Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011


Slide lock reloads, also called emergency reloads, are among the more addictive learn-and-practice skills. A slide lock reload is required when the semiautomatic runs out of ammunition and locks the slide to the rear. The shooter must eject the empty magazine, replace it with a loaded magazine, chamber a round, and carry on with the shooting exercise. This particular reload is conducted with a sense of urgency.

The fun is sparked in the race to see how safely and efficiently, ie. quickly, the shooter can unload, reload and get back on target. When discussing “go fast” drills, remember that safety is paramount and never to be sacrificed for speed. Maintaining mindful and safe muzzle control and trigger finger discipline is fundamental before upping the pace. Be sure to master the technique slowly and gain momentum only when ready. 


  1. Treat ALL guns as if they are loaded.
  2. Keep fingers off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  3. Keep guns pointed in a safe direction at ALL times. (Do not point your gun at anything  you are not willing to destroy)
  4. Keep all guns UNLOADED until ready to shoot.
  5. Always keep your firearms stored unaccessible to unauthorized persons.

Target: 9″ Circle (paper plate) 

Distance: Target set to 7 yards

Scoring: All hits within the circle

Par Time: Record personal bests over multiple training/practice sessions and watch the progress!

Round Count: 50 rounds minimum

Magazines: Minimum of three magazines 

Gear: Shot timers are strongly recommended to validate personal growth.

STEP 1 – Predictable Reloads

In this exercise, we stage the firearm for a shoot-reload-shoot drill. Because we know the reload is coming, this is an opportunity to hone efficiencies in the technique. Try both slide lever release and racking the slide to see if one over the other is more time-efficient. 

Prep Magazines: 1 round in each of two magazines.

Drill: Load & Make Ready. On the shot timers beep, aim and fire one round, perform slide lock reload, and fire the final round within the circle. Record the time of the last shot and score the target. Repeat. 

STEP 2 – Unpredictable Reloads

The actual masterly test of slide lock reloads occurs when it happens randomly. When the reload is unpredictable, the shooter must respond to the gun in real-time instead of just performing a choreographed routine in isolation. For this exercise, we are working with three magazines at a minimum; however, more mags mean more reps and less ability to anticipate when the next reload is coming. 

Prep Magazines: 10 rounds distributed unevenly across three magazines. (Example: Mag #1 is loaded with three rounds, Mag #2 is loaded with five rounds, and Mag #3 is loaded with two rounds.)

Drill: Load & Make Ready. On the shot timers, beep, fire until all magazines are empty, reload when necessary, and keep all hits within the circle. Record the time of the last shot and score the target. Repeat. 

Based on the shooter’s training and range restrictions, these exercises may be run from the bench or the holster. Two fun ways to practice both Predictable and Unpredictable Slide Lock Reloads:

1) Race against yourself – Utilize a shot timer to record and track your progress. You may be surprised how rapidly your overall time lowers with just a few practice sessions!

2) Race against a friend – With the same start command, or beep of the shot timer, you and a friend perform the same drill to see who can complete the task first. Get ready for laughter!