Massad Ayoob

Massad Ayoob

Recently I was invited to sit in on Massad Ayoob’s MAG-20 class. Lisa Marie and Tommy Judy run a great training business – B.E.L.T. Training – and were hosting Mr. / Officer / Instructor / Drill Sergeant / Coach / Counselor / Professor Ayoob’s four day MAG-40 class. They had space for me to sit in and observe the intense 2 day classroom portion which is separately offered as MAG-20. And when I say intense, I do mean intense. Ten to eleven hours each day. No breaks. No food. No water. Well, I might be exaggerating on the food, water, and break thing, but we didn’t dawdle and did in fact work right through lunch both days. So it was serious learning.

Here is where I would write many pithy and intellectual observations about the course and my experience with it. Or I could just be honest and tell you that this class scared the living be-jeepers out of me. And it did.

But in a good way.

You see, Mag-20, otherwise known as Armed Citizen Rules of Engagement, starts the process of preparing the student for legal, tactical, and aftermath management issues for the lawful armed citizen. The student is immersed in the frightening real-world scenarios that may result from even lawfully protecting yourself and loved ones. You’ll learn the difference between Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground laws. And much more. We’ll be doing a separate article talking more about the class experience. For now, let’s just say you need this type of training from a quality instructor. And you need it now. The fear this course generates is healthy and will inspire you to all new levels of preparation. That’s good.

Now back to the business at hand. Having read Massad Ayoob’s work in shooting, concealed carry, and training books, American Handgunner, Combat Handguns, and just about everywhere else, it was about time I was able to meet the man behind the mustache in person. Here’s what he had to say:

My Gun Culture: For those who are not familiar with your work, you’re a career cop, gun writer, self-defense and firearms trainer, legal adviser, expert witness, and competitive action shooter. So what are you going to be when you grow up?

Massad Ayoob: I was always a part-time cop, although fully sworn. That kept it fresh, and prevented burnout. When I grow up, I wanna be about six feet, maybe six feet two…

MGC: Oh I get it. You’re trying to out-wise guy me. I just want you to know that I’m a trained professional when it comes to being a doofus. Is a gig on Dancing with the Stars in your future?

Mas: Hell, son, at my age I’m grateful to WALK. If I ever look like I’m dancing, it’s probably only because I’m struggling to stay standing up.

MGC: Well, Buzz Aldrin did it! Then again, that was somewhat of a disaster… I just completed your MAG-20/Classroom – Armed Citizens’ Rules of Engagement class. It scared the living hell out of me. After a few days I managed to stop whimpering and get out of the fetal position, so I think I’ll be OK with some extra group therapy. For those new to self-defense and concealed carry, which of your dozen or so books would you recommend reading first to prime them for a live training class?

Mas: Damn…I failed you. We don’t usually teach shooting from the fetal position until the next level class… To prep for a MAG-40, I’d suggest reading Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry, Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery, In the Gravest Extreme, and Volume I of StressFire.

MGC: Just hypothetically speaking, if you are called as an expert witness, and Perry Mason is cross-examining the be-jeepers out of you, what strategy would you adopt? And no, begging for mercy is not an option. Nor is turning off the TV.

Mas: Same as always: by telling the truth as I see it, and explaining it to the cross-examiner and the jury. Wouldn’t happen, though, since Perry Mason (a FICTIONAL defense lawyer, remember) only defends the innocent, and I wouldn’t be speaking for the prosecution against someone shown by the evidence to be innocent.

MGC: So you caught trying a trick question. It’s my job OK? We ask all our interviewees this important question. As a respected self-defense expert, I think you might have some great insight on this question. Is the MK19 Automatic Grenade Launcher appropriate for home defense? Obviously a drawback is shrapnel damage to our home, and probably nearby neighbors. On the plus side, I think it has a great intimidation factor. What do you think?

Mas: Might have been awfully useful in Benghazi, but here…prolly not optimum.

MGC: Some of my favorite reads are “The Ayoob Files” in American Handgunner and “Self Defense and the Law” in Combat Handguns. While many are tragic, the real-life stories have powerful lessons. If you had to offer just one piece of advice to responsible citizens, what would that be? Yeah, I know, it’s a completely unfair question, but I am confident you can handle it!

Mas: Think about it to the nth degree beforehand, and be prepared…because when it happens, it will happen too fast to figure it out then.

MGC: Quick one. What was the first gun you ever owned? And do you still have it?

Mas: First very own gun was Eastern Arms 12-gauge single barrel. Still have it. First very own handgun was Ruger Standard Model .22 auto, age 11. Wish I still had it.

MGC: I wish I had your Ruger Standard Model .22 Auto also! You’re a busy man. What are you going to be most focused on in 2013?

Mas: Same as ever, one more year…what the year brings will impact the focus, as always…

We’d like to thank Mas Ayoob for sharing some time with our readers. He’s busy as always and devoting some of his precious time to serve on the Advisory board of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. This organization is a must have resource for all lawfully armed citizens – concealed carry holder or not. In 2013 Mas will also be one of the co-instructors for several of their CLE (continuing legal education credit) courses, geared for attorneys who handle deadly force/firearms cases. You can get more information on the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network here.

We’d highly recommend taking one of Massad Ayoob’s classes. He partners with a number of training firms around the country so you just might find a class offered in your neck of the woods. Get more information at