MAG-80 - Massad Ayoob Group Level 2 Class Overview

MAG-80 - Massad Ayoob Group Level 2 Class Overview

MAG-80 is the second level class in the Massad Ayoob Group curriculum. The name is taken from the total number of training hours a student will have accumulated in the MAG program at the conclusion of the class. 

For schedule, pricing, prerequisites, and required equipment see the official MAG website here:

My son and brother-in-law attended this class in December 2020 with 22 other students. I assisted as range staff and this is an overview.  

See our MAG-40 Overview (Coming Soon! 2021) 

See our MAG-120 Overview (Coming 4th Quarter 2021. But Will Be Worth The Wait)


This class was held in Live Oak Florida, home base for the Massad Ayoob Group. The combination of very capable staff and excellent range facilities makes the Live Oak location one of the best. 

Located in picturesque Suwanee County, it is very much a shooting range near a cattle range. This is a good thing.

Above: Beautiful scenery made this class a refreshing break from the stress of 2020


MassadAyoobGroup Classroom Presentation

Above: Massad Ayoob emphasizes a point during the classroom portion

MAG-80 course description from the MAG website: 

"An intensive study of defensive firearms that teaches extreme speed for hits, and includes shooting at greater distances, and management of such contingencies as weak hand draws, one-hand only reloads and malfunction clearing if wounded, etc. Students receive several hours of hands-on training in handgun disarming, and in countering attempts by an attacker to disarm them. Shooting while moving, and use of long guns for defense, are among the areas covered. Round count: 500 handgun, 100 long gun."

This 5-day class covered all that and more. Each day began in the classroom. Following a refresher on firearms/ range safety, a combination of lecture and videos covered topics from home security and personal protection to advanced shooting techniques and legal considerations. 

MAG-80 has a higher ratio of range to classroom compared to MAG-40, but don't let that fool you. The classroom hours were packed with valuable information that went right on through the lunch hour each day. 

MassadAyoobGroup Level 2 MAG-80 Range

Above: Range Master Steve Denney discusses the next shooting drill 


For the handgun portion, this class consisted of all auto pistol shooters, there were no wheelgunners in this class.  

Getting accurate hits at speed was emphasized with enough drills and practice during the week that all students successfully passed the double-speed qualification on the first try. Well done!  

Above: Glock 34 with magwell and 6.5 pound street trigger used for the class

Techniques for long range pistol shooting were covered and most were able to get consistent hits out to 50 yards shooting from prone. 

Above: 50 yard pistol shooting

Above: This .45 lover flew in from Colorado and got an appropriate plate on his rental Toyota! But, 115 gr 9mm weighs a lot less than 230 grain 45 ACP in checked bags, so he shot a 9mm Glock 34 which served him very well.

Long gun

The long gun portion of the class is designed around the heavy recoiling defensive shotgun. Recoil management is a priority and several pain free techniques were demonstrated and practiced by students allowing them to easily get fast, accurate hits on target. 

The class was split about 50/50 between autoloaders and pump shotguns with 2 students running box magazine fed auto shotguns. 

Above: This Benelli M1 Super 90 is typical of the auto shotguns that were used in the class

AR/AK type carbines can be substituted in place of the shotgun and, with ammunition being hard to come by, 2 or 3 students opted to shoot carbines for the class.  

Above: Mas demonstrates a shotgun technique

Above: 5 shots of full power 12 gage slugs on target in under 1 second (0.98 seconds). Reaction time to the start signal not included.

Weapon retention/disarming and more

For the armed citizen, there is a gun present in every confrontation you find yourself in - yours.  Being able to retain your gun if there is a struggle for it is vitally important. 

Techniques for maintaining control of the pistol were taught. All angles of attack to the holstered pistol as well as to the drawn pistol were covered. 

Leverage based techniques derived from the excellent Lindell Weapon Retention System were demonstrated and then practiced. These are not "Punch Them Out" techniques which require you to be bigger and stronger than your attacker. These are the techniques that pass the "Bambi vs Godzilla" test.  

Above: Inert dummy guns were used for weapon retention/disarming training for safety

Weapon disarming techniques were taught and all angles that an assailant could attack from were worked. Rescue disarms were also taught which could come into play during something like a hostage situation. 

These techniques were presented in the Close Quarters Battle (CQB) context and the philosophy including pros and cons of each technique were thoroughly discussed. 

Above: Weapon retention training was conducted outside

Throughout the entire MAG-80 class there was a heavy emphasis on safety. Handgun retention/disarming training was no exception. Proper PPE included safety glasses, heavy gloves and a few new twists due to the Corona Virus. 

This was a concern for me coming into the class since weapon retention and disarming training requires you to be in close proximity with others. 

Mas and the Live Oak staff thoughtfully solved this issue through a combination of masks, limiting partners and allowing students to work the techniques without a partner if they chose. Problem solved - Well Done!

Above: Proper Protective Equipment for weapon retention included masks

Shooting while moving, weak hand draws, one-hand only reloads, malfunction clearing when wounded, shooting while down and more were all practiced. 

Above: Students practice shooting from a variety of down positions

Above: This cute fellow is a very smart and sneaky donkey. Callsign "Slider"


This class picks up where MAG-40 leaves off and is a worthy successor to that renowned class.

As MAG-40 graduates can attest, Mas combines an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject with a masterful delivery that makes for an enjoyable learning experience.    

With the introduction of the longgun, weapon retention/disarming, worst-case scenario wounded return fire, malfunction clearance drills and more, this class is a solid investment for anyone serious about staying alive in a dangerous world. 

Non-permissive environments can ban hardware. The skills and mindset taught in MAG-80 are more like software that can never be taken from you.  

Above: MAG-80 is the Next Level

Above: MAG-80 Live Oak Staff for this class

Special thanks to hosts Herman and Leischen! 

Above: Author David "Blaze" Blazek is an LFI-4 graduate and has been a staff instructor with Massad Ayoob Group since 2010.

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Sep 08, 2021 David Blazek

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