Teaching the judicious use of lethal force in lawful defense of self and other innocent persons has been my primary vocation for decades now.  There are too many myths and misunderstandings out there about this literally life-or-death topic.

We hear “self-defense instructors” telling people they can shoot any stranger they find in their house. “Because castle doctrine.” We hear “You can’t draw your gun on a man unless you’re justified in shooting him.” And “Don’t worry about ‘courtroom survival,’ your lawyer won’t let you take the witness stand if he’s any good’.” “If you have to shoot a criminal, make sure he’s dead.”  “Never say anything to the police.” And of course the old standby, “If you shoot a home invader in the doorway, drag him inside and plant a weapon on him before you call the police.”  And more.

And of course, NONE of the above is good advice.

No one person, even teaching all over the country, can kill all those myths for everyone who needs to know the truth. With that in mind, a few years ago Marty Hayes and I joined up to teach a five-day Deadly Force Instructor class once a year.  Marty has been a firearms/lethal force instructor for about thirty years, a cop from patrolman to chief law enforcement officer, and an expert witness in shooting cases for 27 years. He’s also the founder of the post-self defense support industry, having created the now-much-imitated Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network almost a decade ago.

Our 2017 class just finished up in Florida, and our 2018 class will be held in Austin, Texas at the end of January.  Our host will be famed self-defense instructor Karl Rehn at KR Training. Information can be found at KR Training, class description at Massad Ayoob Group.

It’s not enough to know HOW to shoot in self-defense; good people also need to know WHEN. We need more instructors who can spread the word, and educate as to the little-known realities.

Moot court. From left, attorney Tiffany Johnson is in the role of a shooting witness undergoing direct examination from Marty Hayes as defendant’s lawyer, while famed 2A law professor Joe Olsen takes the role of judge.

Attorney Alex Ooley in role of assistant district attorney cross-examines ace police trainer Lee Weems, playing the part of defendant.

Marty Hayes and Mas field questions from Deadly Force Instructor class.

Deadly Force Instructor class, December 2017.


  1. Gotta check both calendar and check book.

    One of the myths I hear locally, is that the duty to retreat still exists in the home. While not true, (Fortune vs State, 1922; upheld in Dodson vs State, 1930) it keeps coming up from various sources.

    Self defense instructors seem more numerous lately than ticks, and at least some, about a useful.

      • WR Moore,

        Thanks for bringing up the “duty to retreat.” I checked the laws for New Jersey. We do have a duty to retreat, but that does not apply to the home, UNLESS the homeowner was the aggressor or started the conflict.

        That’s good to know. I think a DUTY to retreat is nuts, but a duty to retreat from the home is REALLY nuts.

  2. I hope you get to meet with Sen.Ted Cruz while in Austin.
    Legislators would greatly benefit by sending a Pro
    2nd Amendment staff member to your training.
    It might help in drafting
    better self defense parameters Nationally.
    In California all we can hope for is to be the best posible
    victim, rendering all to the Gangsters.

    • California is heavily controlled by those who subscribe to Left-Wing ideology. The Left loves victims who are helpless and who will, therefore, be totally dependent upon a Central Government that is under Leftist control.

      The Left continually divides Americans into different classes of victims. This one is a victim of racism. This one a victim of sexism. That one is a victim of poverty. Naturally, it does not bother the Left, at all, for you to be a victim of crime.

      Those who take up firearms in self-defense, those who manufacture the firearms and ammo, those (like Mas) who teach people how to “not be a victim” outrage the American Left. How dare you not want to be a victim? How dare you seek to protect yourself rather than rely upon the Government for your protection? It is such heresy!

  3. Mas,

    You could probably write a book entitled, “Myths of the Use of Deadly Force,” or “Deadly Force Myths.”

    Lets think about the other shooting disciplines for a minute. There are different types of target shooters, hunters and collectors. None of those gun owners really needs to know self-defense laws. Of course they should know them, but they might not bother.

    Those gun owners interested in self-defense really need to know about the law, and how people react during deadly force encounters. This requires reading, and let’s face it, when it comes to self-defense, we basically need to train ourselves to think like lawyers. It also helps to become knowledgeable about, and even active in, politics. The other shooting disciplines don’t require all this knowledge. Someone who just wants to feel safe might not want to do all this studying.

    The path we are on is not easy. It would help if the criminal justice system was really a victim justice system. It would help if crime victims who shoot back were considered to be innocent until proven guilty. The bad guys get all kinds of breaks and sympathy. The good guy must do a near-perfect job, under stress, in the dark. God forbid the good guy should make a mistake, or fire one bullet too many, or miss, or say something which could be used against him in a court of law, all while he is fighting for his life.

  4. Dagnabbit! I wish I had known about the FLA class earlier. In reading the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network’s monthly journal, I became aware of this gem-of-a-class and immediately consulted my business manager for the possibility to being able to attend. It’s possible, but she said other priorities must be considered first. So as it stands there is a 50/50 chance I’ll see you in Austin. Dagnabbit! Wish I had known sooner to plan accordingly.

    Stay safe.

    • *note* as per the course requiring you to research your states case laws, brace yourself. I reached out to some acquaintances who are retired from practicing law but now operate the BAR Review here in Maryland.

      CASE LAW is so ambiguous and contradictory, I need clarity. If the stars align accordingly, I’ll see you in Austin.

      Mas, I just discovered “imperfect self defense” and fear here in Maryland, this would apply to the majority who have “perfect self defense”, but because the Prosecutor has tax paid money to work with, the “imperfect self defense “case could be just another political ploy to discredit we the lawful. Meaning just because you are where you are, at the time you are, is your fault. Dumbfounded!!!

      • Welcome to my world, Larry. For the less ethically inclined members of the bar, spinning of facts is stock in trade.

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