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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 ‘Safety’ 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

SHOT Show: “Pre” and “Post”

Friday, January 29th, 2016

All the new goodies at SHOT Show were more than any one reporter – particularly me, who didn’t get there until the second night of the event – could cover.  But there were also new products I got to look at before…and after.


J-hook for belt on new Safariland holster at left of photo, and at lower right of same pic, pad which prevents holster from digging into body and levers muzzle outward away from groin and femoral artery if carried in appendix position.

Before: In early January the EP and I visited Bill Rogers at the Safariland facility in Jacksonville, FL and were sworn to secrecy on the new GLS inside the waistband holster scheduled for announcement at SHOT.
Regular pistol packers know that a holster inside the waistband is considerably more discreet and concealable than one worn outside: there’s less bulge, and the cover garment can ride up higher without revealing the holstered gun.  Except for thumb-break safety straps, there have been few with security features that might keep the holster from  yielding the gun to an unauthorized hand in a struggle with a violent criminal.  Greg Kramer came up with one, as did Strong Leather, both back in the 1990s if I recall correctly, but neither caught on.



J-hook secures on bottom edge of belt, and niche above secures as well: double security.

This one, designed by master holster maker Bill Rogers himself, incorporates the intuitive GLS security lock which is fast and natural for the wearer to release, but not so for someone standing in front of or behind the wearer.  Already well proven in outside the waistband designs, this one rode comfortably inside my own waistband for several days before the SHOT Show, and proved both fast and secure with the 9mm Glock I used for testing in daily carry. Rogers himself does not consider this a “security holster” per se, but it does give the wearer an additional margin of safety. Recommended!



WarLock barrel change option from Frontier Tactical is an ingenious approach to AR15 versatility.

After: The weekend following the Show, fellow Glock Sport Shooting Foundation contestant Tim Young joined us at a GSSF match in Boulder City, NV along with Tim’s friends Nate Love and Scott Gray, who run Frontier Tactical. I had missed them at the Show itself, but at the range got to look at their way cool switch-barrel AR15 conversions. Instead of changing the entire upper, you can keep the same optic to which you are accustomed in place, and switch from .223/5.56mm to .300 Blackout with NO other changes, and with bolt and magazine changes can swap to numerous other calibers. They’re working with an optics manufacturer whose product will allow, with a touch of the controls, for pre-determined zero to switch between calibers too, saving you the price of another optic and mount.

In both cases, proof that you don’t have to be in one place at one time to get the scoop on innovative, useful new gun products.  Change is constant. Insert additional clichés as necessary…but tell me, what new products have our blog readers spotted that I’ve missed? Feel free to share here, as this blog’s 2016 SHOT Show coverage ends.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, September 7th, 2015

Point of view is critical to assessing eyewitness testimony, all the more when a camera makes eyewitnesses of us all.

This point has been made here before, and now comes another excellent example.  It is the nature of our arrogant species to say, “I saw the whole thing. If what you say happened had actually occurred, I would have seen it.  I didn’t see it. Ergo, it didn’t happen.”

It’s all too easy to for us to forget that from our angle, our POV, what someone else saw may have been blocked from our own line of sight, or simply ignored because we weren’t looking for it (inattentional blindness).

In this case, the POV of the patrol car dashcam leads us “witnesses via video” to see “OMG! A trigger happy jackbooted thug pointing his gun at an innocent citizen for no reason!”

But the POV of the officer’s bodycam shows us what HE saw…and now we realize that his swift draw of his service Glock may well have prevented the officer and/or the motorist being shot.

Watch and learn. It’s the sort of lesson all of us who constitute the vast Jury of Public Opinion cannot review too often…and it can impact peace officer and armed citizen alike.


Or view it here:

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Gunsmiths customize firearms to add value in different ways.  To make the gun more accurate. To make it recoil less.  To make it fit the shooter better.

My old friend Rick Devoid does those things for customers’ firearms, but he specializes in another kind of added value: he makes them safer.

Many people decline to keep a loaded gun at home or at work for fear that some unauthorized person may gain access to it.  Rick is the sole purveyor of the one “smart gun” that actually WORKS: the Magna-Trigger conversion of a double action Smith & Wesson revolver. It can only be fired by someone wearing the provided, low-profile magnetic ring on their middle finger. I carried one for many years and kept it loaded at bedside when my kids were little.  We tested hell out of it, even shot matches with it. The thing works: it shoots when its legitimate user wants it to, and won’t fire when someone else tries to make it do so.

Rick also has the exclusive on the less expensive Murabito safety conversion of an S&W revolver, invented by the now-retired Frank Murabito. It turns the cylinder release latch into a thumb safety, too.  It’s very fast, and highly likely to confuse any unauthorized person who gains control of your handgun.

Rick is also famous for his action jobs on Smith & Wesson and Ruger double action revolvers, and his slick-up of traditional double action S&W semiautomatic pistols.  Finally, he is an approved – and very experienced – installer of the Joe Cominolli thumb safety for Glocks. Allowing the right thumb (or for southpaws, the left index finger) to activate the device, it operates with the same movement as a cocked and locked 1911: up for “safe,” down for “fire.”Rick also reduces and reshapes the grip on Glocks; he did so on my first .45 caliber Glock 30, and made it shoot way better for me.

Rick and Tarnhelm Supply are known for reasonable prices and fast delivery times.  I have many Tarnhelm custom guns and am happy with every one of them.  Information is available at

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!


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