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Well, campers, all good things must come to an end, and I’m afraid this is final installment of our first interview with Massad Ayoob. On a personal note, I can tell you that this was (no pun intended) a blast for me, as I’m a big fan of the knowledgeable and articulate Mr. Ayoob. I hope you’ve goten as much out of his responses to the questions as I did. Thanks to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia for sending in your questions. And here’s some breaking news: Massad has agreed to participate in a liveblogging, dial-in show in mid-February. We’ll have more news on that as the date grows closer, so you can mark your calendars. And with that, here’s the final chapter in TTAG’s The Massad Ayoob Chronicles.

What about ammo? Is there any ammo that you’d find to be a red flag to the police or prosecutors? There are expanding sabots for shotguns, LEO-only loads, the so-called “Talon” expanding hollow points, and so forth. Anything there private citizens should avoid?

I recommend that they use a good-quality, hollow point round, ideally something that’s been out there for a while, has a track record, and has been widely-used in law enforcement. If they are comfortable with the round that’s carried by their local police, so much the better, but I don’t think that’s necessarily a 100% requirement.

If it was 1995 and I lived in New York City, yeah, the city was still issuing ball ammunition for the 9mm, but I damn sure wouldn’t have it in my gun. Be able to articulate that police went to that type of ammunition because historically, the people that forced them to shoot them, tended to cease hostilities sooner, with fewer gunshot wounds. The bullets tended not to go through-and-through, and strike innocent, unseen bystanders on the other side of them. And the bullets tended not to ricochet, and strike unseen bystanders unpredictably.

On the other side will very often, with a civilian case, bring up the hollow point thing and they’ll use phrases like “dum-dum bullets” and blah, blah, blah. A good resource on that would be some of the legal writings of attorney Lisa Steele. Lisa is an appellate lawyer out of the Northeast, and she’s seen the same sort of thing that I’ve seen – the demonization of the hollow point thing, as an indication of malice on the part of the user and all that. And I’ve found it takes five minutes in court to shoot it down.

Mr. Ayoob, why did you cary that particular police-type hollow point? “Well sir, I was concerned about the same people police carry guns to protect us from. I figured that if the police determined that that was the best ammunition to use to protect me and my family, it was probably the best ammunition for me to use, to protect me and my family.”

Any thoughts on affordable guns for low-income families that live in high-crime areas?

Yeah, rather than buy a cheap gun, be looking for a reputable dealer that will sell you a good-quality used firearm. We’re seeing some of the traded-in police service autos, the older generation – you know, the Berettas, the Smith & Wessons, going in the mid-$300 range. The bottom line is, we’re talking life-saving, emergency rescue equipment here. And we’re also talking about stuff that’s built to last. None of us keeps food in our great-great grandmother’s ice box, but I know people hunt with their grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s guns. I’d rather have old than cheap.

Since this has been a hot topic virtually everywhere, what’s your opinion on the extended-capacity or high-capacity magazines?

Well the actual, extended-capacity magazines, the ones that go beyond the original design of the weapon, their use in crimes is extremely rare. Prior to the Loughner incident earlier this month, the last one that I even remember was in the mid-1990s, the Fairchild airbase, the psycho who had an AK-47 cloned, semi-automatic, with a 75-round, after-market magazine. Prior to that, the only ones I can think of off the top of my head, in the late 90’s, the infamous North Hollywood bank robbery, may have used one or more extended magazines in their illegal, fully-auto machine guns.

One perpetrator in the 1980s in Florida who had a 40-round magazine instead of a 30-round, aftermarket in a rifle, and prior to that, I’d have to go back to the 1930s, when “Baby Face” Nelson and John Dillinger had 1911s that had been made up with extended magazines for them by an outlaw gunsmith in San Antonio.

So when you get something that happens somewhere between once every decade and once every two decades, passing new laws to ban millions of people from owning multiple millions of a product that has been legal for God-knows how long, at a time when Camden, New Jersey has just had to lay off 40% of it’s police force, does not strike me as an exercise in logic.

On the other hand, we have home invasion situations, the thing we had a little over a year ago in Florida where the gang of people dressed as ninjas, broke into a home, terrorized the place, killed one or two people – there are situations where the defending good guy is going to need more than the average amount of firepower.

If you look at the several shootings, the watch repairman Lance Thomas, the Rolex expert was involved in, a chain of five gunfights with a minimum of multiple opponents. He often had to empty a gun, or another gun, et cetera, et cetera, to solve the problem. A situation some years ago, in Richmond, Virginia, the Beverly Hills Jewlers incident (also covered in American Handgunner magazine) where the people in the jewelry store emptied several five-shot revolvers at two very heavily-armed, professional criminals, before they finally managed to kill the two of them.

In a situation like that, yeah, we can see the advantage in the home-defense/store-defense scenario of the high-capacity magazine. It’s rare, but it’s not nearly so rare as the incidents of their abuse. To me, it’s a non-issue. Light-weight yuppies who don’t understand what really causes crime, what really causes murder, and look for simple answers to complicated problems.

Are there any words of wisdom you would like to pass on to the TTAG Armed Intelligencia?

I’m with a group of people that do the Pro-Arms Podcast, and we’ve had a lot of success with that. We’ve been able to interview people like Bill Allard, who was Jim Cirillo’s partner in the New York City stakeout squad. I recently did an interview with John Hanlon, one of the survivors of the epic FBI gun battle in Miami, 25 years ago. There’s a lot of stuff there that comes from the horse’s mouth that folks have found useful for their own personal preparation. The podcast is also on the Gun Rights Radio Network.

I also have a variety of classes coming up around the country. Visit my website, for the latest schedules and information.

Click here for Part I • Part II • Part III • Part IVPart V

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  1. Say it ain’t so Brad. What am I going to do with out Massad Ayoob Mornings?

    All kidding aside, this series was gold and proof positive that TTAG is growing for a good reason.

  2. Fantastic series. I highly recommend anyone that liked this stuff to listen to the Pro-Arms Podcast if you don’t already. Mas has done several interviews with law enforcement survivors of gunfights, as well as discussed several high profile self defense cases (the Harold Fish case, and another recent one where a guy was attacked by 3 unarmed neighbors and charged). His insights have been very interesting to listen to.

    He’s also somewhat active on GlockTalk. I believe he’s one of the “experts” in the “Go Ask An Expert” forums (perhaps the self defense one).

  3. Just stumbled across this. Excellent interview! I hope to take a class from the MAG some day. For now I’m working through several of his excellent books (and taking some more locally accessible classes).

  4. I really enjoyed the entire interview and I hope you can have some other trainers do similar interviews. Keep up the great work Brad.

  5. Brad, Thanks for these wonderful posts. I just read them from start to finish, fascinated. He sounds like a very serious and competent man, a little on the alarmist and paranoid side for me, but very interesting to read.


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