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American Sheepdog Online CCW Resource Magazine - Massad Ayoob
  • Interview with Massad Ayoob

    An interview with Massad Ayoob - The Man, The Myth, The Legend…
    By Phillip Williams

    He is a legend among his students and devoted readers. He has written many books on firearms and self defense, as well as countless magazine articles for major gun magazines. His handgun training methods (Stressfire) have been adopted by the U.S. Army. He keeps a very busy schedule, training students, writing books and articles, as well as traveling the country for shooting related court cases. It is a privilege to have him spend a moment of his spare time with us. He is a man of lethal skill and humility, qualities that we should all hope to possess as legally armed citizens. If you are not familiar with his techniques or the abundant information he shares in writing, you are missing a lot. His information should be required reading for the concealed carry community. Purchase his books and learn for yourself. You will become a fan and come back for more.

    ASD- Your knowledge on self defense has helped countless amounts of American citizens as well as others around the world. Your expertise is quoted by many of today's leading experts in self defense. What advice would you give to citizens that consider becoming legally armed for self defense?

    Ayoob- Understand the responsibilities that are commensurate with the power. You’re responsible for learning the laws, the rules of engagement, and the requisite skill sets that accompany the carry of a remote-control lethal weapon in public, in the presence of innocent bystanders.

    ASD- Some citizens fear the stereotype of being labeled a vigilante, or someone just looking for trouble if their friends or family members knew that they carried a concealed weapon. What would you say to them about that fear?

    Ayoob- By that standard, those of us with fire extinguishers and smoke alarms at home must be pyromaniacs, and those of us who know first responder emergency medical principles must have a morbid wish for those around us to suffer traumatic injury or heart attacks. The simple fact is, the defensive firearm is, to the ordinary citizen, an analog to a fire extinguisher. Each is an emergency rescue tool that allows us to protect against death in a dire situation that could befall any of us. It allows us to cut a lane of safety and preserve life until the designated emergency response professionals get there to deal with the situation. The gun and the fire extinguisher don’t make us cops and firefighters, and don’t mean that we don’t need cops and firefighters. Tools for first response to life-threatening crisis… it is that simple.

    ASD- You founded LFI (Lethal Force Institute) in 1981. Obviously gun rights have changed and "Shall Issue" laws have been enacted since it began. How has participation changed since then?

    Ayoob- There has been remarkably little change in student profiles over the years. We get a spectrum from blue collar to wealthy, with a lot of professionals. Some of our private citizen students participated in a broad-based personality profile done by a top neuro-psychologist who received a research grant for the project. The personality profile that emerged showed above average intelligence, and above average compassion for others.

    ASD- The number of women that have chosen to arm themselves for protection has grown. In your book; The Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection (released in 1980), you write about Women and Guns. In your more recent book; The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery (2007), you also write about Women and Combat Handguns. How have women and concealed carry changed in the last 20 years, and how do you foresee it changing in the next 20 years?

    Ayoob- More women are going the CCW route. I see that trend continuing in the future, and I heartily applaud it.

    ASD- The anti-gun crowd feels children should be kept away from firearms and sheltered from them completely. What are your thoughts on educating our youth about firearms?

    Ayoob- There is no safety in ignorance. Statistics show irrefutably that in recent years, the combined efforts of NRA firearms safety programs, including the spectacularly successful Eddie Eagle program for younger children, and the hunter safety programs jointly sponsored with state fish and wildlife departments, have tremendously reduced firearms accidents. Just having a “gun-free home” is not going to do it, for the simple reason that so many other homes where the child may visit his friends will contain weapons. What works seems to be educating kids, so they are prepared for whatever environment in which they might run across a firearm. It is firearms safety education that works. We can’t argue with success.

    ASD- For a citizen with a carry permit that may feel they are pretty handy with a gun, and do not need professional training. What do you say to them?

    Ayoob- There’s a lot to know when we take on the responsibility of carrying lethal weapons. Self-education is neither as fast nor as complete as organized training. For what it’s worth, I’ve carried daily for decades and consider myself “pretty handy with a gun,” and I still spend at least a week a year in training myself, often more. When life and death are on the line, there’s no such thing as too much training.

