My lovely bride, the Evil Princess of Podcasts, Pixels, and Polymer Pistols admonishes me that in all my Christmas gift recommendations, I haven’t mentioned anything of mine. OK, total disclosure: self-serving stuff follows.

My updated Second Edition of the book “Deadly Force” just came out from the Gun Digest Book people. The updates include deep dives into the lessons to all of us from some recent high-profile shooting cases, such as the Rittenhouse incident in Kenosha, Wisconsin and the Aubery shooting in Georgia, and why the one ended in a total acquittal of murder charges and the other in total conviction.  You can get it from Amazon, maybe just in time for Christmas.

As many of you know, my primary day job is teaching self-defense to law-abiding citizens through MAG, the Massad Ayoob Group.  We have finally posted our 2023 schedule, most of it anyway, at  The listings will show which classes I will be teaching personally, and which will be taught by our highly capable staff, but you’ll see that we have them scheduled all over the continental US.  (While we’ve done Hawaii and Alaska in the past, as well as some foreign countries, it won’t be this year; between classes and trials where I’ll be speaking as an expert witness, the schedule is pretty full.)

Whether you get it from me or another instructor, training is a gift that lasts forever, and it’s something you can even give in the form of a promise to send the recipient to the school of choice, or at least pay their tuition.


  1. I have read and reread the first edition and have notes in the margins and underlined a lot of info. I’m now reading the second edition and finding additional info to mark! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  2. Bought it on Kindle, and after getting a little way into it, I have a question: have you considered publishing it as an audiobook? I know it’s intended to be a reference book, but I really think it would work as audio, for people who don’t have time to read it thoroughly. And since we’re being up front about being self-serving, I would be glad to audition for it; I’ve been narrating nonfiction for 10 years and now have 70 titles on Audible (just in time for my 70th birthday).

  3. Thank you for hooking me up with a signed copy from the author himself. I’m working my way through again one chapter at a time, and ruminating on what I’m reading. I’m thoroughly looking forward to the soon to come Audiobook on Audible. Merry Christmas to you and the E.Princess

  4. Self-serving? Yes, but the customers benefit, too. That’s the beauty of capitalism. The producers produce a product which customers want. Then the customers give the producers money for the product. If the money is enough, the producers will keep producing that product. Everyone benefits.

    I simply wish it took less money to be middle class. It would be nice if a single person could actually live on minimum wage. That’s why capitalism is the worst economic system in the world, except for all the other economic systems.

  5. Like David Rodgers, I got my copy signed by the author when I assisted with the MAG 120 class this month.

    I just finished reading it this morning. Even if you already own the first edition, buy and read the second.

    One chapter is Gila Hayes’ interview with Mas about what to do if you find yourself in a riot. It is available at the Armed Citizens’ Legal Defense Network website.

    Another reprint in the book is Dr. Tony Semone’s chapter on the Psychological Aftermath of a self defense shooting for private citizens. It contains an interview with someone who gave a powerful guest lecture to a MAG 40 class about his arrest, trial, and acquittal for murder.

  6. I got my new version recently. The worst part is that my original one has yours and Gail’s autographs in it.
    Stay safe my brother.

  7. Mas, I obtained a copy of your new book and have started reading it. So far, the legal concepts in it are familiar to me since I have taken both your MAG-20 (Legal) and MAG-40 classes. However, in light of recent events, I do have a question on one concept.

    As you point out, self-defense is considered a “Perfect Defense” when it is accepted by the jury. However, the recent trial of Aaron Dean seems to question that. Aaron Dean was the police office called to a home to investigate a possible burglary. While searching the exterior of the home, he perceived a black woman standing inside the home who was pointing a gun at him. He shouted for her to drop the weapon and then, almost immediately, fired a single shot which killed the woman.

    Unfortunately, the woman was not a criminal. She was in the home legally and probably pointed the gun at the police because she did not recognize them and thought that they might be burglars. This case was tragic all the way around.

    Since she was black and the police officer was white, the police officer was immediately thrown to the wolves of the Anti-American Media. Within 48 hours, he lost his job and was charged with murder. His defense was based upon self-defense since a lethal weapon was pointed at him at the time of the shooting.

    The legal wheels turned slowly but, three years later, his case went to trial. The jury returned a strange verdict. They did not find him guilty of murder but, contrary to the idea of a “Perfect Defense”, they did not acquit him either. Instead, they found him guilty of the lesser, included charge of “Reckless Homicide”.

    Andrew Branca followed this trial and made extensive comments about it on his “Law of Self Defense” web site. He points out that this verdict is legal nonsense. Reckless Homicide is normally used for such things as a homicide arising from drunk driving. A homicide where the killing was unintentional but was caused by someone’s reckless behavior. In this case, the police officer was responding to a duty call and fired the shot deliberately. To call it a reckless homicide makes no legal sense.

    It seems likely that this verdict was a compromise. The jury did not want to call it murder because of the self-defense aspect to the case. Yet, because the outcome was very bad (and possible media pressure and fear of rioting), they did not want to let the police officer go free either. So, they (wrongly) called it “reckless homicide” instead and gave him almost 12 years in prison.

    So, is “Self Defense” really a “Perfect Defense”? In the case of Aaron Dean, it was good enough to get him out of the murder charge and a possible life sentence. Yet it was not “Perfect” enough to set him free.

    Maybe, “Self Defense” is “Perfect” only when the outcome of the shooting is acceptable to the jury? When the outcome is perceived as “bad”, even the “Perfect Defense” may break down and become “Imperfect”.

    If so, then isn’t calling self-defense a “Perfect Defense” being a bit misleading?

