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Network Reviews Successful First Year

The years 2003-2007 were pressure-filled for Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network President Marty Hayes. Not only was he operating his firearms training academy, he was earning a Juris Doctor degree, studying online when he was not teaching classes. But, doing several demanding tasks at the same time was nothing new to Hayes. In earlier times he had worked full time in law enforcement while operating his business The Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc. Additionally, he would take the occasional expert witness case, if a local attorney would ask for his input on a gun-related bit of litigation. He enrolled in law school as a natural progression of that work with the legal profession.

Somewhere around the second year of law school, Hayes conjured up the concept of a membership organization dedicated to the legal defense of armed citizens prosecuted after justifiable use of force in self defense. He began describing his new idea to students in his classes, and received an enthusiastically positive response.

About the same time, Vincent Shuck was preparing to retire from the executive director’s position at the American Academy of Implant Dentistry in Chicago, IL, a professional association serving 3,500 member dentists. He and Hayes were acquainted as student and instructor at Firearms Academy, and Hayes recognized the skills and knowledge Shuck could bring to the embryonic association for armed citizens.

In July of 2007, Hayes received his J.D. degree, and planning began in earnest, as various goals of this new organization were discussed, and the different ways to accomplish those goals came under scrutiny. Meetings and strategy sessions continued, attorneys were consulted, and industry leaders, some of whom would eventually accept seats on the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation’s Advisory Board, offered their opinions.

Shuck was closing out his projects for the AAID organization as retirement became a reality, but kept the emails flying back and forth about the needs and aspirations of the new organization. Even during his cross-country drive after moving out of Chicago, the email planning continued. His new home base in the Pacific Northwest meshed nicely with Hayes’ location in western Washington State.

In the fall of 2007, one more worker joined the effort. In observing the planning sessions, Gila Hayes became convinced that if this commendable enterprise was to thrive, it needed someone to work the day-to-day operational duties. She began stepping down from her second job doing freelance gun writing, though continuing her duties at the Firearms Academy of Seattle, Inc.

A name to describe the mission of the nascent organization was sought. After a number of alternatives were broached and discarded, the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network was the final choice. While a bit lengthy, the descriptive name clearly separated the new organization from the legislative action organizations that have been the norm in the gun owning fraternity. Due to the name’s length, it is commonly shortened to “the Network” in written materials.

Soon thereafter the three founders anteed up the initial operating capital, the corporate business structure was put in place, and work on details like an informational web site, promotional brochures, and all the other details began. In February of 2008, the three attended the firearms industry convention, the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors Trade Show (SHOT Show), and found a number of their acquaintances supportive of and intrigued by the Network concept.

Concurrent with a membership drive among Hayes’ Firearms Academy student base, was formation of the Network’s Affiliated Instructor list. These grass roots firearms instructors recognized that their students frequently do not know how to prepare for the legal fallout of using a gun in self defense, and welcomed an affiliation with the Network to help with that aspect of their students’ education. Eventually the Instructor list reached an unwieldy length, so the affiliates were sorted by region, and now appear in that format at http://www.armedcitizensnetwork .org/Instructors.html. The Network Affiliated Instructors comprise a grass roots promotional base, giving Network brochures and information to their students.

Throughout the early months, work on a three-DVD set consumed much of the Network president’s time. When the project culminated, he had produced three educational DVDs covering use of deadly force, interacting with police after a shooting, and how the lawyer prepares a self defense case for the courts. These DVDs are sent to each member when he or she joins, since we know that well-educated armed citizens are not prone to errors in judgment when defending self and family.

At the same time, membership development led our efforts, since the strength of the Network is directly related to membership numbers. 20% of all membership dues go directly to a Foundation. The Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit in late spring of 2008, and since then the Network has regularly deposited 20% of the membership dues, as new members joined.

Vincent Shuck is president of the Foundation, and works with an Advisory Board composed of Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and Dennis Tueller. When the Foundation’s resources have grown to sufficient levels, Network members will be able to request financial assistance to defray legal costs when defending their self defense actions in court. This advisory board will review the requests and make recommendations on how the Foundation should respond.

In late May, the Network’s online bookstore opened for business. When buying there, members receive a 20% discount on books and DVDs about guns, self defense and related concerns. Titles include Tom Givens’ concealed carry video, Massad Ayoob’s books and DVDs, as well as work by Louis Awerbuck, John and Vicki Farnam, Chuck Taylor, Ralph Mroz and others. New members also use the online store to join the Network.

