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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for the ‘Preparedness’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

In an effort to reduce the casualty count in mass murders, both the corporate world and the groves of academe have adopted the strategy called “Run-Hide-Fight”

Run: Get the heck outa Dodge as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop an active killer from murdering those who can’t run from him, and if you’re in his line of sight, you can’t outrun a bullet.

Hide: A locked, blacked out classroom may not offer a target, but the killer may be able to shoot his way through a locked door, as the monster did at Sandy Hook.  And it does nothing to stop the murderer from harming others.

Fight: This is usually presented as “throw books at the gunman or try to hit him with a stapler or something.”  It’s a bit like Polish horse cavalry charging German machine gun emplacements: a noble way to die in righteous cause, but shall we say, not the optimum strategy.

Kudos to Liberty University for taking a better approach.  Please take time to watch it to the end, and if you don’t have a whole eight minutes, start about four minutes into the training video:

Or Click Here for video.

The young man who sent me this is a student at both that school and mine.  I don’t want to expose him to the vitriol of anti-gun “progressives,” so I won’t mention his name here, but he certainly has my thanks. And so does Liberty University!

*Run, Hide, Fight is a registered Trademark cf the City of Houston, TX

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, September 10th, 2016

This blog will be posted on 9/11/16, the fifteenth anniversary of the atrocity that was to our generation what Pearl Harbor was to our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  Pearl Harbor led to a long and terrible war, and a time of homeland deprivation and Victory Gardens. It was a time that saw Americans donating their hunting rifles, shotguns, and handguns to Britain to allow the home guard there to defend against what was expected to be a boots-on-the-ground invasion of the British Isles by the Nazis.

Our forbears won that epic battle to preserve freedom. They left a lasting legacy of preparation. And, yes, of self-reliance. In World War I, a “backwoods home” kinda guy who had learned how to shoot in the hills, Sgt. Alvin York, put those skills to good use and became America’s greatest hero of the conflict.  Audie Murphy, the most decorated hero of World War II, came from a similar mold.  Fast forward to Carlos Hathcock in Vietnam, and Chris Kyle in the current long-lasting conflict that grew out of 9/11/01. There are lessons here.

That self-reliance is at the heart of Backwoods Home, our host entity and the one to which I paid homage in the most recent post before this one.  A couple of days ago, at the Self-Reliance Expo in Lakeland, FL I finally got to meet Jackie Clay-Atkinson, who for good reason is Backwoods Home’s most popular writer. Her talk drew more people than any other presenter’s, and watching her answer audience questions I saw a human encyclopedia of the answers the attendees sought.

It’s easy to see why she’s so popular. She’s as down to earth in person as she is in print, and Jackie also has a sense of humor of which the print media has not taken full advantage. She genuinely cares about the people who read her work. She walks the walk, talks the talk, and lives the life.  She and her family are role models in many, many ways.

The Backwoods Home booth was clearly the most heavily attended at the Expo while I was there, including the Home Depot display.  The “real people” public recognizes what Backwoods Home is doing for them.

On 9/1l/16, “Keep your head on a swivel” as Pierce Kibbey advised in his excellent presentation at Self-Reliance Expo. The “bad guys” in this fight seem to place value on anniversary dates when they plan their evil.

And stay ready for anything (I say as someone who went through a hurricane about ten days ago, and was glad to be prepared).  Thanks to Jackie and the whole team at Backwoods Home for all they do.

The Expo…


Got to finally meet Jackie, left, and see Lenie Duffy again…


Jackie commanded the rapt attention of the largest audience I saw at the Expo.


Pierce Kibbey’s lecture on situational awareness was timely.


Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

No, not from our sponsor, for our sponsor – Backwoods Home magazine.

I’m kinda slow to pick up on some things. I realize now I’ve been blogging here since 2008, and don’t recall ever offering a thank you to our hosts, the Duffy family.  Jackie Clay has been doing her wonderful, wide-ranging blog on homesteading here even longer.  I’ve been the firearms editor for the magazine for going on twenty years. Time flies.

Dave Duffy’s long ago vision of a publication geared not only for the self-reliant, but for independent thinkers, has blossomed over the decades. The company offers a great collection of digests of the best writing that has appeared in Backwoods Home over the last couple dozen years.  A broad selection of other books, too.  I look forward to reading Backwoods Home every month, and now, to its sister magazine Self-Reliance as well.

Going back to the beginning, Dave and the family have taken a big financial hit because they stood up for the right thing.  They’ve lost advertising from a lot of “green” companies that were aghast that BHM would publish pro-gun, pro-self-defense articles by me and others. (Yes, in the time of “political identity” there are some out there who seem to think “green=’progressive’=anti-gun.”) Yet the Duffys stuck to their principles on these matters, as they did on so many more. They know that self-reliance and freedom are two sides of the same coin, and make it clear in every issue.

That’s something to be rewarded. Most every year, there’s someone on my Christmas or birthday list who is an ideal recipient for this or that book Backwoods Home sells.

