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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.

Archive for the ‘Firearms’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

In November, a starry-eyed professor postulated that the first cartridge in every police officer’s gun should be a blank.

Had the prof done the slightest bit of research, he would have learned that blanks won’t cycle the slide of a semiautomatic service pistol, leaving the gun “jammed” after the first futile loud noise. To make an auto pistol work with blanks for TV and movies, the gun has to be altered in such a way that it can no longer safely fire live ammunition. In a situation where you are on the defensive and have to shoot or die in an instant, loading a defensive weapon with blanks is not only spectacularly stupid, it can be fatally stupid.

In December, some rocket scientist decides the safest way to identify your target before you fire is by pressing your trigger…to activate gun-mounted white light what-could-possibly-go-wrong/ .  The first prototype I saw like this was 25 years ago that the inventor had planted on a Glock, leaving the shooter a startle-twitch away from shooting anything in the light beam that surprised him. We laughed at it then. It’s better to laugh than to cry now, a quarter century later.

Video link

And, at SHOT in January, we saw a resurgence of a trigger that fires the gun once each time you press it…and again as soon as you take your finger off!  It’s an idea that has been around for a while. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives has thus far let that skate with the maker’s argument that it’s only one pull of the trigger, and nothing in the legal definitions EXPLICITLY bans a shot firing when the trigger finger is removed therefrom (a/k/a “release trigger”).  I am not sure how long it will be before the Bureau changes its mind on that, but I for one don’t want to be the test case. Yeah, I know: “because fun.” Still, a firearm that discharges when you take your finger OFF the trigger after firing an intentional shot is far enough away from a normal “manual of arms” that it strikes me as an accident waiting to happen.

How many things do YOU think can go wrong with the above?

Massad Ayoob


Sunday, January 24th, 2016

At industry-only-people SHOT, as at the ordinary folks-accessible NRA annual meeting, you get to talk to the manufacturers and, more importantly, the engineers who are responsible for new guns and related gear.  I’ve found them to be generally responsive to questions.


Photo courtesy Laura Burgess Marketing

You also get to pick the brains of the many experts who congregate there. World champion shooters like Max Michel at the SIG booth and Rob Leatham at the Safariland booth are happy to dispense advice. SHOT_6_05

At the Harris Publications booth I got to chat with Janelle Cooper, widow of the great Col. Jeff Cooper, and their beautiful daughter Lindy Cooper Wisdom, who wrote a superb biography of her ground-breaking dad.  Some good reminiscences, occasionally amusing, were shared.


Spent some time chatting with fellow gun writers and gun owners’ civil rights activists. It was good catching up on things with Sheriff Jim Wilson, and many others.SHOT_6_03

Gun owners being very much a persecuted minority today, it is good for us to immerse ourselves now and then in large groups of like-minded people.  It’s a recharging of the batteries for a political fight that’s going to last longer than any of us will live, and it never hurts to be reminded that we’re on the right side of that fight.


A lot of business is done away from the show floor. Here is a snapshot from a meeting of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network board of advisors. From left: Vincent Shuck, Lynn Givens, Tom GIvens, Marty Hayes, John Farnam, Gila Hayes, Dennis Tueller, Mas, Jim Fleming. Not visible: Manny Kapelsohn.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, January 23rd, 2016

The firearms industry’s premier trade show closed Friday at 4 PM, and stats show it was the second largest in the organization’s history. Sponsor NSSF, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, reported over 64,000 attendees. It should be noted that this is a closed program for industry people only, primarily firearms retailers. There were more than 1600 vendor booths.

All of us here are glad that the “miles of aisles” are done. The Evil Princess’ FitBit told her she walked six miles in just one day. When I was interviewed for the Guns America video blog today, the cameraman told me he was averaging 15 miles a day of walking through the Show.

An update on the much-discussed Kimber revolver from Kimber consultant Grant Cunningham, whom I’ve mentioned before, is here.

SHOT_5_01One of the neatest accessories I’ve seen here comes from Racking Assist, LLC ( . There are lots of folks who for whatever reason have difficulty activating the slide of a semiautomatic pistol. Inventor Russ Hoeffken came up with an ingenious device to facilitate this.

See pix. Go to the website.

Glock pistol with Rack Assist at right…

…muzzle is placed on device as shown…

…quick downward movement of hand on gun allows even debilitated user to apply body weight and activate the slide, charging a round into the chamber if the gun is to be loaded.

