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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, May 23rd, 2017 by Mas | 15 Comments »

Few things move my cynical old soul to poetry, but when a collector finds a grail, it’s something to celebrate. The grail, of course, is something uncommon that they desperately want to own.

My significant other is the Evil Princess of Podcasts, Pixels, and Polymer Pistols. She bonded with the Glock very early in her shooting career.  Her collection includes this 1911 and that engraved Smith & Wesson, but her daily carry tends toward drastic plastic.  She’ll admit to a long-going fling on the side with the Springfield Armory XD(m) series, but most often, both her daily holster and her competition holster will carry one or another Glock.  Over at her handle is Glock Girl Gail, and she is not only a certified Glock Armorer but has been to the Mother Ship in Smyrna, Georgia and been certified as an Advanced Armorer with this pre-eminent polymer pistol.

Glock 19 RTF2

“In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the grail gun sleeps tonight.”

She tested the Glock RTF2 pistols along with me when they first came out a few years ago. The RTF stood for Rough Textured Finish, with little studs they called “polymids” all over the grip to give a more solid hold in slippery hands.  The RTF2 treatment also included gill-shaped slide grasping grooves.  Her reaction at first was “ho-hum.”

As soon as they discontinued the RTF2 (police departments complained that the rough texture on the grips was chewing up uniforms) she discovered an RTF2 Glock 17, the standard size 9mm, in our hangout, the ProArms Gun Shop.  She fell in love with it and so I bought it.  It became her favorite match gun. Partial to the slightly smaller Glock 19 in the same 9mm chambering for daily carry, she started looking for those in RTF2 format.

They were scarce as the proverbial hen’s teeth.

“Why didn’t you develop your fixation when we could still get the damn things,” I moaned. “I prefer 9mm,” she said with the logic that helps women live seven years longer than men, “and  the ones you tested were .40s and .45s.”

Thus began the quest.  We found the same configuration pistol in .40 caliber, an RTF2 Glock 23, and I bought it for her.  “We can convert it to 9mm easy,” I said.  “It’s still not going to be a Glock 19 RTF2,” she replied adamantly, looking at me as if I had suggested solar powered night sights.  The quest continued.

Glock reintroduced a Larry Vickers Signature Model Glock 19 RTF2. “Let me get you one of those,” I pleaded. “No,” she replied with finality. “It has the RTF2 grip, but not the gills.  I gotta have gills.”

And so it went, until a new Best Friend Forever found her a near-mint condition Glock 19 RTF2 earlier this month.  My hand went for my credit card as if it was a fast draw contest.

Life is better now. Thanks again, Bob!

It’s how collectors are.  “This Winchester ’94 is almost perfect but it doesn’t have the saddle ring.”  “No, this Smith & Wesson Model 27 with 4” barrel isn’t the same as the one I want with 3 ½” barrel.”  (My own last gun grail, an itch now scratched twice over.)

How about y’all?  What grail guns are you still searching for to make your collection complete?


Friday, May 19th, 2017 by Mas | 36 Comments »

I’m sure a lot of the public who saw the acquittal this week of Betty Jo Shelby, the Tulsa police officer charged with Manslaughter in the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, said to themselves “Gosh, Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”

Well, at the moment, I am in Kansas, teaching a MAG-40 armed citizens rules of engagement class at the superb Thunderbird Firearms Academy in Wichita.  One of the students came in this morning and said, “It looks as if the defense lawyers in that Tulsa case did exactly what you told us our lawyers should do if we were ever charged after a self-defense shooting.”

No kiddin’.  I can’t blame those folks who were puzzled by the acquittal in “the shooting of an unarmed black man.” They live in a world where the media doesn’t bother to tell anyone the difference between murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide.

