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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for May, 2017

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Optical gunsights, in the form of telescopic sights, proved their worth in the 19th century, and today are all but standard on most hunting rifles that aren’t intended for short range.  Red dot optical sights – giving a single focal plane of both aiming index and target, but not necessarily any magnification – showed up in the mid-20th century, as did telescopic sights for handguns.  They were novelties then…but technology moved on.  Glock19 Gen4 MOS RMR

Today you see red dot optics on rifles and handguns alike in competition, ranging from standard bulls-eye pistol to action three-gun matches, and red dots have proven themselves fast, accurate, and rugged enough for combat in the Middle East.  The latest evolution, led by the Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex), are small enough to sit atop the slide on a concealed carry gun.  I know a couple of cops who carry them on their duty pistols, and more private citizens who are doing so.  They are a logical answer for older shooters with aging eyes.

How well do carry optics work, really?  My friend Karl Rehn at KR Training near Austin, Texas is a grandmaster in the United States Practical Shooting Association’s Carry Optics division, and has done more solid research on the concept than anyone I know.

Here is his lecture given at the MAG-40 class I taught at his place earlier this year, courtesy of ProArms Podcast.  More details of his study are at Karl’s site.

A better mousetrap or not yet ready for prime time in concealed carry?  Ya gotta give ‘em a fair shake before you make your decision, but I know some folks who swear by ‘em.  Let us know here what you think of the concept.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, May 27th, 2017

Rifleman and pistolero agree: dry-fire – pressing the trigger of a gun confirmed to be unloaded – is important for marksmanship in everything from the introductory phase to advanced skill maintenance. If you see the sight dip or jerk to the side at the “click,” you know what you have to work on.

As a new shooter in California, Jakob Kishon was disappointed that this was all the feedback dry fire afforded, so he has been working on something he and Kevin Creighton call IPTS: Interactive Pistol Training System.  It includes a recoil simulation system that disturbs sight alignment and forces the shooter to come back on target,

It’s electronic, wireless, and comes with a couple of interactive targets.  The Glock-ish pistol gives assorted feedback metrics, and doesn’t require you to lift your head from your sight picture to see where a laser dot is hitting, a downside with the laser-based dry-fire trainers now available.  MSRP is projected at about $400.  Diligent dry-fire work could pay that off in ammo savings on the first day of use.

It’s still in very early stages and looking for investment funding, but seems to have promise.  See lots more info about it on IndieGoGo.

Offered for your consideration.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Tonight at 9PM Eastern on Investigation Discovery, the focus of the case will be the Spencer Newcomer shooting and murder trial in Pennsylvania.

It will be interesting to see how the show treats this.  Marty Hayes, no stranger to readers here, was expert witness for the defense and did a superb job.  I am more than passingly familiar with this case, and I believe the jury’s acquittal, rendered in five hours of deliberation after a week of trial, was absolutely the correct verdict.

Lots of lessons in this one.  You can listen to Spencer describing the whole ordeal in detail at one of my annual MAG-40 classes in Harrisburg, PA on the ProArms Podcast.


Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

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?

Massad Ayoob


Friday, May 19th, 2017

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.

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