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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.


Monday, January 16th, 2017 by Mas | 4 Comments »

It has become a tradition that on the day before the SHOT Show officially opens, media can live fire with newly introduced guns and at noon, the range is opened so attending dealers can do the same.  The host range was the Boulder City Rifle and Pistol Club.

The new shotgun that most got my attention was the Super Black Eagle, the old model enhanced with changes to the bolt mechanism to keep it from being knocked out of battery if the user accidentally bumps the operating handle rearward.  The feedway to the magazine has been relieved to keep from catching fingertip or glove in the shell lifter.  Extended bolt handle and bolt release also make things easier for cold, gloved hands in duck blinds.  Finally, I like that the comb of the stock has a soft, cushiony cheekpiece.  An excellent example of a manufacturer tailoring a product to needs the end user has determined in the field.

In rifles, the feature I liked most was the bolt operating handle located forward on the left side of the receiver of Savage’s first AR15 clone, the MSR, which in their catalog stands for Modern Savage Rifle instead of Modern Sporting Rifle.  It’s somewhat like operating an FN FAL. Southpaws and righties alike will probably find it much more ergonomic than the rear-mounted T-handle on Stoner’s original and now ubiquitous AR15.  I first saw this feature a few years ago on an Arizona-built AR15, the American Spirit brand.  The feature hasn’t caught on as much is it deserves to; maybe Savage’s greater name recognition and advertising budget will help there.

Also, more long range tactical rifles on display than ever. Which, in this day and age, is a lot.

In handguns, the greatest interest seemed by be generated by the new Hudson pistol, a 1911-ish frame with very easy trigger sitting under a Glock-like striker fired barrel/slide assembly. With a low bore axis to begin with, muzzle jump is further reduced by burying the recoil spring and guide more deeply below the barrel.  Looks funny, shoots great. I’ve ordered one for testing.  The most interesting revolver by far is the first double-action six-shooter Colt has produced in many years. Dubbed the Cobra, it’s actually more like the old Cobra’s progenitor the Detective Special in that it’s all steel.  Lockwork and overall appearance are somewhat similar to the last of the small frame Colts of the past, the SF/VI and Magnum carry. Available to start only in .38 Special, it comes with Hogue grips and interchangeable front sights (fiber optic to start, night sight module coming soon). The most significant design improvement is a trigger guard extended to the front to allow a gloved finger. On most double action revolvers, particularly these small-framed ones, the thickness of glove material often blocks the trigger’s forward return, and renders the five- or six-shot revolver a single shot.  I tried the new Cobra with gloves and was pleased with how it worked that way. Got one of those coming too.  Action is VERY nice.  Manufacturers’ suggested retail prices are about $1149 for the 15-shot Hudson 9mm and $699 for the new Cobra revolver.

The Evil Princess demonstrates the controlability of the new Hudson 9mm pistol. Spent casing from last shot is airborne, muzzle already back on target.


Hudson looks funny, shoots sweet.


The new Benelli Super Black Eagles are up-featured for deep cold weather shotgunning…


…and this very soft cheekpiece on the comb of the stock is a welcome “face-saver” with heavy loads.


Lotsa new tactical precision rifles, including this DAN in .338 Lapua…


…from Israeli Weapon Industries.


New 6-shot Colt Cobra .38 is all stainless steel, full length ejection, sweet trigger pull, and extended trigger guard that is glove compatible.



Sunday, January 15th, 2017 by Mas | 3 Comments »

The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s annual Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show begins officially this coming Tuesday. The SHOT show is the largest thing of its kind in the firearms industry.  It’s the single biggest locus for new product introductions.

Today was the pre-SHOT SIG Day, sponsored by SIG-SAUER, at the wonderful Clark County shooting complex.  No shotguns (not SIG’s thing), but many a cool rifle and pistol.

New on the pistol side will be the iconic SIG P210 target pistol, often called the Rolex of handguns, now manufactured in New Hampshire at a greatly reduced price point. The one I fired was a joy to shoot, with a practically telekinetic trigger.  There’s a very sweet “Kyle Lamb Special” 9mm 1911, and a new X5 P320, essentially a souped-up version of their very popular polymer frame/striker fired pistol.

Among the rifles, my favorite was a suppressed .300 Blackout on SIG’s AR platform.  Recoil and sound signature were both remarkably mild.

A co-sponsor was the Walker company. The Evil Princess and I shot with their new Razor XV BT active hearing protection. You can carry on a conversation behind the firing line with them plugged into your ears, and loud sounds are reduced rather than the disorienting sound cut-out we hear with some of the cheaper active ear pro.  The BT stands for the fact that you can hook up with Bluetooth through them at the same time.  Batteries are good for three to four hours. We found them very comfortable, and the Evil Princess was absolutely hooked on them.  She was listening to podcasts through them while we stood in line awaiting our turn to shoot.  They are plugs secured by a connector that can be worn around the neck whether the plugs are in your ears or not – extremely comfortable!  I tried them under regular active muffs (some of us like to double up around the really loud stuff) and I found them comfortable and functional when used that way, as well.

Stay tuned for more…and bear in mind that there’s so much to see at SHOT, any reviewer can only hope to cover the tip of the iceberg.

New X5 version of SIG P320.


High speed/low drag describes this version of X5 P320.


