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In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection

324 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0936279008
ISBN-10: 0936279001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 130 pages
  • Publisher: Police Bookshelf (June 1, 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0936279001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0936279008
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (324 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Massad Ayoob is one of the pre-eminent fighting handgun trainers in the world. He operates the Lethal Force Institute, which trains both U.S. and international clients. His methods of reflexive, high speed yet accurate shooting has been adopted by the U.S. army as part of its standard pistol-training course. Massad has written many books for Krause Publications, including Combat Handgunnery, The Gun Digest Book of Sig-Sauer, and The Gun Digest Book of Beretta Pistols.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

261 of 266 people found the following review helpful By M. P. Procter Sr. VINE VOICE on May 3, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While there are some technical aspects of firearms law that are clearly outdated, the principles are thought-provoking and still apply. What I found interesting is that the author repeatedly states that it is preferable to avoid situations where one would have to use a defensive firearm. That is stated throughout the book. And he backs that up with situations where one could be charged with various degrees of murder, manslaughter, etc.
For example, you're walking down the street and someone insults you. Do you get into it with them, or just keep going? He explains that since you are carrying a firearm, it is your responsibility to avoid having to use it, if possible. So getting into an arguement with some punk because he called you a name, which could escalate into something which might cause you to draw your weapon, must be avoided. Legally, it could be devisitating.
But he doesn't shy away from using it when absolutely necessary. One carries a firearm for a reason, and that is to avoid death or serious injury.
Also bear in mind that when this book was written, some very fine firearms hadn't been developed and/or used much, like the Glock. The same goes for calibers of ammunition, like the .40 S&W.
Read this book because the principles still apply. Afterwards, do some further reading about various state and federal laws which now apply. Also, research the various handguns that are available today.
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103 of 105 people found the following review helpful By ( on December 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
In this no nonsense work Ayoob deals with the most terrifying situation you can imagine and how to deal with it.
If there is only one book in your library about self-defense with a gun, this should be it.
I was fortunate to be among those admitted into Massad's very first class for civilians way back in 1981. Since that time I have steered away from several potentially deadly situations based on his common sense (a rare thing) advice about "staying safe".
If you are interested in "how to kill the bad guy and get away with it" read elsewhere. This book is not for you. If you want to learn how to keep safe and out of trouble and the grief associated with grave decisions, read this book. It is the best of its kind.
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Lodge2 on April 26, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book, but should be read with an understanding of the writers perspective (northeastern US) and the time in history. In 1980, when this book was published, licensed concealed carry was rare in the US. There were few small concealable firearms available to most citizens, i.e. Chief Special, Detective Special and PPK, and hollow point ammunition was new on the market. Jimmy Carter was president, Iran was holding our citizens hostage and the Mariel boatlift was in progress. We were in a period of high taxes, inflation, crime, etc...

All that said, this book still offers excellent advice and great stories. Ayoob definitely has a talent for presenting information and then explaining why things are the way they are. He does not just dump his opinions into your lap, he helps you to understand.

If you read this book and then stop, you will have a good working knowledge of the issues concerning concealed carry in 1980. If you read this book and follow up with more current ones (i.e. The Complete Book of Combat Handgunnery), then you will have a better understanding of the issues relevant to today.

Should be part of everyone's library, along with Cooper's Principles of Personal Defense, but definitely should not be the only reading you do on the subject.
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168 of 185 people found the following review helpful By Joseph H Pierre on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
Massad Ayoob grew up with weapons. His father was a jeweler who was maimed by an armed criminal--whom he killed, and whose accomplice he crippled.

Massad claims he began to use firearms at age four, and won his first of several hundred pistol awards as a teenager. He was captain of a first string pistol team at the age of twenty-two. Then he became a policeman in 1972.

In his career, he has become recognized internationally as one of the world's leading authorities on police weaponry, and regularly serves as a consultant and courtroom expert on firearms and shootings.

He has been the handgun editor of "Guns" magazine, and is a regular contributor to several other leading journals.

In this book, Ayoob advises the reader on the legal implications of firearms use in self-defense, and the whole subject of keeping, storing, carrying and using firearms.

He talks about basic gunfighting techniques, the calibers best suited for personal protection and how to choose a weapon, "common sense" as it relates to firearms use, and the deterrent effect of defense handguns.

This is a very good book, and it comes highly recommended by most knowledgeable shooters.

Now, if you are a beginner, about to buy your first handgun, or a police cadet or a new correctional officer in training, and are seeking a book which will help you to pick out a firearm, or to safely use the one you have, let me recommend a better one: "George Tooley's Beginner's Book on How to Handle Firearms Safely," also available on

This is a very good book. Buy it, too. But the late George Tooley's book is even better, although less well known. He had 45 years in corrections and law-enforcement, most of it teaching firearms use.

Joseph Pierre,
Author of THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS: Our Journey Through Eternity
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