Unpopular Opinion: When Buying a New Pistol… STOP Caring About the SLIDE LOCK!

Slide Lock

[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.

The outdoors, fitness and anything related to firearms are my passions. I am a S&W Armorer, Glock Armorer, reloader and am coping with an addiction to classic S&W and Colt revolvers (by buying more revolvers). I’ve been a guest writer for Sierra Bullets and love long walks to the gun range.


  • DW

    Is this directed to MAC’s recent video and comments?

    • thedonn007

      I was going to comment that MAC does not agree with this. I just watched his video a few days ago.

    • Adam Scepaniak

      This wasn’t directed at MAC’s video, but now I’m going to go watch it to see what he had to say on the topic…

      • iksnilol


  • Spencerhut

    If I had a dime for every person we got in the store who had clearly never handled a gun before and did their very best “monkey see, monkey do” with gun handling. A total newb trying to release the slide one-handed with the slide lock on say an empty S&W Shield is freaking hilarious the first 100 times. After that it just gets tired and painful to watch. But not as bad as them one handed slapping the cylinder shut on brand new Smith revolver. I swear the Hollywierd tards do stuff wrong in the movies on purpose sometimes.

    • Brick

      Wait, you’re not supposed to spin the cylinder and slap it shut with a one handed wrist flick?

      • gyrfalcon

        All the revolver experts do it that way. Tactical quickness, taught by the FBI and all the folks who think the slide stop is the quickest/best/coolest way to get a semi-auto into battery.

    • Ark

      To be fair, the slide release on a factory new, empty S&W Shield is stiff enough that it might as well be welded in place.

  • guest

    Here’s an even more unpopular opinion: the LESS switches/buttons there are on a handgun, the better. Same goes for rifles.
    I am in fact wondering if the standard Glock can be used without a slide lock at all. Not that the function is eliminated, the slide would still lock back on empty mag, but the release of the slide should be operated by insertion of a new mag. I know full well all Glock models (and some other guns) will do just that, albeit unintentionally by the manufacturer (or so I believe)… and trough slapping the mag in in one movement as opposed to just calmly inserting it in… but I just fail to see the reason to lock the slide back at all. OK, so some competitions demand the gun be locked open bla bla bla but still from the purely practical application point of view the less there is to service on a gun NO MATTER the function – the better.
    Mechanical “safety” switch in that regard is completely meaningless, so there’s another useless “function” that can exist without a button/switch.
    In fact mag release is the only one left, with the obvious need to release a mag but that’s it.

    The basic concept behind my way of thinking is this: the less there is to operate, the less time is wasted on doing just that, and the less the chance of f’ing it up in any situation that demands speed and reliability.
    For example on an empty mag one thing to operate is the mag release – some milliseconds wasted there, but at the very least the thumb is close to that button. Then new mag is inserted, and by slapping it two things are ensured – a positive lock of the fresh mag in place and slide release upon mag full stop in the well. That’s it, and off you go again.

    So all those “safeties”, de-cockers, and whatever other useless doohickeys they all need to go. This if after all a weapon not a piano, if you like pushing buttons become a pianist or a writer.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      It appears that Adam pushed a good number of peoples buttons by writing this article.

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        Was that the aim? If so, to what end?

        • gyrfalcon

          Cull the heard of idiots by creating a ban list?

    • n0truscotsman

      “the LESS switches/buttons there are on a handgun, the better. Same goes for rifles”

      I’ve argued such for quite a while now.

  • M-dasher

    I do love the people that say “oh youre putting premature wear on the slide lock!!”

    Not only have i NEVER seen a “worn out” slide lock…..they cost what? $10 to replace?….oh no, the horror!

    • Keiichi

      I actually wore out the slide lock groove on the slide of my Bersa Thunder CC. The metal of the slide is apparently soft enough to deform after releasing the slide with the slide lock many times. Now it won’t lock open at all.

      • Disarmed in CA

        Bersa… not the geniuses of metalurgy

        • Keiichi

          That may be, but they’re not uncommon as an EDC choice due to their size, comfortable recoil, low price tag, and similarity to that famous Walther. As such, a good counter example to the cavalier “nah, it’s fine, it’s made of metal” mentality M-dasher espoused.

          • M-dasher

            Im an engineer, i know the difference between metals…..i just dont but cheap crap

      • Jason Adams

        A little TIG welding and some filing will fix it and the heat treatment of the welding process will make it last longer than when it was new. Sometimes you can just get by with a filing.

        NOTE to DIY types you had better be a real good TIG welder!!!

    • I have, the slide release broke off my M&P a few years back.

      But it was a $20 part. Heck I could’ve gotten it replaced for free if I sent it into S&W, but I didn’t feel like stripping it down to remove the Apex parts, and then having to install them again when it came back.

      Todd Green also wore out the slide lock grove on his Springfield 1911 a couple of times.

    • M1911

      I have a worn slide notch on my ParaOrdnance P-14, but that is because the entire gun is a POS.

    • Jason Adams

      In settings like the military where guns are used daily for training it is not the lock that wears out it is the sharp edge of the notch in the slide that rounds off and needs to be reshaped. But that is only in massive amounts of this type of use. That one guy gun does is not as affected by this.

