Friendly and Certified Firearms Training for Women Since 2011

Racking Your Pistol Slide

Many women lack the arm and hand strength of men, and this can be very evident when racking a slide. It is not only frustrating for some women, but it can be embarrassing, too. However, knowing the right techniques, women can rack the slides of most guns very easily.

There are three reasons to rack the slide: to load, to unload, and to clear a malfunction. When racking the slide, always keep the gun facing in a safe direction with her finger off of the trigger. Offer these steps:

Grip your pistol and put the palm of your hand onto the side of your slide, and wrap your fingers over like a rainbow. Push with your strong arm at the same time you pull back the slide with your support hand, making an intersection with your arms. When the slide is back, come off the slide like a slingshot to let it close; do not help it or ease it forward. Let it slam.

If you are unable to rack the slide with it at arms’ length in front of you (where many people are weakest), keep your gun pointed in a safe direction, but turn your body into the gun. You can now make the intersection motion with your arms in front of your chest (where you have more strength, like how you open a jar of pickles). Push with your strong hand and pull the slide with your weak hand at the same time to pull it all the way back, making your intersection. Then slingshot your weak hand off the back of the slide and let the slide go.

If you need to lock your slide open, change your grip slightly so you thumb reaches the slide lock lever. Do the intersecting motion with your arms to rack the slide while your thumb pushes up the lever until it catches the slide.

6 Responses

    1. I am an older shooter and this is the most difficult part of shooting. I don’t have the hand strength I use to have so thank you for the description and the demonstration.

  1. Although my hands are strong, they are small. It is hard reach the slide lock lever. So I use the opposite grip and use the thumb on the slide to lock it open. Many of the tips are helpful, but every body is different, so you have to find what works best for you.

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