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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, January 20th, 2015 by Mas | 9 Comments »

This is the week of the SHOT (Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade) Show, where the lion’s share of new guns for the given year are introduced.  I was scheduled to be there and had to cancel at the last minute, darn it, but fortunately lots of news is emerging from there daily on the blogosphere.

Monday was “Media Day” when the writers and bloggers get to test-fire new products at the range.  One excellent report is here:

The new .17 caliber Savage rifle is the first semiautomatic I’ve seen so chambered. For the shooter who has lots of small, fast varmints and therefore needs rapid delivery of small, fast bullets, this sounds most promising. For hunting deer and such, I’m intrigued to learn that “the Christiansen Arms .308 with its carbon fiber barrel has almost no recoil, yet it weighs just six pounds, and its titanium muzzle brake does an outstanding job of keeping muzzle rise to almost nothing.”

The SHOT Show is in Las Vegas, and if I was there and they were taking bets on such things, I’d put my money down that the single best-selling new introduction mentioned in the dispatch from the front linked above will be Ruger’s drop-in trigger assembly for the incredibly popular 10/22 rifle.  Said to be light and sweet, affordable and easy to drop in, it’s going to be a huge hit with target shooters of all types. I expect a lot of them to show up at the great Appleseed events, which we at Backwoods Home enthusiastically support.


Saturday, January 17th, 2015 by Mas | 31 Comments »

One trend American gun dealers will see next week at their biggest trade show, the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, will be new 10mm Auto pistols by major makers.

The 10mm semiautomatic has a lot in common with the .41 Magnum revolver. Each had big name proponents behind it.  Elmer Keith and Bill Jordan were the ones who convinced Smith & Wesson and Remington to come out with the .41 Mag circa 1964; it was promoted as the coming thing in police service revolvers; it turned out to be too large and powerful to catch on there, but became a “niche” cartridge that held great appeal for hunters and enthusiasts.

Whit Collins and Jeff Cooper were credited with bringing the 10mm Auto cartridge to life in the 1980s, and it was predicted to become the new paradigm of police service pistols.  It didn’t…but “civilian” handgunners, particularly outdoor sportsmen, loved its ballistic potential combined with auto-pistol round count and shootability, and there it found its niche.

This year, SIG-Sauer is bringing out their excellent P220 all steel double action pistol in 10mm, both in service size (4.4” barrel) for general carry, and a long-slide (5” barrel) for those who want maximum velocity and/or sight radius.  The 10mm P220 was pioneered as a custom item by master shooter and gunsmith Bruce Gray, whom I had the privilege of shooting with on the HK factory competition team back thirty-some years ago.

Glock has announced their G40, which will be their sixteen-shot 10mm Glock 20 of 1990, but with a longer, slimmer slide and 5.3” barrel, identical in appearance to the .45 caliber Glock 41 introduced a year ago.  And mainstream ammo-maker Federal has joined small boutique ammo-makers like Buffalo Bore and CorBon in offering specific 10mm hunting loads.

The rationale for the outdoorsman is that, delivering ballistics between .357 Magnum and .41 Magnum revolvers but with way more than six shots, the 10mm with a deep-driving bullet gives more of a fighting chance against large bears, and perhaps faster follow-up shots on big feral hogs.

I’ve long been a fan of the 10mm concept, and I’m glad to see it making something of a comeback.  My only complaint is the name Glock gave their new one.  The company has long been overdue to make a factory .22 conversion unit for their popular pistols.  Since the Glock 22 of 1990 is .40 caliber, it would have seemed “fair and balanced” for a .22 caliber version to be the Glock 40…

Correction, 1/21/15:  Oops, the barrel length on the Glock 40 10mm is six inches, not 5.3. Sorry about that– Mas


Monday, January 12th, 2015 by Mas | 56 Comments »

The recent atrocity in Paris reminds us all of the continuing danger from homicidal fanatics.  The cowardly murderers ran rampant, unopposed; according to some reports, one or both of the police officers killed in the massacre were unarmed and helpless to fight back.

President Obama is taking a lot of heat for not flying to Paris to join a reported 40 other heads of state in a show of solidarity.  This is one thing I won’t criticize the man for. If I were head of Secret Service I would have stood in the Oval Office and screamed at him, “It’s nucking futs! Can you imagine a more irresistible target for Islamic terrorists than forty-one of you, including the head of the Great Satan itself?!?”  I’m frankly amazed that there wasn’t an attack on the gathering, though I’m glad there wasn’t…and if the free world’s security services are smart, they won’t tell us if there was such a conspiracy and they were able to successfully abort it behind the scenes.

Could it have helped if someone in the Charlie Hedbo offices had been able to shoot back? No guarantees, but it damn sure wouldn’t have hurt!  My take on the matter is mentioned here among others’ .

I was able to discuss the concept earlier in more depth here, in this very Backwoods Home blog , and here in Backwoods Home Magazine .

The prohibitionists and anti-self-defense groups will scoff at the idea that one or more people with handguns among the crop of victims might have thwarted two men who wielded AK47s. They don’t want to hear about Charl van Wyk, who stopped twice that many in a South African attack, armed only with his five-shot snub-nose .38 revolver. You can read about his case and more – and about dozens of helpless victims murdered when there wasn’t “a good guy (or gal) with a gun” to stand up for them – in the current issue of American Handgunner magazine: .