    What are your views on the Aaron Dean verdict (if you don’t mind me asking)?

    • Self-defense is not a perfect defense until it has been established. I agree with Branca that it’s a tragedy with two victims, not a villain and a victim. The officer being in her back yard was normal; it’s common to do a circle around the premises on a call like this to gather intelligence, look for signs of break-in, a running getaway car, etc. The only two people in position to see — the late Ms. Jefferson’s young nephew, and Officer Dean — saw her point her gun in his direction. His response followed universal police training. Branca feels the defense was poor; I didn’t see enough of the trial to judge. There appear to be substantial grounds for a successful appeal.

      • “Self-defense is not a perfect defense until it has been established.”

        So, since Aaron Dean is on his way to prison, what do we conclude? Was his self-defense defense claim flawed? If so, what part(s) of self-defense failed?

        Did he lack innocence? I suppose that to some people, just being a cop makes him guilty. However, if we dismiss such bias, I don’t see how he fails innocence since he was there on a duty call and had every right to be on the property.

        No duty for avoidance for a police officer on duty, so that was not a factor.

        Ability, jeopardy and opportunity seem to be all present since both Dean and the one witness stated that the gun was point out at Dean. No doubt, under pressure, the witness later changed his testimony and said that it was not pointed. Is that change of heart creditable enough to discount the AOJ factors?

        Or was it a failure of reasonableness? Is it unreasonable for a white police officer to shoot anybody of another race, for any reason, in Today’s America and under any circumstances? That seems to be the position of most of the Anti-American media.

        Or, as Andrew Branca seems to imply, self-defense was established, but due to misleading statements of the persecution, poor performance by the defense, and possible media bias on the part of the jury, the jury just got it wrong?

        Frankly, I don’t see how anybody born with a white skin should seek to be a police officer in our current environment.

        You know, the wheel turns around and the same spoke comes up again. In the Old West, a number of deputies in Judge Parker’s court were black. It was a job that many of the local whites did not want to do. Due to racial prejudice, it was one area of advancement open to a black man. We seem to be returning to a time when racial prejudice (reverse racism, in our time) is again creating an environment where being a police officer may be mostly open to people of the non-white race.

        We are still a long way away from Martin Luther King’s dream of having people be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin. The powerful people at the top have long used race to divide Americans. It makes sense. As long as they can keep us divided, we cannot combine and turn on our true enemies: The Greedy Elites at the top who are robbing us blind every day!

    • TN_MAN and Mas,

      Thanks for informing us about this. You didn’t mention if this incident happened during the day or night, so I googled it. It happened on October 12th, 2019 at 2:30am. So, it was dark, or at least low light conditions at 2:30am.

      In 1999, Amadou Diallo was shot 19 times by four police officers, at night, when he pulled his wallet out of his pant’s pocket, and the officers thought he was going for his gun. Those officers were charged with second-degree murder, and acquitted.

      Like you and Mas wrote, this was a tragic accident. Officer Dean thought a criminal was pointing a gun at him, in low light conditions, and Officer Dean followed his training. There was no crime here, only a tragic accident, and these things happen. Too bad politics intervened to ruin Aaron Dean’s life.

      Politics are also affecting my comments here. I am thinking of a solution which will not be expressed, because my solution would be “politically incorrect.” I could talk freely in person, but not on the Internet.

  8. @ Roger Willco – “…in low light conditions…”

    Well, a handgun was found after the shooting. So, this is not a case of wallet, keys, cell phone, etc. mistaken for a gun. The woman did have an actual firearm in her hands. Both Aaron Dean and the one witness, in his initial statement to the police, said that she pointed it out the window at the police. Three years later, with his family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, the witness changed his tune as said that she just held the gun but did not point it. Personally, I cannot put too much creditability on the statement of a witness that varies over time and who has a motive to be deceptive as well.

    Body-cam footage of the shoot is available but due to low light conditions, you can’t really tell whether the gun was pointed or not. The low light conditions, combined with the police lights shining on the house, may have blinded the woman and prevented her from identifying the people, outside her house, as police.

    So, yes, the low-light conditions were a factor in this tragedy, but she had an actual pistol in her hands at the time of the shooting.

    The jury owed Aaron Dean a presumption of innocence. It was the job of the prosecutor to disprove self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. My view is that they both failed in their duty. The prosecution did not disprove self-defense. Instead, they spent all their time painting Aaron Dean as a racist policeman. A smear that was not supported by the facts-in-evidence. Unfortunately, the Defense Team let the Prosecution Team get away with such smears with minimal objections on their part.

    As a result, Aaron Dean true crime, in the eyes of the indoctrinated jury, was being a racist as portrayed by the media and the prosecution.

    He was not convicted of murder.

    He was not, really, convicted of reckless homicide. That verdict makes no sense. It was merely a convenient label applied by the jury because it was on the list of “lesser, included offenses”.

    Aaron Dean was convicted of being a racist, white, cop. That is why he is being sent to prison. He was convicted of “Thought-Crime” under the ideology of the American Left.

    I am disgusted that we have come to such a pass in America. A country where every man is supposed to be equal under the law. A country where every man should be judged by the content of their character rather than by the color of their skin.

    Racism is alive and well in America, folks. However, it is not the “White Racism” identified by the American Left. That is all just projection. Rather, it is the reverse racism of the American Left. They are the true racists in America today!

    • TN_MAN,

      I agree. Why would anyone think it strange that a woman who points a gun at a cop gets shot by that cop? I can see that happening in both well-lit and low light conditions. If you point a gun at a cop, you should not be surprised if a bullet comes your way.

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