  • Christopher Ellis

    Actually, the Glock shown in the pic (and all Glock’s for that matter) have both a “slide lock” and a “slide stop”. The slide lock physically locks the slide to the frame. Without it, the slide would fly off the front of the gun. The slide stop is what holds the slide to the rear on an empty mag. It also functions as a “slide release” which works even better for that purpose if you have an extended one installed.

  • Tinkerer

    Okay, I’ll keep using the “slide lock”… to release the slide.

    • Phillip Cooper

      Me too. It’s worth noting that every 1911 has a thumb rest on the “slide lock” in order to release the slide.

      If he couldn’t release the slid on his 1911, he needs to see what’s wrong with it, and maybe start doing some hand strengthening exercises.

    • Joel

      Know why Glock puts extended, raised slide release levers on their competition models? Because they are intended to be used to release the slide. And, many do so (like Travis Haley). Releasing the slide with a slide release is faster and sometimes speed matters.

      • law-abiding-citizen

        Did you know, according to. Glock certified armorer I know, that Glock doesn’t recommend using the factory slide stop on their standard pistols to release the slide? The reason? They’re itsy & they bend.

        • M1911

          Which is why I spent a few bucks and bought Glock extended slide stops for my 19, 23, and 26.

        • M-dasher

          Oh no, imagine the burden of having to replace a $4 part every several thousand rounds or so.

          • Norm Glitz

            That’s all right with you?

          • Shouldn’t have to replace any part on a handgun every several thousand rounds or so.
            Well, not on any quality handgun.

        • The biggest problem with the Glock slide stops is that the spring breaks or gets bent to the point that it no longer functions properly. I’ve only ever seen the springs broken in the test-case pistols we took apart for the advanced armorer’s class though. I think it’s caused by people who are mechanically inept and/or monkeying with their pistols more than anything else.

      • Disarmed in CA

        My Glock 26 manual says use it either way (press slide stop or pull back slide to release), does not specify one being better than the other. With an empty magazine it will not ‘slingshot’, the slide stop must be depressed.

      • Jason Adams

        You do have a point… Why use two hands and all the gross motion when your thumb is right there?

  • Midwest Marco

    I’ve owned 1911’s for 30+ years, and Glocks for 20+ years. Currently 17, 21 and 43. With 1911 I’ve always used my off hand to release the slide lock. Why, because it ALWAYS works. No fumble, no second try with one hand. With the Glocks, I’ve never used the slide release. Never. When the slide is locked back, with my off hand I simply pull back on the slide to release it. Why, because it ALWAYS works. No fumble, no second try with one hand. For me the slide lock on the Glock is too small for my meaty hands/fingers. Just pull back slide to release.

    • M1911

      Just replace the Glocks slide stop with the factory extended release. It costs a couple bucks and you can replace it using a punch and a couple minutes of time.

    • Fibreflex

      If that’s the case how’s that Glock takedown ” lever” treating you?Worst design ever.

  • Major Tom

    Lemme guess: Next thing you’re gonna tell me is not to obsess over whether or not a rifle can pull one MOA or less.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Honestly accuracy is not that big of a deal for me. As long as it can make combat effective hits at the range it is optimized for I am fine. Often 3 or 4 MOA is quite sufficient for that. Ill take reliability (absolutely) and ergonomics (within reason) over accuracy every time. I personally have no use for heavy barrels when you can shave 2 pounds with a lighter but slightly less accurate one.

      How much do you obsess over YOUR ability to pull 1 MOA shots offhand? If you have a 2 MOA rifle but you can only shoot 6 MOA offhand your overall accuracy is 8 MOA. Your rifle is then only 25% of the reason you cant hit your target.

      • The_Champ

        How much accuracy you want/need depends on your purposes. I like having about 1 MOA in my hunting rifles because it reduces the margin of error when trying to make humane kills on critters vs a combat rifle where you want reliable rounds down range and any hit on target is a good hit. That being said, a 1 MOA combat rifle wouldn’t be a bad thing.

        • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

          I agree with you. I was speaking specifically in terms of a fighting rifle where in 98% of situations I would be in I would not need to exceed 200yd, but when hunting I often am able to be sitting or prone or at least have a good rest where I could actually take my time and make use of the additional accuracy.

          But more accuracy is always better.

    • Bill

      Under field conditions, I’ve never handled a rifle that I can shoot to it’s full potential, so what it can do on a bench with a cable release on a calm day with no humidity is relatively unimportant to me.

      • Bradley

        How precisely you can shoot is a combination of your margin of error and the guns mechanical accuracy. If you can shoot 6moa consistently with a 3 moa rifle, then you should be able to shoot 4moa with a 1moa rifle. In my opinion this whole “can’t out shoot my rifle” idea makes no sense. No offense.

        • Bill

          None taken. It’s just my inability to wring the all the mechanical accuracy possible out of nearly any rifle, under field conditions

    • Anonymoose

      4 MOA is good enough. :^)

      • Major Tom

        Sometimes it’s all you need. :3

      • n0truscotsman

        Most cant shoot that with a 1/2 MOA rifle anyways…

        • iksnilol

          What about us who can?

    • Gary Kirk


      Minute of bad guy works fine..