And, I hope all y’all are subscribing. The Duffys make the digital version of Backwoods Home available free, with many of the articles to be found on the newsstand edition (but not all). They deserve some quid pro quo.

To Dave and all the rest of the Backwoods Home team – thanks for all you do!

Massad Ayoob


Monday, August 29th, 2016

Those who spend a lot of time outdoors often carry handguns not just for the situations one imagines will be preceded by ominous banjo music, but for the wilderness’s own dangerous denizens.  We don’t want “Deliverance” or “The Revenant” to be the template for our outdoor adventures.

My old friend Alan Kulovitz, retired from the Cook County, Illinois (Chicago area) Sheriff’s Department, turned me on to this excellent article.  It was written by Larry Mudgett, one of our leading experts in firearms and tactics.

I first met Larry thirty-some years ago at Chapman Academy in Columbia, Missouri, where he was training under founder and world champion Ray Chapman.  Larry, I learned, was a decorated street cop, SWAT operator, gunfight winner, and firearms instructor extraordinaire. He has continued the latter vocation since his retirement from LAPD, and he is well up on the list of instructors I recommend.

Read Larry Mudgett’s linked article.  It will enhance your appreciation of a potent handgun worn during outdoor pursuits.

Massad Ayoob


Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

While deer season is the traditional time for sighting in, and that’s a ways off from now, it’s never too early to get things nailed down. Besides, self-defense knows no season, and the protection guns should always be sighted in, if only for verification. Something bumps the gun, eyesight changes…ya never know, so it’s best to be currently sure.

GlockWebI had two guns to select and sight in last Sunday. For an upcoming class, significant other’s 19-year-old grandson will be attending, and needs us to bring a handgun for him. He asked for a Glock 9mm, and it seemed logical to select one of the three I had earned recently at matches.

Only one had already been sighted in, a 4th generation Glock 17, which I’d had fitted with Trijicon night sights. It had been dialed in with the three glowing green globes in alignment, but we wanted the kid to learn a conventional post in notch sight picture, and with that it hit a tad right. (LESSON: Dots, fiber optic modules, and conventional sight pictures don’t always send the bullets to the same point of aim/point of impact coordinates.)  Group size was a bit under three inches.

Next up was a 3rd generation specimen of the same pistol, just in. The 115 grain American Eagle full metal jacket training ammo put five shots exactly into an inch and a half, the best three half an inch apart center to center, but the group hovered a tiny bit to the left of point of aim. Finally, I tried a likewise new from the box Gen 3 Glock 19, the slightly smaller version of the 17. The group ran 3.65”.  I let the Evil Princess decide, since it’s her grandson. She chose the Gen3 G17.  There’s enough difference between two shooters’ eyes that what’s off for me might be spot on for him, and if it’s not, it’ll be no trick to push the rear sight a whisker to starboard.


1911WebThe other thing I needed to sort out was the gun to wear on our next trip after this one, which will encompass a state with a strict ten-round magazine limit, so I decided I’d take a 1911 .45 with single-stack mag. Two that I pulled from the safe were Springfield Armory guns. One was a TGO-II match pistol I’d just gotten back from a friend, who’d borrowed it as a spare to his twin of it for a major match. (His ran fine and he didn’t need the spare.) He told me he’d adjusted the sights some, and sure enough, at 15 yards the group averaged two inches left for me. Fortunately, that’s easy to fix with adjustable sights. I was happy with the 1.70” group, three of them touching. REDUNDANT LESSON: What’s “sighted in” for one shooter’s eyes, may not be for another. A much less expensive .45 from the same maker – the Springfield Range Officer, which I consider the best buy in an all-around 1911 pistol today — ran 3.45” and a compact Nighthawk Custom T3, 3.70”. There were “called flyers” with both of the latter that expanded the groups: I caught myself starting to look over the sights to spot the shot with the Nighthawk, causing a predictably high hit I can’t blame on the gun, and with the Range Officer, I felt myself rush the shot that went lowest.

On that last set, since I’ve got time, I’ll give ‘em another run before the next trip. LESSON: The sooner you start sorting and sighting, the more time you have to get things right.

All those .45s, I know for certain from testing, will group two inches or better at 25 yards with the ammo they like best, from a bench rest. I wouldn’t be surprised if all those Glocks shoot better from the bench at that distance than I did here, shooting offhand from 15 yards.  LESSON: The bench rest is used intentionally to test the GUN more than the shooter. When I demonstrate for a class (or lend a gun to a student shooting that class), I want to know what the gun will do from the human hand, and in these upcoming classes the 15 yards I shot these at will be the farthest distance. LESSON: Once you’ve tested the gun, test the shooter with that gun, at a predictable distance. If testing for another shooter, test it the same way he or she is likely to be shooting it.

I suspect y’all out there have also learned some lessons about sighting in and verifying point of aim/point of impact. Feel free to share here.



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