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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 ‘Training’ 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


Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Fun class.

Remember a little while back in this blog, when I said I was about to teach my last class of the year, and because it was an advanced class it was gonna be like training with my buddies? Well, I’m in the middle of that now and so, far, it’s been proven correct.

At midweek we had the fully automatic weapons segment.  I put this into the third level class years ago because smart folks recognized even then that terrorism was on the horizon, and a good person might find himself or herself square in the middle of an atrocity in a gun free zone hunting preserve for psychopathic murderers, where the only gun they might be able to pick up might be the MP5 of a fallen protector or the fully automatic weapon of one of the murderous fanatics committing the atrocity.  Admittedly, by this time the students have spent way over 80 hours learning grim things from me and my staff…shooting full auto can be fun…and dammit, I owe them some fun back by now, too.

Most of the public doesn’t realize that in most of our country, fully automatic weaponry is absolutely legal once you’ve been thoroughly checked out by the Federal government. In a time when more than ever in recent memory it’s important to be a “certified, card-carrying good guy or gal,” no such card is better than one which says BATFE has investigated you for six months or so and determined you to be cool to have a machine gun, a silencer, a short-barreled rifle or “sawed-off shotgun,” etc.

We’re 80% through the class now and every single student has already passed a triple-speed (stuff like 6 pistol shots from the holster, one hand only including reaction time, in two and two-thirds seconds) police-type qualification, and double and triple speed police shotgun qualification.

2015-12-10 15.11.32

Lydia, 7, gets her first shots through a 9mm Glock.

At one point our students took some people in a broad age spectrum, most of whom had never touched a gun, from “this is the firing pin, this is the trigger” to sustained fire including reloads, in a very short time frame.

2015-12-10 15.12.49

This ten-year-old mostly center-punched her target with S&W M&P .45.

Watching a 10-year-old girl with a Smith & Wesson Military & Police loaded with 230 grain .45 hardball keep most of her shots in the center 10/X rings, and a seven year old girl with a 9mm Glock do the same, I for one came away happy.

Have I ever mentioned that I love my work…?

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

I just got home from Columbus, Ohio where I spent a day giving a sort of a “myth-busters” class on armed self-defense for Buckeye Firearms Association.  We had 400 attendees, not counting a couple dozen more from BFA staff.  The class only ran six hours, but we were able to pack in a lot of “reality check” info.


Buckeye _Web


In October, we gave an intensive 20-hour MAG-20 classroom course over a two-day weekend West Des Moines for Iowa Gun Owners. That curriculum is a full “armed citizens rules of engagement” class. We had thirty-some people in attendance.

Earlier in October we did a full-blown 40-hour MAG-40 course that included all of the above plus a bunch of shooting at the ISRA (lllinois State Rifle Association) range and classroom facility in Bonfield, IL.  Got about two dozen people through it, and about 12,000 bullets into ISRA’s well-crafted backstops. It was a combined effort between Midwest Training Group and ISRA.




My primary job is teaching the judicious and effective use of defensive weapons (  It’s always a pleasure to get the truth and the reality to more folks in the American heartland.  I’m not saying this to drum up business; we’re already packed full on the 2016 schedule, and what remains on our 2015 calendar.

A respectful suggestion: talk to your state-level gun owners’ civil rights organizations about hosting training. On the local level, talk to your gun club, grange, or whatever about doing the same. You don’t necessarily need high-priced out of state talent; there are lots of NRA-certified firearms instructors, pro-gun attorneys who’ve done self-defense cases, and street-wise cops who would love to come in and share reality with you and others in your club and your community.

The more we spread the knowledge, the more we spread the hard-won truth, the better it is for all of us.

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Gunnery Sgt. Brian Zins, USMC Retired, won the national championship of conventional bulls-eye pistol shooting a dozen times, more than anyone else in history. When he talks about marksmanship, I listen.  One-handed pistol shooting at 25 and 50 yards places a premium on trigger control, but his advice on the topic can apply to any type of firearm. (I had the chance to meet Gunny Zins a bit over a decade ago: he’s an excellent teacher, and a fine man of the kind we’re proud to see as the face of American shooting sports.)

Recently, he wrote this article for the NRA.  Among other things, he takes the rather controversial position that the distal joint of the trigger finger is a more advantageous position for the shooter than the traditionally-recommended “pad” of the index finger, which I would define as the part where you find the whorl of the fingerprint.

I teach it as a very useful technique, assuming the gun fits the hand when you shoot this way. Among other things, it gives the shooter’s finger more leverage, ergo, more control.

All y’all trigger-pullers out there, after you’re done reading Brian’s thoughts and experiences, I’d be interested in hearing yours.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, June 1st, 2015

“We were lucky enough to avoid most of the rain,” said Mas, dryly.

“Mas, that joke just sucks,” replied Tom, swiftly.


But, seriously…


On this end, we’ve had remarkable good luck dodging bad weather so far this year.  This past weekend, rain had been predicted for both shooting days.  We got through Day One with nary a raindrop, though.  Quarter-inch hailstones and monster rain and lightning storms had been predicted for Day Two.  We ended up shooting in light rain some, and went indoors when the thunder rolled, but still finished only a few minutes later than scheduled.  Shooting in the rain presents some degree of safety hazard – loaded guns in wet, slippery hands, and vision somewhat impaired by rain on the shooting glasses – but that can be compensated for. Lightning, however, is non-negotiable.  When you’re responsible for people’s safety, you don’t send them out in a lightning storm to stand in an open field holding metal objects.  Minutes after the last student had departed the graduation ceremony, the skies opened with sheets of rain and an impressive light show of natural electricity.

In mid-May, we had been teaching a MAG-40 class at Karl Rehn’s outstanding KR Training center near Austin, Texas.  We got rained on throughout, but thanks to KR staffer Rich Worthey’s masterful navigation of weather apps, we were able to get folks inside before any lightning hit the scene.  That heavy rain hasn’t stopped since.  Rich told me later that he and his neighbors were beginning to understand why Noah felt such urgency in building the Ark.  That whole area has suffered severe flooding since, and now.  Indeed, flooding of late has been horrible from Houston to Hoboken.  Condolences to all who are going through such brutal weather.



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