Firearms, Self-Defense Expert Massad Ayoob Answers Five Essential Questions — SHOT Show 2015

Massad Ayoob is one knowledgable dude.  (Photo: Dr. ZMan)

Massad Ayoob is one knowledgable dude. (Photo: Dr. ZMan)

One of the highlights of my 2015 SHOT Show experience would have been catching up with world-renowned firearms and self-defense expert Massad Ayoob. I say “would have been” because, unfortunately, he didn’t make the show this year as his girlfriend came down with a bad case of bronchitis at the last minute. Mas, being the good guy that he is, stayed behind to take care of his better half as she convalesces (See, Mas can teach you more than just about how to defend yourself with a firearm, he can give you a valuable lesson in chivalry as well!). So, instead of chatting face to face and getting his one-of-a-kind stentorian voice on camera, I had to email him my questions.  The questions you may recognize as four out of the five centered around discussion topics I wrote this past year.  I wanted to get Mas perspective on those hot-button questions we debated.

Here are the discussion articles for your reference followed by my Q&A with Mas. Feel free to join the conversation in the comment section below.

WHEN IS IT WARRANTED TO SHOOT SOMEONE OVER PROPERTY?
SHOOT FIRST OR ATTEMPT TO DE-ESCALATE DURING HOME INVASION?
WOULD YOU PURSUE FLEEING BURGLARS OR WAIT ON POLICE TO ARRIVE?
DOES CARRYING OPENLY MAKE YOU A TARGET?

S.H. Blannelberry: Under what circumstance would you shoot someone over property (assuming that there is no imminent threat of death or great bodily harm)?

Massad Ayoob: None that I can think of.

S.H. Blannelberry: Your home is being invaded, do you shoot first or attempt to de-escalate the situation?

Massad Ayoob: Situation-dependent. If the “invader” is apparently unarmed, and known to be some “harmless character,” i.e., town drunk or neighbor with mental illness, and is not violently acting out: consider negotiating or taking at gunpoint. If obvious armed criminal, shoot.

S.H. Blannelberry: Given your experience, training and expertise with firearms, would you pursue a fleeing burglar or would you wait for police to arrive?

Massad Ayoob: Definitely, wait for police to arrive.

S.H. Blannelberry: Do you think open carry makes one a target?

Massad Ayoob: I can’t say that it DOES, but it obviously CAN make you a target…not only of criminals, but of random showoffs, drunks, etc.

S.H. Blannelberry: On the subject of concealed carry, what issuing standard do you prefer? Constitutional or permitless carry? Shall-Issue? Do you believe some type of training should be required before one bears arms in public?

Massad Ayoob: Permitless carry has worked out remarkably well in jurisdictions that have it. Permitless carry is not going to be politically feasible in some jurisdictions, however. I am happy with shall-issue. Substantial training requirements have a disparate impact on the poor and some others who need concealed carry most; if such requirements became necessary, I would rather see testing for competency than X number of hours required. Any live fire competency test should be something an arthritic great-grandmother could pass with an inherited gate-loading revolver, again because such people are among those most in need of concealed carry.

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Big thanks to Mas for taking the time to answer some questions.  To learn more about how you can get in touch with this master gun instructor, check out MassadAyoobGroup.com. Hopefully, I get a chance to chat with him in person at NRA this year.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • ejharb October 2, 2017, 1:23 pm

    Mas is the best and the first “training guru”I’d hand money and time to.
    He tought this young guy the fundamentals of modern police impact weapons a long time ago.
    God bless you Mr ayoob!

  • Reed January 24, 2015, 9:58 am

    Class act – with the rare ability to teach without preaching.

  • DrZman January 23, 2015, 8:23 pm

    Great article, sorry they missed SHOT; looking forward to hearing him at the Rangemaster Tactical Conference in February.

  • Phil January 23, 2015, 11:06 am

    I have a follow-up to one of Ayoob’s answers. He said:
    “If the “invader” is apparently unarmed, and known to be some “harmless character,” i.e., town drunk or neighbor with mental illness, and is not violently acting out: consider negotiating or taking at gunpoint. If obvious armed criminal, shoot.”
    There is kind of a grey area there that didn’t get addressed. It seems like the two options for people breaking in are either: a) a harmless character, or b) an armed criminal. What if it is unknown whether the invader is an armed criminal or not? Shoot first, ask questions later? Wait to try to identify the invader as armed or not? What if it’s too late and you get shot, or your family is harmed?

    • DT January 23, 2015, 2:16 pm

      He actually answered your question when he first stated “situation-dependent.” You can’t take a dynamic situation and have just one answer to solve it.

    • KP January 23, 2015, 3:39 pm

      I think it should be pretty clear what to do in the situation. Especially in the American states where you actually have rights (not like in Canada…or some of the communist states)…

      If someone breaks into your house, and you suspect they are a criminal who is capable of shooting you, and you have no feasible way to get him onto the ground without putting yourself at risk, then shoot (so long as you’re legally protected in doing so). It would be horrible to take a human life, but it would be worse to lose your own life, or that of a loved one. If someone is unlawfully in your home, it is an assault, an attack, on you personally and on everyone who lives in that house. The criminal has already done enough to justify deadly force, in my opinion. It then becomes up to you personally if you feel you can get him to surrender and get down on the ground without killing him. If the law protected me in doing so, I don’t think I’d be willing to take much risk. Maybe a quick shout of “on the ground or you’re dead” or something to that effect, and if the next movement the criminal made was anything but very slowly dropping the gun and getting on the ground, it would be the last movement he made (this is, of course, if the law protected my right to do so).

      Given I live in Canada, I would have to be very careful as far as what I did and what the threat was. If he ends up being unarmed, its almost a certainty that I would be charged (though quite possibly not convicted, the crown and police love to charge people up here simply because they had the audacity to defend themselves against a criminal). If the person was armed but was not “directly threatening me” then it would still probably end up with me being charged, at least initially. The only time that you could have any reasonable hope of not being charged is if the criminal had already fired on you, or lunged at you with a knife or other weapon. Everything else, including him “merely” pointing a gun at you, would likely result in charges if you shot him or killed him (or both). In the end you’d be acquitted, but in Canada, the process is far more punishment and is often sufficient punishment for the police/crown to pursue charges. They don’t want Canadians defending themselves, as it’s bad for business for them.

  • Pete January 23, 2015, 10:48 am

    Mas is a great instructor and shooter. I have been lucky to have met him and take a class from him. I agree with all he says, but I do think some basic safe gun handling should be taught, no matter what. It is stuff you can not find in those pamphlets the manufacturers put in with the gun, additionally they are adding a lot of silly stuff due to liability shy lawyer input. I know, this would likely be abused by the politically motivated, still I see so many people without a clue at the ranges now.

    • ejharb October 2, 2017, 1:27 pm

      He stated he was for a competency test that the proverbial arthritic great grandma can pass.I’d agree with that! Ymmv

  • gary66 January 23, 2015, 8:03 am

    without saying it, or with out saying it while defending and advocating it, Massad advice is to know history. Knowing history will allow the person to defend themselves while being attacked during the event and defending the event. In doing so it’s possible everyone involved will be better for it and that is the goal. We are not an island and there’s strength in numbers.

    A patriot is someone who self educates and particularly in history.

    Just thought I’d boil it down to a starting point.

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