Another one-handed pistol reload technique

I recently blogged about a fancy one-handed reload technique. This video demonstrates another technique, although I would be very surprised it is achievable with an unmodified handgun. The reload starts 7 seconds into the video.

Has anyone been able to do this on pistol without any modifications to the recoil assembly? On a Glock, for example, I cannot see any way to do it unless the pistol is flip completely into the air, caught just far enough down the slide that the thumb can just reach around the grip and only then, assuming big enough hands and very strong muscles, could the slide be pulled far enough back. Maybe I just have small hands … ?

Hat Tip: Mike @ Everyday, No Day Off.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nooky

    I like to use that move check the chamber, but to load a gun, very hard and unpractical. I tried with several pistols and the easiest is the USP for me.

    If you really need to load a gun with one hand, just apply the top of the slide to your upper leg and cock it with the friction. Way more easy and practical.

  • Keo

    The man is Vladimir Vasiliev and he is teacher of a russian martial art called Systema. I have seen more videos similar to this where he and another teacher, Konstantin Komarov, explained more about handgun handling “russian style.” They also used their legs and even their opponent’s bodies to slide the frame. I remember that Komarov, ex-KGB now in personal protection, specifically said that people like him prefer Makarov pistols because they are small and have small recoil. I am no gun expert but I reckon that these pistols have weaker recoil spring as well. This would help, no?

    http://isohunt.com/torrent_details/93084149/systema?tab=summary

    I am not sure that this is the same video I saw. It is rather big and I don’t want to download it.

    • Keo, very interesting. Thanks for the info. I have not used a Makarov – anyone here used one and comment on the recoil spring strength?

  • bullzebub

    “I am no gun expert but I reckon that these pistols have weaker recoil spring as well. This would help, no?”
    probably… but he has a beretta 92 in the video.

  • Oh man, another “Beretta trick”. Next thing you know, some clown will be up in here talking about how he can take my Sphagetta apart with one hand before I shoot him.

    Lawdy.

  • Freiheit

    Start watching your local range for scratched frames, blood blisters, pinched thumbs, slide bites, and busted recoil springs.

  • Don

    Looks like a good way to drop your gun. Wouldn’t it be more practical to just rack it on a door-frame or table?

    Don’t get me wrong, juggling/pistol twirling/balisong/etc is cool and all but I wouldn’t call that a “practical technique”

    I’m totally into martial arts but do not forget that they are quite literally ART based on MARTIAL skills. An aesthetically pleasing activity based upon actual fighting. Different styles have different balances of practicality and aesthetic quality.

    -D

  • Brad

    Don’t blowback pistols like a Makarov tend to have higher recoil spring forces than locked breech weapons?

  • Fred

    I can rack the slide on my Sig 2022 that way, but nowhere near as fast and as smooth. But I also have big hands and do a bit of rock climbing…

  • I call bullshit on this. I don’t believe there are any recoil springs in that gun. The slide moves way too easy even for a very strong person with big hands.

    Even if this really worked, it would be damned dangerous with a loaded gun. It gives me visions of digging a .45 ACP or 9×19 JHP out of my thigh if the bullet didn’t go clean through.

    I think it takes a real, bonafide dumbass to even try this kind of stuff.

    My 2 cents.

  • Tom

    Not practical. Doubt someone could pull that off when they need it under stress.

  • NPB

    I’ve done that before with my pistols, but without all of the tossing and flipping of the gun. I found it to be easy to do on my full-size USP, moderately challenging on a Springer 5″ .45, at right at the limit of what I was capable of with a Delta Elite with extra power recoil and mainsprings. I was able to do them all with the hammer down, but it’s a bit easier with theh hammer back, as you might expect.

    I don’t think that this “technique” has any practical use. I think that there’s a lot more positive methods of working the slide with one hand. I did note that it looks like he’s got the web of his hand behind the frame as he pulls the slide back, while I usually put the joint of my thumb behind the frame.

  • Fred

    Forgot to mention, it’s easy with my P22… Much harder with my CZ82 (don’t have a Makarov handy, but it should be close enough), I can only get it all the way back if I hook my pinky over the front sight, which I would not want to do with a hot gun.
    The Romanian TT-33 won’t get passed the hammer, but it’s easy when it’s already cocked. The 1911’s in the car, and it’s raining, so some other time maybe.

    It’s not impossible, just highly impractical.

  • CMathews

    Be a man, hold the slide with your teeth.

  • Robert

    Done it a handful of times with my Glock 23, and at the local merchant of death a couple of the guys can do it while doing their little “trick speed strip” of a Glock, where they field strip the Glock with one hand. You need bigger hands to do it and good forearm strength, but it is possible. With enough time sitting their doing nothing else, you can probably get good at it. But you could spend that same amount of time practicing drawing from concealment and moving to cover as well.

  • Don

    @Fred

    How do you like the CZ82?

    -Don

  • CPB

    I’ve been able to do this on all my semi-autos. I use the technique to easily field strip the Glock.

  • Fred

    @Don,
    It’s a pretty fun little thing, and my example looks un-issued.
    It tends to bite my hand during recoil though, and ammo’s a little hard to find at times, especially compared to something in 9×19.

  • formerflyer

    I’ve used a modified version of this technique for years. As mentioned above, no fancy flipping and catching in mid air. Simply draw the pistol and press it against your side with your palm, then move your grip to hold the backstrap with the first joint of the thumb. Then reach as far forward on the slide as you can with your extended fingers. Then just clench your hand and the slide slips back quite easily. I’ve used it on 9mm, .40 S&W and 10mm Glocks, on 1911’s and on Sig 9mm’s. This is NOT very useful for clearing a jam, but is useful for chambering a round in a pistol carried in condition “Israeli Safe” (loaded magazine and empty chamber) when your off-side hand is not available. I find it easier to use than trying to rack the slide against a dress belt and faster than crouching and racking against a shoe, but not as fast as using a counter or table if one is available. More reliable than using a corner of a wall (where you’re likely to tear off sheetrock and paint that can jam up your pistol). Just my two cents worth. YMMV.

  • Slinky

    I just tried it with my Sig 229, it workd but I would hardly call it “Practical”.

  • Alex

    This video was shot in Toronto in Vladimir’s school. This is not a real firearm in the video. Due to Canadian gun laws this kind of video could have never been made with a real firearm. Even pointing a real firearm at a person like they do in the video is a criminal offense in Canada.

  • Jon Mac

    If I can do it far enough to press-check a .40 Browning HP with my puny hand strength, anyone can actually chamber a round on a 9mm of appropriate design. Overcoming the recoil spring strength isn’t the issue, it’s getting your fingers far enough forward to draw the slide far enough back to pick up a round. Not easy, but as this guy demonstrates, completely do-able. Practical? No. But it looked cool in the Matrix Reloaded 😉

  • romy

    this is actually not new, a Filipino action movie superstar, Fernando Poe Jr., has been doing it in his movies. And he can also cock his 1911 with the side of his sole or his back pocket.