerably more discreet and concealable than one worn outside: there’s less bulge, and the cover garment can ride up higher without revealing the holstered gun.  Except for thumb-break safety straps, there have been few with security features that might keep the holster from  yielding the gun to an unauthorized hand in a struggle with a violent criminal.  Greg Kramer came up with one, as did Strong Leather, both back in the 1990s if I recall correctly, but neither caught on.



J-hook secures on bottom edge of belt, and niche above secures as well: double security.

This one, designed by master holster maker Bill Rogers himself, incorporates the intuitive GLS security lock which is fast and natural for the wearer to release, but not so for someone standing in front of or behind the wearer.  Already well proven in outside the waistband designs, this one rode comfortably inside my own waistband for several days before the SHOT Show, and proved both fast and secure with the 9mm Glock I used for testing in daily carry. Rogers himself does not consider this a “security holster” per se, but it does give the wearer an additional margin of safety. Recommended!



WarLock barrel change option from Frontier Tactical is an ingenious approach to AR15 versatility.

After: The weekend following the Show, fellow Glock Sport Shooting Foundation contestant Tim Young joined us at a GSSF match in Boulder City, NV along with Tim’s friends Nate Love and Scott Gray, who run Frontier Tactical. I had missed them at the Show itself, but at the range got to look at their way cool switch-barrel AR15 conversions. Instead of changing the entire upper, you can keep the same optic to which you are accustomed in place, and switch from .223/5.56mm to .300 Blackout with NO other changes, and with bolt and magazine changes can swap to numerous other calibers. They’re working with an optics manufacturer whose product will allow, with a touch of the controls, for pre-determined zero to switch between calibers too, saving you the price of another optic and mount.

In both cases, proof that you don’t have to be in one place at one time to get the scoop on innovative, useful new gun products.  Change is constant. Insert additional clichés as necessary…but tell me, what new products have our blog readers spotted that I’ve missed? Feel free to share here, as this blog’s 2016 SHOT Show coverage ends.


Tuesday, January 26th, 2016 by Mas | 8 Comments »

Woot! Today marks three years helicopter crash-free!

(Of course, it’s also been three years helicopter-free. “No. More. Helicopters. EVAH!” decreed the Evil Princess.  “Aw, honey,” I answered, “all we need are newer, bigger helicopters.” I have not yet won that argument.)


Our gang at the Glock shoot in Boulder City. From left: Tim Young, Me, Bill Goldstein, the Evil Princess, Scott Gray, Nathan Love.

She and I got to the house this morning about 2:30 AM, and were grateful for it.  Lots of folks at the SHOT Show in Vegas had their plane flights cancelled or horrendously delayed because of the Eastern Snowpocalypse.  We had planned to stay the weekend anyway, seeing old friends in Vegas on Saturday and shooting the Glock match in nearby Boulder City on Sunday. The best I could do at the latter was a second place in the Pocket Glock event, using a G42 .380 with AmeriGlo sights and otherwise out of the box. Congratulations to Seichei Ishakawa, who was clearly the man to beat there. When you are the guy who publicly said “Friends don’t let friends carry mouse-guns” and you do your best with one (and not for the first time), it’s sort of like you’re Ralph Nader and do your best rally driving in a Corvair.  I may need therapy.  EP, on the other hand, continues to shoot her best with the .45 caliber Glock 30, which she is adopting as her daily carry gun. And which may require more therapy still for .380 boy here. (Sniff.)

Driving home from the airport we noted that we managed to escape the creeping crud that usually infects a bunch of SHOT Show attendees, the result of spending several days in a giant Petri dish with 64,000 people and whatever germs and viruses they brought to the convention. (Me: “Well, my throat is a little dry.”  EP, with profound eye-roll: “Duh, you’d think you just spent days in the desert or something.”)


Each of these contain media kit thumb drives. Cute!

One thing I should also be grateful for is that the stacks of catalogs and dead-tree media kits I used to have to ship home have been largely replaced with much handier thumb drives, some cute enough to double as tchotchkes. 


Sunday, January 24th, 2016 by Mas | 8 Comments »

At industry-only-people SHOT, as at the ordinary folks-accessible NRA annual meeting, you get to talk to the manufacturers and, more importantly, the engineers who are responsible for new guns and related gear.  I’ve found them to be generally responsive to questions.


Photo courtesy Laura Burgess Marketing

You also get to pick the brains of the many experts who congregate there. World champion shooters like Max Michel at the SIG booth and Rob Leatham at the Safariland booth are happy to dispense advice. SHOT_6_05

At the Harris Publications booth I got to chat with Janelle Cooper, widow of the great Col. Jeff Cooper, and their beautiful daughter Lindy Cooper Wisdom, who wrote a superb biography of her ground-breaking dad.  Some good reminiscences, occasionally amusing, were shared.


Spent some time chatting with fellow gun writers and gun owners’ civil rights activists. It was good catching up on things with Sheriff Jim Wilson, and many others.SHOT_6_03

Gun owners being very much a persecuted minority today, it is good for us to immerse ourselves now and then in large groups of like-minded people.  It’s a recharging of the batteries for a political fight that’s going to last longer than any of us will live, and it never hurts to be reminded that we’re on the right side of that fight.


A lot of business is done away from the show floor. Here is a snapshot from a meeting of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network board of advisors. From left: Vincent Shuck, Lynn Givens, Tom GIvens, Marty Hayes, John Farnam, Gila Hayes, Dennis Tueller, Mas, Jim Fleming. Not visible: Manny Kapelsohn.


Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 by Mas | No Comments »

The firearms industry’s premier trade show closed Friday at 4 PM, and stats show it was the second largest in the organization’s history. Sponsor NSSF, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, reported over 64,000 attendees. It should be noted that this is a closed program for industry people only, primarily firearms retailers. There were more than 1600 vendor booths.

All of us here are glad that the “miles of aisles” are done. The Evil Princess’ FitBit told her she walked six miles in just one day. When I was interviewed for the Guns America video blog today, the cameraman told me he was averaging 15 miles a day of walking through the Show.

An update on the much-discussed Kimber revolver from Kimber consultant Grant Cunningham, whom I’ve mentioned before, is here.

SHOT_5_01One of the neatest accessories I’ve seen here comes from Racking Assist, LLC ( . There are lots of folks who for whatever reason have difficulty activating the slide of a semiautomatic pistol. Inventor Russ Hoeffken came up with an ingenious device to facilitate this.

See pix. Go to the website.

Glock pistol with Rack Assist at right…

…muzzle is placed on device as shown…

…quick downward movement of hand on gun allows even debilitated user to apply body weight and activate the slide, charging a round into the chamber if the gun is to be loaded.

SHOT_5_05RoBar has come up with a premium grade AR15 rifle whose unloaded weight is…4.8 pounds. You’re looking at the lower-middle $2,000 price range, in large part because of the cost of all the expensive Titanium involved in its manufacture. The Evil Princess played with it for a while, and then sent the not-entirely-telepathic message, I want this!! Sigh…somewhere, I hear a cash register ringing.



The annual NRA show is where you see the customers. The SHOT Show is where you meet the retailers. The manufacturers are at both. I left the SHOT Show with a strong sense of “We’re on the right side of this, and we’re going to prevail, but it’s going to be a constant generations-long fight”…as it has been for as long as this senior citizen has been alive.

While the 2016 SHOT Show may be over, this blog’s commentary on it is not. There is more to discuss. Stay tuned…



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