    ASD- What type of responses do you get from people after they have completed a course at LFI for the first time?

    Ayoob-The typical response is something like, “Holy crap, I didn’t know how complicated this could become!” People have to be prepared for the legal and emotional firestorms that can follow even the most righteous and justified use of defensive deadly force. Not being prepared for that before it hits can be almost as devastating as not being prepared for the life-threatening encounter itself.

    ASD- Have you ever been contacted by a former student that has used their training in a life or death situation?

    Ayoob- It happens often. I’m particularly proud of the number of our graduates who have been able to end an encounter without bloodshed because of what they’d learned. Once it comes down to an unavoidable shooting, none of our graduates has yet lost a gunfight…and I’m pretty damn proud of that, too.

    ASD- How many classes do you give every year?

    Ayoob- Probably twenty-some a year that I teach personally. We also offer more courses, that are taught by staff other than myself. They are identified as to who is teaching what if you call LFI beforehand (1-800-624-9049). Details on our courses around the country are available at the LFI section of our website,

    ASD- (Inspired by ASD member Rossi) Your writings have covered many areas of training and self defense. You have interviewed many interesting people with stories of self defense, and the tragedy involved in having to defend oneself. Is there an article or book in particular that you have written over the years, that you have received a great amount of eye opening praise & feedback from readers? If so, what was it?

    Ayoob- There are two that seem to cover those elements best. For the person who has already made the decision to be armed, “In the Gravest Extreme: the Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection.” For those who have not yet made that decision, and also for those looking for a broader-scoped view of personal protection issues, “The Truth About Self-Protection.” Both are available in softcover from Police Bookshelf, PO Box 122, Concord, NH 03302 USA, and both can be ordered through the website or on the toll-free phone line.

    ASD- You have testified as an expert witness for defendants in many criminal court cases. (referring to defendants that were armed citizens using deadly force) Are there one or two common problems you have seen, in a citizen's use of deadly force that the concealed carry community should be aware of?

    Ayoob- Too many people have only prepared for the gunfight itself, and haven’t put enough thought into making aftermath management reflexive, too. For instance, after the gun has been drawn (let alone fired) it is imperative to immediately call 9-1-1 and report the incident, making it clear from the beginning that you are the complainant and the person who forced you to draw the gun on him is the offender. Too often, this is neglected, and the fleeing offender calls in first. From that point on, he has become the “victim/complainant” and you have become the suspect. It’s an uphill fight from there, believe me.

    ASD- You have tested and reviewed many, many firearms over the years. Is there a particular handgun that you have reviewed that stood out and surprised you in a positive way?

    Ayoob- We have the best defensive firearms, and the broadest selection of them, that has ever existed. For instance, the 1911 pistol has been around for almost a century, yet it is more popular today than ever. The reason is that today’s iterations of this classic pistol are more reliable and more user friendly than the specimens of decades past. Our small-frame, lightweight revolvers are stronger and more powerful for their weight than ever. The new generation of striker-fired, polymer frame semiautomatics – Glock, Kahr, the Springfield Armory XD, the S&W M&P, for example – are remarkably reliable, efficient, and user friendly.

    ASD- What has been the most significant change in firearms in the last 20 years, with respect to concealed carry?

    Ayoob- The sort of thing mentioned in the last question, plus the improved high-tech defensive ammunition. Federal HST, Remington Golden Saber, Speer Gold Dot, and the Winchester SXT and Ranger-T rounds are more likely to give optimum performance than the more conventional hollowpoint ammunition we were using 20 years ago. They are optimized for performance from short barrel concealment guns.

    ASD- You are active in competitive shooting across the nation. What benefits could an armed citizen get from shooting in a competitive setting?

