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Thread: Slide release or Rack it?

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    Corporal PeteSkids's Avatar
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    Default Slide release or Rack it?

    I only looked real quick, but didn't come across any threads that asked this question. If there is one, kindly disregard and please point me to the proper thread.

    I have a family member that posted this on his facebook page. I thought it made for a good talking point. So, do you use the slide release or do you just rack the slide when reloading? In my limited time with pistols (still waiting on my permit) I've found that I like to use the slide lock, but will always rack it when reloading in a hurry. My thinking is, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. How about you?

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    General dsdmmat's Avatar
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    Rack it the slide release does not have the slide in the full rearward position therefore some of the spring energy will not be applied when you drop the slide from the slide lock position. Which may cause a failure to feed or go into battery malfunction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsdmmat View Post
    Rack it the slide release does not have the slide in the full rearward position therefore some of the spring energy will not be applied when you drop the slide from the slide lock position. Which may cause a failure to feed or go into battery malfunction.
    Some gun manufacturers recommend using the slide release as the guns are designed that way.
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    General dsdmmat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sthomas View Post
    Some gun manufacturers recommend using the slide release as the guns are designed that way.
    Well I just won't own any guns from those manufacturers. There is no harm done by racking the slide.
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    Captain tripwirez's Avatar
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    Generally, its taught all over the place to use the slide. Using the release requires fine motor skills that most people lose under extreme stress.... I.E. a shooting situation.

    Me personally...my thumbs can't reach the slide release on many guns anyways, I have small hands.

    Not doubtimg what you're saying StThomas but off hand do you know which mfg's recommend using the release?
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    Administrator hexidismal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsdmmat View Post
    Well I just won't own any guns from those manufacturers. There is no harm done by racking the slide.
    Well, I'm not sure about that. It definitely depends on the gun and exactly what you're practicing to do with it. Now don't get me wrong, I know what you're saying about spring pressure and you're right in some cases it could lead to an into battery failure (especially with some guns and hollowpoints for example). However, not only is it true what Sthomas says about certain guns being designed to use the slide release, but it's certainly possible to cause a similar malfunction by user error when racking the slide. 1: The slide can get caught on return by something and slow its forward movement. Could be a hand not moved fast enough, or a sleeve (I've seen it happen): 2: Especially if you're shooting a gun with tight recoil springs (or a very small slide like my beloved CZs) racking could mean a lot more fumbling than letting the gun handle that mechanical stress by releasing the stop). 3: Racking the slide potentially pulls you off target and covers your view of the front sight. This is fine at the range, but I was trained that when milliseconds might count that you don't take your eyes off the front sight or cover your target from view. If my intent is to reload fast, I'll drop a mag and try to keep my gun hand and front site following the target. Not only is it potentially covering your view, but racking also is a lot of extra movement in that kind of situation. I find it a far more natural movement to put a mag home with my off hand and follow the motion directly continuing upwards into support position. The slide is dropped by the stop as soon as my thumbs are matched up and the gun's point of aim has had extremely minimal movement and stayed tracking the target.

    Again though , it also depends on the gun because there are some I would not do with with due to the design of the slide stop (at least in stock form , which is why I like oversized or extended slide stops)

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    General dsdmmat's Avatar
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    Hex I have always been taught to rack the slide. 30 years with the Army and 15 years under my Father's teaching. I have dropped the slide with the slide stop and received a stern lecture because of it.
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    slide lock's on most models are set up for right handed shooters, as a lefty i've found it's much easier to rack the slide than trying to manipulate a slide lock with my trigger finger, not to mention having to shift my grip on the gun to do so

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    Administrator hexidismal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripwirez View Post
    Generally, its taught all over the place to use the slide. Using the release requires fine motor skills that most people lose under extreme stress.... I.E. a shooting situation.
    This is of course true what you say , that slide racking is generally what is taught out there. I have mixed feelings on the whole "extreme stress" thing though and in some ways I think this is a limitation people might be almost convinced into or put on themselves. It's the same reasoning for the popularity of long DAO triggers that every company is putting out in recent years , and I personally feel that a shooter should not limit themselves by the capabilities of the gun but rather train themselves into trusting their own abilities and control. Maybe that sounds like 'armchair warrior' talk, but I don't intend it that way and I do have some personal experience in these matters of functioning under stress. I really do believe though that the mindset behind the reasoning of getting a product that protects someone from themselves, while possibly putting themselves at a disadvantage for that added saftey, is in a way a defeatist one. I feel like if you don't trust yourself implicitly with your tool, you probably wont perform with it to the best of your ability.

    It sounds strange maybe, but I think ego is a huge part of success vs. fail. This applies to alot of things, shooting just one of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripwirez View Post
    Me personally...my thumbs can't reach the slide release on many guns anyways, I have small hands.
    Exact opposite for me. Huge hands with super long monkey-like thumbs. That might have something to do with my preference.

