Massad Ayoob’s 10 Commandments of Concealed Carry

Sometimes the best instructors are “Old School” and there are (in my opinion) no better old school instructors than Massad Ayoob. So, when he issues commandments (on the Daily Caller), I have a tendency to pay close attention. I mean, who could not fault “Commandment I”


If You Choose To Carry, Always Carry As Much As Possible

Hollywood actors get to see the script beforehand, and nothing is fired at them but blanks. You don’t have either luxury. Criminals attack people in times and places where they don’t think the victims will be prepared for them. It’s what they do. The only way to be prepared to ward off such predators is to always be prepared: i.e., to be routinely armed and constantly ready to respond to deadly threats against you and those who count on you for protection. It’s not about convenience; it’s about life and death.

And, if anything, the most important commandment of all:


Use Common Sense

Common sense—encompassing ethics and logic and law alike—must be your constant guide and companion when you decide to carry a gun. Not idealism, not rhetoric. When you carry a gun, you literally carry the power of life and death. It is a power that belongs only in the hands of responsible people who care about consequences, and who are respectful of life and limb and human safety—that of others as well as their own.

For the whole list, click the link here to be taken to The Daily Caller. 

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • Pete Sheppard

    Top notch. Thanks

  • PT McCain

    Just curious, but has Massad ever had to use his weapon in combat, or self-defense? Has he ever been in a situation where somebody is shooting at him and he has to shoot back?

    • sdelcegno

      i like much of his advice. But some times i downright dissagree. im not expert but i wonder how much of an expert he is at times.

      • Dan

        He’s an expert enough to get called as an expert in dozens of gun-related court cases each year. He may not have had actual first-hand experience with shooting a gun at another person, but he has an exhaustive, near-encyclopedic study of a lot of actual cases.

        Just as a doctor can be an expert in gunshot wounds without being shot himself, or a professor an expert in Ancient Rome without having lived in that era, one can be an expert in self-defense scenarios just by one’s breadth of knowledge in the literature.

        He may be wrong is some small points, but on the bigger picture he is spot on. I’d give him the benefit of the doubt over most of his armchair critics who couldn’t even muster more than three of four anecdotes.

        • He’s also a really nice guy in person.

      • Marcus D.

        He is a former peace officer, and trains peace officers, in addition to teaching “civilians” and his work as an expert witness. He studies and teaches defensive and police involved shooting scenarios.

      • Hyok Kim

        He has been accused of fraudulent reporting and shoddy research by some very credible people. He stooped to name-calling, and hiding behind his credential, experience, and repuation but was unable to disprove the accusations and never filed libel or defamation as he had threatened to do.

    • Grindstone50k

      Coast Guard?

      • AK™

        Costa Guard
        FTFY. 😉

    • Fruitbat44

      To the best of my knowledge Mr Ayoob has never been in a gunfight, nor has he ever claimed to be, he has however arrested armed criminals at gunpoint and he has an awful lot of experience of the legal aftermath of an armed encounter.

      • screwtape2713

        In the foreword to one of his books, he notes that his eldest daughter represents the 4th straight generation of his family in the US to be saved from violent criminals by a lawfully possessed firearm — the previous 3 being his grandfather, father and him. Take that as you will.

        • Hyok Kim

          Has he ever documented those cases the way he did with Ayoob files?

      • I think one of the worst myths to come of Hollywood is the idea that police officers participate in multiple daily shootouts without consequence. It is a rare department that would keep an officer on the street after two or more shootings with fatalities. Even a run of shootings with injuries can be enough to earn an administrative position. There are few legit LE gunfighters out there. So the best you can do is compile and study the individual experiences of multiple officers.

        • Hyok Kim

          Ditto. The issue is whether one does it ethically or not.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I disagree on his statement regarding the suitability of smaller calibers for self defense.
    I think a few rounds of .22 in the face would deter all but the most meth addled and recently undead attackers.

    • Frank

      A chicago cop shot someone 6 times with a 44 magnum, after his partner put at least 5 shots of 45 long colt into him. He didn’t die till later in the hospital and he wasn’t on drugs.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        If you get shot 11 times and live then God doesn’t want you to die.

        • Spencerhut

          The whole world is wrong and you are right.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Finally, somebody gets it.

        • maodeedee

          “If you get shot 11 times and live then God doesn’t want you to die.”
          No. He wants you to suffer.

      • Nobody

        Only way guaranteed to stop someone quickly is to shoot them in the brain or sever their spine. Shooting someone in the heart can take quite a bit of time to have any effect due to the bodies ability to compensate for loss of blood pressure after losing up to 20% of its blood (during which time the phisiological effects of the blood loss won’t even be noticable). Beyond that, even if you ripped someone’s heart out of their chest the brain can store enough oxygen to continue operating for about 10 seconds and the muscles enough energy to operate for up to 1 minute unless they were doing strenuous activity beforehand to burn up that energy. As for psychological effects, I have yet to see any evidence that there is a considerable difference between service calibers and other weaker handgun rounds. Shot placement is king and penetration queen. 22 is crap because even the non expanding ammunition normally fails to penetrate far enough due to the bullets tumbling, unreliable rimfire primers, and the short length and wide rim limiting you to lower capacity magazines.