In the summer, the Network was first recognized in print when Kevin Jamison wrote a two page article about it in his legal column in Concealed Carry Magazine. In late fall, Ed Lovette’s article in Combat Handguns magazine featured the educational DVDs sent to everyone who joins the Network. Both articles attracted the attention of gun owners who had not yet heard about the Network and membership numbers increased substantially.

The goal of reaching more gun owners with word about the Network is a continuing effort, and Vincent Shuck has shouldered the job of starting up a Network State Representative system comprised of Network members who are willing to set up brochure displays and spread the word about the Network at gun shows, gun ranges and other places shooters go. In addition, many newly joining members report that they learned about the Network from a friend, proof that the extra brochures sent out with each new members’ package are making it into the hands of other gun owners.

As the Network approaches its second year, goals include continued membership growth, developing a continuing legal education program for lawyers about defending the self defense shooter, filling out an affiliated attorney list much like that of the Network Affiliated Instructors, the possible production of an additional educational DVD if time permits, gaining corporate support for the Foundation, and getting ready to host a members conference in 2010, if membership numbers merit.

Network President Reviews 2008 Accomplishments

by Marty Hayes

It certainly has been an interesting year, with the days, weeks and months just zipping by. One short year ago, we pulled the trigger on forming the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC, and each day for the last 365, we have either devoted a part of that day, or sometimes the whole day working on the Network. Formation of the Network was the most ambitious project of my life, and if it wasn’t for the support of my wife Gila who has been my motivator, and the guidance of Vincent Shuck, our Vice President and Foundation Executive Director, I am afraid the Network would still be a good idea, but not a reality. Thanks, you two, you have made me look pretty good this last year.

So, how about a recap of the Network’s 2008 activities?

Okay, here goes.

First, don’t believe the advertising about Legal Zoom. Even though I have a law degree, I wanted a little more guidance in setting up the business structure of the Network. A couple of attorneys with whom I consulted believed going through Legal Zoom would be just fine for what we wanted to do, and if Legal Zoom would have executed their part promptly, it would have been. So, I started right into legally forming our Limited Liability Company, but I guess Legal Zoom felt our business was not a great priority. They accomplished the formation correctly, but instead of the few short days it was supposed to take, it took about three times as long. Only a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau produced some satisfaction. The good news is that the BBB complaint resulted in a fees refund from Legal Zoom, so it was not all wasted.

On February 2, 2008, armed with a “de facto” LLC, some brochures and business cards, we went off to SHOT Show, to introduce the idea to some of our friends and contacts in the business. Concurrently, we were also making final the formation of our advisory board, with John Farnam, Tom Givens, Massad Ayoob and Jim Cirillo, Jr, agreeing to serve as the initial advisors. Since that time, Jim has stepped down from the advisory board for personal reasons, though he remains a firm supporter of the Network. We were proud to add Dennis Tueller to the advisory board. His is a name most recognized for the Tueller drill (see our May 2008 eJournal at http: //

But back to my story: After receiving a very warm welcome from the industry leaders, we felt buoyed by the experience of talking up the Network, and seeing people’s reaction to the idea. Then, the work really began. The first thing on my agenda was getting the educational videos produced. No sweat, I told myself, I’ll sit down and sketch out what I wanted to say in the first video and get it done.

A month later, I finally had the script of the first video the way I wanted it, and we filmed it one day between rain storms beating on the steel roof of our shooting school classroom, and it was in the can. I admit, I like the finished product, but you should see some of the out takes!

With the first video finished, I was able to catch up with Massad Ayoob in Indiana where he was teaching a class, and lasso him for a couple of hours to record the second program. I will let you in on a little secret. There is no good place to film a video in Rochester, Indiana. We ended up rearranging the motel room I stayed in, and making the best of the situation. Obviously, the production quality of this particular video did not match that of the first or third ones. Were it not for the expertise of our video professional, Janet Turner, who turned my raw, poorly lit footage into something usable, we would have had to re-film it. I think it turned out okay, and certainly our star, Massad Ayoob, did his part admirably. Oh, yeah, you should see the out takes!