The authorities expect more such attacks throughout the free world and, yes, here.  My advice is load, holster, and be ready.

It’s not about the odds…it’s about the stakes.

That’s enough about what I think. I want to hear what YOU think about this.


Friday, January 9th, 2015 by Mas | 18 Comments »

I’ve become a fan of the “Freakonomics” books and podcasts. I like the way Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner apply critical thinking, logic, and “where the rubber meets the road” reality. So, it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed their newest book, “Think Like A Freak.” (Harper-Collins, 2014.)think-like-a-freak

These guys think in the big picture, using real world anecdotes to illustrate their points.  Readers can’t help but apply their thinking to our own issues. We gun owners wonder why, when even many high profile “gun control” advocates admitted the ten-year experiment of Bill Clinton’s national Assault Weapons Ban didn’t change a damn thing, the Bloombergs of today, more than 20 years later, still go after such things so ferociously. One answer may be found in “Think Like A Freak” at page 192 (hardcover edition): “Quitting is hard in part because it is equated with failure, and nobody likes to fail, or at least be seen failing.”

Levitt and Dubner urge us to look beyond the superficial, and get to root causes of bad things. They write, “In 1960, crime began a sudden climb. By 1980, the homicide rate had doubled, reaching a historic peak. For several years crime stayed perilously high but in the early 1990s, it began to fall and kept falling. So what happened?”  They explain in part, “Gun murders are down? Well, you figure, that must be from all those tough new gun laws – until you examine the data and find that most people who commit crimes with guns are almost entirely unaffected by current gun laws.” (Pages 67-68.)

We all know people who are smart and usually logical, but have an absolute blind spot when it comes to the gun issue, and insist on guzzling the Kool-Aid of anti-gun propaganda. What could account for that? For one thing, self-image.  We all want to think well of ourselves. In discussing the psychology of charity, Levitt and Dubner point out that people contribute to charities because “1. People are truly altruistic, driven by a desire to help others” or “2. Giving to charity makes them feel better about themselves; economists call this ‘warm-glow altruism.’”  In a similar vein, taking what looks like a life-saving position on an issue can give the same “warm-glow” effect. Combine that with Levitt/Dubner’s earlier explanation of why people resist the truth when they’re proven wrong, et voila: we have a piece of the psychological puzzle that explains why many normally logical people can’t see the absence of fact and logic in the “gun control” movement.

If you haven’t looked into the “Freakonomics” series, check it out.  These guys make people think.


Monday, January 5th, 2015 by Mas | 27 Comments »

Got a personal anniversary this week: January 8, 2005 was when I became the first five-gun master in IDPA.  The acronym stands for International Defensive Pistol Association, and until January ’05, there were four handgun divisions. They were Stock Service Pistol for double action or striker-fired (like the Glock), 9mm or larger caliber; Enhanced Service Pistol, encompassing the above plus single action autos, those with modified grip-frames and enlarged magazine wells, etc.; Custom Defense Pistol for .45 autos; and Stock Service Revolver for six-shooters with four-inch or shorter barrels.  The latter division had been dominated by fast-reloading .45 ACP revolvers with moon clips, so the fifth division – Enhanced Service Revolver – was created for that kind of handgun to level the playing field among the other revolver shooters.

I had earlier become one of the first four-gun masters (never did find out which of us was THE first), and now there are 24 five-gun masters out of some 22,000 members worldwide. I’m still kinda proud of that.

Any anniversary is a time to look back at progress, and how we got from where we were to where we are. This year, Enhanced Service Revolver is “going away,” and IDPA will adopt two new divisions, one for compact 9mm-type pistols, and one to accommodate a small but growing trend of carry pistols mounting small red dot optics.

There have been other changes in IDPA rules. Some pleased the participating membership at large. Some, such as the recent requirement for reloading only while standing flat-footed, did not. IDPA has listened to its membership and that rule is changing. I for one think that is A Good Thing.

As the game changes over the years, so do each of the players.   On my end, I noticed that while IDPA matured, I just got old. I was reminded of that in the three IDPA matches I shot in the last five weeks. Last Sunday in Orlando, shooting a little Glock 26 9mm in Stock Service Pistol, I managed to take “most accurate” overall for the match, but barely clawed my way into top ten when accuracy was combined with speed for final score. In December in Jacksonville, I managed to win Enhanced Service Pistol division shooting a Springfield Armory XDm 9mm and also win the Distinguished Senior category, a kind concession to the decrepitude of those of us over 65. And in between in Gainesville, I shot the same Springfield and didn’t win a damn thing, but still had fun.  My hit potential is the same as ever, but I move slower than I used to between firing points, and in “run and gun” my “run” no longer keeps pace with my “gun.”

But it’s still good fun with great people, and it still keeps you sharp with defensive firearms, so I’m gonna keep doin’ it, even if the day comes when they have to time me with an hourglass instead of an electronic gunshot timer.  If you haven’t tried IDPA, you owe yourself a shot at it, no pun intended.  Go to to find a club near you that hosts such matches.

Arrows show Mas’ brass in the air as Glock 26 shoots its way to “most accurate” at Orlando match last Sunday. Not shown is slowness of getting to firing station in the first place…Darn it.

04 Massad Ayoob Blog



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