        • Hyok Kim

          “Shot placement is king and penetration queen.”

          I agree.

          “……..because even the non expanding ammunition normally fails to penetrate far enough due to the bullets tumbling, unreliable rimfire primers, and the short length and wide rim limiting you to lower capacity magazines.”

          All true, but…………

          “22 is crap”

          22 is lighter and more portable, therefore more likely to be within the person than other bigger caliber guns.

          Better to have 22 in person than 45 in the locker when one needs a gun.

    • Jay

      Biggest issue with .22LR is misfires. This discounts it as a self-defense round for me.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Not with the Remington ammo I use. Its very reliable, cant remember a misfire in the last thousand rds or more.

    • nova3930

      What’s your probability of getting those hits in a spot to cause a stop during the stress of a defensive encounter though? The human skull is durable enough that it’s been shown to be able to stop penetration from .22LR at handgun velocities, albeit with a fracture and massive headache.
      The idea of using an adequate caliber is that it reduces the margin of error. The more consistent penetration and expansion than the major calibers provide and the CNS disruption that goes along with that, increases the probability of a stop. And that’s really what we’re talking about here is probabilities. When it comes to handgun rounds there is no guarantee of a 100% drop ’em dead stop every time.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Getting shot in the eyes, nose, teeth and throat would probably stop me.

        • nova3930

          Again, whats your probability of getting those hits when the adrenaline is pumping? The head and it’s constituent components are all small and move around a lot when someone is moving.
          Or what if the encounter is close enough you can’t even raise your weapon for a head shot? Planning for best case is a recipe for disaster, especially when the enemy gets a vote and the enemy ALWAYS gets a vote.
          There is no “hey hold still while I shoot you in the eye”

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Cant say for sure but I practice those shots quite a bit with various .22 pistols. And I would be more confident with .22 head shots without worrying about blasting a bystander.

          • nova3930

            I guess you’re more confident of your abilities than I am of mine and my worst case is standing firm against multiple assailants while my family retreats, something that requires the greatest possibility of stop per round. I carry a full size 9mm whenever possible for that reason…

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            To each his own.
            For the record I carry a Glock .45 but I have always considered trying out a .22. Looking hard at the PPK/S .22 which also looks cool.

          • Eddie_Baby

            How about a 32 or 380? They come in pretty small packages nowadays.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I own several .380’s and feel totally comfortable carrying that caliber.

          • Hyok Kim

            One can carry 22s more easily than 9mm. One is more likely to have 22 than 9mm. Better to have 22 in person, than 9mm in the locker.

          • Hyok Kim

            ” I’m confident my 9mm will cause enough damage in a body shot to end the encounter. I can’t say the same for any of my 22 pistols.”

            It’s the penetration that matters the most. 22 at that range will penetrate deep enough to matter.

    • Jim_Macklin

      A .22 LR might penetrate the skull if the angle of impact is 90 degrees on a weak portion of the skull and in line with the vital portions of the brain and brain stem.
      A 44 Magnum in the head is not 100% certain, but it is a better bet than a .22 LR.
      A 9mm/38 or a 40 or 45 will apply a knockout shock with a 150-230 grain bullet that a 40 grain .22 cannot do.
      A .22 might be better than begging for your life, but a 9/40 or 45 in the chest and or head will save your life with greater reliability.

      • Hyok Kim

        At close range, even if 22 doesn’t penetrate, it sure will distract the person enough to the point one could get away.

        How would you like to be shot in the head with a 22? Even if it doesn’t penetrate, it won’t be fun.

    • Robocop

      I agree with his argument. Do I want to get shot with .22? No. Has it proven to be lethal? Yes. Would I chose it over 9, 40, 45, etc? No.
      I’d rather have a .22 than nothing, but I’d also rather have something larger than a .22. I’m sure it’s reliable for you and would probably get the job done if need be, but I think there are other rounds that have proven to be more effective.

      • Hyok Kim

        22 is more portable, more likely to be with one than that full-size 45 when one needs a gun badly.

        • maodeedee

          A 32 Keltec is just as portable and more reliable, at least the older ones were. It holds 8 rounds and there are some 380’s only slightly larger.. Why go 5rto such great lengths to justify carrying a 22 just to make a point? And why actually chose to carry one when there are better choices?

          We all get the point, that a marginal caliber is better than no gun at all but an ugly woman is better than no woman at all but would that be your first choice? (sorry ladies, but the same thing goes for men)

          • Hyok Kim

            “A 32 Keltec is just as portable and more reliable, at least the older ones were. It holds 8 rounds and there are some 380’s only slightly larger.. Why go 5rto such great lengths to justify carrying a 22 just to make a point? And why actually chose to carry one when there are better choices?”