Officer Shelby had observed erratic behavior from a large man who appeared to her to the under the influence of PCP.  This would later be supported by evidence: Crutcher had PCP within his body, and a quantity of it in his car.  After repeatedly ignoring lawful commands, he suddenly reached to the open window of his car, as if for a weapon.  It was enough to cause the male officer present to fire his TASER at Crutcher, and enough to cause Shelby to fire the single pistol shot that killed him.

The public was told that, in this video-taped encounter, Crutcher had his hands up.  At one point he did, but when he was shot, he was reaching as if for a weapon inside the car, with no earthly reason to do so unless he was trying to access a weapon to kill a cop.  The public was told that the window was closed, but by the opening of trial, even the prosecution had to admit that no, it was open.

Talking heads who followed the trial wailed that the defense was foolish to put the defendant on the witness stand, because that just isn’t done.  BS.  In a defensive shooting, what it comes down to is why did she shoot him?  There was only one person who could answer that – and she did.

The defense called material witnesses who confirmed that in police training, Officer Shelby had learned how quickly someone could snatch up a gun and kill a cop with it.  It is supposed to be a jury of one’s peers.  A peer would know what the defendant knew.  Now the jury knew it, too.

The public was told that corrupt investigators had whitewashed Shelby.  That allegation is very decisively refuted, here:

There turned out to be no gun in Crutcher’s car, but in such cases, the law has never demanded that there be one.  All the law demands is that, within the totality of the circumstances, the defendant reasonably perceived that she and her brother officer were in danger of death or great bodily harm (i.e., crippling injury).  In shorthand, “You don’t have to be right, you have to be reasonable.” The defense team got that across to the jury.

Congratulations to Attorney Shannon MacMurray and the rest of Betty Shelby’s defense team. From everything I’ve seen about the case, they did Justice.


Monday, May 15th, 2017 by Mas | 18 Comments »

The Evil Princess reminds me that there’s another new book out this week, my own latest.  I think of it as my “Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence” book.  Teaching at venues like the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association and the annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference, I’ve been able to get to know – and pick the brains of – the best and the brightest of subject matter experts in the world of threat management.  Thanks to those folks, the new book coming out this week is a most useful compendium, if I do say so myself.  Here’s what the publishers, the Gun Digest folks, have to say about it:


Straight Talk on Armed Defense


Acquiring a defensive firearm and a concealed carry permit is only one very small part of the armed lifestyle equation. Straight Talk on Armed Defense equips you with the knowledge to responsibly defend yourself and those you love.


This volume gathers the advice of Massad Ayoob and 11 other highly respected armed-defense authorities to deliver decades of information from one convenient source. You will come away with a solid grasp on how to avoid becoming a victim, the mental make up of assailants, the psychological preparation for self-defense, the legal details of using deadly force, post-incident trauma management and much, much more.

  • John Hearne takes us “inside the defender’s head” and reveals the most effective route to train and prepare for self-defense incidents.
  • Dr. Anthony Semone discusses post-shooting trauma and necessary steps to develop resilience and symptom reduction following a deadly force event.
  • Dr. Alexis Artwohl explains why understanding how the mind operates is critical to surviving an attack and the legal and emotional challenges that follow.
  • Dr. William Aprill describes “the face of the enemy” to help us understand violence and those who traffic in it.
  • Craig “Southnarc” Douglas details the conditions present during the typical criminal assault and how to incorporate those conditions into your training.
  • Massad Ayoob discusses power, responsibility and the armed lifestyle.
  • Tom Givens underscores the importance of finding relevant training, through case studies of his own students involved in armed encounters.
  • “Spencer Blue,” active robbery/homicide detective, reveals patterns that emerged during his investigations and describes the differences in tactics of citizens who won versus those who lost.
  • Ron Borsch presents dozens of actual cases of armed and unarmed citizens single-handedly stopping mass murders in progress.
  • Harvey Hedden provides insight and advice on lawfully armed citizens and interactions with law enforcement.
  • Jim Fleming, Esq. describes the criminal trial process and how it plays out in a “righteous use of deadly force in self-defense” case.
  • Marty Hayes, JD, provides the critical questions that must be asked to choose a reliable post-self-defense incident support provider.


