Top 5 Ways To Reload From Slide Lock Tested

Ever want to see the top 5 ways to reload from slide lock put to the test? You are in luck! Reloading your pistol faster from slide lock isn’t witchcraft, it only takes practice and the right method. In this episode of TFBTV, Patrick takes an analytical look at the 5 basic ways to reload a pistol from slide lock and puts them to the test. Check out the difference in Patrick’s reload times using each one of the methods. Keep in mind Patrick is not a competition shooter, merely a recreational shooter that likes to work on getting better on the range. Maybe one day he will work up the nerve to enter a match.

Huge hat tip to the guys over at Primary & Secondary, especially Bill and Matt, for their commitment to learning and the use of their footage. Make sure that you check out Bill’s video where he talks more about the benefits of each method.

Thanks to our sponsors:

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Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at tfbpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • M-dasher

    waiting for all the morons to comment “oh its a slide lock, not a slide release!!! hurr durr your gonna wear out your guns!!”

    • Hoplopfheil

      Yeah I guess that big textured thumb slope is just ornamental. 🙂

      • Edeco

        It’s not that big on a Glock and is useful for locking open without an empty mag, thus not just for dropping the slide.

        • Hoplopfheil

          Unless you buy an official Glock brand extended slide release, which costs a few bucks and takes a few minutes to install.

          • Edeco

            Mine came with one, still pretty dinky.

        • USMC03Vet

          Put some man into it.

    • ExMachina1

      Ugh. They’re not “morons” and plenty of major manufacturers call this part a slide STOP.

      Does that mean that it can’t be used for releasing the slide? Not at all.

      Does that mean that people that advocate a power stroke are wrong? Nope again. Why? Because power stroking gives the slide that much more spring tension/velocity to chamber a round reliably.

      So there’s one question that this video is not addressing–is one method more RELIABLE over another? My money is on the power stroke.

      • I’ve reloaded guns many many thousands of times. I’ve never seen a stoppage on a reload that an extra 10% of spring power would solve.

        • ExMachina1

          Good for you!

        • Edeco

          I guess, but isn’t there then a danger of low slide velocity with lightish ammo? It’s an issue in my life, I like to be able to feed any over-the-counter ammo.

          • Not sure what you mean? I was talking about the extra spring power that comes from pulling the slide back further with a “power stroke” vs using the slide release/stop/lock.

          • Edeco

            Oops, scuse me, I thought you meant swapping in an aftermarket, heavier spring, not pulling back further. I misread in retrospect.

            Eh, I’ve had a thing fail to go quite back into battery and give light strikes so I think it’s possible, but I can’t prove it (there was an aftermarket part in play).

      • iksnilol

        I hate to rain on your parade but I’ve experienced more malfunctions attempting to “powerstroke” (great band name BTW) than by using the slide release.

        I used a Hämmerli X-Esse, piece of crap gun but it sure don’t cost like one.

        • ExMachina1

          Don’t worry, it’s not my parade you’re raining on 🙂 I don’t really care, just find it hilarious that people have strong opinions on this and thing that one side has a monopoly on “the best” way.

      • m-dasher

        yes, they are morons……..if you honestly believe that using a slide release is going to damage your firearm…….or if you feel that “oh it wasnt designed that way, so you cant use it that way!!”

        i dont care if you power stroke…..i do it myself…….im not calling you a moron if you power stroke..

        • Glock now offers an extended slide lock lever that can only reasonably be presumed to acknowledge the thumb release method.

          Now I can say that useing that method over many revolutions can create enough wear to cause inertia slide release on a hard magazine insertion. No failures, but something to be aware of.

        • Dakota Raduenz

          I have a G19 Gen 3 with definitely less than 2000 and probably under 1000 rounds through it with bare, silver metal from use of the slide lock as a release.

          So…

          • That happens, and it will take many rounds to actually break one. Like tens of thousands.

            Typically the manufacturer will replace it or the slide if you damage it. As for them the customer that shoots that much is rare enough that they can absorb the cost. It is only the custom shops which are low volume, and typically cater to high volume shooters that will expect the customer to pay for it. But their customers are also used to that because high volume shooters treat guns as wear items.

      • valorius

        The main problem with manipulating the slide with your off hand to send it back into battery is that many firearm designs have the safety on the slide, and that is a darned good way to get a click-click when you really, really need a bang-bang.

      • Edeco

        Perhaps I accidentally pee-pee’d in some folks’ cereal when I called flicking the slide stop Hollywood and implied that the more mechanically inclined will appreciate not grinding metal parts together. Mea culpa.

        • Zachary marrs

          Its a gun. Like any mechanical device, grinding metal parts together is unavoidable.

          People get so worked up over potential damage using the slide lock/release its a wonder that they own and shoot guns at all.

          • Edeco

            Ah, your obscuring the issue. Grinding some parts is inevitable. With others it can be avoided while still making full use of the gun.