  • mrsatyre

    People actually obsess about this stuff? I’ll be there first to admit that, compared to probably everyone else here, I’m not a very experienced shooter, but honestly, the only things that cross my mind when shopping for a new gun is “can I operate it?”, “is it reasonably easy for me operate without being overly time consuming?” and “can I find it cheaper anywhere else?”

    • YS

      The only thought that goes through my mind is “do I have one already” and “will the wife notice”.

    • Bill

      Some of us do when we are training others and trying to establish positive habits.

  • HemingwaysBeard

    If the author’s point is that novice shooters shouldn’t overthink using the slide release, then I’d agree.

    If it’s really about the problem brought up about the RP9’s poor design that’s likely based on cost cutting measures, then I’m going to have to lean towards MAC on this one.

  • Vhyrus

    Gee, I didn’t know TFB had an open mic night. Any other pearls of wisdom you wanna lay on us today? Maybe you can tell us about how .223 and 5.56×45 are actually the same caliber and we should stop worrying about what the stamp on our barrel says.

    • Bill

      They aren’t, but I’m guessing that you know that. 😉

    • MrBrassporkchop

      He owns a gun store so I’m guessing he’ll tell you what you need to hear to buy both.

      • Bill

        …or a rifle with a Wylde chamber.

    • Joshua

      +1 can I get a rant or two published? I’ve got a good one about how people who care more about the right word and more about their opinion than the customers opinion are morons

    • iksnilol

      Well, in Europe they are the same due to the way CIP did pressure testing.

    • Jason Adams

      They are different but mine shoots both just fine.

  • Vhyrus

    You very clearly highlight the slide release of a 1911 as some sort of evidence. The slide release in the picture, like every other 1911 slide release, is knurled on the top, but not the bottom. So I just want to make sure I get this straight: they knurled the top of the slide release and not the bottom because they designed it so that you only ever push up on the smooth part, not down on the knurled part. You know, the part they specifically modified so you can apply friction to it in only one direction, which is the direction they did NOT want you to apply force to.

    Seems legit…

    • Bill

      I wouldn’t mind a knurled bottom on the slide stop lever.

    • M1911

      This. So much this.

      How the gun world came to believe the myth that you shouldn’t push down on slide stops that have clearly been designed specifically so that you can easily push down on them just baffles me.

      • That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this article. (I know its meant to be taken lighthearted which I did).

        Slide Lock vs Slide Release- its the same thing.

    • James Reeves

      I A M T R I G G E R E D

    • Jason Adams

      Interesting point… I laugh when a guy tells someone not to drop the slide with the release as it will hurt their $3000 plus Wilson Combat. You have got to be kidding right! A $3000 handgun and you can hurt it by dropping the slide? Who is the fool? The guy who spent 3 grand on a gun that fragile or the guy dropping the slide? Yeah I know there are some that say the notch on the slide will wear out over time if this is done daily over and over again but heck get serious!

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    The ability to release the slide one handed, even if you dont use it, is a good feature assuming that the “slide lock” isnt too large and obtrusive. When you start valuing it above other factors like reliability or capacity or how well YOU can shoot that gun then you may not end up with the firearm that you could most effectively use.

    I once knew a guy who cruised the interstate in 4th gear instead of 5th so he could “get out of the way faster if he had to dodge an accident.” He wasnt wrong that it could help him get out of the way faster at least in some situations, but at the same time he was using much more gas and causing much more wear to his engine. Is it worth it?

  • Strongarm

    Supposed, the piece is called as “Slide Stop”…If that piece can be released easily with the magazine taken off, it should be normal. But if it can not be released one handed with an empty magazine in, it is also normal. An attempt with a loaded magazine would act same as wth the magazine removed. What it should be cared about is, getting away from the pistols with a slide stop release with a slammed in magazine. Such guns, if not Mauser Brand based, should be defective and act what they desire, not by users command.

  • Nicholas C

    I disagree with the “how does it feel in my hand” idea of hand gun buying.

    I equate Handguns like cars. How my butt feels in the seat of the car does not have much bearing on how well that car handles, how powerful the car is and how well it can stop.

    More importantly is “can you reach the controls of the gun”?

    Accessing magazine release and slide lock.

    How one grips the handgun is more important. And how they shoot it is more crucial. Like not link wristing.

    Can they rack the slide? Some people struggles with this and often it comes down to technique. Sling shot method of pulling the slide requires finger strength. So I teach people to use palm over slide method. They don’t even need to use their thumb and index finger.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      I like the “how well do I shoot it at the range” idea of gun buying. But my hands are large enough that Ive never had a problem accessing controls so that has always been assumed for me.

    • Adam Scepaniak

      Palm over slide is a great way to get people going with the introduction of pistol functioning.

      I agree with your comment that “How does it feel in my hand” is not always important, but for people who don’t go to a range and test fire some guns, or have friends they can borrow guns from… that’s a very basic starting point for people deciding what firearm they should purchase if its their first.

      There are a lot of phenomenal handling cars (and handguns out there),but that definitely doesn’t mean they should start there. Sometimes a simple Glock is better than a Salient Arms Glock until a shooter catches the learning curve.

