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Valuable Knowledge for All Armed Citizens
By Harold Hutchison

Many gun owners work hard to protect the right to keep and bear arms for the express purpose of being able to protect themselves and their families in a shootout. But what really goes on in situations where deadly force has to be used? How does one avoid facing what George Zimmerman is facing – surviving the lethal encounter, but now facing a loss of freedom?

Thankfully, there is a way to learn the lessons long before one gets into a shootout, thanks to Massad Ayoob, a part-time police officer with over four decades of service, and who serves as an instructor in the use of firearms for self-defense. He was not only the founder of the Lethal Force Institute, but he is currently the owner of the Massad Ayoob Group.

Starting in 1986, Ayoob, who already wrote a “Cop Talk” column for American Handgunner, began writing a feature known as the Ayoob Files after a three-part series on the mental aspect of gunfights did well the previous year. Its purpose was to dissect gunfights – and provide lessons learned. A complete archive of the entries for the first 27 years this feature has run (1985-2011, counting the "Cop Talk" columns that launched the feature) is now for sale by American Handgunner – and it is a must-read for anyone who has decided to own a firearm for personal protection, or anybody who is considering making that decision.

The files feature many instances of armed citizens and police officers who find themselves having to use guns for self-defense – and it pulls no punches. The feature shows cases where armed citizens and cops lose the gunfights and die – or even if they survive the encounter, they find themselves facing a legal battle to avoid prison, and they don’t always win those, either. Then, if you survive the gunfight, and avoid criminal liability, there is the risk of a civil suit that will bankrupt you.

These are the hard facts – but if you learn the lessons from the losers, you have a chance to emerge from a lethal encounter with your life and liberty relatively intact. This archive of Ayoob’s columns will give armed citizens the benefit of these lessons from the mistakes of others that have been written in blood and/or jail time.

But Ayoob’s bi-monthly feature has gone far beyond that – they also provide practical arguments against some of the biggest parts of the gun-grabbing agenda of Michael Bloomberg, Dianne Feinstein, and Chuck Schumer, including opposition to concealed carry laws, limits on magazine capacity, and gun bans. Some of the cases feature people who have severe mental health problems – something widely ignored and back-burnered by society.

Ayoob also covers historical events like the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and provides new insights – including an experiment at a Second Chance shoot – that point to Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone gunman. Another article provides a new way of looking at the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, albeit it is not revealed as such until later. Each of the columns is riveting and not only holds attention, but invites re-reading.

At a list price of $35.00 for a 224 megabyte PDF file, this is one expensive eBook. That said, you get 1115 pages of material, and the hard-earned lessons this carries are well worth the money and disk space. In terms of the lessons it teaches, it is arguably the next-best thing to attending a concealed carry class taught by Ayoob himself.

The rights protected by the Second Amendment, like all rights protected by the Bill of Rights, require responsibility in their exercise. This digital archive – 27 years worth of columns – is a must have for anyone who owns a firearm for self-defense, who is considering that decision.