            It’s fine to just accept added wear, reallt no biggie, but an experienced, energetic user can do better. Like, I let a person drive my car that I know will keep it in gear, feather the clutch and hover to stop on a hill. Whatevs. Being more familiar with the car myself, and having rattlesnake-like reflexes I can do better: Put it in neutral then later re-engage and take off smoothly.

          • Zachary marrs

            Making full use of the gun would include using the little lever on the frame to do one of the things it was put there to do.

            I’m obscuring nothing.

            For every super experienced pro you see advocating power stroking, i can find one that advocates using the release

          • Edeco

            Oh, OK. A lot of post-2000 Smiths must not be getting fully used since no one uses the internal lock.

          • Zachary marrs

            You said it, not me

  • Don Ward

    I guess that’s why I have a properly designed handgun like a Beretta 92F with a slide release that is placed where it should be by my thumb so I can manipulate it with one hand along with man-sized hands that are large enough to manipulate all of the controls so that I don’t have to worry about silly reload drills.

    • Michigunner

      The US Army and almost every law enforcement agency in the country disagree with you on this.

      • valorius

        We used the slide release when i was in bro. “Power-stroking” on a M9 is idiotic, as it has a tendency to engage the manual safety.

        • Michigunner

          I agree, the slide stop is most definitely the way to return the firearm to battery during reload when using a Beretta 92. However, that was not what I was referring to in my post; allow me to clarify. My reference is to the other discussion member’s original comment, specifically the “properly designed, slide stop is placed where it should be” and “manipulate it with one hand” portions of the comment. The Beretta 92 is a huge gun for a 9mm, and the slide stop is not always usable for a large number of people with small to average sized hands. At least, not without changing your grip on the pistol. This is why I stated that the US Army and every other law enforcement agency disagrees with this. The 92 has been largely (or is being) replaced in these organizations with this reason as a partial factor: the 92 is huge, has large grip dimensions, and not everyone is able to manipulate and shoot it well. It is most definitely not ergonomic or properly designed compared to more modern products. And for what it is worth, I own one and I cannot reach the slide stop one handed without altering my grip.

          • valorius

            The Beretta is one of those guns that is unintentionally superior for a left handed user. The M1911 is another.

    • For Beretta’s like yours and similar pistols I’d absolutely advocate the thumb to slide release method. However, many striker fired pistols have a very small lever that remains very close to the frame. For those pistols a different slide release method may be more positive.

    • USMC03Vet

      Hahaha properly designed beretta. What an oxymoron.

  • MadMonkey

    You can’t hit the slide release with the strong hand thumb on a USP compact? News to me.

    • Alex @Sea

      +1 It may be a little less reliable on pistols with the slide mounted safety but for my money it beats trying to find the release under pressure.

      • valorius

        Does your slide release move around between magazines or something? How do you find the trigger under pressure?

        • Zachary marrs

          But muh gross motor skills!

          If you can’t hit the slide release, how can you expect to hit the mag release?

          • valorius

            Exactumally!

  • Gary Kirk

    Extended slide release on my 1911, problem solved.. On my 357 Sig converted Beretta, support or strong hand, whichever is more prominent in the situation..

  • mrsatyre

    I didn’t even know this was a thing. I mean, I know this is one way (or five ways, apparently) to reload, versus pulling the slide back, but I didn’t know this was different or interesting enough to warrant an article.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Its not, but it is controversial enough. As you can see everyone in the comments has to say their way is best and everyone else who does it otherwise is going to get murdered. It makes for an article that has a lot of entertaining discussion in the comments section where irrationally loyal fanboys can duke it out and you just grab your preferred beverage and laugh.

  • Hoplopfheil

    Pretty slick shooting, Patrick!

    I prefer the 5th method as well, on guns that are the right size for it. I have pretty big hands but I still can’t reliably hit the slide release on a Beretta 92 (except for my 90-Two w/ the slim backstrap), or a Ruger P94.

    • Gary Kirk

      Try the support hand method, works pretty well.. Not to mention, works with just about all common firearms..

  • Gary Kirk

    Patrick, on a side note, I enjoy Bill’s videos as well. When are you going to try his one handed slide racks? I did, it hurts, but definitely good thing to try. Be prepared for your significant other to be asking questions about bruises..

  • I usually use the thumb of my support hand to work the slide release as part of the motion of pushing forward to re-engage the target, mostly so I can keep the muscle memory separate from my tap/rack/re-assess reflex, because that’s more of a slam/ram/re-asses where I smack the heck out of the magazine, invert the pistol, and get a death grip on the rear of the slide with my support hand while I ram the pistol forward.

  • Brandon Peterson

    How about for lefties?

    • Alex @Sea

      Another thought, If in the heat of the fight (or competition) one may think they have a slide lock from an empty mag when they may have a stovepipe. The overhand method may very well clear a malf.

      • valorius

        Or engage the manual safety inadvertently, like in a recent in range TV episode where Ian repeatedly owns himself.

      • valorius

        Or engage the manual safety inadvertently, like in a recent in range TV episode where Ian repeatedly owns himself by doing what you’re describing.

