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Massad Ayoob on Guns

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Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Monday, January 9th, 2017

It’s January 9.  That’s a date I’m unlikely to forget.

My mother was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts on January 9, 1909.  She would have been 108 years old today.  She died at 66, two years younger than I am now, of heart failure.  She was a wonderful woman and a great mom, and we lost her far too soon.

My first grandchild was born on January 9, ten years ago today.  Happy birthday, kid! Your great-grandmother would have been hugely proud of you!

A bit later in 2017 I’ll experience the 40th anniversary of writing the Cop Talk column in American Handgunner magazine.  The late, great Col. Rex Applegate had kicked off Cop Talk in the July/August 1977 issue .  I was assigned the column a couple of issues later, the November/December ’77 issue which was the same one that introduced Col. Jeff Cooper as a contributing editor to the magazine , and my first Cop Talk oddly enough was Part 2 of a Part 1 that had begun the issue before in a column then called The Combat Course .

Ah, memories…


…at the same time we remember Shakespeare’s admonition “What’s past is prologue,” and Santayana’s reminder that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” we also have to keep in mind that we can’t change the past (as much as those who practice disingenuous alternate history try), but what we CAN influence is the future.

Gonna keep on trying.  For the next generation, like my granddaughter on her birthday today, and so many more.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, January 7th, 2017

For non-tech Luddites like me, the world can be a scary place.

My sweetie, the Evil Princess, was playing one of her incessant iPhone games. You have to understand that I’m the guy who sees a computer as a typewriter with a built-in silencer, and her credo is “iPod, iPad, iPhone, therefore I am.”  Innocent child of the mid-20th century that I am, I asked her what she was playing on the iPhone that never leaves her hand.

Her reply sounded like “pokey Mongo.”

This struck me as strange, since I have dealt with some Mongos in my life and none of them struck me as slow and pokey.  In fact, most of them were quicker than they looked.  This led to discussion.

Turns out that Pokemon Go has gotten people in trouble, hurt, or even killed.  They walk around blindly following images in their iPhones to find phantasmic, hideous creatures and capture them in ways I have yet to understand, and stumble cluelessly into traffic or onto the posted property of angry homeowners who don’t like trespassers.

And THEN, she explained that they’re invisible except to her tribe of iPeople with iDevices, and surround us everywhere.  She showed me a picture of one that sneaked up on me unnoticed while I was at a magazine stand in the Midwest waiting for her to finish shopping.  Aauugghh!


They seem to be not only impertinent, but unresponsive to verbal commands and impervious to pain compliance techniques. Here’s one she photographed in California. Turns out you can put a cigarette out on their head and they get pretty nonchalant about it.


They’re also sneaky. Around Christmas, this one – apparently, a leader among his kind – tried to sneak up on me in Florida.  This time, however, I was ready, and was able to convince him to leave at gunpoint.


Pikachu, meet “Glock-at-chou!”

It’s a scary world out there.  Beware!

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

If you follow the battle over gun owners’ civil rights, you are familiar with the landmark US Supreme Court case of Otis McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago in 2010, which ended the longstanding ban on handgun ownership in that city and paved the way for Illinois to become the last state to get concealed carry for ordinary private citizens.  Among the other named plaintiffs in the “et. al.” part of that were Colleen and David Lawson.  They went through a lot for all of us.

A few days ago, a terrible fire killed David’s brother and niece, and destroyed the entire place with virtually all the family’s belongings.  David and his mother barely escaped with their lives. I call your attention to their Go Fund Me page, here:

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

Franklin D. Roosevelt was right. December 7, 1941, is a date that still does live in infamy.

It’s a time to remember the innocent victims, and the courage of those who fought back.  It should also be a time to reflect upon the lessons.

If you’ve ever taken one of my classes, you remember me talking about the allegory. The base itself, and indeed the whole of the American armed forces, were totally unprepared for large scale battle.  The decision was made to ignore a blip on the radar screen, and in minutes one of the mightiest fleets on Earth was on its way to the bottom of the harbor.  Reactionary gap that might have allowed a more effective defense was lost.

Millions of words have Monday morning quarterbacked those decisions ever since. Mistakes have been repeated.  On the individual level, we are reminded to be adequately armed and ready, prepared to recognize and accept a threat’s presence, and respond skillfully, swiftly, and appropriately.

Thoughts are with you on this sobering day, and your comments as always are welcome.

Massad Ayoob


Saturday, November 12th, 2016

The same week the most anti-gun Presidential candidate in history lost her White House bid, we in the gun culture lost two more greats.

Mike Dillon has passed.  Mike was the man who made progressive ammunition reloading machines available cheaply to the general public. The availability of affordable centerfire ammo in volume has created great strides in improving shooting skills nationwide, and has made it possible for countless more good people to become active in the shooting sports.

Mike was a gentleman in every respect.  I will always appreciate how kind and friendly he was when he took my significant other on a tour of his plant in Arizona a few years ago.

Dillon Precision set a high-water mark for customer service, not just in the firearms industry but in American industry, period.

Phil Shave, former head of police firearms training in Washington state and now working with a major gun owners’ civil rights group there, informs me that John Lawson passed away early in November.  John and I followed parallel paths in some respects. He and I were both columnists for American Handgunner magazine in its formative years going back to the 1970s.  If memory serves, Lawson and I both got our gun-writing starts with the late, lamented GUNsport magazine edited by the great Ken Warner, me in 1971 and John earlier than that.

Lawson 1911

John Lawson did this first “Ayoob Special.” Colt Combat Commander .45 auto has an early Jim Hoag grip safety, 5″ Bar-Sto match barrel ported on exposed portion, S&W adjustable revolver sights, and an exquisite Lawson trigger job. RIP, Brother John.

John’s niche was gunsmithing.  A master at the trade himself, his specialty was showing readers how to safely and effectively work on their own firearms.  Perhaps his most famous series was on a rifle he built for his little niece.  I have the privilege of owning two John Lawson custom .45s. The first was a Colt Combat Commander he built for me in the ‘70s, its extended barrel ported on the exposed part to reduce muzzle jump, and one of the first beavertail grip safeties by Jim Hoag. I won a gold medal with it at an IPSC match overseas in ’79.  When I was shooting for Team HK under Team Captain John Bressem in the early ‘80s, John built a pin gun out of a Heckler & Koch P9S Target model with a heavy barrel weight, Mag-na-Ported.  That sweet pistol won multiple guns for me at the Second Chance bowling pin shoots in Michigan. I am glad I have those two Lawson Custom .45s to remember him by, and will cherish them all the more now.

Vaya con Dios, brothers. Each of you were sterling examples of the character of the people in the real Gun Culture.


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