The third video was the easiest to put together, since all I had to do was ask a couple of good friends some questions about the legal system, and let them talk. The hardest part was scheduling the two attorneys, the videographer and myself to be in the same place at the same time. Scheduling took a month or so, and we ended up filming in May, and thus distributed the final video by the first of July. Yippee, we did it! Three videos, filmed, edited, produced and in the mail in three months. Now you know what I did with myself last spring.

About the time the third video hit the members’ mailboxes, the first article on the Network was published in the United States Concealed Carry Association magazine, and the phone started ringing! Our sincere thanks to Kathy Jackson, Concealed Carry Magazine editor, author and attorney Kevin Jamison and USCCA founder Tim Schmidt for believing in us and giving us this valuable publicity. It sure helped.

We then started in earnest attempting to recruit attorneys for the Network to serve as resources for our members. We sent out emails, hit the Internet forums and asked our members to forward us names. But, I must admit, our efforts have fallen short in this area. I promise to do better in 2009, though, and we still need help from our members to refer their attorneys to us. Please let me make this comment however: don’t wait for us to find an attorney in your area who you can call in the middle of the night if you get into a self-defense shooting, seek out that very important part of your personal defense plan now. The October edition of the Network eJournal gives you some suggestions on how to do just that. Download that journal by clicking the “October 2008” link at http: //

By early fall, our grass roots efforts started to pay off, as we were now enrolling new members from all parts of the country, not based on our direct marketing, but as referrals from our early members, instructor network and magazine articles. One of the most important aspects of the network is our ever growing list of Network Affiliated Instructors. Every day, these instructors are talking to their students about the Network, which is what we envisioned when we put this part of the organization together.

When fall rolled around, I began writing a series of articles for Concealed Carry Magazine, dealing with the topics we discuss here in the eJournal, but formatted for a print magazine.

What comes next year?

After returning from the 2009 SHOT Show in January, I will begin working on the Network’s next DVD project, which should be available before any of our current memberships expire. We plan to send out another DVD with the first year renewal, and have hopes to produce at least one additional program, if not more, throughout the year, making them available for purchase. I will write more magazine articles, spreading the word about the Network, and continue to work to develop a solid list of attorneys throughout the United States enrolled as Network Affiliated Attorneys.

Personally, my efforts will continue to be split between teaching firearms for my school, and developing all the facets of the Network, to take our organization to the next level. As 2008 came to a close, we had nearly 600 members. It is my goal to see that level of participation rise to over 1,000 before the end of next year. If each current member recruited just one shooting friend to join the Network, we would be there immediately!

Vice-President’s Message

Making Progress

The beginning of a new year always offers me a chance to reflect – some about what I have done, or tried to do, as well as what I want to accomplish during the coming year. This reflection and planning can relate to my personal, work, family, spiritual or leisure goals. And, I usually devote special emphasis to my shooting activities, such as what firearm to add to my collection, what classes to take or retake, and what shooting accessory I can no longer do without. Of course, the beginning of 2009 especially allows me to reflect on the Network and its future.

Any review of the Network’s past year should include consideration of its origin. In this regard, we all owe Marty Hayes, the Network President, a great deal of gratitude and appreciation for his foresight in developing the Network’s concept. The Network’s progress during this past year will become a part of his long history of working hard and addressing the needs of the shooting industry, especially the armed citizen component. When I first heard about the concept, I was eager to join the ‘fantasy’ organization. After a few discussions with Marty, I was not only willing to join, but to help turn the concept into a reality. We’ve done that, thanks to you, the Network member.

National publications have recognized our efforts and have helped spread the word about the Network. However, nothing beats personal recommendations or endorsements by our members – you have shared your membership and recommended the Network to your colleagues. Thank you for helping us convey our message.

Our membership growth has been great, but we can and will do more in 2009 to disclose the important mission of supporting legally armed citizens. Our Affiliated Instructors serve as one of our ‘front line’ ambassadors to the shooting community. Thank you for sharing information about the Network as well as for preparing the legally armed citizen to deal with a confrontation.

The State Representative Program, where Network members can volunteer to share Network information with others, has just started. Network members who are in a position to give brochures to potential members and share the Network’s mission at appropriate locations and events are encouraged to contact me at jvshuck@armedcitizen to obtain further information. Keep in mind, the more members we collectively recruit, the stronger the Network becomes and the more prepared we are to help you, if needed.

