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Stressfire, Vol. 1 (Gunfighting for Police: Advanced Tactics and Techniques)
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123 of 125 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2003
For the hard-core, dedicated gun carrier, Massad Ayoob has writen StressFire, subtitled Volume I of Gunfighting for Police: Advanced Tactics and Techniques.

The first thing to strike you about this book is the absolutely awesome cover photo capturing the vortex-like fireball as Ayoob triggers one round of Federal .357 Magnum 125-grain jacketed hollowpoint out of a 4-inch barreled Smith & Wesson Model 13 revolver. Muzzle flash provides the only illumination for the photo. This shot was taken, obviously, before the era of flash-retardant powders greatly reduced the super-flamethrower effect of many .357 Magnum loads, including the Federal 125-grainers.

StressFire is a book on gunfighting. In it Ayoob puts forth the techniques he believes work best, based on having debriefed hundreds of gunfight survivors. It's good stuff. Ayoob looks into this controversial topic with rare insight. He was one of the first well-known instructors, for instance, to condemn the Weaver Stance as a combat technique, recommending instead a modified isosceles. Read this book, see if you can argue with his logic.

Massad Ayoob is a wonderfully articulate writer, with extremely strong opinions. Like his fellow gunwriter and instructor Jeff Cooper, he's the sort of larger-than-life personality that attracts both devoted followers and sworn enemies. Just to make it clear where I come down on the topic, I've trained with Mas Ayoob, I've read his articles and books for 20-plus years, I like the guy. But whether you love him or hate him, there's one fact that's undeniable: no one can honestly say he's done more to provide good, solid information on the use of the defensive handgun to the average citizen than Massad Ayoob.

Do I agree with everything in this book? No. Every highly trained gunperson is going to have their own repertoire of preferred techniques, some of which might differ from what Ayoob puts forth in StressFire. And that's fine. I will say, however, that in order to have an informed opinion on the topic of gunfight survival, StressFire is one of the books you simply must have read.
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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2000
A really excellent follow-up to IN THE GRAVEST EXTREME. STRESSFIRE deals with basic to advanced hanguns skills with sections covering tactics as well. A lot of good advice is delivered at a modest price. In 1995 I used some of this advice and saved my own life in a confrontation with a violent car thief. He went to hospital, I walked away....
STRESSFIRE gives you a good idea of what you'll be up against when the chips are down and how to prepare yourself. I know cause I've been there.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2000
This book is worth every penny. I have only been shooting for half a year and I've learned from different instructors. I thought I was on my way to being a true marksman until I read this book. Mr. Ayoob goes into the effects of stress on the human body and how to best cope with it and even use it to your advantage! This book teaches you the different techniques in performing under stress. If you're a competition shooter, this will definitely be of great help to your training. Afterall, when the moment of truth comes, your body will react as you are trained.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2003
This is how to shoot and handle a pistol the Ayoob way. Ayoob's real contribution in this book is his focus on developing and teaching techniques that use gross motor skills rather than fine motor skills. The premise of the techniques in this book is that performing small, fine or complex tasks under emotional and physical stress is prone to failure. So, Ayoob teaches gun handling and shooting skills that rely on large, simple motions that a person can perform under the worst of conditons. For example, instead of slightly pivoting your grip and pushing a button with a fingertip, Ayoob might teach to use the other hand and rear-back and punch the button with the other palm. Many of the techniques that Ayoob teaches here are slight modifications of those more commonly taught.
My copy of this book has frayed edges, highlights and notes written in the margins. I turn back to it once in a while. Just this year, when I was having trouble with one particular skill at local pistol matches, I pulled this book from my shelf and had the answer I was looking for immediately.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on January 13, 2003
Massad Ayoob is one of the first tactics writers I came across when I first began interested in guns in the late 80's. That is not an accident, given the fact that Ayoob is one of the most famous and knowledgeable writers in business, and his writings are published widely in many magazines. So, I have a high respect for him.
The book covers a variety of topics on self defence and combat, including mental conditioning. Ayoob has developed his StressFire system onto a complete package that covers it all. Therefore, he has something to say about everything. That in itself is a good thing, and it adds to the completeness of this book, but it also gives a distinct impression of "empire-building". Since the StressFire system is Ayoob's creation, every time he mentions how things are better on StressFire, he seem biased. In addition, Ayoob rarely recommends a technique he has not invented himself (one of the only exeptions is Chapman flashlight technique, which Ayoob recommends in addition of his own StressFire technique).
But as I mentioned, the book is a complete package, and the techniques and tactics presented in the book seem reasonable and sound. I would recommend this book to anyone who carries a handgun, on or off duty.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 1997
This is perhaps the best book I have read on combat handgun skills. Ayoob speaks from experience and research as he presents the reader with in-depth information on shooting styles and skills. Ayoob includes photo's as examples of all the information he presents. A must read for the new defensive-gun owner.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2009
No book can teach you how to stay alive through a violent confrontation, but Ayoob consistently publishes books that get you more than 50% of the way there. His no-nonsense practical approach boils down years of experience into a small number of basic truths that any combat shooter can appreciate and adopt (or adapt) quickly. For anyone who wants the fundamentals of close quarters combat shooting, this is a great text. His advice and opinions are clear and well explained. For those who think a shotgun is a suitable home defense weapon, Ayoob's brief explanation of his preference for a handgun is crystal-clear and compelling. It almost invites the reader to move around the house with both weapons, to learn for oneself how ponderous a long gun is in confined quarters.

