Just finished our first class of 2017. Good to be back in the saddle. Thanks to ace instructor John Murphy who hosted us in Springfield, VA.
As a rule, the evil princess and I take off from teaching from mid-December to first week in February. It’s not a vacation – we use the time to get caught up on writing, podcasting, accounting, etc., and to squeak in a few shooting matches if we can. More of a sabbatical than a vacation.
Always good to get back to teaching, though. When I was a kid, I figured teaching must be one of the worst jobs imaginable: teaching the same thing over and over again to people who didn’t really want to learn it.
There’s teaching, though, and there’s teaching. In the kind of adult ed I do (http://massadayoobgroup.com) nobody’s there to get a ticket punched: the students are there because they WANT to learn, and that makes all the difference. It’s why I love doing what I do.
I know a lot of you reading this teach something to somebody sometimes. Share here what you like about it…and what you don’t.
The mood was upbeat at this next to last day of the SHOT Show as we awaited the January 20 inauguration of the most pro-gun President since maybe, oh, Theodore Roosevelt.
Interesting gun news: it was announced today that the Army will adopt as its new pistol the SIG P320. The announcement comes as a surprise to many. The Glock 9mm had been seen as the front-runner. After all, though, the contract was for an MHS – Modular Handgun System – and the P320 with convertibility in size and even caliber is as modular as the state of the art offers right now. The Army is also very big on manual safeties. That’s an option on the P320, and while this feature is not mentioned in the press releases thus far, photos accompanying the releases depict P320s with ambidextrous thumb safeties.
Lotsa new stuff this year. Some is good new stuff. Case in point: the MantisX Training System. It’s a module that slides onto your firearm’s accessory rail and coordinates with your Apple or Android device. Live fire or dry fire, aim at something and shoot. You’ll get a readout of how smooth and consistent your trigger pull was and, in the last instant, registers where even a “shot from an empty gun” would have hit. It tracks gun movement the whole time. The police department I serve IS gonna have one of these!
Some of the new stuff is…well…remember the classic gun book from 1955,“Firearms Curiosa” by Lewis Winant, with items like palm pistols and belt buckle guns? If Mr. Winant had been around to attend the 2017 SHOT Show, he would have found enough material for at least one new chapter.
There was a customized folding semiautomatic pistol in two variants, one of which when unfolded turned into a Glock with no trigger guard. There was an updated version of the pre-WWII Mossberg Brownie pistol with six barrels instead of four, which fires two .25 Auto barrels per pull of the trigger. The Evil Princess was particularly horrified by a holster that she and I figure can cost the shooter his or her life in at least three different ways. (1) The safety strap appears to be narrow enough to enter the trigger guard upon reholstering, causing the pistol to discharge as it is pushed the rest of the way into the scabbard. (2) That Velcro-closed strap, when secured on a holster designed to be worn inside the waistband, goes to the bottom of the holster requiring the shooter to reach so deeply down into his or her pants that they’re unlikely to be able to get a proper hold on it to pull it clear if they have to draw to save their life. (3) The holster is demonstrated with that safety strap going over the back of the grip panel, so with a proper drawing grasp, the web of the hand is likely to hold the strap against the gun and trap the pistol so it can’t be drawn readily in self-defense.
Overall, though, there was lots of good stuff, and a total “kid in the candy store” element for any gun enthusiast lucky enough to cruise the miles of aisles. Evil Princess logged five and a half miles on her FItBit at the Show today. I spent more than half the day in meetings and was spared some of that exercise. Lucky me.
SIG P320 with factory optional ambidextrous manual safety.
The compact MantisX training system is a stone cold bargain at around $150.
The SHOT Show goes far beyond just guns. One of the hottest accessories today is the sound suppressor – silencer – which is riding a huge wave of popularity that has yet to crest. My old friend Jeff Chudwin is a retired police chief, several-time national patrol rifle champion, head of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, and one of the great street survival gurus of all time. He has flatly stated that he thinks every police patrol rifle should be equipped with a silencer. Not just for tactical reasons, but also because of the risk of hearing loss in training with very loud guns. He cites the case of an officer he knows who lost 50% of his hearing when a brother officer fired a 5.56mm M4 rifle near him in the course of an on-duty shooting where naturally, no one was wearing ear protection. Today’s silencers are better than ever, and we have gun-makers such as SIG and Ruger making their own.
For some time now, the SHOT Show schedule has included not just show and tell/show and sell, but training. Some of it has to do with marketing and management for firearms dealers and shooting range owners, but some of it also has to do with survival. Some highly-credentialed people are teaching initial police response to mass murder incidents, and offering tactics for unarmed civilians caught up in such atrocities.
Today some of us from Massad Ayoob Group took a well-attended class on firearms dealers’ role in suicide prevention. The National Shooting Sports Foundation has joined with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to help gun dealers recognize customers with suicidal ideation in hopes of denying those people the means to carry out impulsive self-destruction. Though some have the impression that this is a new concept, it actually follows in the footsteps of the New Hampshire Firearms Safety Coalition under Elaine Frank, and the Gun Shop Project spearheaded by gun shop owner Ralph Demicco, an active member of NHFSC. This program puts suicide prevention posters and literature into the shops themselves, and offers training for gun shop staff on how to pick up subtle indications of suicidal ideation. There have already been “saves” with it, and many other states have developed programs modeled on New Hampshire’s. It is good to see a national organization picking up that ball and running with it, given that some two-thirds of the “deaths by gun violence” that prohibitionists cite as a reason for you and I not to own firearms are in fact suicides.
