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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for the ‘Preparedness’ Category

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.


Massad Ayoob


Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Apparently the pre-Thanksgiving warnings of terror attack in the US weren’t false, just off by a few days.  Kudos to the well-trained cops from multiple agencies who “rode to the sound of the guns” and extinguished two mass-murdering “radicalized” Muslims. Condolences to the 21 wounded victims, and the survivors of the fourteen killed in the massacre.  The government building where it happened, presumably, was yet another gun free zone hunting preserve for mass murderers.

The chief of police in Detroit makes an excellent point on the matter.

I’m told that in Paris these past few days, our President repeated his line about mass shootings not taking place in other civilized countries save our own, surrounded all the while by the ghosts of three figures worth of victims of terrorist mass murderers in that very city only a matter of days before.  Naturally, he called for more restrictions on law-abiding American gun owners.  Let us not forget, France’s strict “gun controls” are well known, as are those of California.

Those inside the Democrat halls of power have known for more than twenty years that their focus on firearms prohibition is meaningless. Kudos to longtime Second Amendment activist David Hardy, who found proof of this in – irony of ironies – the Bill Clinton Library, here.


In Garland, TX, a 58-year-old traffic cop with a Glock 21 pistol similar to this one dropped two long-gun-armed terrorists Al Queda claimed as their own before they could commit any murders at all.

Innocent people are dying. There’s no time anymore for mendacity or cluelessness. There IS time for America to listen to the Chief in Detroit.  The best chance for saving lives is for good people right there at ground zero of the attack to defeat these things when they first flare up, before they turn into full-blown conflagration.  To those who say one good person with a pistol and a skilled hand has no hope of defeating multiple long-gun-wielding jihadi, I answer with two words: Remember Garland!

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, July 18th, 2015

After yet another vicious, cowardly, murderous assault that has left five American service personnel dead on American soil, someone has finally insisted on an appropriate response. After the recent atrocity at the Marine recruiting office in Chattanooga, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has ordered full time National Guardsmen in his state to be armed on duty. .

Asa Hutchinson, we recall, was the man named to head the NRA School Shield program to put armed security in our nation’s schools in the wake of the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.  He is a man who understands the logical truth: the only way to stop mad dog mass killers is to do what we would do with any other mad dog.

“Big Army” may be reviewing something similar, though apparently more hesitantly:|bon|dl2|sec1_lnk2%26pLid%3D1496193374 .

According to the Associated Press, “A day after a gunman shot and killed four Marines and wounded three other people in Chattanooga, Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told reporters that arming troops in those offices could cause more problems than it might solve. ‘I think we have to be careful about over-arming ourselves, and I’m not talking about where you end up attacking each other,’ Odierno said during a morning breakfast. Instead, he said, it’s more about “accidental discharges and everything else that goes along with having weapons that are loaded that causes injuries.”

“We’re always going to be somewhat vulnerable to a lone wolf, or whatever you want to call it, a surprise shooter, because we are out there with the population and that’s where we have to be,” added the Chief of Staff.

Kudos to Governor Hutchinson for decisively doing what is obviously the right thing.  I sincerely hope it starts a trend.

In the meantime, that picture of the bullet-riddled window of the recruiting office in Chattanooga – replete with its “no guns” sign – stands as stark proof of the fact that “gun free zones” are simply hunting preserves for mass murderers.

Massad Ayoob


Friday, July 3rd, 2015

The Fourth of July is almost upon us, and there are safety concerns.

There are rumblings from ISIS that they are trying to instigate their minions and the mindless “lone wolves” they influence to do bad things to Americans on Independence Day.  Ratchet your alertness level up one notch at least, and be ready to protect yourself, and yours, and those around you.

In commentary on another blog entry here, one of our readers asked about safety tips on fireworks.  If it’s being professionally done in your community, my advice is to stand well back away from the damn launchers.  A rearward perspective will probably give you a better set of “oohs” and “aahs” when they burst in the sky anyway.  But it will also keep you and your kids more out of range of anything that could go wrong.  The worst such debacle I know of occurred when a Chinese sky torpedo, which proved to have been defective, exploded in its launch tube in Michigan. Death and dismemberment resulted.

Be really, REALLY careful about fireworks at home.  I’ve trained multiple one-armed people in self-defense shooting, who needed that special attention because in their younger days they were careless with home-made fireworks and assorted other incendiary/explosive devices.  We can all learn from their suffering.

With all that said, I’ll be making noise on the Fourth one way or the other.  I’m in the process of writing a pre-trial report in a murder case, where I’ll be speaking as an expert witness called by the defense for a young woman who saved her life with a gun when a man attacked her with deadly force.  That, obviously, takes precedence over fun.  If the report is done as soon as I hope it will be, this weekend I’ll be shooting an IDPA match with good friends.  If it isn’t, I’ll take some time off to get out on my own home range and do some trigger pulling, to commemorate the armed citizens of 18th Century America who preserved my right to do so.

For many years now, I’ve been in my beloved home country to celebrate the Fourth.  In my younger days, with kids to support, I couldn’t teach classes on holidays so July 4 usually found me in another nation earning money for my wife and children.  Most often – before their handgun ban of 1996, which must have made the longbowmen of Agincourt spin in their graves – that was in one or another part of Great Britain.  When I spent the Fourth in the British Empire, I would flush a teabag down a toilet in commemoration of the Boston Tea Party…and my British brothers and sisters understood.

Have a great Independence Day.  Stay safe!

Massad Ayoob


Monday, January 12th, 2015

The recent atrocity in Paris reminds us all of the continuing danger from homicidal fanatics.  The cowardly murderers ran rampant, unopposed; according to some reports, one or both of the police officers killed in the massacre were unarmed and helpless to fight back.

President Obama is taking a lot of heat for not flying to Paris to join a reported 40 other heads of state in a show of solidarity.  This is one thing I won’t criticize the man for. If I were head of Secret Service I would have stood in the Oval Office and screamed at him, “It’s nucking futs! Can you imagine a more irresistible target for Islamic terrorists than forty-one of you, including the head of the Great Satan itself?!?”  I’m frankly amazed that there wasn’t an attack on the gathering, though I’m glad there wasn’t…and if the free world’s security services are smart, they won’t tell us if there was such a conspiracy and they were able to successfully abort it behind the scenes.

Could it have helped if someone in the Charlie Hedbo offices had been able to shoot back? No guarantees, but it damn sure wouldn’t have hurt!  My take on the matter is mentioned here among others’ .

I was able to discuss the concept earlier in more depth here, in this very Backwoods Home blog , and here in Backwoods Home Magazine .

The prohibitionists and anti-self-defense groups will scoff at the idea that one or more people with handguns among the crop of victims might have thwarted two men who wielded AK47s. They don’t want to hear about Charl van Wyk, who stopped twice that many in a South African attack, armed only with his five-shot snub-nose .38 revolver. You can read about his case and more – and about dozens of helpless victims murdered when there wasn’t “a good guy (or gal) with a gun” to stand up for them – in the current issue of American Handgunner magazine: .

The authorities expect more such attacks throughout the free world and, yes, here.  My advice is load, holster, and be ready.

It’s not about the odds…it’s about the stakes.

That’s enough about what I think. I want to hear what YOU think about this.



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