Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

March 2024 – Drill of the Month

SLIDE INTO SPEED – Slide Manipulations

SLIDE MANIPULATIONS are this month’s theme and the focus of our Drill of the Month training exercise. There are three methods of chambering a round:

  • Releasing the slide lever with the firing hand thumb
  • Releasing the slide lever with the support hand thumb
  • Racking the slide

Each has its merits and is worth exploring with your favorite semiautomatic handgun. While a shooter may be familiar and well-practiced with one technique, test-driving the others can reveal options they may not have considered, especially if speed is your priority. How do we measure which is yielding the best results? It’s time to incorporate a shot timer into your training regimen!


FIREARM SAFETY RULES

  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.

TIME STUDY 1 – Racking the Slide to chamber the round

TECHNIQUE EXPLAINED: Keeping the gun in a safe direction, finger straight along the frame, insert and seat a magazine with 1 round or snap cap for dry fire practice. Once the magazine is seated, reach over the top of the gun palm against the rear serrations on the firing hand thumb side and fingers on the opposing trigger finger side of the slide. Apply strong grip pressure before pulling back towards the body in a sharp and robust motion. The slide should naturally pull away from the hand and release forward to chamber the round while the racking hand will land near the body. Once the racking motion is complete, build a good two-handed grip on the gun, present, aim, and fire one round. 

SUGGESTED PRACTICE – Warm-up with 10 reps dry fire before shooting live.

DRILL: RACKING THE SLIDE

  • Prep magazine with one round, gun on bench slide locked open.
  • On the shot timer’s beep, load and make ready by racking the slide to chamber the round, aiming and firing at a 5″ circle at 5 yards. 
  • Repeat for five reps and document time. 
  • What is your average time utilizing this method? 
  • (Rep 1 Time x Rep 2 Time x Rep 3 Time x Rep 4 Time x Rep 5 x) / 5 Total Reps = Average Time Utilizing this Technique 

TIME STUDY 2 – Firing hand thumb slide release to chamber the round

TECHNIQUE EXPLAINED: Keeping the gun in a safe direction, finger straight along the frame, insert and seat a magazine with one round or snap cap for dry fire practice. Once the magazine is seated, the firing hand thumb applies downward pressure on the slide lever to release it and chamber the round. The support hand reaches up from the mag well to complete a two-handed grip on the gun. Present, aim, and fire one round.

 *TIP* Prep the firing hand’s thumb on the slide lever in advance of the magazine insertion. As soon as the mag is seated, the thumb is ready to press the lever, saving valuable time!

DRILL: FIRING HAND SLIDE RELEASE

  • Prep magazine with one round, gun on bench slide locked open.
  • On the shot timer’s beep, load and make ready by utilizing firing hand slide release to chamber the round, aiming and firing at a 5″ circle at 5 yards. 
  • Repeat for five reps and document time. 
  • What is your average time utilizing this method? 
  • (Rep 1 Time x Rep 2 Time x Rep 3 Time x Rep 4 Time x Rep 5 x) / 5 Total Reps = Average Time Utilizing this Technique

TIME STUDY 3 – Support hand thumb slide release to chamber the round

TECHNIQUE EXPLAINED: Keeping the gun in a safe direction, finger straight along the frame, insert and seat a magazine with one round or snap cap for dry fire practice. Once the magazine is seated, the support hand thumb reaches upwards to press down on the slide lever, chambering the round. The support hand thumb then folds forward to facilitate a two-handed grip on the gun, present, aim, and fire one round.

*TIP* Keep the firing hand thumb pointed upwards and out of the way of the slide lever, clearing a path for both the support hand thumb to reach it and a natural two-handed grip after that.

DRILL: SUPPORT HAND SLIDE RELEASE

  • Prep magazine with one round, gun on bench slide locked open.
  • On the shot timer’s beep, load and make ready by utilizing support hand slide release to chamber the round, aiming and firing at a 5″ circle at 5 yards. 
  • Repeat for five reps and document time. 
  • What is your average time utilizing this method? 
  • (Rep 1 Time x Rep 2 Time x Rep 3 Time x Rep 4 Time x Rep 5 x) / 5 Total Reps = Average Time Utilizing this Technique