Pistol 4, Magazine Changes

During the conduct of any drill the shooter should not end with their pistol at "slide lock." This would be a case of the gun deciding that the shooting was over. Every firing table is an opportunity to practice an emergency magazine change. If you are not up on this skill set check out Pistol Magazine Changes (coming soon) for step-by-step instructions.

However, some times we need a drill that focuses on a certain skill. This mag change drill gives us both tactical and emergency magazine changes together.
Shooters will need, at a minimum two full magazines, one empty magazine, holster and magazine pouches.

Instructions to Shooters:

1. Once out on the firing line you will be instructed to load and press check.

2. Once you have loaded the weapon, de-cock or safe the pistol come to position 3.

3. The number of rounds for each engagement will be called by the Range Master, i.e. "controlled pair" or "single round."

4. All shots will be fired on the command of “UP.”

5. On the command of “UP” you will either draw and fire or present the weapon from 3 to 4 and fire depending on where we are in the drill.

6. If your slide locks to the rear at any time during the drill perform an emergency reload and re-engage the target with a single round. (This is to maximize the number of times the drill can be performed)

7. At some point during this drill you will be required to perform a tactical reload to an empty magazine. This will require you to perform an emergency reload on the next iteration.

8. Fire only the number of rounds the Range Master or Coach calls for unless you run dry, then immediately perform an emergency magazine change.

9. After firing, perform your scan of the area, de-dock or safe the pistol return to position 3 and perform a condition check.

10. If the engagement you have just fired required an emergency reload, you will be told to holster your pistol, recover the empty magazine, dust it off and re-stow it in a magazine pouch.

11. Every attempt will be made to keep from running you dry. (Out of ammo)

12. You will be told when to buddy clear pistols after all shooters have finished the exercise.

Range Master's Call:

Once the shooters are on the line and the line is “hot,” start calling the drill. Be sure to keep the pace slow. Give the shooters time to follow the drill. As a Range Master or Coach there is no abbreviated call for this drill. If you are shooting alone, you can also record the call of the drill and play it back on headphones while you are on the range.

ENGAGEMENT TYPE (controlled pair or single round)

UP (shooters fire, perform scan, de-cock or safe, return to 3 and condition check on their own)

PERFORM A TACTICAL RELOAD TO AN EMPTY MAGAZINE (allow plenty of time or shooters unfamiliar with this procedure)

UP (shooters should perform an emergency magazine change, re-engage the target, perform scan, de-cock or safe, return to 3 and condition check on their own)

HOLSTER (ensure that they engage all retention)

RECOVER THE EMPTY MAGAZINE (shake out any dirt or sand and re-stow)

Repeat until the table is complete. You may decide to change the number of times you fire before the tactical reload to an empty magazine, just to keep the shooters on their toes. You may also vary the number of rounds fired during the regular engagement.

Common Mistakes:

As Usual you will want to be aware of the mistakes from the earlier firing tables. New things to watch for:

1. Head down reloads. The weapon should be held high in order to keep the head up maintain situational awareness.

2. If shooters use the slingshot method to release the slide, watch for excessive or exaggerated gun movement.

3. Gear issues. Shooters may identify trouble with magazine pouches or the positioning of other gear.

4. Interrupting the flow of an emergency magazine change to free a mag that didn't drop free.

Drills & Skills


We don't currently offer training but, we know some folks who do.

Don is a Retired Green Beret over at:

Rodney and Brian are Law Enforcement Officers over at:

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