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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for the ‘Competition’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

The Pin Shoot I’ve been talking about the last couple of entries is in the history books now. Great time had by all.  Only about 140 or so shooters, when in the old days it was hundreds, but after a near twenty-year layoff, the word many not have gone out soon enough. On awards night, I lost count of the prize guns somewhere around sixty or so.

Notable points: Kimberly Heath lowered the overall testosterone level when she won the Concealed Carry event shooting a micro-size 1911 .45.  Nothing new for her: she was overall winner at the National Patrol Rifle Championships a few months ago too.  She and her husband Jeff Chudwin, a several time NPRC winner himself, dominated the two-person rifle event.  No surprise there, either.

Old friend Pat Sweeney, Handgun Editor for Guns & Ammo, upheld the honor of gun writers better than I did, winning a bunch of guns and the overall victory in the revolver match, which requires eight bowling pins to be blown away with a mandatory reload after the first six shots.

Lots of folks brought their kids, and old folks brought adult children.  Ashley Gibbons was in a stroller when her mom and dad brought her to the shoot the first time in the late 1970s; for this one, she was there pushing the stroller instead of riding it, with her adorable nine-month-old twins Lily and Madeleine.  And, of course, her parents.  Three generations at once – yes!

This week was the first time I saw Jerry Moran, the past master of Colt Python action jobs, in about forty years.  He had never met Denny Reichard, whose Smith & Wesson revolver action work today is unexcelled in my opinion.  One of the pleasures of my life is introducing people who will benefit from knowing each other.  I introduced these two, and their conversation that ensued would hold any revolver enthusiast rapt.  I wish I had thought to record it.

Shooting competitions aren’t just about the shooting.  They’re about the people, too.  Hell, I can shoot at home; I go mainly for the people.

Same place next year, along about the second week in June. Keep an eye on their website,

Kimberly Heath, here with full size 1911, shows the form she used to win the Concealed Carry event with a smaller .45.

Sara Campos shoots two-person team with her dad, a regular pin shooter in Ye Olde Days.

Rich Davis, founder of the shoot from its earliest days and rangemaster now, autographs the Second Chance (his old company) toddler size tee shirt Ashley Gibbons wore when she first came to the shoot as a rug rat.

Here’s Ash at the shoot this week, with her own twins — future shooters, no doubt.

Revolver mavens Denny Reichard, (S&W guy,left) and Jerry Moran (Colt guy, right) talking shop in the pavilion at the shoot.

The prize tables were piled deep with guns and other goodies at The Pin Shoot.


Massad Ayoob


Friday, June 16th, 2017

As I write this, the last day of The Pin Shoot dawns. It has been a reunion for a lot of us shooters, many of whom haven’t seen each other in almost 20 years after two dozen years of shooting pins every year here in Central Lake, Michigan. We respectfully and wistfully discuss our fellow shooters who have passed in the interim, and get caught up after the long hiatus.


In the previous blog entry here, James Pritchett commented, “…any practice is good practice. Seems I remember a young, early teens maybe, giving everyone a severe whipping in clearing the table.” Brother Pritchett has a good memory. That would be Johnny Robbins, circa 1977 and thirteen years old at the time, who smoked us all with a 3.9 second run to react to the start signal, come up with a .45, and blow five pins a yard back off the table 25 feet away, the time being stopped when the last pin hit the ground.


Time has passed. John is retired now! He was there at the shoot, and shot some damn fine runs. As a boy batching it with a great single dad, they shot the “pro tour circuit” of the time together. We lost Jack Robbins, Sr. altogether too soon to cancer, but I like to think that somewhere, Jack Robbins is smiling this week.


It all wraps up tonight at an awards ceremony. It is good to see this iconic event back in business. Met some Backwoods Home readers there this year, and hope to see more in 2018.

With Rosanna and Randy Ray. Randy is an old-time pin shooter and a regular here at the blog.

Rosanna Ray, Randy Ray and Massad Ayoob at the Pin Shoot 2007

Forty years later, now retired, John Robbins shows the form he used to win the match overall when he was thirteen.

Johnny Robbins at the Pin Shoot 2007

Denny Reichard manages the recoil of S&W .500 Magnum as he blows the last of 3 pins 14.5 feet backward in new event, The Big Push. He is in second place by a tenth of a second at this writing.

Denny Reichard shooting the Big Push at the Pin Shoot 2017

Estrogen power! Front to back, Gail Pepin with Springfield XD .45 GAP pistol, and Deb Higgins and Bonnie Young with 12 gauge shotguns, destroy two dozen bowling pins at once.

