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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.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

On Tuesday, we lost one of our great modern firearms and self-defense instructors, Louis Awerbuck. He had seen the elephant in South Africa, and came to the US to do what he did best: teach good people how to survive when other people were trying to murder them. For many years lead instructor at Col. Jeff Cooper’s famed Gunsite training center, Louie went on to establish his own school, the Yavapai Firearms Academy.
A master with pistol, revolver, and every kind of long gun, he was particularly noted for teaching the defensive use of the shotgun. His trademark was innovative shooting scenarios that duplicated real-world difficulties in which firearms had to be employed to protect the innocent. Awerbuck was one of the great trainers in his field, but more than that, he was a thinker. He understood better than most that in the word “gunfight,” the operative syllable was not “gun.”
In person, Louis was an absolute gentleman with a broad knowledge of relevant history and philosophy. He spoke with the same insight and dry wit that characterized his last page column in SWAT magazine, the one I always turned to first when my monthly issue came in the mail.
Fortunately, he leaves a legacy of books and training videos for those who didn’t have the opportunity to study under him personally. A list of these can be found here: .
Of the many eulogies pouring in from the training world, I think the most memorable came from our mutual friend John Hearne, who wrote, “They say that when an old man dies, a library burns. We have lost Alexandria.”


  1. Andre McDaniel Says:

    Condolences to you, Mr. Ayoob, to Mr. Awerbuck’s family and friends on your loss. I have read several of his articles, in which I always learned something new, and always enjoyed. He will certainly be missed by many.

  2. Benny Says:

    Thank you Sir, I have been nearly dumbstruck by his passing and your words are invaluable at this time as will be the legacy you have created by your own good teachings and actions. Thank you for this Good Sir Massad and may you be forever blessed for your work, wisdom and kindness. … ~Benny and Shelly Bennett

  3. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Condolences for your loss of a great man Mas. His memory lives on in those of you who knew him so well.

  4. Tom Browning Says:

    My condolences to all family, friends, and trainees who were blessed to know and/or train with Louis. Many of us have lost a friend. Louis had an uncanny ability to successfully train his students and spot things that could improve their performance. He was always a gentleman and operated with the highest of principles and ethics. He will be missed, and fondly remembered for the good times of shooting, talking about cars, motorcycles, politics, etc.

  5. David S. Keough Says:

    I just found out Louis passed away. What a loss, I wanted to take one of his courses. Though I can still make plans to attend Gunsite, I’ll miss having Louis Awerbuck around. I’ve learned so much, from reading Mr. Awerbucks articles.

    Truly a great man.

  6. Mariza Louw, Kimberley, South Africa Says:

    I just heard this morning that Louis passed away. I live in Kimberley in South Africa and knew Louis since I was 8 years old. He was a good friend to my parents and such a cool guy. Even after my father had passed away and my mother was still alive, he would always come to visit when he came to visit his family in South Africa. As a teenager I always admired this cool, handsome, soft spoken man. I still see him today on his Honda Goldwing motorbike with the Snoopy cartoon when he used to work for our local newspaper. Louis it is with such great sadness that I learnt of your passing away. You will always be fondly remembered by the “Open Door” family in South Africa.

  7. Eddie Says:

    Howdy Mas,

    Its sad to hear the passing of another great defense instructor. I will soon be taking another defense class from what many egard as a great instructor, Dr. Ignatius Piazza of Frontsite. Having never trained under him, I wanted to know if you were familiar with his classes and what your opinion on them was.

  8. Dennis Says:

    Analysis coming?

  9. Mas Says:

    Dennis, there won’t be much I can say about the case until I’m expressly authorized to comment on it publicly by counsel; there will, of course, be an appeal.

    Transcripts of all testimony are available at . I can also comfortably call attention to Judge Krieger’s very explicit commentary as to the fact that she wasn’t deciding whether the law was useful or well-advised, only whether it was Constitutional.

