Tag Archives: massad ayoob

Mas on AIWB, IWB and OWB

Mr. Massad Ayoob, a staple figure who has been writing about and teaching modern handguns for something like 40 years, recently dished for a quarter-hour as part of Wilson Combat’s Critical Mas (get it?) series on the pros and cons of carry belts and different holster positions for concealed carry when toting “a serious fighting pistol on the belt,” as he clarifies. This includes Outside the Waistband, Inside the Waistband, and the always controversial Appendix IWB Carry.

It is worth the investment in your time should you be looking to answer questions or just be looking for reinforcement of your own current carry practice.


The neat, but probably unwise, Fitz Colt

I’ve always been a fan of the Fitz Special concept, although not a practicing fan. More of an idle curiosity you could say, as I personally think they are unsafe.

Around 1926, retired NYPD cop John Henry Fitzgerald began customizing both full-sized Colt New Service, Police Positive, and Police Positive Special models to make them small concealed handguns, much like Colt’s then-new Detective Special. This modification included shortening the barrel to two inches or less, fitting a new front sight, removing the hammer spur and carefully checkering the top of the now-bobbed hammer, shortening the grip, and—unique to this type—cutting away the front 1/3 of the trigger guard and rounding off the now open edges.

A previously auctioned Fitz Colt

This trigger guard surgery left the bulk of the hammer exposed while carefully shrouding the very bottom and back of it to avoid snagging in the pocket. The open trigger guard allowed faster firing, accommodated large or gloved fingers, and according to some accounts made the weapon easier to fire through a pocket (if needed). While these modifications were done to large frame revolvers, they were performed mainly to the smaller Colt Detectives.

Although Fitz only converted less than 200 Colts, (some say as few as 20), the concept lived on and you see many other guns converted to the same degree.

Like this M1917 .45ACP moon gun:

That’s guaranteed to set the target on fire at close range…

My friend Ian over at Forgotten Weapons got a chance to check out a Colt Fitz at RIAC last week:

The raven quoth for Harris


So in the latest edition of print magazines, especially print gun magazines, going under, Harris Publications last week rose the white flag on their portfolio of 75-ish niche titles. You have seen them at every convenience store check out rack in the country. Gun titles they ran for years included:

Combat Handguns
Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement
Guns of the Old West
Tactical Weapons
Personal & Home Defense (published bi-annually)
Special Weapons for Military & Police
Survivor’s Edge
Tactical Life

As well as a host of annual gun buyer’s guides.

In a statement from Harris they noted, “The magazine publishing industry has been through turmoil in the face of the rapid ascendance of digital media, changing consumer content preferences, magazine wholesaler struggles and consolidation in the supply chain,” in a statement. “We have tried mightily to persevere against these forces, but have been unable to overcome these challenges.”

The NRA’s American Rifleman quickly noted, “Owner Stanley Harris, or at the least his distribution manager, was shear genius at placing those periodicals on newsstands, seemingly everywhere and in some places where saying the word ‘gun’ at the checkout resulted in a SWAT Team response. The vacuum they leave could reduce the number of new enthusiasts recruited.”

This follows on the heels of merc trade mag Soldier of Fortune switching to all-digital only format last month.

Rumint is that the online properties Tactical-Life.com and PersonalDefenseWorld.com will reportedly stay online under new ownership. Though their web presence is very shallow. For instance Taclife’s FB page is only rolling about 28K deep while and PDW’s is slightly less.

And some are rightfully critical of even those better-liked titles.

The problem is with many is that all these mags were always the same guns and same stories so if you read one, you  never had a reason to buy another. I mean just look at the last six months of covers for Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement magazine to see how stuck in a rut there were:

guns and weapons covers

CCW jedi Mas Ayoob, who wrote seemingly off and on for most of their titles, waxed poetic in his column over at Backwoods Home over the sudden shuttering at Harris, saying that, “The changing paradigms of electronic vis-à-vis dead tree media are no secret,” but noting that other print gun mags such as “Guns and American Handgunner on the newsstands and the professional journal Shooting Industry, all seem to be flourishing despite the rise of the electronic media.”

Still, pour one out for former Harris employees everywhere…competitive shooter Michelle Viscusi did.

Michelle Viscusi