The Foundation was established this past year in order to develop the financial resources to provide assistance if a member needs to address a legal issue following a selfdefense shooting. Even if you live in the most gun-friendly community in the nation, you still have to defend your use of deadly force. The Network DVDs demonstrate how to do that. But, even in the best of circumstances, things can become complicated – that’s where the Foundation, with its experts and financial resources, comes into play. We want to be available for you. This is why a portion of your initial and renewal dues go to the Foundation. During 2009, we will encourage corporate support for the Foundation to increase the availability of funds to support member needs.

The Foundation’s Advisory Board, composed of Massad Ayoob, John Farnam, Tom Givens and Dennis Tueller, not only believed in the Network’s mission, but advanced the cause by sharing Network information with students. They continue to support the Network and stand ready to review any situation involving a Network member. Thanks, guys!

For 2009, we need to continue our membership growth. This involves your renewal and your individual renewal requires belief in the Network. For most, this may be a belief in a potential benefit that you may not completely use. Determining how to quantify a membership benefit is always a challenge. But, knowing the Network is available for you could be invaluable.

In summary, my 2009 goals for the Network and Foundation are to increase the membership, obtain corporate commitment for the Foundation, provide other tangible benefits, begin planning for a ‘self-defense meeting summit’ and obtain more State Rep involvement. I’m convinced we can do this. 

President’s Message

During 2008, I ended up working as an expert witness and consultant on the defense of four different cases. In each of these cases, in my opinion, the defendant was over charged for the action, or in one, improperly charged. I want to use my space this month talking about this phenomenon, which I believe is one of the major issues in the breakdown of the American criminal justice system.

Having worked as a police officer most of my adult life, I have an admittedly biased viewpoint that criminals should be prosecuted and sent to jail, or given a sentence commensurate with the crime. But, I have always been against the idea that the prosecutor should charge a crime above and beyond what he can prove, in order to get a plea bargain. And, while the case is plea bargained in the majority of instances, when that strategy fails, society suffers. You see, when a prosecutor overcharges a crime, he himself is lying about the evidence, convincing the judge or grand jury that evidence exists to support a more serious charge than the crime committed actually merits.

This occurred in the first case I worked on this year. The trial lasted about a week. How much does a week of superior court cost? I would estimate $10,000 or more. When it is all said and done, the defendant was ultimately convicted by the jury of 4th degree assault, a misdemeanor. He had originally been charged with misdemeanor assault, but then the charges were bumped up to felony assault charges when the guy who was pushed started complaining that when he fell, he hurt his back, and ended up needing surgery. Upon this development, the charges went up to felony assault. What these bare bone facts failed to explain is that the guy had this pre-existing back injury, and was already scheduled for surgery before the event. And, if that wasn’t enough, the doctor who performed the surgery admitted on the stand that the push and fall the guy experienced was not the cause of his injury.

The jury returned a verdict consistent with the original misdemeanor charges, which if any were due, were the right charges to begin with. The underlying story here (there is always an underlying story) is that the defendant was acting as his own attorney and seriously annoyed the prosecutor early on, and so it turned into a grudge match.

The second case this year was a real doozy. The defendant was charged with 1st degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. The facts in this case were clear: the defendant did in fact kill the deceased. I didn’t testify in this case regarding the murder charges, I was brought in regarding the charge of unlawful possession of a firearm. The firearm? A 6 1⁄2 inch bicycle handlebar stem bolt. The stem bolt was hollow to allow the brake cables to pass through to the front and rear brakes, and the handlebars can rotate 360 degrees. The defendant used this hollow stem bolt to kill the decedent by putting a .22 caliber long rifle cartridge in one end, and slamming a hammer against the base of the cartridge, while the other end of the bolt was held close to the deceased’s head. Seriously.

In my testimony as a firearms expert, I explained to the jury that a bicycle stem bolt did not possess the identifying characteristic of a firearm. Why did it matter how the guy was killed, and whether a bicycle stem bolt became a firearm? Because, by charging him with unlawful possession of a firearm, the prosecutor was able to introduce his previous felony record, and make him look worse in the eyes of the jury. Well, it worked, he received life in prison for his actions.