EDITED TO ADD: Should be available jUNE 8 from Amazon, BUT AVAILABLE NOW FROM .


Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Mas | 9 Comments »

For months now since I got my early review copy, I’ve been keeping my promised silence, but now at last Stephen Hunter’s latest book “G-Man” is going to officially go on sale May 16.  I can only say – read it!

Regular readers here know I’m a huge fan of Hunter’s work.  He gets the gun stuff right.  He gets the characters right, too.  

In “G-Man,” Hunter creates a character who is a fictional composite of the great manhunters of the early ‘30s who hunts down folks from the Dillinger gang and, in the alternate universe of fiction, ends up facing Baby Face Nelson.

If you’re an NRA member, you’ve seen the current issue of American Rifleman magazine that has Hunter’s superb article on the shootout in Barrington, Illinois in which two federal agents and Nelson killed each other.  Having accessed hitherto unpublished investigative reports on that shooting, Hunter believes Nelson used a Colt Monitor – the civilian version of the BAR, the Browning Automatic Rifle – in that gun battle.  In the novel, however, Nelson is armed for that encounter with the Thompson submachine gun that most historians believed he used in that fight.  My own research, without benefit of the material Stephen accessed, had pointed more toward a .351 Winchester customized by “gunsmith to the outlaws” Hyman Lebman.

Fiction demands the proverbial willing suspension of disbelief.  Bring some of that to the book, and you’ll love it.  Based on the considerable amount that is known of the gunmen involved, Hunter brings them compellingly to life in “G-Man.”

From the reviewer’s side, I was born in 1948. Both my parents, like all of America during the Depression years, had watched the wild ride of all those early ‘30s “celebrity criminals” like Dillinger and Nelson.  I remembered reading about them in my mom’s detective magazines, which were popular in the ‘50s.  Dillinger, Bonnie & Clyde, and Nelson met their ends from police gunfire in 1934.  Those shootings were about 20 years in the past when I first learned of them as a little boy. For perspective, the FBI shootout in Dade County, Florida in 1986 is now more than 30 years in the past, yet today are still widely cited in discussions of ballistics and tactics. So, you can see I was interested before I opened Stephen Hunter’s latest book.

I can only repeat, Read it!  It’s one of the best from one of my favorite authors, and I expect you’ll enjoy it, too.


Friday, May 5th, 2017 by Mas | 74 Comments »

For years, I’ve warned people that there are a couple of serious concerns with using handloaded ammunition for personal or home defense.  The big one is forensic replicability when the shooter is accused, and opposing theories of distance become a factor.

How often does this happen? One time some years ago, that question came up on an internet debate.  I looked through the ten cases I had pending at the time as an expert witness, and gunshot residue (GSR) testing to determine distance from gun muzzle to the person shot was an issue in four of them.  Forty percent is not what I’d call statistically insignificant.

I’ve found this to be perhaps the most visceral and contentious of gun forum debates. When I suggest to someone that the ammo he crafted himself might be a handicap in court, it’s as if they had just prepared a Thanksgiving feast for their family from scratch, and I’d told them “Don’t poison your family with that crap, go out and buy them some KFC.”

They react as if you had told them they had ugly babies.

Here are two very good writeups, at least one by an attorney, explaining how and why handloaded ammunition can muddy the waters if and when you find yourself in court after a self-defense shooting:


Read, and if you have any friends who use handloads for serious social purposes, please share. You might just save them from the sort of nightmare suffered by the defendant in New Jersey v. Daniel Bias, who was bankrupted by legal fees before the first of his three trials was over, and wound up serving hard time.  Both of his attorneys were convinced he was innocent, and told me they believed that if he had simply had factory ammo in his home defense gun, the case would probably never have even gone to trial.

Discussion is invited here, but PLEASE, read and absorb the two links before posting.

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