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Self Defense—From America’s Foremost Expert & Gun Culture Supporter

2,529 words

Massad Ayoob
Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense
Iola, WI: Gun Digest Books, 2014

In the wake of Charlottesville and other street battles between pro-whites and the antifa, it is a good idea to take a look at the legal aspects of self-defense. For unlike movies and TV shows where the villain is killed by the hero and the show ends with the hero honored by all, violent self-defense has serious legal ramifications that could last for years. Fatal shootings have even more legal ramifications. It is thus important to understand the ins and outs of legal self-defense.

The expert on the matter is Massad Ayoob, an assimilated Yankee New Englander of Arab stock who is a “cop’s cop.” What’s remarkable about Ayoob’s career isn’t his long time wearing the badge and walking the beat, but his service as an expert witness regarding firearms and self-defense. Ayoob crystalizes his experiences and considerable body of research on self-defense in his book Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense.

Ayoob approaches the issue from a Civic Nationalist, pro-gun point of view.[1] He mentions racial issues, but doesn’t explore them further. From a white advocacy point of view, the problem of “gun violence” in the United States isn’t “guns,” it is non-whites — especially blacks — with guns. Ignoring the broad interpretations of the Second Amendment, why isn’t there a movement to keep guns out of the hands of crime-prone blacks and other non-whites, while leaving gun rights for whites intact?

When is it OK to Shoot?

Ayoob writes, “The set of circumstances that justifies the use of deadly force is a situation of immediate danger of death or great bodily harm to oneself or other innocent persons. Since deadly force is normally only allowed as a last resort, the danger should be otherwise unavoidable and not created by the defender himself.”[2]

To put it simply, a self-defense shooting is justified when a person has a reasonable fear for their life. This must be reasonable fear, not “blind” fear. There is more leeway for cops regarding reasonable fear than civilians. A person appearing to reach for a gun, such as the late Philando Castile, does, as we saw by the results of the trial of the cop who killed him, cross the threshold for reasonable fear leading to a legal shooting.[3]

Furthermore, weapons of deadly force are all legally equal even if you have an AR-15 and they only have a knife. It is always reasonable to shoot someone armed with a knife or bludgeon who you reasonably believe is trying to kill you. It is also reasonable to shoot someone trying to run you over with a car, but otherwise “unarmed.” Indeed, as the public has come to know due to blessings of Islamic immigration, a car is a most deadly weapon. Additionally, overwhelming disparities in size and fitness between two parties in a dispute, such as a 200-pound muscled young man vs. a “little old lady,” can justify a deadly self-defense shooting on the part of the smaller person.

Even armed with a knife, club, car, or the “fists of steel” of an athlete, an attacker doesn’t need to be in arm’s reach of the person shooting in self-defense. In 1983, Salt Lake City Police Sgt. Dennis Tueller discovered and then published the fact that an attacker armed with a contact weapon such as a knife could cross a distance of 21 feet in less than a second and a half. In his own experiments, Ayoob found that fat people, old people, children, and even people in wheelchairs could cross 21 feet in less than 2 seconds. In other words, legally, even a distance of 21 feet is close enough to be a just self-defense shooting. With all things legal though there are exceptions and mitigating circumstances. A shooting isn’t always justified within 21 feet and not necessarily unjustified outside that distance. Again, one must have a reasonable fear for one’s life and the shooting must be unavoidable, and the deadly situation not created by the defender himself.

Thou Shalt Nots of Firearm Self-Defense

Ayoob gives some good “thou shalt nots” of self-defense and backs up his ideas with many examples from the field. Before getting too deep into the “thou shalt nots,” one additional thing must be discussed. If you are in a dispute you think could lead to deadly violence, be the first one to call the police. By calling 911, one gets into “the system” as a victim. When dealing with a government agency like the police, such bureaucratic trifles set the tone for all that follows. If one is dealing with a long-running dispute with a stalker, neighbor, etc. that could turn deadly, get your side of the story documented by the police after any and all negative interactions with that person. Should the situation come to a head in a just self-defense shooting, the documentation will go a long way in proving one didn’t just shoot the neighbor/stalker/whomever out of spite. With that said:

