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MAG-80 Massad Ayoob Group Class Review

MAG-80 Massad Ayoob Group Class Review

MAG-80 is the second level class in the Massad Ayoob Group (MAG) 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, please 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 Review

See our MAG-120 Review

See Shooting the MAG Qual for tips on shooting the Qual at any speed from Standard to Quad!

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.

Class Location

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.

Scenery for the class

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

Classroom Instruction

Massad Ayoob leads classroom discussion

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.

Range Officer Steve Denny  instructs on the range

Range Master Steve Denney discusses the next shooting drill

Handgun Training

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!  

Glock 34 used for pistol shooting portion of class

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.

Long range pistol shooting from prone position

50 yard pistol shooting

License plate

This was a student's rental car, and he is a 45 lover. Good karma!

Long Gun Training

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.

Benelli shotgun used for class

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.  

Ayoob demonstrates shotgun technique

Mas demonstrates a shotgun technique

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 Training

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.  

Inert dummy guns were used for training

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

Blue guns are the gold standard for inert training guns. They are solid and unbreakable. The Blue Guns brand can be purchased on Amazon. Link to Glock 17 Blue Gun on Amazon.

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.

Weapon retention training

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!

Proper protective equipment ppe required for safety

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.

Difficult shooting positions were taught

Students practice shooting from a variety of down positions

Equipment Recommendations

This MAG-80 equipment list is from the Massad Ayoob Group website and was current as of December 2022. My recommendatiosn and links are included.

  • Good quality handgun. It is very important that your pistol be reliable. If it is easy to shoot that would be a bonus for this 500 round count class. Where to Buy Guns Online.
  • Good quality holster. Quality holsters do not collapse when the pistol is removed and do not require two hands to draw or reholster. See holsters at Palmetto State Armory
  • Minimum of 3 magazines or speed loaders. See pistol mags at Palmetto State Armory
  • Magazine pouch for at least two magazines. 
  • Sturdy belt. The Wilderness Instructor Belt is a favorite. For a less tactical look, it is hard to beat Hanks Belts.
  • Hearing protection. Active electronic muffs are not required but are definitely recommended. Many kinds to choose from at Palmetto State Armory and Amazon.
  • Eye protection. If possible, eye protection that protects from side impacts is a good idea.
  • Billed cap. 
  • At least 500 rounds of decent quality, reliable ammunition. Best Places to Buy Ammo Online
  • Clothing suitable for the weather and the range.
  • Raingear plus light jacket or sweater.
  • Note taking materials.
  • Firearm cleaning supplies.
  • Flashlight.
  • Dummy gun. Holster if dummy gun is not same as your pistol used in class. Link to Glock 17 Blue Gun on Amazon.
  • Work gloves
  • Longgun requirements for MAG-80:
    • Centerfire rifle or shotgun.
    • Carbine may be pistol caliber, .223, .30 Carbine or 7.62X39. Rifles should be semiautomatic. Must have three magazines minimum. 100 rounds total.
    • Shotguns must have four round magazine minimum. May be slide action or semi-auto. 100 rounds total - 90 rifled slugs, ten buckshot rounds.
Slider the donkey showed up

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.

HK P7M8 on Sun Tzu book

MAG-80 is the Next Level

MAG-80 Live Oak staff photo

MAG-80 Live Oak Staff for this class

Special thanks to hosts Herman and Leischen!

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

Staff shirts
MAG Training
Jan 04, 2022 David "Blaze" Blazek

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