[DISCLAIMER: This article is meant to be taken light-heartedly. It is a reflection of the author’s opinion, and not the entire TFB team… unless if you like it. Then, TFB totally agrees. If you dislike it, this author is a dink.]
Notice I said slide lock in the title. Not slide release. Some people may argue that it does not matter what you call it, but it actually does. It is similar to the magazine versus clip debate. If you open your owner’s manual you will see that piece is indeed called a slide lock. The edges are crisp, square, and meant to hold open the slide. They are not soft, rounded, and prone to slipping or releasing the slide.
I see far too many people come into my gun shop and put the entire weight of their purchase decision on the ability (or lack thereof) to drop the slide lock one handed. My everyday carry piece is a well-worn 1911 and I could not drop the slide on that firearm one-handed until about a year of use had passed.
People need to realize one important fact: That piece that is holding the slide open is called a SLIDE LOCK. Not a slide release.
It is not an easily pressed button or lever. It is not a feature built for your feeble thumb to press one-handed. If you can drop the slide one-handed, congratulations! You get an ATTA BOY! If you cannot release the slide lock one-handed or very easily using both hands, guess what?!…. That’s entirely normal.
Now one thing I did not mention is that most people are forming these less than valuable opinions on prospective firearm purchases when they are unloaded in a retail store. Most slide locks on pistols react differently when a loaded magazine is inserted into the mag well. A lot of people cannot differentiate between this fact.
I try to preach to people if you struggle with the slide lock, it is not a strength issue, it is all technique. I have lots of feeble, older men and women that I take as a greenhorn to firearms and in minutes they are easily manipulating all the functions on a Glock, M&P, XD(M), or what have you.
It is all about a willingness to learn. The most comical and embarrassing situations are when burly men cannot drop a slide lock and fume with frustration. Then, I proceed to instruct their girlfriend or wife how simple it is, and like a Vegas magic trick, they do it no problem! Ta-da! (And for my final trick, I will emasculate you in front of your girlfriend because she can handle a firearm better than you…)
In sum, I hope all people who buy a pistol, whether newbie or veteran, have a good understanding of the firearm they choose. This includes all of the functions on the firearm. If you cannot release the slide lock one-handed, no worries. Ask yourself other valuable questions…
How does it feel in my hand?
Can I easily manipulate the functions on the pistol?
Is it within my budget?
Can I easily see and acquire the sight picture?
These are all important questions you should be asking yourself. Also, remember this is my unpopular opinion. I am not right, I am not wrong. Take it with a grain of salt.