    Ayoob- Many benefits, some obvious and some less so. First, competition makes it second nature for the shooter to manipulate the weapon efficiently and get effective hits when under stress. Second, something like an IDPA match is a great “test-bed” to make sure your combination of concealed carry pistol, holster, and cover garment(s) are working together as well as they should. And third, something often missed in discussions on this topic, is that competition introduces you to a large and varied group of good, like-minded people from whom you can learn and with whom you can network.

    ASD- How often do you try to compete?

    Ayoob- When time and schedule permit. I probably average only a couple of matches a month now.

    ASD- Your next book, The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, will be released soon on September 22, 2008. Could you tell us a few things we can look forward to in this new book?

    Ayoob- I didn’t want it to just be a catalog of guns and holsters. I tried to put in as much as I could on the practical elements of each system in 24/7 carry. Every method will have strengths and weaknesses, and with each I did my best to show how to take advantages of the strengths, and shore up or work away from the weaknesses.

    ASD- Do you have any plans for future writing projects?

    Ayoob- The book on defensive rifles and full auto weapons is still on the back burner but making progress, and so is the one tentatively titled “The Dark Place: Studies in Fear Control.” I still do the Complete Book of Handguns each year for Harris Publications, and am working on the 2009 edition now, in fact. I’m slowly putting together an anthology for Paladin Press, too.

    ASD- How many books have you written to date?

    Ayoob- “In the Gravest Extreme,” “Truth About Self-Protection,” “Fundamentals of Modern Police Impact Weapons,” “The Semi-Automatic Pistol in Police Service and Self-Defense,” “StressFire,” “StressFire II,” “Ayoob Files: the Book, Volume I,” “The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery” (5th and 6th editions), “The Gun Digest Book of Beretta,” “The Gun Digest Book of SIG-Sauer,” “Hit the White Part,” and maybe fifteen years worth of Complete Book of Handguns, which is short book length in a magazine format.

    ASD- For those interested in purchasing your books and articles, is there a "one stop shopping spot" they can go to and see them all?

    Ayoob- The Gun Digest series and Combat Handgunnery are available through Krause Publications at, and at most bookstores such as Borders and Barnes & Noble. The rest, along with some back issues of “Complete Book of Handguns,” can be ordered from Police Bookshelf at

    ...Thanks for the chance to talk to your members. Keep up the good work!
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Massad Ayoob started by UGA View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. NWFFT's Avatar
      NWFFT -
      Great Interview! My wife and I are both graduates of LFI-1 and what Mas says is all the truth. LFI, now MAG-40 is a class that all CCW people should take. I can not stress enough the amount of information about self defense and SKILLS that you will come away with. We are both going back and taking MAG-80 (LFI-2) in November 2010. I hope to go all the way to MAG 160 and be a MAG Instructor one day.
    1. Eccentric's Avatar
      Eccentric -
      Quote Originally Posted by NWFFT View Post
      Great Interview! My wife and I are both graduates of LFI-1 and what Mas says is all the truth. LFI, now MAG-40 is a class that all CCW people should take. I can not stress enough the amount of information about self defense and SKILLS that you will come away with. We are both going back and taking MAG-80 (LFI-2) in November 2010. I hope to go all the way to MAG 160 and be a MAG Instructor one day.
      Send us a report after completing the course in November!
    1. Rossi's Avatar
      Rossi -
      One of the giants in the field.

      It was a great interview you had with him. I'm glad I lived in the time when he was around.

    1. NWFFT's Avatar
      NWFFT -

      I will give a complete report after we wife is also an NRA instructor and a graduate of LFI-1 and going to MAG-80. If anyone has not gone to LFI and would like to do so, MAS is teaching MAG-40 (LFI-1) in Live Oak Florida in Oct 2010. If anyone is interested, they can go to and get the information or e-mail me @ and/or call me at (850) 902-3291 and I will be glad to help with any information...I only live 4 hours away from Mas. and talk with he or his instructors monthly.
    1. Eccentric's Avatar
      Eccentric -
      Quote Originally Posted by NWFFT View Post
      ...I only live 4 hours away from Mas. and talk with he or his instructors monthly.
      N-i-i-i-ce! What a great resource!

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