Do you know what I like about George Harris?

Everything! He is knowledgeable, articulate and backs up his words with proof. He has forgotten more about guns and firearms training than I will ever know. AND … despite being something like twice my age, he has more drive and energy than I’ve ever thought of having (while still being a damned fine-looking man).

Awe and Wonder

If you don’t know who George Harris is, go over to the Google machine and search for “George Harris firearms training.” Then look upon your screen with awe and wonder. OK, that’s enough with the awe and wonder. You’re creeping me out. Let’s talk about an email I got from George.

Full House Load

When George sends me an email, I stop what I am doing and read it. If I can, I reply immediately. When I can’t, I put a calendar reminder in place to make sure I don’t forget. Recently, George sent me a series of pictures. Take a look at this action. The photos catch the muzzle flash of a .357 Magnum. The gun is a Smith & Wesson Model 19 (with a 2.5-inch barrel) firing what George describes as a “full house” load. For you gun geeks, that is 20 grains of 296 Powder behind a 125-grain jacketed hollow-point. I think this is where SWAT teams got the idea for a flash-bang grenade.

Time-lapse photos of the muzzle blast from a snub-nosed revolver being fired at an outdoor range

Four views of the muzzle blast from a .357 Magnum Smith & Wesson Model 19

Raise Your Hand and Open Your Eyes

While you are “oohing” and “ahhhing” over this fireworks show, I’d like to know, by a show of hands, how many of you have seen something like this before.

If you have not seen something like this before, that means you are closing your eyes as you let the hammer fall. Seriously, if your eyes were open, YOU WOULD SEE THIS! George mentioned that exact fact in his email, and I quickly asked for permission to use the photos. George reached out to a couple friends of his and they were gracious enough to grant me permission, but said they would prefer to remain anonymous. So, as far as you know, George Harris was hanging out at the range with a couple guys who diligently timed the release of the shutter on the digital camera to capture these impressive photos. Clearly, these guys were not really busy that day. But even more clearly, these images are valuable training tools.

George will certainly write some sort of story that includes these images, and his story will be infinitely better than this column. Still, these pictures open up myriad questions about defensive handgunning, muzzle management, sight picture and so much more: What if you had fired this revolver in a dark hallway? What do you think would happen to your night vision? What if you were near flammable vapors?

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

All these are great questions, but they all take us back to the original question: Are you seeing the muzzle blast when you fire your gun?

Arguably, some firearms and some powders produce less flash. It may be difficult to see the ring of fire sometimes, but if you focus on your target so intently that you forget to close your eyes when you shoot, you just might catch a glimpse of this phenomenon. That’s a good thing. You want to see what you are shooting at — from target acquisition beyond your follow-through.

Focus on the front sight. Operate the trigger so smoothly that the shot surprises you. Hopefully you will see the flash, and you will know you are not shooting with your eyes closed.