    Quote Originally Posted by tripwirez View Post
    Not doubtimg what you're saying StThomas but off hand do you know which mfg's recommend using the release?
    I'm not sure off hand what manufacturers suggest this but.. StThomas ! hehe . Sir, that man is no saint ! (just kidding ST)

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    General dsdmmat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwood View Post
    slide lock's on most models are set up for right handed shooters, as a lefty i've found it's much easier to rack the slide than trying to manipulate a slide lock with my trigger finger, not to mention having to shift my grip on the gun to do so
    Yeah most auto loaders are not set up for us south paws.
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    Administrator hexidismal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsdmmat View Post
    Hex I have always been taught to rack the slide. 30 years with the Army and 15 years under my Father's teaching. I have dropped the slide with the slide stop and received a stern lecture because of it.
    Well, the most important thing of all is obviously to do the right thing that works for you. If you're trained and proficient a certain way, no reason to change it. My point was only that there isn't really a 'right' answer that applies to everyone. Each method has it's potential advantages and faults.
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    General dsdmmat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hexidismal View Post
    Well, the most important thing of all is obviously to do the right thing that works for you. If you're trained and proficient a certain way, no reason to change it. My point was only that there isn't really a 'right' answer that applies to everyone. Each method has it's potential advantages and faults.
    This is true, the question posed is much like the AR vAK or 9mm v 45 ACP. Fun discussions to heated arguments that in the end were meaningless.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tripwirez View Post
    Generally, its taught all over the place to use the slide. Using the release requires fine motor skills that most people lose under extreme stress.... I.E. a shooting situation.

    Me personally...my thumbs can't reach the slide release on many guns anyways, I have small hands.

    Not doubtimg what you're saying StThomas but off hand do you know which mfg's recommend using the release?

    Kahr is the only one I know for sure that recommends using the slide release instead of racking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hexidismal View Post
    I'm not sure off hand what manufacturers suggest this but.. StThomas ! hehe . Sir, that man is no saint ! (just kidding ST)
    :-) That I'm not but I'm mercifully covered by God's grace.
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    Definitely what works for one may not work for the next. Muscle memory will usually kick in and most will revert to how they were trained.
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  16. #16
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    My carry pistols drop the slide automatically when a full magazine is inserted with haste. For partial magazines I use the slide release.
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    I do both but I'm trying to get away from using the slide lock release. On my glock 34 it has a extended release and it is very comfortable and fast for me to just use my thumb while the pistol is canted, right after inserting the new mag. I've practiced reloading hundreds and hundreds of times with this. Now, the other day I decided I wanted to start shooting in the CDP class also in IDPA. So I broke out the Kimber custom and started practicing reloading with it. Using the same method as with the G 34, this didn't work so good. I was fumbling around trying to locate the release time after time. It was very inconsistent and awkward for me. I started using the front of the slide to pull back to release the slide lock and then it started to come together. Now I just need to train with the same method on both guns.

    Just my opinion....
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    I was taught to and always do slingshot the slide and I tend to agree with the fine motor control thing. I will say though that when my wife reloads her Shield she often has a problem like Hex brought up. If she's not careful to slingshot the snot out of it, something she has trouble with being a weaker handed person, it will not fully go into battery when the slide comes home. I've taught her to always tap the back of the slide to ensure it's fully in battery when she reloads. She also no longer carries that gun for that reason.

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    Les
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    I'm a rack the slide guy. I've always been that way and I don't even think about using the slide stop. It's the way I started and have always been taught so it's a non-issue for me. Racking the slide is as normal to me as inserting a magazine, I don't think about it, I just do it. When I start a new shooter off I teach them to rack the slide. Slide stops are small and if you have any foreign substance on your hand they will be quite slippery. All this is just my opinion.
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    I have only one argument for using the slide release.
    too often I've seen people "rack" the slide by pulling it back then easing it into battery. Too often this gentle approach leaves the firearm in a state where it will not function properly (my P95 is susceptible to this).
    As was told to me, if you rack it, pull the slide back then let it go. Let the firearm do what it was designed to do, and it will function properly.


    Remember, that slide is slamming back and forth far more violently when the round goes off than anything YOU can do to it.


    Otherwise, I've heard and read that using the slide lock all the time, at least on large caliber semis, will eventually wear down the lock to where it may not function properly. I've not seen this personally.
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    As a lefty I tend to rack the slide. One of the advantages of racking is its always the same. Different manufacturers have slightly different release set-ups/positions, but the slide is in the same location.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tripwirez View Post
    Generally, its taught all over the place to use the slide. Using the release requires fine motor skills that most people lose under extreme stress.... I.E. a shooting situation.

    Me personally...my thumbs can't reach the slide release on many guns anyways, I have small hands.

    Not doubtimg what you're saying StThomas but off hand do you know which mfg's recommend using the release?
    that pretty much sums it up... its gross motor skills vs fine motor skills, practice how you would need to react in a stress situation to create that muscle memory so you react on instinct without slowing it down with the thought process.

    I never use the slide stop, I always rack it.
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    I didn't see it mentioned but slide releases aren't all in the same place as each other.
    All slides are in the same place and function the same way. So you can pick up a semiauto that you've never shot before and run it as if it was your own if you train racking the slide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darkhunter64 View Post
    As a lefty I tend to rack the slide. One of the advantages of racking is its always the same. Different manufacturers have slightly different release set-ups/positions, but the slide is in the same location.
    excellent reason to rack the slide. All guns work this way and no need to try and look or feel where the release might be or if it is stiff and hard to release. KISS works for me.

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    I always rack. All of my autos call it a slide stop or lock, not a release, so I only fumble around with the tiny lever when I open the slide. It's always tap-rack for me, both for loading and clearing a malfunction.
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