      Basically, this post is directed towards new shooters who put weight into things that are not of paramount importance

      • Nicholas C

        I agree. I just hated listening to my co-workers, back when I used to be behind the counter, tell noobs “the most important thing is how it feels in your hand”

        I would shake my head involuntarily every time.

        • McThag

          Having taught three girlfriends and my wife how to shoot: You’re not going to get someone to practice with a gun they don’t like the feel of.

          But setting parameters like size, capacity and cartridge before hand fit is also important.

          • bobby_b

            “Having taught three girlfriends and my wife how to shoot: You’re not
            going to get someone to practice with a gun they don’t like the feel of.”

            Four women? Apparently they like the feel of yours!

          • Dan

            First 3 didn’t lol

    • Emfourty Gasmask

      Palm over slide is pretty much the only safe option with CZs, and the minimal slide real estate they offer.

      • John Yossarian

        CZ’s Omega-trigger slide stop is very easy to release – Much easier than performing a slingshot.

    • Edeco

      I like the palm over as opposed, I guess, to pulling from behind; more natural, keep the wrist straight, more contact patch. For me less tendency to deflect the muzzle upward, but can’t say why.

    • Nashvone

      If anyone asks me what they should get I always tell them to go to a range that rents pistols, get a few and try them out. Then they should buy the one they are most comfortable using.

      I’ve got a drawer full of interchangeable back straps that I won’t use because over time I’ve found the one that makes the pistol the most comfortable in my hand.

    • n0truscotsman

      I’ve been teaching ‘palm grasping’ for over 2 decades, since the 1990s. I never anticipated it actually becoming as popular as it is now.

    • iksnilol

      Is palm over slide bad?

      • Nicholas C

        Only if you are IDF trained to chicken wing a pistol.

        • Mrninjatoes

          The IDF don’t by and large don’t carry pistols. Chicken wing and carrying on an empty chamber have never been part of Israeli doctrine.

  • Edeco

    I slingshot ’em; less hollywood, and though the wear might be negligible I prefer to unload a catch like that before releasing it. I mean, though possible one tends not to yoink the car out of gear without clutching.

    • DonDrapersAcidTrip

      yeah that’s the most important part of how you use gun, whether it looks “hollywood” (whatever that even means, like racking slide is less show offy than just hitting the release?) to someone or not

      • Edeco

        Is it?

        I should add, if there’s any question, and you’re not giving anything up (if one finds it important to carry a CZ52, nevermind) I guess it’s better to have a slide stop one can thumb down than not. Not that I worry about “one of your hands is injured” scenarios as such.

      • Michael Lubrecht

        It’s only Hollywood if you deliberately and furtively look right and left before holstering. Each and every time. Extra points for spinning a 360 in Position Sul.

      • ostiariusalpha

        There are some “Hollywood” moves you should definitely avoid, for practical, not aesthetic, reasons. Such as flipping the cylinder of a revolver closed, as Spencerhut has pointed out, or pointless racking a pistol or shotgun for emphasis when you should have already had a round chambered beforehand.

  • Bigbigpoopi

    Wanna know what’s great about being left-eye dominant? I can drop the 1911 slide LOCK with my index.

    • Nicholas C

      Cross eye dominance has nothing to do with what hand you use to shoot a handgun. It is obviously more important for long guns.

      • Anonymoose

        It is important if you don’t want to look goofy, with your head cocked to the side all the time…

        • Nicholas C

          Yeah that would look silly. But that mainly because that person is dumb. Lol

          Don’t move your head to the gun, move your gun to your head. Of course this works best with an isosceles stance. But can be done with weaver. Just move the handgun to line up with the dominant eye.

          • retfed

            When I was an instructor we taught opposite-eye-dominant trainees to rest their chin on the bicep of their shooting arm. It brings the dominant eye behind the sights and works very well.
            It’s also easier on the neck than cocking your head, and less recoil-sensitive than adjusting your isosceles stance.

          • Nicholas C

            Im not seeing how isosceles causes more recoil when shifting the gun to the other eye. It is a small shift not enough to disturb using the gun.

  • hking

    Huh guess this USPSA single stack “M” and production “A” has been using my guns wrong this whole time, ha I am such a n00b I guess, ill bow to the expertise of a revolver guy /s

  • Charlie B

    Reminiscent of record store clerks, always wanting to let you know that they knew just a little more than you…

  • Todd Sturniolo

    Pretty sure on a 1911, JMB designated it as a SLIDE STOP. Not a lock nor a release.

    • Gary Kirk

      And pretty much everyone else who’s made an improved version since, has called it a (mostly extended) slide release..

  • Phillip Cooper

    I’m glad his gunshop isn’t around here. I’d have to avoid it for his attitude.

    You don’t like people calling it that. We don’t care.

  • Joel

    People who have a thing about telling other people what to do. 8^(

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I make it a point to avoid gun shops who employ guys like this who enjoy telling you how wrong you are and how they were taught to do it back in boot camp before Nam’.

    • LGonDISQUS

      Half of ’em wear fishing vests too, no?

      • Jason Adams

        What did you expect, tie dye and dred locks?