So, why does a former cop, who has spent most of his adult life putting guys like this in prison, help defend that case? Because, I was appalled at the intellectual dishonesty our local prosecutor exhibited in bringing this charge. He could have simply charged the guy with murder with a deadly weapon, which would have been a legitimate charge, but in order to circumvent the rules of evidence, he decided to change the legal definition of a firearm. Prosecutors should not get away with this kind of shenanigan, but the sad fact is, they do it all the time.

In the last case I testified in (just a few weeks ago) it is my understanding that the prosecutor lied during the closing arguments of the case and told a bald-faced lie to the jury, contradicting of the facts of the case in order to get the conviction. I was told this by the investigator with whom I worked on the case, when he explained to me that the client had been convicted, despite what we felt was a clearly presented case of self defense. I guess the jury bought the lies of the prosecutor, as opposed to the truth of the facts of the case. I expect this case will eventually be overturned on appeal, but meanwhile a formerly productive citizen will spend the next couple of years of his life in prison.

When I first started in law enforcement, there was a code of honor. A police officer or prosecutor did not lie to convict someone. Unfortunately, this code of honor has eroded since 1978, and that erosion has served to undermine the foundation of our criminal justice system, to the extent the house is about to fall.

It is our mission here at the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network, LLC to see that our members do not fall victim to bullying and lying prosecutors. When you are on the wrong end of this victimization, it will be tough to endure, but as a member, at least you know that there will be people on your side to help. 

New National Parks Gun Rule Challenged

After 25 years of anti-gun regulation, armed citizens have a rule under which they may be able to carry their defense guns in national parks. Due for implementation this month (January 2009), the new rule removes the blanket prohibition, and now allows the citizen who would be legal to carry a concealed weapon in the state in which the park is located to legally enter the park with their loaded gun.

As the Cato@Liberty web site explains, not only does the new rule open up many national parks for visits by law abiding armed citizens, it also protects against a legally armed person inadvertently making a turn off a state highway onto national park service land, then having to decide whether to backtrack, floor it for the nearest way out, or just slow down and enjoy the scenery. Think that wasn’t an issue? You may think again if you research United States of America, v. Damon J. Gettier.

In brief, when Mr. Gettier pulled onto the Blue Mountain Parkway he didn’t signal nor come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Two park rangers contacted him, and Mr. Gettier, told them he had a Virginia State-issued license to carry a concealed handgun and was in possession of loaded firearms. The rangers subsequently searched his vehicle and found two loaded guns. The court rejected his arguments and found him guilty in March of last year.

Of course, not everyone is happy about overthrowing the 25-year old rule. The Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Star Tribune’s web site reported, “Groups of current and retired park service employees are on the record as being against the rule. They fear it will increase impulse killing of wildlife and put visitor and ranger safety at risk.”

Those rangers and the other poor, harried folks crying that their sky was falling in are in for a pleasant surprise: they won’t even know when they pass another hiker who has chosen to go discretely armed. Even better, rapists, thrill murderers, illegal drug makers and growers and other violent criminals now must think twice before committing crimes like that of Cary Stayner who murdered tourist Carole Sund, her daughter and friend in Yosemite National Park in February of 1999 and was caught six months later when he beheaded a Yosemite nature guide near her cabin.

Armed female hikers, in particular, stand to enjoy greater freedom to hike, camp and pursue other recreation in remote areas, with less fear of being singled out as an easy victim of crime, as were the two young women murdered in June of 1996 on the Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Arguments that armed citizens are likely to shoot the wildlife will produce another episode of status quo. That crime occurred before legal carry was allowed, and it will probably continue at about the same rate as before. The same laws and penalties will apply, so essentially nothing will change. Only the gun-banners will be discomfited.

So discomfited, in fact, that the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has sued the Department of the Interior to prevent implementation of the rule. Apparently the Brady’s legal Action Project senior attorney Daniel Vice has reading comprehension problems, because he told NewWest.Net ( brady_campaign_sues_to_stop_national_park_gun_ rule/C41/L41/) that if the rule went into effect, people could carry guns on the National Mall for President-Elect Obama’s inauguration even though the ruling clearly states that the gun must be carried in adherence to the laws of the state in which the National Park is located.

