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MAG-40 Massad Ayoob Group Class Review

MAG-40 Massad Ayoob Group Class Review

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

See our MAG80 overview.

The class name MAG-120 comes from the cumulative number of hours of MAG instruction a student will have received by the end of the class. MAG-40 and MAG-80 (or LFI-1 and LFI-2) are prerequisites for this class.

For schedule, pricing, prerequisites, and required equipment, please see the official Massad Ayoob Group (MAG) website

See our other MAG class reviews:

MAG-80 Review

MAG-120 Review

Welcome. You are here because you are considering firearms training and you are looking to see if MAG-40 is something that you want to spend the time, money, and effort on. I'm happy to tell you what I know, read on.

What Is MAG-40?

The MAG-40 course description from the MAG website:

This is an intense, four-day, 40-hour immersion course in the “rules of engagement” for armed law-abiding private citizens.

The course emphasizes legal issues, tactical issues, and aftermath management. Topics will include interacting with suspects, witnesses, responding police officers, threat recognition and mind-set, and the management of the social and psychological aftermath of having to use lethal force in defense of self or others.

Also covered is preparing beforehand for legal repercussions and minimizing your exposure to them. Situations in the home, at the place of business, or “on the street” will all be covered.

Range work will include instruction in the use of the defensive handgun under extreme stress. Drawing from concealment, two-handed stances, shooting from cover, one-handed stances with either hand, speed reloading, and more are taught with an overall emphasis on fast, accurate shot placement.

The course will culminate with a written examination covering the classroom topics and a police-style handgun qualification course. This course is a blending of MAG 20 / Classroom and MAG 20 / Live Fire but is taught over 4 – 5 days. Be prepared to shoot on the first day.

I first attended MAG-40 (then known as LFI-1) in 1996. I had never been to a "gun school" before but I had always wanted to. I had absorbed all of the information that the Gun Magazines of the day could give me and I felt like I needed more.

In all that reading I had been particularily impressed by the articles of one Massad Ayoob. The writing was clear, knowledgeable and no BS.

Desire, money and schedule finally came together and suddenly I was off to a range in Illinois for MAG-40. Major bonus, my wife (not at all a gun person) attended with me!

Ayoob book - In the gravest extreme

The name MAG-40 comes from the total number of hours of instruction scheduled for the class. I will tell you that I think we went over that.

I will also tell you that it was one of the best learning experiences that my wife and I have ever had. The material was beyond anything we had been exposed to before and the presentation was excellent.

The class time was divided up approximately 60% classroom and 40% range. The MAG website says this class is "A major in when and a strong minor in how". That refers to using lethal force in self defense and it's spot on.

Some of the class material is sensitive, meaning that it's information that should be shared only among "certified card carrying good guys and gals". For that reason and out of an abundance of caution, I won't go into much detail on it.

One really valuable segment of the class was about what to do immediately after a self defense shooting. There's a lot of confusion and bad advice out there on this topic and so Mas' excellent advice here was worth it's weight in gold.

Mas summarizes his advice in this video:


The following year I attended the same class again in Illinois with my Mom! Yes, she wanted to go and she loved it!

Mom approved training

In the intervening years I attended a good number of other MAG classes, ultimately semi-retiring to Florida in 2010 where I have been fortunate to be able to assist with MAG classes that are held in Live Oak, FL.

The MAG-40 material can also be accomplished in 2 parts, MAG-20 Live Fire and MAG-20 Classroom - Armed Citizen's Rules of Engagement. Each is a two-day class and is the same training and material as MAG-40, just broken into two parts.


Should you decide to attend a MAG-40 class, first of all, congratulations. I think you will agree with me when it's over that it was one of the best investments that you could have made in your personal safety.

My suggestions below come from many years of seeing students come through MAG-40 classes.

  • Read and heed all course descriptions and equipment lists thoroughly
  • Have a holster that doesn't collapse when the handgun is removed
  • Bring a pistol, magazine and ammo combo that are reliable together
  • Active electronic earmuffs are very helpful on the range
  • Come prepared to listen carefully to, and follow, all range commands

MAG-40 Qualifier Details

Are you interested in preparing for the police style shooting qualification (MAG-40 qual) that you will need to pass to graduate? Of course you are! Even if you don't practice it, at least knowing what it entails will be very helpful.

The course of fire is detailed below and the video shows you what it looks like. The video is particularily helpful for you to see how much time is allowed for each string of fire and how fast you need to shoot to make the times.

Note: Any rounds not fired in time may be made up at the 15 yard line within the 90 seconds allotted for that string of fire.


We now have an article dedicated to the MAG qual including tips and techniques for shooting it at any speed from standard to quad speed! See Shooting the MAG Qual.

Massad Ayoob Group Standard Speed Qualifier (60 rounds)

4 yards (Qualifications from NRA Police Service Pistol Course)

String 1 (8 seconds)

- 6 rounds weak hand only

String 2 (8 seconds)

- 6 rounds strong hand only

7 yards (FBI Practical Police Course)

String 1 (25 seconds)

- 6 rounds free style

- reload

- 6 rounds free style

10 yards (New England Police Course)

String 1 (75 seconds)

- 6 rounds from cover crouch

- reload

- 6 rounds from high kneeling

- reload

- 6 rounds from low kneeling

15 yards (Hybrid of FBI PPC and NRA PPC courses)

String 1 (90 seconds)

- 6 rounds from Weaver Stance

- reload

- 6 rounds from Chapman Stance

- reload

- 6 rounds from Isosceles Stance


The MAG-40 class is taught at many locations across the country. Yes, Massad Ayoob will travel to you or somewhere near you! I recommend that you catch the class anywhere that you can, but I have a fond place in my heart for the Live Oak location.

It is, after all, the only location I know of that has a donkey. We don't always see him, but there is always a chance!

Slider the donkey was sighted

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

See our other MAG class reviews:

MAG-80 Review

MAG-120 Review

David Blazek competition photo

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

MAG staff shirts
Massad Ayoob Group Training
Jan 03, 2022 David "Blaze" Blazek

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