Here I’m enjoying the soft recoil of the 9mm X5; Razor active ear plugs are doing their job nicely.


Shooting right to left, Evil Princess drop the first of 4 plates with 4 shots from carry version of new P320 variation. She loves the Razor XV BT.


US-made version of legendary P210 SIG will cost less than expected.


Muffs doubled up well with XV BT ear pro, both of which were superfluous with suppressed SIG carbine in .300 Blackout with Romeo 4 optic.



Thursday, January 12th, 2017 by Mas | 16 Comments »

Ever hear of the Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot?  Back in the mid-70s, Richard Davis – the armed citizen who won a three-against-one shootout with armed robbers, and invented the soft, concealable body armor that saved thousands of cops in the decades since – created a competition shooting format in which whoever shot an array of bowling pins off a table fastest, won.  It sounded at first like plinking tin cans off the back fence, only with bigger guns and bullets and targets, but it turned out to have great spectator appeal with instant feedback.

The match grew, drawing hundreds of shooters and hundreds of spectators. It encompassed great free food, and a carnival atmosphere in which the midway was all live-fire outdoor shooting galleries with different games for pistol and revolver, rifle, and shotguns loaded with buckshot for pins and slugs for heavy steel knockover plates out to a hundred yards.

I shot that match 23 or 24 years in a row, until Life went on.  Richard stopped the match, sold his sponsoring Second Chance Body Armor company, and retired. We gun folk missed that iconic match, where many friendships had been made.  I always said that if shooting matches were rock concerts, that one would have been Woodstock.  It was A Happening. It was…groovy.

What’s that you say? The ‘70s called and wants its terminology back? Maybe…but the 21st Century called and said it wanted this great old match back, too.  Richard’s son Matt Davis carried on the family tradition, creating the Armor Express brand that’s now one of the biggest in the body armor industry, and he and his dad have brought The Pin Shoot back!

It will be in its traditional location, the family vacation land of Central Lake, Michigan, near Traverse City.  Awards will be traditional, too:  guns, guns, and more guns.  Entry fee ain’t cheap, but the prize table is good, and deep.  For info on what is now known simply as The Pin Shoot. Dates are June 9-16, 2017. You don’t have to be there the whole time to shoot, and win.

For us old gunnies here (Randy and Ken, you listening?) it’ll be like a high school reunion with guns. I’ve rearranged my schedule to be there.  Hope to see some of you there, too.


Monday, January 9th, 2017 by Mas | 12 Comments »

It’s January 9.  That’s a date I’m unlikely to forget.

My mother was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on January 9, 1909.  She would have been 108 years old today.  She died at 66, two years younger than I am now, of heart failure.  She was a wonderful woman and a great mom, and we lost her far too soon.

My first grandchild was born on January 9, ten years ago today.  Happy birthday, kid! Your great-grandmother would have been hugely proud of you!

A bit later in 2017 I’ll experience the 40th anniversary of writing the Cop Talk column in American Handgunner magazine.  The late, great Col. Rex Applegate had kicked off Cop Talk in the July/August 1977 issue .  I was assigned the column a couple of issues later, the November/December ’77 issue which was the same one that introduced Col. Jeff Cooper as a contributing editor to the magazine , and my first Cop Talk oddly enough was Part 2 of a Part 1 that had begun the issue before in a column then called The Combat Course .

Ah, memories…


…at the same time we remember Shakespeare’s admonition “What’s past is prologue,” and Santayana’s reminder that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” we also have to keep in mind that we can’t change the past (as much as those who practice disingenuous alternate history try), but what we CAN influence is the future.

Gonna keep on trying.  For the next generation, like my granddaughter on her birthday today, and so many more.


Saturday, January 7th, 2017 by Mas | 26 Comments »

For non-tech Luddites like me, the world can be a scary place.

My sweetie, the Evil Princess, was playing one of her incessant iPhone games. You have to understand that I’m the guy who sees a computer as a typewriter with a built-in silencer, and her credo is “iPod, iPad, iPhone, therefore I am.”  Innocent child of the mid-20th century that I am, I asked her what she was playing on the iPhone that never leaves her hand.

Her reply sounded like “pokey Mongo.”

This struck me as strange, since I have dealt with some Mongos in my life and none of them struck me as slow and pokey.  In fact, most of them were quicker than they looked.  This led to discussion.

Turns out that Pokemon Go has gotten people in trouble, hurt, or even killed.  They walk around blindly following images in their iPhones to find phantasmic, hideous creatures and capture them in ways I have yet to understand, and stumble cluelessly into traffic or onto the posted property of angry homeowners who don’t like trespassers.

And THEN, she explained that they’re invisible except to her tribe of iPeople with iDevices, and surround us everywhere.  She showed me a picture of one that sneaked up on me unnoticed while I was at a magazine stand in the Midwest waiting for her to finish shopping.  Aauugghh!


They seem to be not only impertinent, but unresponsive to verbal commands and impervious to pain compliance techniques. Here’s one she photographed in California. Turns out you can put a cigarette out on their head and they get pretty nonchalant about it.


They’re also sneaky. Around Christmas, this one – apparently, a leader among his kind – tried to sneak up on me in Florida.  This time, however, I was ready, and was able to convince him to leave at gunpoint.


Pikachu, meet “Glock-at-chou!”

It’s a scary world out there.  Beware!


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