[Ed. note: This is an old review on a book that is no longer in print. Since this article was written, Ayoob published Deadly Force: Understanding Your Right to Self Defense. This new book is a greatly expanded and updated version of In the Gravest Extreme. You can read our review of it here.]
In the Gravest Extreme: The Role of the Firearm in Personal Protection is a phenomenal book written by police training expert Massad F. Ayoob.
Massad Ayoob wrote this book as an introduction to the defensive use of firearms. Ayoob discusses the legal implications and practical aspects of owning and using a firearm for self defense. Although this is not a book to teach you to be an expert with a firearm, In the Gravest Extreme is one of the best first steps anyone can take to learn to defend themselves.
The book is written to a broad general audience. The information that Ayoob provides is equally useful to the armed citizen and the sworn law enforcement officer.
I often find myself in discussions with other citizens in my city regarding self-defense and the use of force. I try to offer them a broad understanding of the use of force as it applies in my state. I always suggest they read this book.
Although I’ve never trained with Ayoob, I have had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions. He is very gracious and exceptionally knowledgeable about firearms and shooting. He teaches regular firearms classes that cover the basics of combat shooting and advance to some fairly extreme levels of proficiency.
The following video shows Ayoob discussing why it is important for people to train with a firearm for self defense. It is short but very important.
Ayoob’s level three classes are legendary for the unusual requirements placed on students for the purposes of further understanding the dynamics of combat. For example, in one class students volunteered to donate blood just before shooting a high-speed qualification course. The idea was to measure human performance in simulated combat after receiving an injury that caused a significant loss of blood. Pure genius if you ask me. Don’t worry – the basic classes are much tamer.
Massad Ayoob has distinguished himself as a master trainer, marksman, and writer. I have found all of his work to be worth every penny. Without hesitation, I recommend In the Gravest Extreme to anyone owns or is thinking about buying a firearm for self protection.
Update – November 2014
In the Gravest Extreme, while still an excellent primer on self defense, has been out of print for some time. The author, Massad Ayoob, recently released a new book that is essentially an update of this work. The new book, Deadly Force – Understanding Your Right to Self Defense, is a more comprehensive text on the legalities of using a firearm to defend yourself.
The new tome gives the reader the benefit of more than three decades of additional research and experience as an court recognized expert that Ayoob has amassed. The book was just released, and mine is one the way to me now. You can get your copy of the new book by clicking here.
I purchased this book with my own money years before I began writing professionally. Neither Massad Ayoob nor the publisher are advertisers, nor am I in negotiations at the time of this writing for them to be one.
Links to Amazon are affiliate links meaning I earn a small percentage of any sales made. This does not change your price in any way. More information on my review policy and affiliate links to Amazon can be found here.