This book is devoid of impractical theories and it doesn't propose any harmful or foolish techniques. Everything is simple and direct and true. After reading this book, you should find somewhere to practice under the most realistic conditions possible - Thunder Ranch being one useful resource for those who can afford it.

This is a must-read for anyone who is serious about self-defense. Follow it up with at least one intensive hands-on CQC course run by an experienced instructor. Nothing is guaranteed to work - after all, in real life the aggressor always has the advantage of surprise - but this is an excellent foundation.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 18, 2005
I was lucky enough to get Stressfire when it first appeared. Ayoob put together a nifty little manual that provides most of the "how to" needed to become an effective pistol shot. Much of the current FM 23-35, the Army's manual on pistol shooting, is so close that I wonder if the Army copied Stressfire. I'd recommend getting this book along with "The Truth About Self Protection" if you have a gun for self defense, or are considering that option. You'll still need to review your state and local laws, consult with an attorney, and if you want a concealed firearms permit you must get a training certificate from a licensed firearms instructor, but reading both Ayoob books (this one and "The Truth About Self Protection") and your handgun's owner's manual and getting familiar with your chosen handgun before class starts will ensure that you get your money's worth from the instructor. It takes about 60 hours of training to turn someone with zero firearms experience into an acceptable handgun shooter--and some of that training must be under "operational conditions." Training is synthetic experience--structured, inexpensive, and geared for learning. "Stressfire" covers the three basics of firearms safety--muzzle control, trigger control, ammunition management. This same triangle is the basis for gunfighting--if your gun isn't loaded and the bullet exit port properly lined up with your target when you mash the trigger, you won't adequately impress your attacker--he won't stop his deadly and unavoidable assault upon you. "Stressfire" tells you how to do it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2009
While this book is primarily written with law enforcement training in mind, many of the points discussed are applicable to concealed handgun carriers or armed self-defense. Few people can aim and fire a weapon at a person as accurately and calmly as they do at a shooting range or on a hunting trip. This book explains how adrenaline and stress during a life or death confrontation interfere with your shooting ability and explains ways to make those reactions either work for you or be minimalized. It also explains ways to use cover while standing or squatting with the pistol without sacrificing control or aim. Hopefully this book is wasted money and none of us ever have to put it to the test.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2008
This is the third book that I have read by this author.This book opens your eyes to the real world and shows you options for different scenarios.It isn't written in stone to do things his way, it tells you what is there and you choose what works best for you. Well worth the cost.
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