    • Anonymoose

      What, you mean you’re not supposed to hold an AR by the handguard with your left hand, lower it, and claw back the charging handle with the first two fingers of your right hand? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/20ea9270a258b0a678baa39052646e1d0c8c4e47b8d78f3333cce2caa905873f.jpg

    • R H

      Had a “salesperson” at a popular Houston gun shop tell me that adding a light to an AR was “a sure way to get yourself shot”. Went on this rant about how he was a security officer and held his pistol in one hand and the light in another as FAR away from his body as physically possible (all the while demonstrating this technique). After trying not to laugh at him (and failing), I was finally able to explain the light was for nighttime varmints anyway. And yes, he was wearing the fishing style vest. Also later while picking up some PMAGs, he walked over and told me his CCW was an AR pistol in a briefcase “because gang violence”.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        Dude, I just posted the same thing earlier but I think it was scrubbed because I called him an adult bad name. lol
        Was it at the I-10 Carters Country?

        • R H

          Wow! He must be infamous!!! This was probably in 2012, is he still there being all crazy?

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            I dont know because I stopped going there after our last interaction but he was a big guy right? Kinda doofusy?
            Now I go to Memorial Shooting Center down the street or Athena.

          • R H

            Oh yeah, that’s him! Another salesperson there tried to get a friend of mine to buy a revolver with rebel flags on it because he heard him say he was from North Carolina. Not sure why those 2 things would be synonymous, but there was no end to the crazy things those guys behind the counter would say. I went to the one around Spring the last time I was in Houston and didn’t have any issues. Even got a good deal on a knife.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Yeah, he is a jack a-s.
            They get a lot of clueless executive types at that store since its right at the beginning of the “energy corridor”. Customers with more money than brains who will believe anything a sales person says.

            I know guys like that. One of them bought a 5.56 AR and actually asked me if it would also fire 7.62 rounds. Some people have no business buying (or selling) guns.
            I bought a pistol from the Spring location and they seemed OK.

          • R H

            I was in the market for my first AR in 2012 and asked to see a few models. He told me they’re all the same except for a few “bells & whistles”. I even tried to ask about different barrel steels and twist rates and the look on his face was like I had just asked him to do calculus. Luckily I knew just enough to know that he was FOS and bought my AR elsewhere. I probably only went there 3 times, but only because it was kinda on my way home from work.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Why am I not surprised?

          • mazkact

            I work in Deer Park so I go the Carter’s in Pasagetdowndena. Thus far nothing but good experiences in that store.

      • n0truscotsman

        There *IS* a use for that technique, unfortunately, its way outdated.

        And I love vintage oil lamps too…

        • Jason Adams

          Yeah you have to use that technique when possum hunting at night. They have been known to shoot back once in a while.

        • CountryBoy

          Ah, “malfunction-free rounds”. That’s the only kind I ever buy.

      • Jason Adams

        LOL … I met that guy once …LOL!

      • Fibreflex

        That salesmans flashlight strategy might just be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and that’s saying a lot.its scary to know ignorance like that coexists with us and in some cases is even armed.I think that’s evidence that societies greatest failure was to impede natural selection by coddling those that nature would’ve thinned from the herd at any point in history prior to the age of the participation trophy we live in now in this country.there are people struggling just to survive or to prevent someone from removing their head from their body in parts of this world while we have thousands of people willing to loot and burn the country down so that a transgender person can have its own bathroom in public places.

      • Jr Dirty

        I think the FBI teaches (or did teach) a method like that; reverse grip above the head. Puts some light on your sights, but you’re still shooting one handed.

        • R H

          I would hope not lol. The way this guy demonstrated it was holding the flashlight at about a 45° above the shoulders, arm fully extended. It was hilarious.

    • Jason Adams

      I get your point but I have heard military armorers who pitch a fit about dropping the slide with the release as they have to fix the notches all the time after all the trainees do it daily but in a different context it is superfluous.

      • Tim Kies

        I use the grab the slide and pull it back to release method, but that is just because I started out with a couple of pistols which had no slide lock on them. So it was a habit, and now it has carried over to my other pistols. I just bought my first 1911, and have not shot it yet. I am not sure how I am going to go about handling that one, but it seems to lend itself much more to the slide release method than all other pistols I have owned. I am not sure if it will be a carry gun yet, but if it does, I will either continue to use the same method, or train extensively to make myself get used to using the slide release only. But I think that it really is not the big deal that it is made to be.

  • Cosmoline ‘n’ Coke

    JMB called it a “Slide Stop.” Not a lock, not a release. It’s main purpose was to link the barrel to the frame and secondarily stop the slide from moving forward into battery upon encountering an empty magazine. So yes the knurled upper face is the part to be touched and used to disengage the slide stop.

    • raz-0

      Oddly enough once you disengage the slide stop, the slide is released from it’s locked position to return to battery.

      People can argue this BS, I have encountered owners manuals that call it either depending on the make/model of the pistol in question.

    • n0truscotsman

      JMB is never wrong 😉

  • Andrew

    That’s why all these newer guns are coming out with ambidextrous “slide locks” so you can make sure your slide is locked from either side, definitely not to release the slide with either thumb.

    • Anonymoose

      I make a point of not using the lefthand lever on guns like the P30 and VP9 because it just feels like it’s going to snap off on me…

      • Andrew

        Really? That’s surprising, the slide release on both sides of my P30sk feels rock solid.