            I was merely referring to Robo’s denigration of 22.

            “We all get the point, that a marginal caliber is better than no gun at all……..”

            I agree, but………..

            ” but an ugly woman is better than no woman at all………..”

            I’d prefer my own ………… than an ugly woman any day.

            “…….. but would that be your first choice?”

            ………but I had never said nor implied that it would be my first choice. Who are you arguing with?

      • maodeedee

        The only 22 rimfire I would chose for self defense would be a Ruger 10/22 rifle with a 25 round mag r a Keltec PMR 30 22 magnum with a 30 round mag.
        The 22 long rifle has lethality far beyond it’s diminutive ballistics of 40 grain bullet at 1200 fps. but out of a pistol barrel those ballistics lose their magic. the 22 Magnum out of a pistol is every bit as good as a 22 long rifle out of a rifle.
        I sometimes carry a Hi standard 22 mag 2 shot derringer.

    • He stated… “Carry a gun loaded with ammunition that has a track record of quickly stopping lethal assaults.”

      The key words there are “track record of quickly stopping”. I wouldn’t include .22 LR in that list, at least not for the two-legged predator.

    • maodeedee

      I agree somewhat. In some situations any gun is better than no gun. And if you can get right up in someone’s face and shoot them, fine, but get too close and some predatory feral humanoid recidivist may overpower you before you can get a shot off.
      I was skilled at hand to hand combat at the age of 25 and carried a one hand opening knife for defense but at 65 a gun is a much better alternative.

      I disagree with Commandment IV: Carry Legally. If you can, that’s what’s ideal but if you can’t, civil disobedience on your part is the best course of action. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

  • andyinsdca

    Given that the FBI (ok,make all the snark you want) has recently said that a bigger caliber makes no difference in a gun fight (i.e. 45ACP vs 9mm para) it makes me wonder about the accuracy of the other 9 commandments.

    • nova3930

      He’s not talking about the difference in major calibers though. He’s talking about pocket gun calibers, that have consistent problems with penetration and expansion. .25ACP, 32ACP, etc etc. .380 is even arguably in that category, although recent advances in ammunition make it a better choice than it used to be. For the major calibers, 9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W and anything in that category, differences are marginal at best, which is why I carry a 9mm in order to have as many rounds on hand as possible.

      • Hyok Kim

        ” For the major calibers, 9mm, .45ACP, .40S&W and anything in that category, differences are marginal at best, which is why I carry a 9mm in order to have as many rounds on hand as possible.”

        I agree, however, getting back to the question of the credibility of Mas, at one time, he disparaged all pistol caliber ammo, then when 40SW came out, Mas started singing the praise for 40! I wonder why…….

  • maybe maybe not—-

  • Lawdog

    I am retired military, Army and Air Force, have 7 expert ribbons, you only get to wear one with three oak leafs, and I spent time in local, state and federal law enforcement. Cops respect Mas….as to the comments on his expertise, an expert for court testimony is qualified when he has superior education, training, or experience..oh yea, my second career includes over 25 years as an attorney/prosecutor. My comment is quit bashing the guy…he has done tons of great work for us good guys…carry what you want, but I have one example about small guns for CCW…I once stopped at a restuarant late at night…my carry gun was a 5 shot SW 38. As I got to the door, I found it to be locked, folks inside, but a closed sign on the door… I went to my motel only to learn that the restuarant was being robbed by three (3) guys all carrying sawed off 12 gauges…..if I had walked in and deployed my little 38, you would not be reading this…, carry what you want and hope you dont face sawed off shotguns……with what you choose to carry….IMHO

    • iksnilol

      S***, that was a close brush with death.

      My close shaves were a little less calm (though they didn’t involve guns or knives).

    • Hyok Kim

      I used to read Mas, not anymore. I find his firearms technique to be fine with grasshoppers, but not above that. Plus he has contradicted himself too often over the years and denied it and hide behind his credentials when questioned.

      Plus he has done investigative reporting without actual field work, another word, journalistic fraud, most notably with that Miami shootout.

    • Didn’t those fools know that sawed-off shotguns are illegal? And, if
      thos was on a state that mandated no more than 6 bullets, you’d be
      within the law, but dead nonetheless.

      This is why liberals are so GD stupid. They think that you only need one bullet per perp. Sure, if I could carry a .50BMG. Seriously, this is how these gun-illiterate
      morons think. Never have so many thought of themselves so smart only to be so stupid!

      Because of scenarios where trhere are multiple perps, I’m on the side of carrying as many rounds as I can conceal. Stopping power is meaningless if you are outnumbered.

  • Lawdog

    If you read much of Mas’s stuff you will learn that the CCW is something you carry to fight back to where you have a bigger weapon or means of escape….I carry a small 9, Glock 43 in my pocket and a high capacity 9 in my car…….if I am camping in a rural area there will be a long gun in the truck or jeep as well….and if it is night or I am going to be in a dangerous area, both guns go with me…if I were driving to Alaska, I would also carry 2 spare tires, same concept……