Racking The Slide: Pull Back or Use Release

This is a discussion on Racking The Slide: Pull Back or Use Release within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I have a question about racking the slide on a handgun. I have seen this done at the range many times, with many guns, and ...

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Thread: Racking The Slide: Pull Back or Use Release

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Question Racking The Slide: Pull Back or Use Release

    I have a question about racking the slide on a handgun.

    I have seen this done at the range many times, with many guns, and in two distinctly different ways.

    With the slide open (and locked), some people will give that little pull backwards and let the slide fly forward. Others will push the slide release lock to let it fly forward.

    It seems to me that by doing the latter, you could possibly wear out the release catch faster. Pulling back and letting go allows the release latch to click to its normal position without extra strain.

    Does anyone have opinions on this, or do you think it doesn't matter either way, and it's just personal preference?
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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    Member Array packin45's Avatar
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    I used to just use the slide lock lever to drop the slide when chambering a round. But during the holster class I took this spring, I was taught that it's a bad idea, due to the risk of fumbling in a high-stress situation and possibly jamming your weapon. I now slingshot (pull back) the slide every time, which actually works better IMO.
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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by packin45 View Post
    ...due to the risk of fumbling in a high-stress situation and possibly jamming your weapon.
    I understand that concept, but I don't think you would have your gun locked open during normal carry or a high-stress situation. I assume it would be ready to go. I was questioning the more casual use of racking the slide, during practice or target shooting.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    The slingshot method allows more spring tension to be used to force the slide shut on the next round ,If the recoil spring has been weakened from use it may not have enough force to close from the lock position resulting in a jam.
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    2 methods. Both work, a lot depends on how you were taught. I believe the thought of fumbling refers to reloading under stress, which may happen in a gun fight.
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    Member Array Randy's Avatar
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    Pull the slide all the way to the rear and release. More momentum to more reliably strip the cartridge from the magazine.

    The 'slingshot' technique is prone to fail. Not when the slide is locked to the rear but when you perform an immediate action drill as in: tap / rack, starting with the slide in the forward most position. It is very easy for the slide to slip from between your thumb and index finger before you can pull it all the way to the rear. Use the 'hand over' method, where all of the fingers pinch the slide against the base of your thumb. Very gross motor skills.

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    VIP Member Array semperfi.45's Avatar
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    I use a little bit of both.
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    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    This topic comes up periodically. I love the back and forth. Automatics are engineered to do either. I prefer using the slide lock because I can do it with one hand.
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    VIP Member Array crzy4guns's Avatar
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    I have done it both ways, but mostly I use the slide release to drop the slide and chamber a round.

    I figure if for some reason one or the other hand is injured in a gunfight then I would be accustomed to dropping the slide with one hand.

    When I practice shooting with my left hand, I also practice chambering a round using that hand only. I use my left index finger to manipulate the lever.
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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    This is from my CZ-75 Manual:
    Retract the slide to the stop and allow it to snap forward.

    This is from my Ruger LCP Manual:
    Grasp the top of the slide and pull the slide to the rear as far as it
    will go. When released, the slide will fly forward.

    This is from my Ruger Mark II Manual:
    Pull the bolt to the rear as far as it will go. Release the bolt so that it will fly forward.

    So, none of the manufacturers (of my handguns) suggest that you do it any other way. Seems that I will continue to slingshot to chamber a round. I was just curious, as mentioned before, why I see so many people do it the other way.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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    Some of the older Colt slides would wear the slide stop relief cut a bit.
    That is really no longer an issue with the more modern steel slide material.
    So with a high quality slide stop and a high quality slide there is no problem using the slide stop as a release if you want to do it.
    That according to Colt so it is right from the Colt Horses mouth.
    Neither method will do physical damage to a 1911.

    Speaking only for Colt...my personal opinion is that if your pistol requires more oomph than just using the slide release to chamber a round then that should be taken as an indication of two possible things.
    Either your recoil spring needs to be replaced or your pistol could use a "throat job" and a feed reliability job performed by a qualified pistolsmith.
    Since (as a test) any properly tuned 1911 should feed and chamber a cartridge from the magazine even riding the slide and letting the slide run forward as slowly as possible.
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    Member Array JudoJake's Avatar
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    Pull back and release every time. Forget that you even have the option of using the slide release button. This has been taught to me in the Police Academy. At my Department. By every department I know of. And in every SWAT class that I have ever attended. In fact if I was ever caught using the slide release button, I would probably be forced to do push ups, or at least be made fun of for days or months.

    Why pull back and release? Because in a real gunfight you might have to manipulate the slide. Why? Reloading obviously. The slide locks back on an empty weapon.

    Why is pulling back and releasing important? If done correctly using the hand over method, it doesn't require you to use fine motor skills. Fine motor skills don't usually work in a life threatening confrontation, due to the fact that the blood partially leaves your extremities and goes to your innards to help pump more blood, remember increased hart rate is another reaction to combat. The point is that you can't count on fine motor skills in combat, so train not to use them as best you can.

    Why not use the slide release when loading the gun in a non combat environment? Because gunfighting is not something that you want to over complicate. You should always try and stream line your techniques. Or another way of saying it is, you fight like you have been trained. If you sometimes use the release button and some times don't, then you might very easily try and use it in a combat environment and that is not recommended.

    I see no pros to using the release button. However I see a whole lot of cons.

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    VIP Member Array JonInNY's Avatar
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    Thanks JudoJake. That's a great post. I always do pull the slide back anyway, I was just curious why I see so many others do it the other way.
    Last edited by JonInNY; July 21st, 2008 at 10:06 PM.
    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch; Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote."
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    Senior Member Array HowardCohodas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JudoJake View Post
    I see no pros to using the release button. However I see a whole lot of cons.
    Ouch. Time to reconsider my position.
    Howard
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    Senior Member Array NYcarry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonInNY View Post
    Thanks JudoJake. That's a great post. I always do use the slingshot method anyway, I was just curious why I see so many other do it the other way.
    I believe the "slingshot" method is where you grab the slide between you finger and thumb and pull back like a slingshot.

    The more appropriate way would be the over hand grab on top of the slide to reduce the chance of the slide slipping out.

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