Christine Moutier, MD, Chief Medical Officer of AFSP yields the microphone to Bill Bussard of NSSF at SHOT Show suicide prevention lecture.
Latest variant of Ruger Mark IV .22 pistol, the 22/45 lightweight, mounts Ruger’s own suppressor. Handy thing to have around farm or ranch. Yes, suppressor requires BATFE licensing.
As many of you know, I run Massad Ayoob Group, LLC, offering training in firearms and defensive deadly force around the country. http://massadayoobgroup.com . We do a (very!) sporadic newsletter for graduates.
For the first time, I’m duplicating the newest of those newsletters here. It also gives me a good excuse to push for a benefit class I’m doing for some wonderful gun people a little north of Indianapolis. It’s a good opportunity to get some “gun stuff” in without freezing your butt off on an outdoor range in Indiana in February.
Let me know what you think.
NEW YEAR MAG SCHEDULE STARTS WITH BENEFIT CLASS
Hey, gang Mas here, to say thanks to all who made 2016 such a great year for Massad Ayoob Group.
We have a full year planned, with a very few classes that aren’t yet on the 2017 schedule at http://massadayoobgroup.com. You’d think range rentals could be locked in more than a year ahead of time, but such is not always the case. Stay tuned to the website for more…
I’d like to call your attention to one class that is near and dear to my heart. We’re doing a MAG-20 Armed Citizens Rules of Engagement Class on February 11-12, 2017 in Rochester, Indiana. Bad news: frigid weather. Good news: that particular course is all classroom, in a nice, warm, modern sportsmen’s club we’ve rented for the occasion. This will be a BENEFIT CLASS for Sand Burr Gun Ranch. Sand Burr was founded by my old friend Denny Reichard, who has been a full instructor for me under LFI and today for MAG since 1986. He is perhaps the pre-eminent gunsmith today for “street-tuning” Smith & Wesson revolvers of all sizes and calibers. Retired after 36 distinguished years as a full-time street cop, he and his family own Sand Burr Gun Ranch.
Several weeks ago, a very sophisticated rip-off team managed to break in and steal $40,000 plus worth of handguns from the Sand Burr gun shop. They have not been recovered at this time, though the investigation continues. This is a very hard hit for a small family business which could not afford exorbitant insurance rates.
So…ALL proceeds from this class will go to Sand Burr, including my usual teaching fees. If you’ve been thinking about taking one of these classes or sending someone else, this is a chance to kill two birds with one stone: Get the class (two ten-hour days that may run into eleven-hour days) for standard price, AND to do a good turn for a good family of gun owners and protectors, thus showing solidarity with Gun People. Win-win. For info contact Ashley or Denny at Sand Burr Gun Ranch, sandburrgunranch.com.
(Why is this particular class likely to run overtime? Because we expect to have the winners and survivors of as many as five or more gunfights there to tell their stories and answer your questions in person.)
First quarter 2017 classes include the same MAG-20 in Virginia, Arizona, and Alabama and a MAG-40 in Florida. We go full time teaching around the country in April. In first quarter, we had to leave space open for some upcoming trials, and also for some events we hope to see you at:
Annual conference of International Association of Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers, St. Louis. I will once again have the honor of chairing the 4-hour Panel of Experts on Deadly Force and Firearms Training.
Annual Rangemaster Tactical Conference sponsored by Tom Givens, Little Rock. Marty Hayes and I will co-teach a class on how to best serve as an expert witness in shooting cases.
SHOT Show, Las Vegas
Glock (GSSF) matches in Alabama, Florida, and Nevada – if you’re going and would like to shoot on the same squad with me and Gail and some other MAG folks, let me know.
It has been a good year for female shooters. America’s first Gold Medal in this year’s Olympics was captured by young Virginia Thrasher, competing in ten meter Women’s Air Rifle. Kim Rhode went Gold, too. Having won her first world shooting championship at the tender age of 13, Ms. Rhode is described thus in Wikipedia: “A California native, she is a six-time Olympic medal winner, including three gold medals, and six-time national champion in double trap. She is the most successful female shooter at the Olympics as the only triple Olympic Champion and the only woman to have won two Olympic gold medals for Double Trap. She won a gold medal in skeet shooting at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, equaling the world record of 99 out of 100 clays. Most recently, she won the bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics making her the first Olympian to win a medal on five different continents and the first Summer Olympian to win an individual medal at six consecutive summer games.”
As an American, I’m proud of them both. Personally, though, I’m proudest of a female champ I do have the honor of knowing, Kim Heath of the Will County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Department. An awesome trainer, she showed her mettle this year when she won the National Patrol Rifle Championships where the competition is not only very tough but very strenuous, beating all the men present as well as the handful of other female officers. Here’s the story on that.