Pistol, Emergency Reload

Dry practicing combat or emergency reloads is the best way to hone this pistol skill. This is the walkthrough procedure for Pistol Drill 4 which is a drill designed to reinforce both the emergency reload and the tactical reload.

Let's face it, whether you are shooting competition or in the shootout of the Armageddon an empty weapon is not a good thing.

Step 1:
Upon realizing that the slide is locked to the rear, immediately rotate the weapon toward you at eye level, releasing the magazine at the same time.

If the magazine falls free, GREAT! If not don't worry we'll fix that in a second.

Whatever you do; Don't interrupt the course of the support hand from its destination: the replacement magazine!

Step 2:
Bring the magazine to the weapon and insert.

It is recommended that the index finger be placed along the front of the magazine as a pointing aid for insertion. As in the picture.
Here is where we clear that pesky magazine that didn't fall free. With the pinky and ring fingers, sweep down on the base plate of the stuck magazine. Then insert the fresh one.

NEVER use the fresh magazine to perform this sweep! You may dislodge the first round, making it difficult to insert the new magazine into the magazine well.

Step 3:
Weapon Back in Battery.
When the magazine is seated forcefully enough the slide may release, placing the first round in battery.

If that doesn't happen there are two options for releasing the slide:
Option 1: Slide Release Lever.
Using your thumb, manipulate the slide release on the side of the pistol.

Pros for Slide Release: Extremely fast and simple technique.

Contrary to some of the literature out there, this technique is not any less "gross motor" than the slingshot technique.

Without getting too into a debate here, any use of the hands, by definition, is a fine motor skill.

Cons for Slide Release:

Weapon Type:
Some sub-compact pistols, chambered in 9mm to accommodate +p loads, have such a robust recoil spring that it is very difficult to manipulate the slide release.

Not Ambidextrous:
If the weapon doesn't have an ambidextrous slide release, Lefties will be better served by Option 2.

Hand Size:
If you are wasting time, with the pistol swimming around in your hand, fishing for the slide release, with a thumb that doesn't quite reach... Go to Option 2.
Option 2: Sling Shot.
After inserting the new magazine, the support hand rocks the slide backward, unlocking it, and the slide is allowed to function.

Pros for Sling Shot: Mechanical Advantage, This technique takes advantage of the last amount of compression of the recoil spring.

Commonality of Technique, The actions used in releasing the slide are similar to actions performed in a misfire or double feed malfunction clearance.

Ambidextrous technique, Works the same right or left handed.

Cons for Slingshot:

The support has a lot of work to do.

Extra Motion:
There is a tendency for shooters using this technique to push out with the firing hand while; the support hand is releasing the slide. This sometimes results in the weapon coming off target to the Shooter's firing side.

External Safety:
When using the sling shot method, the safety or de-cock lever may be engaged in some models.

The first podcast is dedicated to the debate between "Slide Release" and "sling Shot" methods.

Try not reload below eye level. Give yourself a chance to maintain situational awareness. If you have to look at the magazine or the pistol, it will already be there in front of you.

Try not to, but don't worry about, looking at what you are doing:
Shooter A and Shooter B are in a shoot out. They both have to reload at the same time.

Shooter A spares 1 second to glance at the magazine change and reloads.

Shooter B spends 2 seconds watching Shooter A, while fumbling the magazine into position.

Who has the best chance to win?
The more you practice, the less you will have to look at what you are doing.

Drills & Skills


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