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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, March 2nd, 2015 by Mas | 1 Comment »

I’m still sorting voluminous notes taken at the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, held last week at the Memphis (TN) Police Academy.  Though police and to a lesser extent military folks were certainly represented, the majority of the turnout was comprised of law-abiding citizens who keep and carry guns to defend themselves and those within “the mantle of their protection.”

Host and founder Tom Givens makes this conclave an extraordinary mix of participatory hand-to-hand work, live fire defensive shooting, and classroom lecture by subject matter experts. The attendee picks his or her chosen classes from an agenda too big for any one person to take everything. A good overview can be found here  from Andrew Branca, who presented articulately there on his signature topic, the law of self-defense.

As always, a side event was the famous Polite Society Match, named after Robert Heinlein’s famous quote that “An armed society is a polite society.” For 2015, 136 of the 180 or more participants shot the match. This year’s event was deceptively simple: two targets at only three to seven yards, timed including mandatory draw from concealment, with hellacious penalties for hits outside the relatively small (and indistinguishable) “five out of five point” boxes in the center of the targets’ heads and chests.  What made it tricky was extremely dim light.  As you watch one attendee go through it, bear in mind that DrZman, who took the video, had to use his techno-magic to brighten the scene up considerably so a viewer could see what the heck was going on in the first place:

Or Click here to see video:

Congratulations to Tim Chandler, who won with an awesome score fired with a 9mm Glock 17.


February weather was ugly in the mid-South, so next year they’ll be putting it closer to spring. You can’t get a better deal on a smorgasbord of America’s top self-defense trainers. It’s now a regular stopping point on my own learning calendar. Sign up here:


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 by Mas | 23 Comments »

Today marks the tenth anniversary of a mass shooting in which a courageous armed citizen ended the carnage. WilsonTylerTX

Tragically, the bullets from Mark Wilson’s subcompact Colt .45 auto were stopped on the killer’s vest, and he was able to shoot and murder Wilson.  But after that he fled, and he inflicted no further gunshot wounds. In the pursuit that followed, the murderer was shot and killed by Lt. Rusty Jacks of Tyler PD.

I’ve been to Tyler a couple of times since then, once for a grand jury and once for a civil trial arising out of another fatal shooting, both in the courthouse where the atrocity we’re discussing went down. You can still see the pockmarks from the gunman’s bullets on the walls of the building. I’ve debriefed some of the lawmen and lawyers who were in the courthouse when that nightmare took place. I’m proud to have been able to shake the hand of Rusty Jacks.

And I’ve stood in front of the monument in the Tyler town square to a courageous armed citizen who used his pistol to stop a mass murder, and save the lives of God knows how many people in his community.

RIP, Mark Wilson. You were a hero.


Friday, February 20th, 2015 by Mas | 62 Comments »

As the news and weather broadcasts were filled with horror stories from the frozen and snow-surfeited North of our country, I was congratulating myself on escaping it all in Dixie.  Right until I found myself in the mid-South, Memphis, where the TV stations were talking about “polar” weather in the South and Memphis was undergoing an ice-storm with roads like skating rinks and one local paper with one word in big all-caps for its front page headline: “FROZEN.”

Share the misery and see if it helps. (Our friend Miggy in Miami is even welcome to share his warm-weather smugness.)

How’s the weather where you are, and what are you doing to cope?


Monday, February 16th, 2015 by Mas | 51 Comments »

Ah.  People want training for police in recognition of replica guns.

I wanna see the syllabus.

I want to see how anyone who knows the meaning of the word “replica” is going to structure that training.

From the online dictionary:

 noun rep·li·ca \ˈre-pli-kə\

: an exact or very close copy of something

Now, let’s see. If it’s an exact copy, how is the officer (or lawfully armed citizen) going to be able to tell that it’s not the real thing, exactly? Does he or she wait for the first shot? Uh-oh, that could be a cap or a blank. Wait for the first bullet to hit, maybe, and make sure it’s not a BB, an air gun pellet, or a little Airsoft projectile?

News flash for those who need it: Bad guys use replica guns BECAUSE they are very hard to distinguish from real ones.  That’s why their victims give them money during their robberies. Why would a robber use a fake gun? Maybe he can’t access a real one that day.  Maybe he is under the (usually mistaken) belief that if it isn’t a real gun, he’ll be charged with something less than armed robbery if he’s caught.

Paint the fake ones bright colors? Please.  They’ll just paint them flat black, the way they remove the orange muzzles from Airsoft guns or paint them to match the rest of the gun, already.

And what about all the pink and other cute color REAL guns on the market today, an idea that goes back to the old High Standard Sentinel pastel .22 revolvers in pink, gold, and sky blue of the 1950s?  What about the real guns I see with Hello Kitty™ and such on them?

And what of the punks who take their REAL guns and paint the muzzles or the whole thing Day-Glo™ orange, in hopes of making an arresting officer hesitate long enough that the criminal can murder the cop?

I wanna see the syllabus.  This idea strikes me as a big, steaming pile of unicorn feces.


Wednesday, February 11th, 2015 by Mas | 31 Comments »

A while back, I was doing some research on poisonous snakes and came across references to silent rattlers.  I mentioned it here, and got lots of response, which burgeoned into a discussion on dealing with dangerous reptiles.

That in turn grew into this article, in the current issue of Backwoods Home magazine. Most Interesting Man

In my opinion, it was the broad experiential input and knowledge from those who contributed to the blog that really made the article.

This is at least the second time this has happened.  A few years ago, a discussion here burgeoned into a full-length article on hunting, shooting, and handling firearms in deep cold weather.

All y’all are a tremendous think tank and experience repository.  I don’t thank you often enough.




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