Gals, Guns and More Than a Few George-isms

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So there we were, two gals standing on the firing line in a high ready position, and I hear it: a George-ism. This one was, “Like a pig looking at a new gate.” I can tell you’re confused, so let me back up a bit and add some details to fill you in.

In April of 2019, I started on a journey of self-improvement in the firearms industry. It started with an email from the USCCA announcing the Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship for female firearms instructors.

Getting There

The requirements — a 1,000-word essay, two-minute video and two letters of recommendation — required revealing the real me to a bunch of people I didn’t know. I often find revealing what makes me tick, the things I’m passionate about and self-promotion very difficult. Initially, it seemed invasive to have to dump it all out in front of strangers — like the junk drawer in the kitchen you never allow guests to open.

I had ultimately decided to not make the effort. There was only a week and a half until the deadline. Wendy, a friend who owns 22three Gun Store & Range (shameless plug), encouraged me to apply. Her advice and recommendation letter, along with that of another fellow instructor, provided just the push I needed. I submitted my entry an hour or two before the deadline thinking someone younger would be chosen. After all, a 59-year-old woman has fewer years ahead to instruct.

After receiving a congratulations email, I was whisked away to the USCCA Concealed Carry Expo (all expenses paid!) to be awarded the scholarship. There, I met and spoke with George Harris. I spent hours listening to how amazing Linda was and learning of her many accomplishments. I knew that to honor her memory, I’d have work to do.

George invited me and Laura Evans, a marketing whiz who is one of his business partners, to visit him in New Hampshire for one-on-one focused training. I stared blearily in my bathroom mirror at 3 a.m., wondering, “Is this really worth getting up this early?” The answer would be a resounding, “Heck yeah!”

Training With George Harris

I had chosen to fly without checking my firearms, as George offered to let me use his. As you can imagine, the man who co-founded SIG Sauer Academy in 1990 and retired there in 2011 has a few SIGs in his collection. I chose a P320 because I just love the gun and didn’t have much trigger time on one. Laura shot her M&P Shield for most of the time and rocked that Shield like Wonder Woman!

The first day was very rainy, so we worked indoors. We had the opportunity to pick up a variety of guns with varying triggers and sights. George taught us history, teaching theory, safety and the fundamentals of shooting. And we worked on several dry-fire drills, including the Wall Drill, which allows the shooter to understand what he or she needs to see and feel in order to deliver an accurate shot. Due to the simplicity of his teaching style, I began to call him “Sensei George.”

The next day, Sensei George had us start with a few Wall Drills before we shot two five-round groups. He analyzed our targets and then laid us low with a few George-isms (followed by some specific changes to the way we shot). By the third five-shot group, it was one ragged hole.

Three cardboard cards showing bullet holes received during three rounds of the classic Wall Drill firearms training drill.

These are the cards from my first three drills. Can you imagine my amazement and delight?!

The next two days were full of training theory, problem-solving, instruction for me as both a student and an instructor, and drills. I learned the Now Drill, the Reset Drill and a totally new way of looking at the front sight while manipulating the trigger. All were delivered with simplicity. George is an unconventional instructor.

George-isms and The Way of the Gun

In a gun world, where everyone is teaching that one must hold the gun like this, stand like that, etc., George blazes a different trail; one that he and Linda in partnership had carved into the shooting landscape. Everything has been pressure-tested for truth and boiled down to the essentials. If asked, he will explain in great detail the reasons why and how he teaches things. But the simplicity of the instruction makes for easy recall and great results. We listened and did things his way. Laura and I basically immersed ourselves in Sensei George’s “Way of the Gun.”

Firearms expert George Harris stands beside a target at an outdoor range with his student, Beth Grote (Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship Winner)

George is a compassionate man and one of the best instructors in the country.

And that brings me to George’s extraordinary communication skills. He makes everything simple to understand without leaving out necessary components. The added bonus is the opportunity to hear those descriptive little treasures called George-isms.

You’re probably wondering what a George-ism is. Well, you need to hang around him to catch a few, but it won’t take long. They just sort of spill out of him like water over a dam in a flood. A George-ism is related to his non-traditional teaching style in that it is simple, gives a vivid mental picture and is witty to boot. As an example: “Excuses only satisfy those who make them.”

The last day, we squeezed in several hours of shooting before we had to head out of town. We also shot an experimental gun that George had for testing, Linda’s personal favorite gun: a .300 Blackout AR pistol and revolvers. Paper and steel targets challenged us from 3 yards to 135 yards. Laura and I prevailed and took them all down!

Saying goodbye to George and Laura was hard. My two new best friends! Two gals, guns and Sensei George liberally spreading his George-isms across the firing line had accomplished so much in a short time. And those George-isms? They are not just about shooting! I hope you get the opportunity to hear some more of them sometime.

Learn more about the Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship and apply below. Applications for the 2020 winner accepted until Dec. 1, 2019.

Linda Harris Memorial Scholarship <= Click Here!

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