Book Review

The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry

by Massad Ayoob 254 8 1/2 x 11 pages, heavily illustrated
Krause Publications, P O Box 5009, Iola, WI 54945 800-258-0929
ISBN-10: 0-89689-611-0 $24.95

Reviewed by Gila Hayes

What a delight it has been in recent years to see Massad Ayoob reprising and updating the information from the foundational textbooks on which many of us cut our teeth as gun owners! As regular readers of this journal know, I consider Ayoob’s Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery the primary textbook for armed citizens and gun owners and an outstanding replacement to his seminal work, “In the Gravest Extreme.” Now Ayoob and Gun Digest bring us a compendium on carrying concealed handguns for self defense, and it is on a par with the Combat Handgunnery volume, well written and richly illustrated.

The book begins with Ayoob’s introduction to the topic, “The Armed Lifestyle.” In it, Ayoob sagely points out, “The concealed carry lifestyle changes you.” The pages that follow define those changes, and provide a good primer for beginners and a valuable way to check behavior and practices for those of us for whom carrying a concealed handgun has grown very ordinary. The author identifies a philosophy that governs every act made by one who carries a handgun when he writes, “We who carry guns in public are a minority. We have an unwritten covenant with the rest of society: ‘You can be assured that we will not endanger you.’ ”

The following chapter, “Why We Carry,” is Ayoob’s stock of retorts to all the hackneyed arguments against gun ownership and concealed carry. It contains a wealth of ammunition for our battle against antigunners, whether in personal conversation or in a public debate. The breadth of commentators from whom the author draws quotations for this section illustrate the enormous network Ayoob possesses within the gun owning community.

The arguments for carrying whenever legal continue in the next chapter, with analysis of victims killed in churches and synagogues, schools, federal buildings, courthouses and bars. Gun free zones, the author explains “literally become hunting preserves for the psychopaths who hunt humans.”

Ayoob’s treatise on observing the national patchwork of gun laws is both educational and cautionary. Many of the book’s chapters and principles are illustrated by cases on which Ayoob provided expert witness services, other times with stories he has thoroughly researched, something he’s been doing for decades for articles in magazines like Combat Handguns, American Handgunner, Backwoods Home and many others. Some illustrative stories, like the one leading the chapter entitled “Preparation and Aftermath,” give educational insight into court proceedings. Additionally, we learn what others have learned the hard way: win the race to report the crime and your defense, good reasons not to pursue someone who has committed a crime, how to explain using hollow point ammunition, the problems with hand-loaded ammunition for self defense, and how the gun’s trigger pull weight is used to fallaciously suggest an accidental shooting.

Though justifiability is the topic of Ayoob’s most famous book, “In the Gravest Extreme,” he wraps up the fourth chapter of this book with a tightly edited encapsulation of those concepts. Here he spells out the bedrock of the armed citizen’s decision-making process, as well as the requirement to retreat and how it is really enforced.

Ayoob’s gun selection chapter is liberally illustrated, and suggests that owning several guns make regular concealed carry more practical. Revolvers vs. semi-automatic pistols, ammunition capacity, maintenance demands and more receive examination. Sight configuration, barrel length, a snag-free profile, and low bore-axis designs are all explored.

Next, Ayoob tackles ammunition selection with photos and information on calibers .38 Special, .357 Magnum, 9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and .45 GAP with references to police agency use and experiences with the different calibers discussed. The chapter also teaches about over-penetration, with more chilling examples from real life.

In chapter seven, the author broaches what one might erroneously have thought the entire subject of the book – holsters. Here he begins with the ubiquitous hip holster, giving a little history, considering cross draw and strong side carry, and citing Bianchi’s Law: “The same gun, in the same place, all the time,” as excellent advice for the practitioner of armed self defense. And once again, both product and uses are defined, as Ayoob demonstrates drawing from open fronted and closed fronted garments, how to adjust a sagging gun belt in public, concealed carry while driving a car, and other common pitfalls for the armed citizen.

Belt clips, holster loops, paddle holsters, leather vs. Kydex®, IWB or outside the belt...Ayoob explores all these and more. Cross draw holsters get their own chapter, and Ayoob introduces the topic noting that the cross body draw stroke is not limited merely to belt holsters hung on the non-dominant side. Shoulder holsters, which Ayoob emphasizes earn their place in the concealment wardrobe, get similar attention in the next chapter. Pocket holsters take center stage in the next chapter, including a full description of how to draw from a pocket holster.