  • Swarf

    As though the opinion of a Crossfit person matters.

    • Bill


    • Don Ward

      That’s why the Crossfit will tell you his opinion every single day.

  • DonDrapersAcidTrip

    Ok what is the deal. Why on earth do I keep seeing this “it’s a slide LOCK not a slide RELEASE” piece of gun forum lore eveywhere lately. What james yeager type idiot is reponsible for this idiocy getting repeated everywhere by people who want to sound knowledgeable about guns and in on some secret technique suddenly. Who started this.

    I don’t know a single serious competitor or gun fighter person who doesn’t use the
    slide release as a slide release. it’s faster. and it hasn’t been blowing up guns all these years, so what are you goofballs even talking about acting like slide releases are bad all the sudden. shut this idiotic meme down.

    • Anonymoose


      • Gary Kirk

        Ford guys say the same thing..

    • Joshua

      MAC? maybe, he did a video on the Remington RP 9 and in it the “ambidextrous slide lock” can be used as a slide release on the left side, but the lever flexes too much to release the slide from the right side. I watched that video and then noticed all this crap coming up.

      • DonDrapersAcidTrip

        Is that also why I saw people going about how he’s some sellout paid to be nice to guns or something? are there really people out there that invested and defensive over him trashing the rp9 lol?

      • M1911

        No, the whole “gross motor skill” bushwa was around long before YouTube.

      • Mrninjatoes

        MAC? That guy getting paid for reviews? Lol

    • n0truscotsman

      It has a basis in truth, but like other excellent ideas that are useful in certain contexts, it gets ran to death by certain characters in the gun/training industry.

      “slingshot-ing” a locked slide is far more useful if one is wearing nomex gloves, and while wearing full battle rattle, or if someone is left handed. This is, of course, a military context that doesn’t necessarily mean its all that useful on the civilian side (it can be for some people). Using the slide release/lock/whatever isn’t “bad” either.

      The real name for the part is dependent on the manufacturer. Who GAS.

    • Hoosier Steve

      The author is an idiot.
      1) the part he is talking about is the SLIDE STOP LEVER.

  • Risky

    Here’s straight from Kahr’s manual on loading their pistols:

    “Pull the slide fully to the rear and lock it back using the Slide Stop. Next push down on the Slide Stop to chamber the first round into the barrel. Do not chamber a round by pulling back on the slide and letting go of the slide. This may cause the slide to not go fully into battery”

    So by design, the Slide Stop was meant to be released by pushing down on it on Kahr pistols. Calling it a Slide Stop does not necessarily negate the intended use of using it as a release.

    • thedarkknightreturns

      Regardless of what the Kooky Moons say about their guns, when you use the stop as a release you do not bring the recoil spring to full compression like one would if they used the slingshot method. The reason some people have problems is that they will ride the slide when they use this technique.

      • Risky

        It’s not like you have that much more compression past slide lock. You get what? An eighth of an inch? I believe the real issue is that if you try to release with your hand it’s not an instantaneous disengagement. The slide starts moving forward while still in contact with your hand. This friction is slowing it down more than if you just dropped the slide with the slide stop.

      • John Yossarian

        Do you own a Kahr? I ask you this because – in my actual experience – Kahr is right about their pistols going into battery better from slide release than from slingshot. Imagine that!

        • Marcus D.

          Agreed. I have a CW9, and it definitely works better the way Kahr says to do it.

    • Marcus D.

      I saw a saleswoman at a LGS showing a gun noob a Kahr, and explaining to him how it is just a slide lock, and that you have to pull the slide back to chamber a round, because if you don’t, it wears down the rear side of the notch. I told her that that is not what the Kahr owner’ s manual says. She got down right pissy. She was also trying to sell a young man, new to guns, into the $800 dollar P series instead of something he could actually afford.

  • M.

    This is a surprisingly low effort article from TFB.

    • Dan

      Agreed. I read this and I have no idea what it was supposed to accomplish so I quickly scrolled to the comments

  • DataMatters

    I agree on the “slide lock” bit, but the use of the tool is up to the owner of the tool and doesn’t always follow with what the designer intended.

    Also, there are plenty of Vietnam combat vets and I suspect also WWII combat vets that called that box with a spring and follower thing a clip. If it’s good enough for a Green Beret, it’s good enough for me.

    • Dan

      Slide lock/slide release, clip/magazine no matter what it’s called we know what it does and how to use it.

  • Jack_A_Lope

    Uh…So what is this super secret method of teaching women to work the slide lock as a slide release to emasculate men (I am sure this really gets the he-men in the store laughing uproariously)? Rather than being snarky and cute, if you are so smart, just tell those of us who aren’t in the know how to do it properly. The disclaimer means nothing. At best the article is condescending.

  • valorius

    While i don’t really care much about the issue, i don’t exactly agree with the author. If i do buy a pistol with a slide release, i expect it to work when i press it.

  • valorius

    A Ruger LCP has a slide lock. A 1911 has a slide release.

