Pretty soon, I’ll be in Tulsa, shooting the IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) 2010 National Championships at the awesome United States Shooting Academy facility. I’ll be competing in the Custom Defense Pistol (CDP) division for single action .45 autos such as the Wilson Custom CQB Elite I plan to use.

Do I have high hopes of becoming National Champ? Oh, HELL, no! The guy to beat this year is, I believe, going to be my team-mate on Team EOTAC, Bob Vogel. He has many times been the overall and/or Enhanced Service Pistol division national champ, and is rumored to be switching from 9mm to .45 this year. Now, I’m 62, and Bob is more like 26. He’s a splendidly conditioned athlete, and I’m a fat old couch potato. Bob is a driven competitor committed to excellence, and I’m a burned-out dilettante for whom IDPA really stands for “I Don’t Practice Anymore.” Bob darts like a leopard between the firing points, while I move more like a sloth on Thorazine. Me beat Bob Vogel? The term “snowball’s chance in hell” comes to mind.

So why go at all? Because, dammit, people like you and I CAN, that’s why.  Neither you nor I are ever likely to get the chance to golf against Tiger Woods. We’ll never get a chance to exceed Plaxico Burress on the football field (though we daily exceed him in firearms safety).

The shooting sports are the most egalitarian that you’ll find in this exquisitely free nation. You get to meet the superstars. You get to chat with them “on the field, during the game.” YOU GET TO COMPETE WITH THEM HEAD TO HEAD. Show me another sport where you can reasonably expect to do that.

Am I gonna get my ass kicked? Ain’t much doubt about it.  But I’m gonna get my ass kicked by the best, and probably learn something useful along the way, and have some fun doing it.

Is this a great country, or what?


  1. You’re right Mas, we’re pretty lucky to be able to compete with the best. Now go get you’re ass royally kicked and have fun doin’ it!

  2. Every competition I go to I look at it as a training class. As that’s, there’s going to be people; better, more knowledgeable, and faster learners than me. But I’m going to learn at least one new things either about the sport or the class that I did not know or was doing wrong. And most important I’m there to have a blast (fun) and that’s what matters to me.
    But good luck massad, stranger things have happened.

  3. “Is this a great country, or what?”
    Mas, it’s one HECK of a great country, and people like YOU are the reason why!

  4. Go for it, I wish I was closer and I do it too. Don’t know if you remember or not a conversation you and I had many years ago. After class we were enjoying a cool one on Marty’s back porch and I asked you if the fire ever went out and you told me “as long as there is fire, teach, when that fire goes out, get out because you will get somebody hurt” Next week I will be working a bunch of new security officers because at 72 the fire still roars.
    Stay Safe my brother

  5. Damn, Mas, you’ve got one hell of an attitude, and I stand up and applaud you for it! You don’t have to win at IDPA because you are already a winner. God Bless and good luck.


  6. Magnus, all you need to do is join IDPA, shoot the Classifier course and earn a marksmanship rank within 12 months of the National Championship, and compete in at least two officially sanctioned IDPA matches in the 12 months prior to the Nationals. You’ll find that it draws a very friendly group of quality, like-minded people who tend to be very helpful with new competitors.

    Full information is available at, and you’ll get a good feel for the sport and its participants by perusing

  7. I feel that IDPA is the best way for anyone to simulate realistic shooting and defense. As a person who started this event at 54 years old, I know that I cannot win. However, where else can I practice with and watch better shooters?

    The faster shooters use “wonder nines”, yet I believe in the CDP pistol and continue to use it as this the weapon that I most believe in. When you look at the overall times, it doesn’t really make sense to shoot a CDP in .45, but you have to train like you plan to use the weapon.

    I have met some really helpful people at these events, and if you shoot safely and have a good attitude, these people will be glad to give you tips. It is also rewarding to help set up and break down targets as some just show up, shoot and leave without helping. You get to meet the best people when you pitch in to help.

  8. With age comes wisdom. Slow and steady may win the race. Good Luck at the match Mas no matter how you solve the courses of fire. Having fun at what you are doing is the best part of living the dream.

  9. Once in an Aikido class, an instructor who’d been teaching since before I was born nailed me on the forehead with an offhand backfist I should’ve known to block. I shook it off and went on, but got to brag all night, “I got smacked by Sensei!”

    For the rest of my life, faced by any tussle or barfight, I can say, “better men than you have hit me.”

  10. You won’t competing against Bob Vogel. You are only really competing against yourself. You know there will be people faster and people slower than yourself but you do this to train your mind and body how to react in a given situation. Sure they will be giving out prizes at the end but as long as you do your best, learn something, and have fun along the way you are a winner.

    Plus, think of the excitement Bob will have to be shooting with the great Massad Ayoob. I saw you on Personal Defense TV the other night and got excited. I couldn’t imagine shooting an event with you.

    Aim small, miss small

    Bob from Illinois.

  11. Hi Mas,
    You are certainly not fat. You seem to have kept yourself in pretty good shape, for an old man. You have me beat at 2 years!
    Having shot many matches over the years, after talking with some of the top shooters of that era, I decided I could never be as good as them. At that time most of them said that they shot 1000 rds per week in practice and 2000 rds before a major match. I had to drive 1.5 hr just to get to a range where I could strap on a holster.
    I also, as a club secretary, got tired of the bit* and egos and late night phone calls “where’s my newsletter”. Now I just shoot against myself.
    On that S&W Performance Center 625, I also found out that the furnished grips looked great but did not fit my hand. I put on a set of Pachmayrs, as you did, and the skin is growing back now.
    Good luck at the Nationals.

  12. “show me another sport….”
    well, after you pay the entry fee, you can compete
    head-to-head against World Class competition in:
    1. fishing.
    2. fencing.
    3. frisbee-dog.
    and that’s just the “F” category.
    in other words, there’s lots.

  13. Dear Mas,

    I have enjoyed reading your wit, sage advice and common sense as I have recently gotten back into the shooting sports.

    I believe shooting any competition against you would be a superb experience for anyone.

    I do have a question for you. When keeping ammo on hand long term is there a good storage system to ensure the shells are in prime shape when needed? I had thought about using a fireproof lock box to hold ammo inside my larger gun safe but had read that this is not a good idea. I would think that having a locked box to control access and protection against temperature and moisture extremes would be an ideal thing.

    I do, of course, rotate as I purchase and shoot, but have considered that we all need to have adequate, long-term supplies on hand.

    Any thoughts?



  14. Mas,

    As I read this I was thinking of one other sport, from personal expirience, that allows the unknowns to go head to head with the Superstars of the sport, Rodeo.

    Shooting is fun, and allows one to put their competitive urge to use in a constructive manner. Rodeo is much the same, no matter the event, but roughstock is a young man’s game, and I’m no longer young.

    One of these days I will beat your furry old ass in shooting, but until then I will have fun trying. Good luck, take care, and stay safe.


  15. Mas,

    You’ve already won, my brother. But give it your all, as you always do.
    You give your age, but remember, your kindred spirit, Annie Oakley, set shooting records well into her 60s.

    With gratitude and best wishes,