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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for December, 2016

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, December 31st, 2016

Yes, hog jowls (pork jowls) are a thing.

“When in Rome,” they say…

Spending the holidays in the
deep South, where I’m told it’s a tradition to have black-eyed peas for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.  Got ‘em.  The Evil Princess is cookin’ ‘em up with hog jowls.  (No. Not kidding. Not making it up. Not a Yankee dissing Southerners with Beverly Hillbillies stuff. Hog jowls are, apparently, “a thing.”)  And no, they didn’t have any possum shanks at the Market.


Wouldn’t be New Years without some trigger pullin’, so Bob Houzenga and I spent some time with Jim “Fast E. Nuff” Willis and Bob “Red Rob” George for an introduction to Cowboy Fast Draw as practiced by the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. ( . Bob and I had both shot years ago in SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society, where live ammo is fired at steel from Western-style six-guns, lever action rifles, and 19th Century style shotguns.  In CFD, all you need is the one single action revolver and holster, and you’ll be shooting wax bullets at 24” steel targets. The hit registers on an electronic timer, and you start with hand on gun, drawing and firing one hand only when a light flashes.  They were kind enough to let us shoot without the requisite cowboy togs.


“Fast E. Nuff,” left, and “Red Rob” show how it’s done. Guns are Ruger New Vaqueros in .45 Colt.


Lights on the 24″ discs indicate it’s time to draw and fire; hit time appears on LED readout.


Special casings take #209 shotgun primers to propel wax bullets.


Bob “Buck Staghorn” Houzenga, foreground, shows “how fast is fast.” Mas “Camelback Kid” Ayoob shows “how slow is slow.”



Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

As many of you know, I run Massad Ayoob Group, LLC, offering training in firearms and defensive deadly force around the country. .   We do a (very!) sporadic newsletter for graduates.

For the first time, I’m duplicating the newest of those newsletters here.  It also gives me a good excuse to push for a benefit class I’m doing for some wonderful gun people a little north of Indianapolis. It’s a good opportunity to get some “gun stuff” in without freezing your butt off on an outdoor range in Indiana in February.

Let me know what you think.


Hey, gang Mas here, to say thanks to all who made 2016 such a great year for Massad Ayoob Group.

We have a full year planned, with a very few classes that aren’t yet on the 2017 schedule at  You’d think range rentals could be locked in more than a year ahead of time, but such is not always the case. Stay tuned to the website for more…

I’d like to call your attention to one class that is near and dear to my heart.  We’re doing a MAG-20 Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement Class on February 11-12, 2017 in Rochester, Indiana. Bad news: frigid weather. Good news: that particular course is all classroom, in a nice, warm, modern sportsmen’s club we’ve rented for the occasion.  This will be a BENEFIT CLASS for Sand Burr Gun Ranch. Sand Burr was founded by my old friend Denny Reichard, who has been a full instructor for me under LFI and today for MAG since 1986.  He is perhaps the pre-eminent gunsmith today for “street-tuning” Smith & Wesson revolvers of all sizes and calibers. Retired after 36 distinguished years as a full-time street cop, he and his family own Sand Burr Gun Ranch.

Several weeks ago, a very sophisticated rip-off team managed to break in and steal $40,000 plus worth of handguns from the Sand Burr gun shop. They have not been recovered at this time, though the investigation continues. This is a very hard hit for a small family business which could not afford exorbitant insurance rates.

So…ALL proceeds from this class will go to Sand Burr, including my usual teaching fees.  If you’ve been thinking about taking one of these classes or sending someone else, this is a chance to kill two birds with one stone:  Get the class (two ten-hour days that may run into eleven-hour days) for standard price, AND to do a good turn for a good family of gun owners and protectors, thus showing solidarity with Gun People. Win-win.  For info contact Ashley or Denny at Sand Burr Gun Ranch,

(Why is this particular class likely to run overtime? Because we expect to have the winners and survivors of as many as five or more gunfights there to tell their stories and answer your questions in person.)

First quarter 2017 classes include the same MAG-20 in Virginia, Arizona, and Alabama and a MAG-40 in Florida.  We go full time teaching around the country in April.  In first quarter, we had to leave space open for some upcoming trials, and also for some events we hope to see you at:

  • Annual conference of International Association of Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers, St. Louis. I will once again have the honor of chairing the 4-hour Panel of Experts on Deadly Force and Firearms Training.
  • Annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference sponsored by Tom Givens, Little Rock. Marty Hayes and I will co-teach a class on how to best serve as an expert witness in shooting cases.
  • SHOT Show, Las Vegas
  • Glock (GSSF) matches in Alabama, Florida, and Nevada – if you’re going and would like to shoot on the same squad with me and Gail and some other MAG folks, let me know.

