Oh, wait…it’s me! 74 revolutions around the sun today.  Damn…that happened quick.

It’s been a fun ride. Some lives saved, some injuries prevented, some careers and futures I was privileged to have a part in rescuing in court.  (Check out the one in the current issue of American Handgunner magazine. I was honestly proud to be a part of that action.)

The age is showing, though. Gray hair and whiskers?  Hell, I’m just glad the skin hasn’t turned gray yet.  I get out of the shower, catch a glimpse in the mirror, and go “Aauugghh! My whole birthday suit is wrinkled!”  My gluteus maximus has turned into a gluteus minimus.  Nature has installed a speed governor on my body, which I didn’t need because I didn’t think I was ever that fast before.

Yet for all that, I’m happy that I can keep going. The Covid shutdown gave me a preview of retirement that made me shudder.  The closest I get to being retired is getting tired over and over again.  And I’m not complaining about that.

Two wonderful adult daughters of my own who continue to make me immensely proud, as do my stepdaughter and stepson.  Four terrific grandkids of my own and five on my wife’s side, plus two little great-grandsons from that side of the blended family. A wife I adore.  I’m happy.

And loyal readers whom I greatly appreciate. Thanks to all of you for being here. I always seem to be teaching on my birthday, which means there’s always a gun in my hand for part of those days. My birthday music will be gunfire on the training range…The Song of My People.


  1. Wishing you a Very Happy 74th!!! And many more, Mas!! I hope to see you again before both our bodies turn grey! It’s been way too long since CHS!!
    And…you look great!!

  2. Happy Birthday! My 74th is in a few days. I say I was tired yesterday & I’m tired today, so I’m re-tired! I’ve learned so much from you. Thanks!

    • Jo Novak,

      I don’t get retired but my car does. If I was British I would say my car gets retyred.

  3. Happy Birthday Mas, and thank you for all that you do, especially for all the sheepdogs out here. And many more!

  4. Happy Birthday, Mas. I’m not too far behind. Keep up the great work, I’ve learned a lot.

  5. Many years ago, when I helped my sister and brother-in-law move, they assigned me the bookcase. It was on that fateful day that a bright pink binding caught my eye.  Having read everything on the front cover, I had to read the Foreward.  And “it just so happened” (read: God arranged) that Mr. Hopkins’ first sentence described a place 3,000 miles from my home, but with which I “just happened” to be familiar.  One might say, at this point, the rest was history.

    My brother-in-law kindly allowed me to borrow the book (if he didn’t, the bookcase was never going to get moved that day :-).  I soon had a new favorite nonfiction author in the person of Massad Ayoob.  I learned of the existence of LFI, and I dreamed about being able to go someday.  Reason: I now saw the evidence that, the greater the number of good guys & gals who were willing to responsibly carry, the safer everyone would be. And Mas inspired to become one of those persons. But I had to be trained first.

    Taking MAG40 was more than just a dream come true. Many dreams, once realized, are the end of a journey. But MAG40 was just the first milestone on a road that I am privileged to be able to travel every day.

    Thank you, Mas, for the inspiration and training that has helped me in countless ways.  You have impacted my life like few others, and I pray to be able to be that kind of a blessing to those around me.

    Happy Birthday!

  6. Happy Birthday Mas!
    Thanks for all you do!
    I need to remind American Handgunner you are a big part of why I have a subscription.
    I don’t want them to take you for granted.

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAS!! (My wife’s Birthday is today too!). May God give you many many many more!! God’s Blessings!!

  8. You’re an incredible visual story teller Mas but sometimes… TMI. LOL. Enjoy your day immensely and may we all make it through the next trip around with you to find things better than we see them today.

  9. I heard that grumpy and ornery men tend to live a very long time, so just continue acting that way and you will easily reach 100. 🙂

  10. What a coincidence! The first American to set foot on the moon was on July 20th, 1969. That was 53 years ago, so you were only 21 then, just barely old enough to buy a handgun.

    I signed for my first handgun, a blued S&W model 29-2 with 6 1/2″ barrel for $400, just like Harry Callahan’s, when I turned 21 on July 15th back in the Jurassic Period, or was it the Triassic Period? I don’t remember as it was a very long time ago.

    • Tom606,

      How many woolly mammoths and saber-toothed tigers did you shoot with that Model 29?

      • Three mammoths, seven tigers so far, plus a couple of punks, and Bertha ate all of them within a couple of days. She was on a diet and limited her food consumption.