Chapter 11 about ankle holsters begins with a little history, much of which explains why the ankle holster is such a good option for one who is seated much of the time and its great value for deep concealment beneath limited layers of clothing. As with other carry methods, a fully illustrated draw sequence augments the verbiage, including using this method from standing and prone positions. Pros and cons of this carry position get full examination, with Ayoob’s conclusion that while it is not a good choice if carrying just one handgun, it is excellent for a back up gun.

Addressing non-holster carry methods, Ayoob introduces his topic thus: “There are certain non-traditional methods of concealed carry that are, for good or ill, in wide use. They bear discussion for that reason alone. The first point of discussion needs to be this: every single one of them is based on convenience at the expense of serious practicality.”

As the book enters its final quarter, the author dedicates a chapter to concealing larger handguns, a practice for which he makes a strong case. Tips to improve the from-concealment draw stroke follow, with good instruction on drawing efficiently from different carry positions under varied types of concealment clothing. These pages are an excellent review of material sprinkled throughout earlier pages. With illustrative stories, Ayoob makes his point for regularly carrying a second, backup gun.

Perhaps one of the most surprising chapters also comes late in the book. Here Ayoob, who has traditionally spoken out against open carry, gives open carry very balanced consideration. In keeping with his writing style, the author illustrates pros and cons with real life examples.

Concealed carry clothing and maximizing the IDPA and other competitive venues for skills testing and reinforcement wrap up the book, in which the last pages summarize much of the philosophy Ayoob outlines in the body of the work. It is a good review, and for those who inevitably start a book at its back cover should serve as a good hook to get them into the meat and potatoes of the volume.

Ayoob’s writing style is an entertaining mix of conversational sentence structure, clichés and sayings for spice, real-life stories and examples, mixed with a vocabulary that at least once drove me to my computer’s desktop dictionary to be sure I understood what was being written! In short, The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry is easy to read, enjoyable to study, and an excellent addition to Ayoob’s existing body of work.

Editor’s Notebook

What would you do?

I ran across an interesting article comparing both documented and undocumented gun ownership in the European nations. The entire text is at (with a tip of the hat, as they say, to David Hardy at http: // – by the way, you might want to visit his blog occasionally; it is one of my favorites.) As Americans, of course, we’re prejudiced to believe that few Europeans own guns, but this column suggests otherwise. Quoting the 2003 Small Arms Survey, the columnist points out that despite regulation, private citizens do own guns in most European countries. While the estimated numbers of guns per thousand population don’t even approach that of the prosperous United States, it would appear that finger-pointing at so called “gun-loving Americans,” is a little skewed! The article, as well as the Small Arms Survey, reminded me of the old adage that figures lie and liars figure. Comparing populations and their belongings, activities and other characteristics makes me suspicious. And conclusions drawn are more likely what the organization funding the study wanted than anything else, so even the pro-rights columnist can do little but speculate. “In countries with relatively loose gun laws – like Finland – most guns are legally held, as in the U.S. In countries with restrictive laws, like Germany, most guns are held illegally. Either way, people who want to own guns seem to go ahead and do so, no matter what the authorities want,” comments the Civil Liberties columnist. And while some Europeans may not be completely incapable of mounting a deadly force response to attack, the chilling affect of certain prosecution for a gun crime makes using a gun defensively unlikely. The columnist comments that we saw the same thing recently in Mumbai, India where there are almost certainly ill “The modern German gun owner may well use an illegal pistol to defend himself against a murderer – after all, arrest is better than death. But he has good reason to resist the good samaritan urge to race around the corner to assist a stranger,” the columnist suggests. While plenty of media hacks have been quick to offer opinions about guns, gun owners, legality and illegality, I found the last comment most sobering. When gun restrictions leave one holding an illegal firearm, what we think of as using a gun as a last resort may be unthinkable. Must those folks risk physical harm to avoid prosecution for illegal possession? Many home defense preparations common to most Network members would be impossible to make when guns are deeply hidden to avoid detection. Self defense in public as we know it would not exist. The foregoing made me think: what would I do if I lived in England, for example? Would I hide one of those unregistered guns? Law-abiding to the core, I find it a question I would profoundly wish never to have to answer. I think I’ll go write a check or two…to my favorite gun rights groups.