  • thedarkknightreturns

    Agree 100% this is particularly true with the 1911 platform. It really is just a slide stop. Repeatedly using the slide stop as a release will cause wear in the notch on the slide that the stop engages in, it will start to round off, and the slide may not lock open reliably. The slide stop is a very hard heat treated part, even on the old G.I. Colts. In the interests of saving time and money on many of the military issue 1911s they only heat treated the slide stops had they deferentially heat treated slides (the locking lugs)

    • M1911

      I’ve shot tens of thousands rounds through my 1911s. I push down on the slide stop to release the slide. There has been no appreciable wear to the slide stop notch on my Wilson or my Kimber. The only gun that ever showed wear is my ParaOrdnance, but that gun is a complete POS.

  • Ark

    Putting “slide lock” in the manual was a tactic for manufacturers to weasel out of being expected to build guns with slide releases that actually work out of the box.

    The ability to release the slide one-handed is absolutely critical to any pistol that sees actual use. Everything else is a safe queen/range toy.

  • Paul Hurst

    The only thing less reliable for truth than the mainstream media is a gunstore commando.

    • Mrninjatoes

      You should not be learning practical gun fighting from a 3 gunner.

  • Me too

    Help me out. When shopping for a pistol with my daughter she struggled with some slide locks, not with others. What is the magical technique I never needed to lear n and therefore never taught my prodegy?

  • Mark Fajardo

    On a Glock it’s called a slide stop. On an H&K it’s called a slide release. On a SIG it’s a slide catch lever. They all do the same thing and the owners manuals state you can press it if desired. I recently attended a Kyle Defoor pistol course and he stated if you’re not using the slide release you’re doing it wrong. End of story.

    • gyrfalcon

      Kyle who?

  • Joe Bagadone-Utz

    Consider the source; the same guy who wouldn’t A) let me field strip a used pistol to check for wear/tampering/hacking and B) wouldn’t field strip the pistol for me to look at, this “article” is kinda laughable. On the same used pistol he managed to negotiate the price down a grand total of $0. I’m fairy certain he wants everyone to buy without touching and pay MSRP. the fact that this passes as some sort of perverse journalism speaks volumes about TFB. I hope he’s giving them the content for free.

    • Saint Stephen the Obvious

      Wow – glad this store isn’t in my town.

  • Saint Stephen the Obvious

    I use the slide lock/stop on all my glocks and springfields with nary a problem.

    Apparently God works in mysterious ways.


  • Don Ward

    1) Slide release is perfectly acceptable nomenclature and is even used by many weapons companies themselves. 2) The slide release is there to release the slide. Stop manipulating the slide like you’re some arthritic primate and use your thumb. They put the slide release by where your thumb rests for a REASON.

  • Suds77

    I’ll go against the grain here too. I operate the mag release on handguns with my offhand. I swap it over to the strong hand side whenever possible. Tools should be used in the manner your are safely proficient with. Don’t let the increasingly large number of snowflakes in this community get your hairs on end.

  • Mystick

    I don’t know… I owned a Kel-Tec P-11 and due to the low-profile nature of it’s slide lock and mechanical prooperties, I was the only person I knew that could use the thing. There’s like a specific angle and pressure that is required – and it’s not down, but to the side. It is a poor design. I sold the gun to my nephew and he ended up modifying it for easier use.

  • N Rose

    Thanks for the article. I’ll be sure to let all the 18 series guys that I work with that they’re doing it wrong.

  • Tinkerer

    You know what? I say let’s stop calling the slide a slide, and call it a telescoping bolt, thus the slide lock/stop/release is now a bolt lock/stop/release.

  • Oldtrader3


  • Kivaari

    It is called a slide stop. When activated it creates a condition known as slide lock.

  • Dustin

    Next he’ll write up an article telling us that the lever on a toilet is not for flushing, but rather to keep the flapper in the top tank closed so the toilet does not constantly run.

  • RickH

    My Colt manual from 1979 says the item you have circled is called a “slide stop” not slide lock as you are calling it. Also, the manual says that the notch in the slide that the thumb safety engages when on safe is called the “slide lock”. You can look it up. Or not. I really don’t care. Especially about this article. I type this light-heartedly.

  • M

    I always slingshot mine, mainly because it works in pretty much every pistol in existence. Some pistols like the Sig P232 or the CZ52 don’t have slide stops/releases

  • BrandonAKsALot

    This article is bad and you should feel bad.

  • JooJooBurger

    It’s funny this guy says slide lock when the slide lock is the part used to take down the Glock pistols — separate from the slide stop/release..

  • robert57Q

    Here’s the simple answer: if you can easily drop the slide with your thumb, it’s a slide release. If you can’t, its a slide stop. Now, telling other people what they should or shouldn’t care about? Yeah, that’s gonna work.

  • Treiz

    What a timely and correct article. I couldn’t believe the nonsense I was hearing MAC ramble on about in that review. If the manufacturer calls it a slide release, then it better work as one. If they call it a slide stop, then it’s user error if it doesn’t also work as a slide release. >.>

  • USMC03Vet

    Not even gonna lie. I hear more stupid gun talk from gun shop workers than I do regular gun owners although the same people swear the opposite.