  • Don’t compromise truth. After the dust settles, don’t disturb the scene, plant a knife, or give a false statement. There will likely be witnesses even if you don’t see someone during the shooting. Additionally, forensic science has advanced enough that the truth will come out that the knife was “planted.” If you’ve lied, you’re done.
  • Don’t flee the scene – in most legal circumstances, flight equals guilt.
  • Don’t shoot “anyone” entering your house. One can’t shoot the FedEx guy, cleaning lady, or milkman out of blind fear. Shooting the repairman you didn’t expect to show up because your spouse coordinated the repair and forgot to tell you won’t fly as a justified shooting with any judge or jury.
  • Don’t provoke a situation then “fear for your life” and shoot. This could be a big show stopper for white advocates. Going to a rally could be seen as “provoking a situation” by a hostile jury mad that one of their fellow townspeople was killed by “neo-Nazis.” It might also work the other way, white advocates have a right to speech and protection by the state. The antifa could be “provoking a situation.” Either way, it’s always going to be an open question. A white advocate caught up in this situation now must focus on private legal matters, not The Cause.
  • Don’t fake a heart attack or health problems after a shooting. You’ll get found out, you’ve compromised the truth, and wasted the time of medical staff. Fake health issues and your goose is cooked.
  • Don’t shoot “warning shots.” Ayoob gives a great many details to why “warning shots” are bad. To boil it down to the essentials, warning shots wastes ammo one may need as the fight continues. They are also a tactical mistake in that your eyes leave the target. They also incur charges one can be convicted of even if the shooting of the “bad guy” turns out to be justified. For example, the bullet fired from your warning shot might zip by a day care, endangering the lives of children. This isn’t anarcho-tyranny, there are plenty of legal precedents against “warning shots.” A warning shot also tells a judge and jury a tacit admission that even by your own lights, you knew deadly force was not justified at the time you fired. Warning shots can confuse your partners as to what is going on and may lead to more tragedies.[4]
  • Don’t shoot to “make sure he’s dead.” When you’re out of danger, you must stop shooting. Also, don’t shoot at someone fleeing. At the same time, you’re not finished in a later trial if you emptied the magazine into the perpetrator and there are bullet holes in his back, because bodies spin as they fall, the fight is fast and confusing, the gun shoots fast, etc. Again, when you’re out of danger you must stop shooting.

Ayoob adds a few do’s:

  • Do expect to take the stand in a trial for a justified shooting. Pleading the Fifth in these cases doesn’t look good to a jury. In trials where the shooter is known and the only question is whether or not the shooting is justified the defendant must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is in the right. In these cases the defendant usually must take the stand.[5]
  • Do expect to get sued, even for a justified shooting. Anyone can sue anyone else for anything. If you are involved in a shooting at your house you might have some help from your insurance company.

If you ever get involved in a shooting, Ayoob has a five point checklist for what you should do:

  1. Establish the “active dynamic.” That is to say, let the authorities know immediately what happened. You must show what the other person was doing that caused you to shoot. Say, “he tried to kill me,” or “he tried to rape my wife,” etc. NOT “I shot him.”
  2. Advise the police that you will sign the complaint. You need to establish the fact that you are the victim-complainant and the other guy was “the bad guy” forcing you to shoot. (For technical reasons, Ayoob advises not to use the phrase “I will press charges.” This is a TV/movie thing, and in some jurisdictions only the District Attorney can “press charges.” You might step on toes with that phrase when you need to be humble.)
  3. Point out the evidence. The scene gets chaotic with cops, bystanders, ambulances, etc. They may move or alter the evidence. If your shooting is just, all undisturbed evidence will help you.
  4. Point out the witnesses. Nobody wants to be caught up in a trial, miss work, become a target for criminals, or get publically abused like the famous witness Kato Kaelin. If they leave the scene unidentified you’ve lost testimony to your innocence. In a just shooting, all evidence will help you. Even lying witnesses who were friends of the guy you shot will get tripped up in court and that will help you also.
  5. Once the above is done, politely decline further questioning until you have a lawyer.

Ayoob also adds his 10 Commandments for Concealed Carry:

I: If you Choose to Carry, Always Carry as Much As Possible (i.e. big enough caliber, and spare ammo).

II: Don’t Carry A Gun If You Aren’t Prepared to Use It (know how to shoot and be aware of your surroundings.)