  11. Happy Birthday Mas. Glad to have been your acquaintance last year at FAS and looking forward to MAG-80 next week.

  12. Happy Birthday Mas! Taking the MAG 40 and 80 classes was a dream come true for me. I hope you’re able to keep fulfilling other people’s dreams for many years to come.

  13. I am going to celebrate this birthday by watching a vid or two of yours on YouTube. Thank you for your work. I am hoping never to need you at a trial, but it is just good to know that you are out there.


    I hope this anniversary of your first appearance on Planet Earth will be one of your most enjoyable ones & that your stay will continue for many more years to come. Although these trips around the sun seem to go by faster & faster as we get older, the experiences we gain from them are still worth collecting & sharing with others. I thank you for sharing your accumulated knowledge & experience with all of us.

    I have been reading your books & magazine articles since at least 1980 & I think I still own copies of nearly all of them. I have also benefitted from your videos & your personal instruction at LFI. I continue to try to pass on things that I have learned from you to others & to encourage them to learn directly from you as well. I am very grateful that you have this blog, which I read with interest every day, even though I rarely comment on it because your regular commenters almost always write what I was going to say before I can, not to mention things that I hadn’t even thought of. Your videos for Wilson Combat & others on YouTube are a wonderful free resource, also.

    Currently, I am eagerly awaiting the release of “Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self-Defense, 2nd edition”, which should arrive in time for me to give as Christmas presents to my family & friends. The first edition of that book is already the best book on that subject that I know of & should be required reading for everyone who owns and/or carries a firearm for self defense.

    Congratulations on everything that you have accomplished so far in your life. You are the best at everything you do & I look forward to reading about your future accomplishments in addition to your work for The Second Amendment Foundation and The Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network.

    Enjoy the rest of your journey & never retire!!!!!

  15. I’m a year ahead of you, but I too taught a class today. A refresher for a retired military who hadn’t shot since 2002, but has been reading the news and now wants to get proficient again. He made a good start with his 1911-style 9mm.
    I’m guessing you’re waiting for the dust to settle before mentioning Indianapolis. I’m remembering the instructors through the years (not you) who assured me I only need to practice at short range because almost all self-defense involves an average of 2.3 rounds at three yards or less.
    Happy birthday!

    • Hmm, only 2.3 rounds at less than three yards? You should be well armed with a three shot duckfoot pistol then, and have a spare .7 rounds available – just in case.

  16. Congratulations on the big 74! I’m only one year behind you. Your writings have changed my life, made me a better marksman, provoked me to examine my thinking about so many aspects of life, and taught me how to (accurately) shoot a snub nosed revolver. Finally being able to take MAG40 from you was the culmination of a decades-long dream. Your teachings have influenced more people than even you can imagine. You’re absolutely right… it’s been a very good ride. Take care…and keep your powder dry!

  17. Happy birthday, your teaching and courtroom testimony has saved many lives out there. Many are unknown but the teaching and training made a difference at 2 AM when a lone officer stepped out onto the highway or into an alley. I hope you many more to come.

  18. Happy belated Birthday Mas.

    What could I ever say that would add something of value to the thoughts of so many others?

    We love you and what you do. What you inspire. What you have achieved.

    One of my great joys was being called ‘brother’ by you during MAG-40 in Live Oak. I have 4 sisters (well, had). No biological brothers. In my 69 years, I have found a few brothers I truly l I very, respect and cherish. I count you as one among some truly amazing men.

    Carry on. Pun intended.

    Best Regards.
    Enjoy the music!

  19. Happy birthday, you ol’ barsteward. Thirty years on I still remember your (deserved) upbraidments and, later, surpised praise when I bashed down six skittles ahead of you, heh heh.
    I’m a couple of years ahead of you but still a great admirer, even if the bigger barstewards of the UK gubmint won’t let me wield pistols, even under your wise direction.

  20. Belated Happy Birthday, Mas! God Bless, many more. As we say in Polish – Sto lat – may you live a hundred years!!

  21. Happy Birthday, Mas:

    Here is a Quote of the Day just for you:

    “May you always have work for your hands to do,
    May your pockets hold always a coin or two,
    May the sun shine bright on your windowpane,
    May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain,
    May the hand of a friend always be near you,
    And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.”

    – Traditional Irish Blessing

  22. Happy birthday from france Mas !
    Hope the range session was good with good gunpowder smell.
    Hope the family party and the birthday cake was good too.
    Long life to you to defend the right, and light our way.

  23. Happy birthday.

    Although today is the day that you get to open gifts, we also get the gift of having you in our life for another year, so that we can learn, grow, and do a better job of making the world a better place for us having been here.


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