Five Things To Know About Slide Stops

BY Herschel Smith
1 month ago

Outdoor Life:

Gunsite Academy teaches that once you’ve reloaded your handgun, you should point your thumb toward your chest and grasp the slide between your thumb and all four fingers. Then you should forcefully pull the slide to the rear and release. This will disengage the slide stop, and as the slide goes forward, it will chamber a cartridge from the new and fully loaded magazine you’ve just inserted. Instructors who advocate using the slide stop as a slide release argue that it’s faster. It probably is. Others, like those at Gunsite, who teach releasing the slide by pulling it to the rear, suggest that pushing down on the slide stop with your thumb is a fine motor skill, and that fine motor skills can deteriorate when you’re under stress. They can and do.

I’m sure it depends upon what you’ve learned and practiced your whole life.  That said, when I first began shooting pistols I used the slide stop / slide release to chamber the new round.  I found that I didn’t like the movement of the pistol when I did that, and that in order to move my thumb around to get good contact with the slide stop, I had to change my grip ever so slightly, loosing “purchase” on the gun.

I almost never use the slide stop now.  I grab the slide and cycle it.  And for whatever reason, I hate the phrase “rack the slide.”  I prefer the phrase “cycle the slide,” although it’s not a complete cycle when it’s merely released from the stop.  So maybe I should use the term “release the slide” if it’s not a full cycle.

What do readers do?


Comments

  1. On October 20, 2017 at 12:18 am, Ned said:

    I’m left handed, so I can operate the slide stop with my index finger. But I usually cycle the slide with my weak hand. I’m not sure what’s faster.

  2. On October 20, 2017 at 12:53 am, 000 said:

    “it depends upon what you’ve learned and practiced your whole life.”
    That sums it up, but…there will be 45 vs 9 argument.
    “I’m out”

  3. On October 20, 2017 at 2:07 am, DAN III said:

    Here is what I do to reengage after slide lock when using either of my two M&P9 pistols or my CZ pistols….slam a fresh mag in ! Wham ! Slide moves aggressively forward, grabs a round from the fresh mag and reengage. THAT is the way I do it. No grabbing the slide. No fumbling for depressing the slide release/stop. No fuss. No muss. Combat pistols working the way they were designed to do.

    Then again….I try to reload a fresh mag before slide lock anyway. Why wait to reload after you’ve ran dry if you have more targets pending ?

  4. On October 20, 2017 at 3:42 am, Stacy0311 said:

    Use the slide stop.
    Back in the dark ages when dinosaurs roamed the earth, I attended CQB school for the Marine Corps. We spent a LOT of time on the range and were taught to use the slide stop after reloading. It’s just stuck with me ever since.

  5. On October 20, 2017 at 7:07 am, Jack said:

    As Dan III said, some pistols, such as the H&K USP, are designed to automatically release the slide and load the next round when inserting a full mag while the slide is locked back.

    My first pistol class discussed fine motor skills, but put a heavy emphasis on muscle memory. The instructors stressed that the remedy for any semi-auto failure is to cycle the slide. This is for any failure mode.

    So, cycle the slide when you load. Cycle the slide when you unload and make clear. Cycle the slide when you have a misfire, failure to load, failure to feed, failure to eject, etc.

    Just cycle the slide!

  6. On October 20, 2017 at 9:55 am, Backwoods Engineer said:

    I’m not an smoke-eating, tactically-operating, operator., and I’ve never trained at Gunsite. I’m just a C-class USPSA shooter and Marksman-class IDPA shooter. I shoot Glocks, which have a very easy-to-operate (my opinion) slide release. I use it on reloads.

    I have practiced slide-lock and tactical reloads, in both dry- and live-fire, probably thousands of times. From slide lock, I can drop the empty mag, get the new mag out of my pouch, correctly orient and insert it, and drop the slide with the slide release in less than one second. My best time is 0.8 sec, but I can’t do that every day.

    BTW, I use the Burkett reload drill to work on reload times. You can find that drill in Steve Anderson’s books, most notably his latest, “Get to Work.” It focuses on one particular set of motions: getting the magazine from your pouch to the correct orientation for insertion. You don’t have to insert the mag to complete the drill.

  7. On October 20, 2017 at 10:36 am, Tommy said:

    Right handed shooter, mainly 1911. I operate the slide release with my left thumb.

  8. On October 20, 2017 at 11:02 am, Archer said:

    Having fired a few pistols that don’t have an external slide release lever, I tend to train to cycle/release the slide with my free hand. My goal is to be effective even if I’m forced to use someone else’s gun, and cycling/releasing the slide to chamber a round is nearly universal.

    Just my $0.02.

  9. On October 20, 2017 at 11:09 am, Bill Robbins said:

    Yes, there is the fine motor skill argument. On the other hand, as a lefty shooter of Glocks, whenever I (intentionally) release and drop an empty magazine and ram-in a full magazine, my left index finger goes naturally to the slide release. Most times, the slide slams shut without any conscious physical effort on my part. It’s fast as lighnting (well, almost).

  10. On October 20, 2017 at 1:06 pm, John Taylor said:

    I have always recharged using the slide rather than the slide stop. That’s how I learned, that’s what I do. I recently adopted a technique I read about of pulling the pistol close and recharging by pushing the frame forward while holding the slide immobile. That has proven highly effective in terms of maintaining control and reassuming a solid firing position.

  11. On October 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm, Kevin said:

    Slide release with left thumb. (Former 1911 guy). I generally practice all methods (left and right thumbs and cycle the slide), just in case. I never felt that the fine motor skills argument held water, simply because the mag releases are the same size or smaller than the slide releases on most guns. It all comes down to training.

  12. On October 20, 2017 at 5:31 pm, Jeffersonian said:

    Like Tommy above, being right-handed and reloading with the left, I use the lever with the left thumb as the hand drives the magazine into place and continues moving toward its support position. This is me in a match years ago:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCLaxjnYIJY

    Then I discovered this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47dBkOjmN_w

  13. On October 21, 2017 at 10:35 pm, Joshua Smith said:

    @Jeffersonian, I like that technique a whole lot. I will remember to try it when I finally get a 1911, which is a well balanced firearm.

    I have one pistol and I know it like the back of my hand; a first-gen SA .40 XD. I can feel it’s balance and frame just thinking about it. I can feel it with and without the added light.

    With that weapon, I prefer to use the slide stop to release the slide. I would be open to modifying that with another weapon. I also think it’s important to be flexible. If you’re wearing gloves or it’s very cold, be ready to yank back on the slide.

  14. On October 21, 2017 at 11:23 pm, Dan said:

    As usual it’s not really a matter of which is better. It’s an issue of what method you are used to and are accustomed to.

  15. On October 22, 2017 at 5:59 pm, Jeffersonian said:

    Joshua, the same technique should work on any pistol with the slide stop in approximately the same place, including the XD.

  16. On October 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm, PaulB said:

    In the Citizens Police Acadamy, the police doing the firearms stuff called it an administrative load. So that is what I call it. It is usually done as you prepare to go out so I was ok with it being called that.

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You are currently reading "Five Things To Know About Slide Stops", entry #17916 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published October 19th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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