        • Alex @Sea

          I’m sure your method will work for you. Rock on.

          A

    • valorius

      With most gun designs a lefty can use his trigger finger to hit the slide release lever. It’s very fast.

  • iksnilol

    Uhmmm… are there even 5 ways to reload from slide lock?

    I try to use the slide release due to being more reliable but on some guns with thick I struggle with it (I think I might have somewhat small hands) so I have to use my support hand.

  • Blake

    That inertial slide rack from the Hi-Point video is my fave :-).

  • valorius

    Slide release lever for the win.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    I use the overhand method. It works just fine on all the guns I will ever be likely to shoot. But, nobody else is wrong for doing it different way. Pick one and get pretty good with it and you will be fine.

    Im not saying overhand the fastest or the most reliable, but Im confident that Im less likely to be killed by a slow/fudged overhand reload in a defensive shooting than I am by someone thrown into a fit of tacti-rage when I tell them I reload overhand.

  • Tom

    Interesting, the overhand is most universal but it’s never going to be the fastest, but if you want to train only one motion across different platforms that’s the one to train. It’s clear the slingshot is a bad idea, it’s too hard to quickly get just the right grip on the slide and then move back to support.

    While the strong hand thumb on the slide release was fastest, I don’t think I’d advise trying to time it using the insertion of the magazine to provide the thumb pressure to release the slide as a “one step” motion. To me under stress the possibility of dropping the slide before the mag is 100% home is too great. There’s really nothing lost waiting until the mag is home to hit the slide release as you are re-engaging, maybe a few hundredths of a second lost in target re-acquire as the slide takes slightly longer to end up back in battery.

  • Edeco

    Glorious Powerstroke Master Race. It’s elegant yet deliberate and forceful. It’s like the jungle-cat of ways of priming a handgun. The other ways being comparitively like Boston Terriers.

  • Tom

    Patrick, you’re too hard on yourself about not being good enough for competition shooting. You’re 10x better than most first timers I see out there. Go out and have some fun! Also, the couple of classes I have had with pro shooters emphasize keeping the gun mounted and up in front of your face when doing reloads. They get on my case if I drop it even a little like you do! Oh, and *if* you’re at slide lock in competition you did something wrong with planning, following your plan, or misses (all of which does happen). Loading the gun from empty (like picking it up off a barrel) is more common, but it usually won’t be at slide lock so I generally go overhand.

  • Nicks87

    I think TFB needs to stick to reviews and technical information. There are better resources for this kind of stuff.

  • mazkact

    I know that I am asking for “it” with this. I have three Taurus 24/7 OSS longslide pistols(and no I will not participate in the recall/class action) they all pass every safety test they are put to. the OSS is my second favorite combat sized handgun(currently owned) 1st being CZ 75 and clones thereof. The OSS pistols are easy to inertia release, I found this odd in the beginning but really like it know that I know it is going to happen when I insert the mag hard. My wife has a M&P Shield, I can inertia it but She cannot. My wife loves Her OSS pistol so much She has considered using it for very large purse carry :). I was taught to slingshot so as not to induce unnecessary wear on the slide lock, maybe I was taught wrong, this was long ago and we no longer take flintlocks into battle either.It is fun to think of all the variations of design and manipulations and mechanizations and manual of arms for each of those.My Wife and I have lots of range toys of different flavors but for carry we just use revolvers for the most part or simple DAO pistols, now if we cold just speed load a revolver like JERRY.

  • guest

    Just theoretically… the slide lock/release button can be removed on a Glock alltogether. If the mag is inserted with a firm “slap” two things are achieved – positive mag lock and slide release, and there’s not one human being alive on this Earth who could otherwise manually release the slide faster upon full mag insertion.

  • WPZ

    Patrick, I respectfully suggest that you hie yourself to some USPSA matches. Not only is it the most fun you can have with a handgun, it’s the best proficiency-improver available to almost anyone short of someone who can go to Gunsite every other week.
    Depending on the area you’re in, there should be a USPSA (or even IDPA) match within an hour or so at least two-three Sundays a month; here in Chicagoland, there are about six matches a month available to someone with an I-Pass toll box.
    The pressure of performing will be more motivation that one can generate by just going to the range. Besides, if you are lucky and your matches have Masters and Grand Masters attending, you can see up close how well a pistol can be operated.
    You can go for the sport, you can go for the proficiency improvement, or you can go for both.
    Meanwhile, I use my weak hand thumb to drop my .45’s slide because it’s the fastest, most reliable way. I do practice the other methods for the possibility of an unusual circumstance. One should have all methods available.

  • A.WChuck

    On a CZ75 and CZ75 Compact/PCR the slide stop/release lever can be swapped out for a slightly longer versions from other CZ pistols. SP01 lever for the 75, P01 lever for the Compact/PCR.

  • Joe Liberty

    How bout some mother-flippin sample size???
    Bad science… BOOOO!