  10. Uncle Dave Says:

    I have had the pleasure to train and hold classes with Louie teaching. His amazing little reptile mind and wit will be missed. I don’t know how many times we have been on the edge of loosing him. I had a class postponed for year in the mid-90’s while he was in the hospital for months. I know he has had illnesses since then. I’m just glad we had him while we did.

  11. ScrewYouBernanke Says:

    I had the privilege of taking 4 classes with Louis. The basics I’ve learned with him are absolute fundamentals and I’ve told people that they’re as important as reading and writing. He conveyed his abilities and limitations through his teaching and made me realize mine. A class act all around.

    He did make one glaring mistake though:

    Louis had said in interviews and told me personally that he had no family. I didn’t realize this at the time, but he has thousands of people out there who are proud to call him family.


  12. Delta Boy Says:

    Loved reading his articles. RIP

  13. Basil Greenan Says:

    We grew up together in Kimberley with the sixties been the greatest time when young personalities blossomed and more so the character of Louis with his Triumph bike and low laying clip on handles racing down Regiment-way to the Plaza. Ever since he left the country he has always been present in mind.
    Good having known him and his late brother Jock.
    ינוח על משכבו בשלום Yanuach Beshalom Al Mishkavo
    Aleha HaShalom

  14. Peter De Toth Says:

    I am sad to hear the news of Louie passing. I have taken several of his class’ what a great instructor, he will be missed. God bless his loved ones.

  15. L.J. Says:

    Went to sign up for a class and found the news, was very sadden. He was a great instructor and passionate about spreading the word to people who wanted to learn. Not being LEO it was always a privilege to participate a class where LEO’s lined up to get in. I will miss him, but I am a better CCW because of him.

  16. Rick Povich Says:

    I just happened to hear about the passing of Louie and am very saddened by this news. I was very fortunate to have been able to take one of his classes (before he went to Gunsite and, subsequently, Yavapai) a number of years ago.

    He and “Blackie” taught it at a farm about 5 miles, as the crow flies, from my house in western PA. I always remember the big smile I got when I’d show up on my BMW dual sport bike. He used to call me “Rick Beemer” and even – against my concerns – pushed my bike into the barn one day when a rain storm popped up. I loved his South African accent too 🙂 Just way too cool!

    His class was a lot of work but I payed attention, practiced, learned a lot and talk about it frequently to my friends. I especially loved practicing with his patented 😉 “hostage-taker” simulator.

    Louis was a great guy who was so generous with his time and expertise. He was always willing to take time to explain a technique or to spend time practicing a new technique that wasn’t specifically on the schedule. I feel like I’ve lost a close friend. I’m very sad.

  17. Beth-Ann Galvin Keschner Says:

    As Louis family in South Africa we were extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the passing of our cousin. We were not aware of Louis health challenges.

    As many of you probably know Louis was not one to communicate much, so our connection was at most bi-annual and yet we always treasured any contact that we had with him. Louis and I shared a common love of Dogs and we discussed our pets with great passion.

    It was also Louis who advised me after I was Hi-jacked at gun point in Johannesburg, that I was better off not ‘arming’ myself in case of this scenario happening again in the future, as he said that the gangster would always be in the position to be more prepared! Such good advice!

    We are so sorry that we were not in a position to offer Louis and Leigh our family support during what sounds like was a very painful period both (physically and mentally) for him, but from all these posts, we are so pleased to know that he was much loved and supported.

    RIP cousin Louis!

    All our love from Beth-Ann Keschner, Connie, Jack and Stefan Joselowitz

  18. Jock Lewin Says:

    I heard of the passing of Louis. Louis was my cousin and we both had emigrated from South Africa to the USA.

    Neither Louis or myself were/are great communicators and we only spoke once by telephone several years ago despite saying we would stay in touch. This common trait makes me think we had more in common than either of us realized and compounds the great sadness I feel with his passing.

    Louis I hope you are at peace in a happy place.

    Totsiens boet

    Jock Lewin

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