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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 ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Massad Ayoob


Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

As the FX channel’s well-crafted series “Justified,” based on an Elmore Leonard short story, winds toward its finale, there has been a boo-boo.  Senior citizen crime queen Katherine fought rival gangster’s bodyguard Mikey to mutual destruction. She emptied her revolver into him but didn’t stop him from beating her to death before he died in the arms of his boss.

Thing of it was – and perhaps only a gun geek would notice – she fired one shot more than she could have in real life.

Her revolver was clearly a J-frame Smith & Wesson .38 Special, with an obviously visible five-shot cylinder – a Model 60 Chief Special, it looked like to me – and she shot him six times without reloading.

Things like that make the aficionado roll his or her eyes: it’s like spotting a wristwatch on a character who’s supposed to be playing Robin Hood.  Gets in the way of that “willing suspension of disbelief” we all need for enjoyment of fiction.

Sure ain’t the first time something like that has happened.  A couple which come to mind:

In “Tombstone,” Val Kilmer’s character starts the central shootout armed with a double barrel shotgun (2 shots), a Colt Single Action Army revolver (would have probably been carried with 5 rounds, but could have held 6) and in the actual gunfight near OK Corral used as backup a Lightning model double action .38 Colt (again likely 5, but 6 tops.) That’d be 15 rounds at most without reloading, but in the movie he gets three shots out of the double barrel, and with a revolver in each hand (he used them sequentially in the actual gunfight) fired over 20 shots total before I lost count.

On AMC’s popular zombie series “Walking Dead,” the firearms foul-ups were so frequent I lost count there, too.  I found myself yelling at the screen, “There’s no rear sight on that rifle!” “Get your finger off the trigger, there’s nothing to shoot at!”  It was Significant Other’s turn to roll her eyes and say with her patented long-suffering sigh, “You don’t accept a rifle with no rear sight, but you DO accept animated corpses?”

In the pilot episode of “Walking Dead,” the Rick Grimes character tells his brother officers to take off the safeties…on their Glock pistols, which normally don’t HAVE safeties.  (Glock has produced the G17-S with manual safety, and I have and like Joe Cominolli’s patented thumb safety retrofit on one of my Glock 17 pistols, but the ones on the show weren’t so equipped.) Another fiction favorite is “I flipped off my revolver’s safety.” MOST revolvers don’t have manual safeties, but I have a left-handed Frank Murabito safety on one of my Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolvers, and the right-handed version works off the cylinder release latch.)

Ah, Hollywood…

Gun people, what is YOUR favorite (or perhaps, most teeth-grinding non-favorite) firearms faux pas on TV and movie screens?

Massad Ayoob


Monday, March 30th, 2015

When teaching in Virginia recently, the Evil Princess and I were able to have dinner with Jeff Yago and his lovely wife Sharon.  Jeff and I have both been writing for Backwoods Home magazine since the latter 1990s.  Jeff’s specialty is energy, and has long been the magazine’s resident expert on all things related to solar power. Here’s his article in the current issue: .

Jeff is also an authority on prepping, and does seminars on the topic as well as all his work in the solar area.  Talking shop was interesting; turns out that we have different writing habits.  It’s amazing how many writers do.

Take a look at Jeff’s work in the archives of the Backwoods Home website, and his retired blog, here:  Deep knowledge and meticulous research, combined with a writing style that gets the material across clearly.  Jeff is one of the great resources in the Backwoods Home group, and it’s always a pleasure to be on a team with professionals like him.


Massad Ayoob


Friday, March 20th, 2015

I hate it when this happens, but…I made a mistake.

In the last blog entry, we had a video clip of me at Glock a few weeks ago, discussing the then-as-yet-unveiled Glock 43 pistol.  I remarked that it was not as short in trigger reach as the Baby Bear size Glock 42 .380, nor as long as that of the thicker-gripped 9mm Glock 26, designed more for Papa Bear size (i.e., average adult male) hands.  Being in between, I compared it to Mama Bear’s porridge…just right.

While I think I had the paw hand size issue biologically correct, I blew it on the fable comparison. A brother officer, Sergeant John Parsons, reminded me that in the Goldilocks story, the porridge and stuff that was “just right” was Baby Bear’s, not Mama Bear’s.  So did one of the 33,000-plus people who saw the video on YouTube.

Mea culpa.  You’d think someone old enough for second childhood and still vividly remembering the first would have a better memory for Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I owe an apology, delivered herewith:

            I am sometimes wrong (I hope rarely),

                        But to treat the matter most fairly

                        I confess to a flub

                        (Shoulda been the darn cub)

                        So I admit I was wrong…but bear-ly.

Massad Ayoob


Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Today marks the tenth anniversary of a mass shooting in which a courageous armed citizen ended the carnage. WilsonTylerTX

Tragically, the bullets from Mark Wilson’s subcompact Colt .45 auto were stopped on the killer’s vest, and he was able to shoot and murder Wilson.  But after that he fled, and he inflicted no further gunshot wounds. In the pursuit that followed, the murderer was shot and killed by Lt. Rusty Jacks of Tyler PD.

I’ve been to Tyler a couple of times since then, once for a grand jury and once for a civil trial arising out of another fatal shooting, both in the courthouse where the atrocity we’re discussing went down. You can still see the pockmarks from the gunman’s bullets on the walls of the building. I’ve debriefed some of the lawmen and lawyers who were in the courthouse when that nightmare took place. I’m proud to have been able to shake the hand of Rusty Jacks.

And I’ve stood in front of the monument in the Tyler town square to a courageous armed citizen who used his pistol to stop a mass murder, and save the lives of God knows how many people in his community.

RIP, Mark Wilson. You were a hero.

Massad Ayoob


Friday, February 20th, 2015

As the news and weather broadcasts were filled with horror stories from the frozen and snow-surfeited North of our country, I was congratulating myself on escaping it all in Dixie.  Right until I found myself in the mid-South, Memphis, where the TV stations were talking about “polar” weather in the South and Memphis was undergoing an ice-storm with roads like skating rinks and one local paper with one word in big all-caps for its front page headline: “FROZEN.”

Share the misery and see if it helps. (Our friend Miggy in Miami is even welcome to share his warm-weather smugness.)

How’s the weather where you are, and what are you doing to cope?



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