III: Don’t Let The Gun Make You Reckless (there is a classic Johnny Cash song on this theme…)[6]

IV: Carry Legally (Get the permits, fill out the paperwork, pay the fees, and know the law in your state.)

V: Know what you are doing.

VI: Concealed means Concealed (don’t scare people with part of your shooting iron sticking out or otherwise visible in some way.)

VII: Maximize your Firearms Familiarity.

VIII: Understand the Fine Points (state law and city law may be different.)

IX: Carry an Adequate Firearm (.22 and .25 caliber is too small, use what the police or military uses.)

X: Use Common Sense.

When choosing a self-defense weapon, there are some other considerations. As mentioned before,  your self-defense gun, your possession of the gun, and the ammo must be legal. Ayoob even recommends hollow points (if legal in your area.)

Don’t be an idiot.

Don’t get a self-defense gun with a macho brand name like Cobra or high-testosterone symbols like a “Punisher” skull. Don’t get a gun with a “hair-trigger” pull. Furthermore, use factory-made ammo, not home-loaded ammo. Don’t use bullets such as “Zombie Killer” ammo or the anti-Muslim “pig-greased” ammo. In these matters you must be seen as a solid citizen who isn’t immature or reckless. Anti-Muslim “pig greased” ammo, “Punisher” skulls on the pistol grip, and other macho stuff will imply something about your personality you might not want brought up in court.

Self-Defense and White Advocacy Post-Charlottesville

So many white advocates have been tripped up with firearms that Johnny Cash’s song about not taking your guns to town is probably the best advice. However, this advice must be tempered with the knowledge that the antifa is a dangerous force. [7] In this circumstance, the right answer is that the legitimate authorities are obligated to protect the speech of white advocates and white advocates must demand that protection even in light of the Charlottesville fiasco. White advocates must focus on ensuring their message gets out in as many ways as possible. It is probably time to focus on owning webhosting services, fundraising applications, etc. It is also a good idea to focus resources on the issue of legal ownership of a domain name on the internet. White advocates have a large, growing audience.[8] They don’t need to brawl, they need to communicate.


[1] Ayoob followed the Trayvon Martin case in his blog. He points out many of the legal ins and outs of the trial. One thing we haven’t yet seen is a “neo-Nazi” going free after shooting a colored attacker. So far, most white advocates caught up in a shooting get convicted. (See the write-ups about Ben Klassen and Richard Butler on the SPLC’s website for more details.) Your shooting might be legal, but white advocacy is always going to be a burden in a trial.

[2] Massad Ayoob, Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense (Iola, WI: Gun Digest Books, 2014), p. 20.


[4] For further reading: Ayoob is so certain that “warning shots” are a bad idea he did a radio show about it, you can listen here:

[5] Massad Ayoob mentions, and disagrees (to a degree) with the video that went viral about not saying anything to police if questioned for a crime. In a justified shooting, you must get your side of the story out immediately.


[7] The authorities must move against Antifa. Should “the state” fail to keep order between two political factions, we have a situation such as Bleeding Kansas in the 1850s and society moves along the road to civil war. Furthermore, while the Antifa might get temporary, conditional Middle American support by attacking “neo-Nazis” carrying torches, they also attack mainstream businesses, city property, Republicans, churchgoers, moderate Democrats, and police in liberal cities like Portland and Seattle. Everyone is thus a potential “neo-Nazi.” Antifa’s continued shenanigans will not continue to be tolerated. That is to say won’t be tolerated, unless the political elite is so hostile and spitefully Semitic that they choose to go all in with Antifa and let it all come crashing down.

[8] This poll shows that 10% of respondents feel “neo-Nazis” have a point. Furthermore, read the comments on former Vice President Joe Biden’s response to Charlottesville: One comment, from Media_Bladders reads:

Yep, Biden claims that Trump has emboldened white supremacists — but he was noticeably silent when Obama invited Black Lives Matter to the White House and whipped up racial tensions in Ferguson and Baltimore, not to mention sticking his nose in the Trayvon Martin case before the evidence had even been gathered.

Face it, Joe, racial animosity got worse during the 8 years you spent as Vice President. Don’t try to act like you give a crap now — maybe you and your boss should have tried to extinguish the fire with something other than gasoline.