Wishing you all a great 2017,

Mas Ayoob

Massad Ayoob


Friday, December 23rd, 2016

It’s a particularly cold winter so far in much of our country.  The time of year to sit by the fire and indulge your hobby by reading good gun, hunting, and shooting books. Or drilling on technique dry fire, or with air guns or even Airsoft. Or…to start working on “gun projects.”

Going to bed the stock on your hunting rifle?  Install a new scope?  Stay in where it’s warm, sit down at your reloading station, and load up the 2017 ammo supply?  Customize something otherwise?

I have a couple of gun projects going on my end – both classic handguns, one a lot older in concept than me and the other a “modern classic.”

On my twelfth Christmas I received – and instantly bonded with – a Colt 1911 .45 auto produced toward the end of World War I.  I still own it, and my affinity with it spawned, um, a few more.  I’m long overdue to finish a “project gun” I began in the 1990s, and then dropped the ball: a Colt Lightweight Commander .45, Series ’80.  I decided back then to do something I rarely do, and give it a nickname.  It will be “Freddy the Forty-Five,” named after the movie character “Freddie From Elm Street,” who was said in the horror films to be “the bastard child of a thousand madmen.”  This pistol will be the bastard child of a thousand gunsmiths with mad skills. Well, maybe not a thousand.

So far, Pete Single has done the gripframe checkering (superlative!) and the great 1911 pistolsmith Richard Heinie has already installed a low-profile magazine well that won’t compromise concealed carry, but will speed up reloading.  Dave Lauck has provided the heavy duty fixed sights, “ledged” so that in a one-hand-only situation the slide can be racked against belt or holster. More work is due.  This may well become my “retirement carry gun,” assuming I live long enough to grow weary of what I do and actually retire.

The other is a Glock 19 I earned at a pistol match. The Evil Princess and I already have “his and hers” specimens of this hugely popular 9mm compact, so this one cries out for…experimentation.  I’m thinking new sights, a grip re-shaping to better fit my arthritic old hand, and…???

How about you?  Any winter gun projects coming up?  Maybe some plans to shoot in a Winter League?  You’re invited as always to share here.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

If you follow the battle over gun owners’ civil rights, you are familiar with the landmark US Supreme Court case of Otis McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago in 2010, which ended the longstanding ban on handgun ownership in that city and paved the way for Illinois to become the last state to get concealed carry for ordinary private citizens.  Among the other named plaintiffs in the “et. al.” part of that were Colleen and David Lawson.  They went through a lot for all of us.

A few days ago, a terrible fire killed David’s brother and niece, and destroyed the entire place with virtually all the family’s belongings.  David and his mother barely escaped with their lives. I call your attention to their Go Fund Me page, here:

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

It has been a good year for female shooters.  America’s first Gold Medal in this year’s Olympics was captured by young Virginia Thrasher, competing in ten meter Women’s Air Rifle.  Kim Rhode went Gold, too. Having won her first world shooting championship at the tender age of 13, Ms. Rhode is described thus in Wikipedia:  “A California native, she is a six-time Olympic medal winner, including three gold medals, and six-time national champion in double trap. She is the most successful female shooter at the Olympics as the only triple Olympic Champion and the only woman to have won two Olympic gold medals for Double Trap. She won a gold medal in skeet shooting at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, equaling the world record of 99 out of 100 clays.[2] Most recently, she won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics making her the first Olympian to win a medal on five different continents and the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games.”

As an American, I’m proud of them both. Personally, though, I’m proudest of a female champ I do have the honor of knowing, Kim Heath of the Will County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Department. An awesome trainer, she showed her mettle this year when she won the National Patrol Rifle Championships where the competition is not only very tough but very strenuous,  beating all the men present as well as the handful of other female officers.  Here’s the story on that.

You can see her in action, teaching:

Or you can watch the video here.

I salute them all.  The great rifle expert Col. Townsend Whelen was famous for saying, “Only accurate rifles are interesting.”  To that one might add, “Only strong women are interesting.”

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