SHOT_5_05RoBar has come up with a premium grade AR15 rifle whose unloaded weight is…4.8 pounds. You’re looking at the lower-middle $2,000 price range, in large part because of the cost of all the expensive Titanium involved in its manufacture. The Evil Princess played with it for a while, and then sent the not-entirely-telepathic message, I want this!! Sigh…somewhere, I hear a cash register ringing.



The annual NRA show is where you see the customers. The SHOT Show is where you meet the retailers. The manufacturers are at both. I left the SHOT Show with a strong sense of “We’re on the right side of this, and we’re going to prevail, but it’s going to be a constant generations-long fight”…as it has been for as long as this senior citizen has been alive.

While the 2016 SHOT Show may be over, this blog’s commentary on it is not. There is more to discuss. Stay tuned…

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, January 21st, 2016

Rifles: One rifle now getting a good bit of attention here is the Howa “mini-rifle” newly chambered for the 6.5 Grendel cartridge, and for 7.62X39. It should be available in these calibers later this year. The short action and 20” tapered sporter barrel bring it in under six pounds unloaded, sans optical sights. Many are reporting the action to be extremely smooth.

Shotguns: Benelli is celebrating the 25th anniversary of their excellent Black Eagle semiautomatic sporting shotgun. It’s gone through some permutations in that quarter century and now sports a quintessentially modern European styling, with the same rugged reliability as the one I won many years ago at a match. I was no longer into bird hunting and sold it to someone with more need for it, but miss it still. Franchi introduces a line for small statured folks (they’re pushing it for female shooters, a growing gun demographic) called the Catalyst. The Affinity Catalyst is an autoloader, and the Instinct Catalyst, an over/under.  On the economy side, the new Stoeger P3000 has that distinctive “Euro” look much like the Benelli, but is a slide action with manufacturer suggested retail price of only $299.

Handguns: The new Kimber revolver that’s getting so much attention has apparently had design input from wheelgun guru Grant Cunningham, which to my mind is reason enough all by itself to check one out.  SIG is showing competition versions of their striker-fired P320, and also, their long-promised variant with the manual safety is apparently at last available.  Both seem to be getting big thumbs up from SIG fans visiting the booth.

Finally, I would be remiss if I failed to alert you to the fact that one of my favorite clothiers, 5.11, has just introduced…Tactical Yoga Pants.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

With permission I now channel you a dispatch from Jeff Chudwin at the SHOT Show:

“Range day on Monday for media and industry was held at the Boulder (City Nevada) Rifle and Pistol Club. So much firearms and gear to report on, not enough time.


Having used a 1911 pistol for many years in competition and carrying one for my law enforcement work, I first went to Colt to see what they were working on. Good news to report.

“Colt displayed a number of 1911 Government models that included the light rail version built for the Marine Corps with an Ion Bond (PVD) finish that replaces the original Cerakote, a blue finish competition model in both 9m/m and .45 with a fiber optic front sight, under cut trigger guard, Novak adjustable rear sight, beaver tail grip safety,  ambidexterous thumb safety, match barrel, and custom Colt logo G-10 grips, a  blue finish Combat Unit Rail model in .45 similar to the competition model upgrades but with 25 line per inch checkered front strap, light rail, custom Colt grips, and a  fixed Novak rear sight, a pair of Commanders with the enhanced frames and slides including a blue finish Lightweight Commander in 9 m/m, and a stainless .45 Commander with 25 lpi checkering named after noted writer Wiley Clapp.

“With the limited shooting opportunity I was able to shoot the rail gun and the 9 m/m competition model. With production features mirroring what used to be expensive custom modifications, handling and feel was very good. Both pistols were accurate on the steel targets out to 25 yards but the real answer will have to wait until I can get a chance to run the pistol through a far more extensive set of tests.

“Handling qualities and looks wise, these are very nice pistols. As indicated in the sales sheet below, Colt is obviously working hard to bring the costs down on the 1911’s yet give you an out of the box pistol ready for hard service.

“My only suggestion to Colt is make these pistols in a slim line version using the VZ thin grips and a short trigger. This simple change truly enhances the feel and shootability of the 1911 platform for smaller hand / shorter finger shooters who make up a good part of the market.

“Colt also has a new econo model AR carbine. The Expanse M-4 has all the Colt features minus a dust cover, forward assist, and lacks the chrome lined barrel. For those who will not be in extreme conditions where salt water and rust are a concern, I am not worried about the lack of the chromed chamber and bore. The other rifles we have used since we started shooting do not have this feature and have held up just fine. The dust cover and forward assist are obviously preferred but again, not truly needed. All said, I you want a Colt, the price is right at just under $700 MSRP.”

Thanks, Jeff!



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