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  1. Posted September 7, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Some of this is old information not very good advice anymore. If you are involved in a defensive shooting DO NOT follow the above advice. Unless you want to go to jail. Your best approach is something like this:

    Bang, bang, bang….

    Following a shooting is a very dangerous time. First, make sure all threats have been stopped. Bad guys have friends too. They will shoot you back if you give them a chance.

    Now that you have made sure the situation is under control…

    “911 operator.”

    “Yes, my name is David Pringle, there has been a shooting a 1st and main. We need an ambulance and Police. I am wearing a blue shirt and gray shorts. ” THEN HANG UP!

    -following a shooting you are going to be experiencing the physiological side effects of being involved in a dynamic critical incident. One of these effects is TIME DILATION. The 911 operator has all kinds of questions to ask you … that is what they do at this point, investigate right along with the Police. Everything you say is being recorded. You might tell the operator that the shooting took place 45 seconds ago but really it took place 5 minutes ago. Just hang up after you speak with the 911 operator and get back to making sure the bad guy’s friends stay away.

    -Next. When the Police get there make sure you are CLEARLY disarmed at this point. Allow yourself to be secured, searched and detained. At this point get it in your head that you will be going to jail or detained for hours and hours. Remember, your Miranda warnings are given after detention and interview. Keep your mouth shut.

    – You thought you were playing for all the marbles during the gun fight, but that was only the beginning. Now you are playing the game for your freedom. When the officer asks you what happened, grab your nuts and man up…here’s what you say:

    “I understand that this is a very serious situation and I am not trying to impede your investigation but I will not make any statements until I consult with a lawyer.” Then stick to that. That is the discipline. Silence is your only friend until your lawyer gets to you which might take a day or so. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine in jail.

    Ayoob is a police officer. He is not a civilian. He gives advice to make it easier for his buddies in blue to sort out your situation. I’ve read his books and taken many firearms courses and am a firearms instructor. I have also been arrested, with firearms, a number of times. You can be detained and arrested with a gun without being shot by the LEO’s just do what they tell you. You can sort out your rights with the lawyer later.

    During an arrest, make sure you display your hands widely, make a Life Rune with your arms and hands. Just do what they say – they will shoot you, your life means nothing to them. Watch the LaVoy Finicum shooting…the enforcer class is made up of killers, killers kill – that’s what they do – don’t give them a chance.

    Mutual combat is not something you can claim self defense over. This is why avoidance is key. Don’t put yourself in situations where the possibility of you needing a gun is increased. That is stupid.

    Always remember – YOU HAVE NO SPECIAL POWERS. Say that in your head three times before continuing. You cannot give commands, freeze, get down, drop it…you aren’t a cop. If you get into a defensive situation that you cannot escape from, then deadly force is your only option. Using physical force, hitting them with your gun or an object etc is a one way trip to prison. Your political status will complicate things.

    Don’t do stupid things like telling negros to turn their music down…let the police, however worthless your locals and mine are, it is their job.

    Whatever you do don’t be helpful to the police until you have a lawyer. If Zimmerman would have kept his mouth shut in the post-shooting investigation he would have saved a lot of money.

    If you do shoot, shoot to stop the threat. Whatever that means in your particular situation. And don’t take advice on being an armed civilian for cops.

  2. ster plaz
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Many, many, many local prosecutors are LEFTIST leaning. The political LEFT dominates to the nth degree universities, colleges, public schools aka academia. Law schools, like journalism schools, are even more so dominated by the political LEFT. Graduates have been subjected to an enormous dose of LEFTIST propaganda. So, no surprise that lawyers, from which come local prosecutors, come out with at least a LEFTIST sympathy if not fire breathing SJW politics in their heads.

    That does not bode well for a self defender. The LEFT does not want people to defend themselves, invariably calling it “vigilantism” when it is no such thing. So, when you have to take life to defend yourself and the cops/local prosecutor look at the evidence, you know what that prosecutor is thinking about you. If the attacker is dead, a murder charge is contemplated unless the LEFTIST prosecutor thinks he/she can’t get it past the jury. If the attacker lived, an assault with a deadly weapon charge is contemplated unless, again, the LEFTIST prosecutor thinks the jury won’t buy it. To put it simply, if the LEFTIST prosecutor thinks it (all known evidence) can result in a jury conviction against the self defender, they don’t really care what actually happened, they will attempt against you.