Gail Pepin at the Pin Shoot 2017

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Old gunnies will remember the great Second Chance bowling pin match, with events for handguns, rifles, and shotguns, that ran from the mid-1970s to 1998.  It’s back this week, at its old location in the quaint resort town of Central Lake, Michigan.Pin Shoot

It’s good to drive into a town under a banner that sweeps across the street saying, “WELCOME SHOOTERS.”

The match was founded by Richard Davis, the inventor of concealable soft body armor, who started the Second Chance company. He long since sold Second Chance and retired, but his son Matt is the CEO of Armor Express, also located in Central Lake.  It’s the brand I wear, and the brand that saved guest speaker Brian Murphy, who survived being shot fifteen times during the Sikh Temple massacre in Wisconsin a few years ago.

Lots of old friends here, kind of an “old home day.”  More to come as we share the fun with ya.

Wish you were here.

Pin Shoot Range

Massad Ayoob


Monday, April 24th, 2017

Well, not all that new, but not widely known.  The Evil Princess and I enjoy shooting Glock matches, hosted by the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation.  A third of each run is Bianchi Cup style 8” diameter falling plates shot from eleven yards, four plate racks per entry.  A third is the Five-To-Glock stage, shot on that many buff-colored cardboard targets at various ranges, the targets being the tombstone-shaped NRA D-1 developed originally for Bianchi Cup by my late mentor Ray Chapman. Finally, there’s the Glock M, an array of four D-1 cardboards and one piece of steel.

GSSF was designed for outdoor ranges. Fragments of lead or jacket coming off steel play hell with the lights on indoor ranges.  For indoor shooting, the GSSF folks came up with their gallery match, which of course can be shot outdoors too.  You only get one target at a time to shoot at, and it’s in five- and ten-shot sequences at fixed time.

The Princess and I were planning to shoot one of those, the last of the season, not far from where we live.  Unfortunately, something came up and we couldn’t make it.  I had been psyched up to shoot the darn thing, and E.P. came up with the idea to just shoot it for fun on our range, video it, and make a tutorial out of it.

So, we did.  I blew a shot, dammit, but such is life.  Give it a try; you can shoot it on most any indoor or outdoor range and see how you stack up. You only have to use a Glock pistol if you’re at an official Glock match.

Video follows, run time about twelve minutes. For info go to  There might just be a GSSF Indoor League shooting near you already, and most anyplace in the continental US, you can find a regular GSSF match within a day’s drive.  Lots of fun, and very friendly to newcomers to competitive shooting.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Ever hear of the Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot?  Back in the mid-70s, Richard Davis – the armed citizen who won a three-against-one shootout with armed robbers, and invented the soft, concealable body armor that saved thousands of cops in the decades since – created a competition shooting format in which whoever shot an array of bowling pins off a table fastest, won.  It sounded at first like plinking tin cans off the back fence, only with bigger guns and bullets and targets, but it turned out to have great spectator appeal with instant feedback.

The match grew, drawing hundreds of shooters and hundreds of spectators. It encompassed great free food, and a carnival atmosphere in which the midway was all live-fire outdoor shooting galleries with different games for pistol and revolver, rifle, and shotguns loaded with buckshot for pins and slugs for heavy steel knockover plates out to a hundred yards.

I shot that match 23 or 24 years in a row, until Life went on.  Richard stopped the match, sold his sponsoring Second Chance Body Armor company, and retired. We gun folk missed that iconic match, where many friendships had been made.  I always said that if shooting matches were rock concerts, that one would have been Woodstock.  It was A Happening. It was…groovy.

What’s that you say? The ‘70s called and wants its terminology back? Maybe…but the 21st Century called and said it wanted this great old match back, too.  Richard’s son Matt Davis carried on the family tradition, creating the Armor Express brand that’s now one of the biggest in the body armor industry, and he and his dad have brought The Pin Shoot back!

It will be in its traditional location, the family vacation land of Central Lake, Michigan, near Traverse City.  Awards will be traditional, too:  guns, guns, and more guns.  Entry fee ain’t cheap, but the prize table is good, and deep.  For info on what is now known simply as The Pin Shoot. Dates are June 9-16, 2017. You don’t have to be there the whole time to shoot, and win.

For us old gunnies here (Randy and Ken, you listening?) it’ll be like a high school reunion with guns. I’ve rearranged my schedule to be there.  Hope to see some of you there, too.

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