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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.


Thursday, January 12th, 2017 by Mas | 16 Comments »

Ever hear of the Second Chance Bowling Pin Shoot?  Back in the mid-70s, Richard Davis – the armed citizen who won a three-against-one shootout with armed robbers, and invented the soft, concealable body armor that saved thousands of cops in the decades since – created a competition shooting format in which whoever shot an array of bowling pins off a table fastest, won.  It sounded at first like plinking tin cans off the back fence, only with bigger guns and bullets and targets, but it turned out to have great spectator appeal with instant feedback.

The match grew, drawing hundreds of shooters and hundreds of spectators. It encompassed great free food, and a carnival atmosphere in which the midway was all live-fire outdoor shooting galleries with different games for pistol and revolver, rifle, and shotguns loaded with buckshot for pins and slugs for heavy steel knockover plates out to a hundred yards.

I shot that match 23 or 24 years in a row, until Life went on.  Richard stopped the match, sold his sponsoring Second Chance Body Armor company, and retired. We gun folk missed that iconic match, where many friendships had been made.  I always said that if shooting matches were rock concerts, that one would have been Woodstock.  It was A Happening. It was…groovy.

What’s that you say? The ‘70s called and wants its terminology back? Maybe…but the 21st Century called and said it wanted this great old match back, too.  Richard’s son Matt Davis carried on the family tradition, creating the Armor Express brand that’s now one of the biggest in the body armor industry, and he and his dad have brought The Pin Shoot back!

It will be in its traditional location, the family vacation land of Central Lake, Michigan, near Traverse City.  Awards will be traditional, too:  guns, guns, and more guns.  Entry fee ain’t cheap, but the prize table is good, and deep.  For info on what is now known simply as The Pin Shoot. Dates are June 9-16, 2017. You don’t have to be there the whole time to shoot, and win.

For us old gunnies here (Randy and Ken, you listening?) it’ll be like a high school reunion with guns. I’ve rearranged my schedule to be there.  Hope to see some of you there, too.


Monday, January 9th, 2017 by Mas | 12 Comments »

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.


Saturday, January 7th, 2017 by Mas | 26 Comments »

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!


Wednesday, January 4th, 2017 by Mas | 28 Comments »

Activists for the civil rights of gun owners know how destructive a bullet we dodged when Hillary Clinton lost the “foregone conclusion election.”  Hell, I felt the way the English must have felt when they learned that unexpected circumstances had warded off the invading Spanish Armada.

If I have learned anything in an adult lifetime spent teaching the management of high-stakes human conflict, it is this: one cannot expect to defeat an opponent one does not understand. It is with that in mind that I offer the following as suggested reading.

Guns and Empathy

It’s not the first time one side has confronted the other, and won’t be the last, but I commend the way this interaction was carried out.  The prohibitionist side tends to denigrate the gun owners as ignorant hayseeds and the pro-gun side tends to paint their opponents as wimpy limousine liberals, but the fact is that both sides have very visceral feelings which those who debate these issues need to take into consideration.

You’ll see some things you agree with and some that you don’t. For instance, having gotten to know George Zimmerman personally, I disagree with the assessment of him put forth by the man who sold Zimmerman’s gun.

My own opinions remain unchanged…

…but, please read…

…and please, share YOUR thoughts on the linked article, here.


Saturday, December 31st, 2016 by Mas | 28 Comments »

Yes, hog jowls (pork jowls) are a thing.

“When in Rome,” they say…

Spending the holidays in the
deep South, where I’m told it’s a tradition to have black-eyed peas for New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day.  Got ‘em.  The Evil Princess is cookin’ ‘em up with hog jowls.  (No. Not kidding. Not making it up. Not a Yankee dissing Southerners with Beverly Hillbillies stuff. Hog jowls are, apparently, “a thing.”)  And no, they didn’t have any possum shanks at the Market.


Wouldn’t be New Years without some trigger pullin’, so Bob Houzenga and I spent some time with Jim “Fast E. Nuff” Willis and Bob “Red Rob” George for an introduction to Cowboy Fast Draw as practiced by the Cowboy Fast Draw Association. ( . Bob and I had both shot years ago in SASS, the Single Action Shooting Society, where live ammo is fired at steel from Western-style six-guns, lever action rifles, and 19th Century style shotguns.  In CFD, all you need is the one single action revolver and holster, and you’ll be shooting wax bullets at 24” steel targets. The hit registers on an electronic timer, and you start with hand on gun, drawing and firing one hand only when a light flashes.  They were kind enough to let us shoot without the requisite cowboy togs.


“Fast E. Nuff,” left, and “Red Rob” show how it’s done. Guns are Ruger New Vaqueros in .45 Colt.


Lights on the 24″ discs indicate it’s time to draw and fire; hit time appears on LED readout.


Special casings take #209 shotgun primers to propel wax bullets.


Bob “Buck Staghorn” Houzenga, foreground, shows “how fast is fast.” Mas “Camelback Kid” Ayoob shows “how slow is slow.”




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