  3. rdub
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Good write-up.
    Mas gets it right most of the time, and I don’t see anything glaringly wrong with his advice here.
    The part about establishing one’s self as the “victim” first is vital–remember the phrase “I was afraid for my life.” Repeat it, but not much more.

    As an aside to his commandments, VI (which is fifth for some reason), “keep it concealed” is good advice, but I must report an improvement in attitude and behavior that occured when one of my students got an inadvertent glimpse of a big old .357 on the hip of his least favorite teacher when I was off the clock one time (ran into the student at a Target store, hyuk).
    Word spread that Mr. R carried a giant revolver and well, the students seemed less likely to mouth off to me. Strictly a coincidence.

    Any cc readers who are not already trained and carrying should probably remedy that situation, as “interesting” times are upon us.

  4. Right_On
    Posted September 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Re “A warning shot also tells a judge and jury a tacit admission that, even by your own lights, you knew deadly force was not justified at the time you fired”:

    Suppose you call out to your assailant: “Stop! I have a gun and I will use it.” Isn’t that also a tacit admission that you knew deadly force was not immediately justified at the time you gave a warning?
    So (assuming you have the time!) should one warn an attacker or not?

    • Posted September 8, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      This goes back to YOU HAVE NO SPECIAL POWERS. I always type that in caps so everyone can let it sink in. Police give warnings because they have special powers, we gave them those powers to police on our behalf. You and I have no special powers, but we are allowed to defend ourselves with deadly force if forced to.

      – If you have time to give a command, you probably have time to flee or stop the threat in another way. Notice, I keep using “stop the threat” because that is what you want to do in a self defense shooting.

      – Firing a warning shot is irresponsible and violates standard/accepted firearm safety. You are responsible for everything in front and behind your target. Its one of the four rules of safety. If you have time to decide a safe spot to fire a warning shot, you had time to get away.

      – If you spend a bunch of time yelling back and forth with your potential attacker you are most likely engaged in mutual combat and not self defense. A recent example is Chris Cantwell. I watched the video and (yes ANTIFA should be arrested and charged too) feel fairly certain he is going to prison for using unlawful force during a mutual combat situation. I’d bet money on it.

      – You cannot threaten people. When you threaten someone with a firearm you might be charged with aggravated assault, a felony in most places. If you pull your gun and aren’t sure if you can use it legally…you didn’t need to pull it. Only pull it, if you can use it legally.

      – Most importantly: Think and act like a political warrior. Know the law. Don’t simply take it from me or anyone else, find out for yourself. Familiarize yourself with self defense. Seek out experts, like Personal Defense Network. You can subscribe and watch the videos and go through the curriculum privately. They cover a wide range of topics which apply to self defense in the gravest extreme.

      – Be safe. Stay free

      • Right_On
        Posted September 8, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        A detailed, informative response. Thanks David.

    • Gleimhart Mantooso
      Posted September 8, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Warning shots are not viewed as legally justified, whereas a verbal warning has no such prohibition.

  5. Peter Quint
    Posted September 8, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The whole system is rigged so that even if you are in the right by shooting someone, you may not go to prison, but unless you are rich you will be impoverished for life because of lawyer fees. They planned it that way.

    • Posted September 8, 2017 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      There was a case in 2000, maybe 2001 where a National Alliance member shot two AntiFa home invaders killing one. It was ruled a self defense shooting. Dr. Pierce wrote in that month’s BULLETIN AntiFa – 0; NA – 1

      So there is a case where a known White Nationalist defended himself against AntiFa using deadly force. I’ll work on getting more details. I’m almost positive this happened in PA.

  6. ex South African
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 1:09 am | Permalink

    Fair advice. Insightful, the one about firing warning shots first. You might perhaps take up contact (I assume there already exists some contact) with South African gunsites in order to exchange experiences, such as or

    Some of them have contacts to members of the old South African security forces, including some Special Forces members, who today work in the security industry. Perhaps one can exchange ideas to the mutual benefit of both parties.

  7. Out West
    Posted September 13, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Additionally find out how often your local law enforcement shoots and their course of fire. For instance four times a year at 100 rounds each time. Double their course of fire which will allow you to become more proficient and give additional defense in court.

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