Tactical Tip Of The Week
Grand Master Louis M. Chiodo
Welcome back to those who have been reading the “Tactical Tip Of The Week”. For those who are new to these postings, you can find the previous postings in my website, www.gunfightersltd.com or in my Face Book page, Gunfighters Ltd. Combat Shooting Methods Inc. I sincerely hope you can benefit from the information in these postings.
Over the past couple of days, I have read some postings that have been dealing with the topic of “reloading” our semi-automatic handguns. This topic comes up periodically and there are many views and opinions about it. The ONLY thing I intend to do is pass on a few thoughts about this topic and YOU can decide how you want to handle it.
As with many topics in firearms related training, various terminology is used and from time-to-time change. Here are a few of these terms:
- “Speed reloading”
- “Emergency reloading”
- “Tactical reloading”
- “Administrative reloading”
My advice – get rid of them all and replace them with “loading and reloading”.
Ok, why replace them? If you use a semi-automatic handgun, one of the first things you learn to do is safely load and unload it. The process of loading or reloading the semi-automatic handgun doesn’t change – the circumstances that lead you to load or reload it can vary but the “mechanics” of loading it are the same. Here are two conditions your semi-automatic handgun will be in if you need to load or reload it:
- The handgun’s slide will be in battery – slide forward
- The handgun’s slide will be out of battery and locked to the rear
In either case, the loading process requires a fresh magazine to be placed into the handgun and if the slide is forward, rack it to the rear and release it or if the slide is out of battery then either use the slide to rack it forward or use the slide release to move the slide forward. THAT’S IT!!
Now, regardless of WHY you have to use either of those two ways to get a round in the chamber, the process is the same. Don’t make it more complicated than it has to be. From my past writings remember the guiding statement to training – “Our goal is to perfect simplicity”.
After years of study by many people, there has been no evidence to show that the speed of reloading has determined the outcome of gunfights in the law enforcement or civilian community. Fractions of a second may have something to do with outcome in the competitive shooting community, but in combat, it just hasn’t had any impact. What DOES have impact is putting bullets into the person trying to stamp out your life or those around you.
In training, simply focus on developing smoothness of reloading every time you go through the process of reloading your handgun and you will develop the necessary skill when needed in a real incident.
One thing you can do to help improve your ability to smoothly accomplish a reload is to analyze the positioning of your spare magazine(s) to determine how accessible it is and how smoothly you can clear your clothing or its carry pouch. Each person’s requirements may vary due to concealment issues or if in active law enforcement that allows open carry of the magazines. The issue of accessibility can be far more important than merely how fast you can do a magazine change under ideal conditions.
In order to accomplish a reload, you have to have a spare magazine!! First, if you are carrying a semi-auto handgun, you NEED to carry a spare magazine. Why?? You may need the ammunition to stay in the fight. Another important reason is because many stoppages are due to a magazine issue. As part of stoppage clearing procedures, if you replace a defective magazine into your pistol after clearing the stoppage, you have just wasted time and possibly your life. Since we have no time to determine if the magazine that was removed as part of the stoppage clearing procedure is either good or defective, simply reload with the spare magazine and don’t risk having further problems.
It all boils down to knowing the simple process of loading and unloading your semi-auto handgun. Please don’t get sidetracked into unproductive thoughts and training. Keep everything as simple as possible and spend time training to put bullets on target.
This is not a “how to” article about loading your handgun. It is all about keeping the simple process of loading and unloading the handgun in perspective.
Train hard and be safe.
Louis M. Chiodo