  • mazkact

    I completely agree with the author, it is a slide lock.Also, IMHO slamming home any firearm on an empty chamber is a bad idea for many reasons. On many firearms repeated slamming home on empty will compromise an extractor(most semi auto shotguns) I won’t do this with my AR’s, to function check I will use a snap cap. I was taught to manipulate the slide to chamber a round with a pistol and yes using the slide stop to release the slide while having a loaded magazine inserted usually works better as this is the way it was designed to function.

  • jerry young

    Whatever you want to call it release or lock the important things in firearm purchase are is the gun made by a reputable manufacturer? not a highpoint would be a good start, can you shoot the gun accurately? does it fit your hand properly? are you comfortable using the controls and yes can you release the slide or lock it open easily? so most important is do you like the gun and not what you call a part of the gun, I also carried a 1911 for many years in the military and never had problems releasing the slide single handed not everyone can

  • iksnilol

    I find it a bit hilarious that I most often struggle with locking the slide back with one hand, but dropping the slide with just the thumb is easy.

  • Eric Lawrence

    Listen you knuckleheads.

    In 1964 the US Army TM on the 1911A1 called the part a slide stop. They taught warriors to slingshot the slide on a fresh mag with the same force applied to the flap on the top of a fresh bag of Oreo cookies when you are trying top get high on that first whiff of Oreo smell. If you are pointed in the right direction the force you apply to pulling the slide backwards those 2mm should cause the Earth to stop rotating. Even if you carry an HK USP Compact or P2000 like I do and the slide stop is as large as the deck of the USS Enterprise you will not train yourself to push down on it to release the slide. The US Army sets the standard for training and the 1911 is the gun all other guns wish they could be.

    • iksnilol

      You sound like a living caricature.

  • Bob

    I was taught you were to SLINGSHOT the slide! And I was taught to do it at arms length so you would not tend to put your non-shooting hand in front of the muzzle.
    If you grab the slide with your palm and 4 fingers and move your grip hand forward to release the slide, you should then keep you non shooting hand on your chest so it does not get in front of the muzzle. In old arthritis age, I’ve had to use the palm and 4 fingers method.
    Gout attacks SUCK. I was worried I’d have to go to a wheel gun for a while there.

    • Nicholas C

      The problem is in the technique. When using palm over slide, you should keep your hand back away from the bitey chamber part. You only need three fingers not four and pushing your arms in opposite directions helps mechanical advantage. However you must be aware of your muzzle at all times.

      Never ride the slide forward. Pull back and let go.

      • Bob

        exactly what I was saying. with the exception of 3 fingers vs 4.
        Wait till you get old and get GOUT in the hands. You can barely pick up a pencil some days!

  • Mrl

    Kahr says to release slide stop with your thumb only, do not sling shot it. So you have to release it with your thumb. On the new S&W M&P .45 compact, it is impossible to release the slide stop no matter what. I called S&W and they said it can’t be released, it must be sling shot. It is by design.

  • Per Glock, Inc. terminology, the “slide lock” is the the part you pinch and pull down to field strip the pistol. It holds the slide on the frame, technically, but it actually restrains the barrel, and doesn’t touch the slide at all. The part you refer to is the “slide stop lever.” https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/bd04595cca674d99eaf66527d430b5bc5f2457594fc54a6f7c444c98db2352e8.jpg

  • Publius

    The only issue to worry about as regards the slide lock is, “Do I have a problem latching the slide open?” If you can do that, then just slingshot it closed and don’t worry about it.

  • Hoosier Steve

    You ddon’t even have the parts named correctly, so why should I listen to you about nsything?

  • Jason Adams

    I have to laugh at this but I do fixate on the slide lock / release as I am left handed and when in competition have to lock open and show clear. Being a south paw with an unaltered SIG P220 / 226 or similar locks I have to switch hands to do so making it important to maintain muzzle direction at the same time. This is doable but should be unnecessary. But at least I don’t have the thumb ride issues right handed people do. 1911’s are fine as you can use your finger nuckle as with the Beretta 92FS, and others with similar slide locks. FN is totally ambidextrous the Canik TP9’s need the release modified like the SIGS. There you go the slide lock connoisseur’s take on it. But you need to be left eyed to appreciate it.

  • Fibreflex

    i love that the author really thought he nailed it when he said” notice it’s called a slide lock and not the slide release” when the part he was referring to is actually the slide stop which could be considered symmantics if not for the fact that the Glock pictured actually has a slide lock and it has nothing to do with what he was saying.funny how bad articles get more comments than good ones

  • Vince Griffis

    Breaking police recruits from using the slide stop to release the slide after a reload was one of my least favorite tasks on the range. That is not what it is for. Insert a new magazine, pull the slide to the rear, let it go.

  • Martin frank

    TL:DR some old hardass crybabying.

  • gyrfalcon

    Slide locks are for idiots. Grasp the slide and pull it back. Any normal person who has an iota of training and common sense knows this.

  • CavScout

    Hey Adam, how the hell do you manually lock back the bolt on an AR? You can’t? Just checking….

    That New Rem pistol was designed pretty shotty.

  • Realist

    Slide-lock or slide-release…it’s all a matter of how one uses it. To me it’s a slide-release because when the slide locks back, it’s the magazine that’s locked the slide back.

    After I drop the magazine and pop in a new one, I use the SLIDE RELEASE to send the slide forward to load a round in the chamber.