Back to Chapter 1

(Published November 2009)


Racking the Slide:


Note that we're not pulling the slide back, we're shoving the gun forward and holding the slide. You have more power in a punch than a pull. Keep the gun close to your body so you can use more arm and shoulder muscles. Then 100 lb. women can shoot a 1911 from condition 3.

Then fire.

You need to PRACTICE this technique. You're not used to it. To practice it you either need to not put a magazine in the gun for home dry fire practice, or a practice magazine with a dummy round in it. Or practice at the range with one round in the chamber.

Changing Magazines, demonstrated left handed, but the basic techniques work with either hand:

Push the magazine release with your trigger finger. Since I shoot duelist, I had grabbed the fresh magazine while shooting and brought it close to the gun.



Now we insert the magazine in one smooth motion.

Index finger is on the front edge of the magazine to help "point the way"

Line up the magazine and keep pushing. I put the rear edge of the magazine against the rear edge of the mag well.

This is not a separate bump. The hand just keeps pushing up until it seats the magazine firmly.

I see people push the magazine in, then tap the magazine with the heel of their hands. As Jeff Cooper says, this is a VBT. A Very Bad Thing. It adds about 2 seconds to your reload. A good shot to shot reload, using a target the size of an IPSC target at 7 yards, is 1.5 seconds.


Now drop the slide as soon as the magazine is seated

I have been accused of having a gun that is defective, that the slide closes when a magazine is shoved home. This is not true. My trigger finger is on the slide release during reloading, and I release the slide as soon as the magazine is seated.

and fire as soon as the sights are on the target.

A Problem for right handers with smaller hands:

If you have medium to large hands and/or long thumbs, you keep the gun pointed downrange and push the magazine release button with your right thumb. That's what John Moses Browning intended. But if your thumb isn't long enough,...

You're trying to drop the magazine, but reaching the magazine release button is difficult

Colonel Cooper taught you to shift the gun in your hand so you could reach the button. It' one thing to shift like above...

But Col. Cooper wasn't using the 170° rule. People have broken the 170 doing this and received stage DQs. BE VERY CAREFUL!

Releasing the slide release presents even worse problems. It actully needs a longer thumb.

People have shifted the guns in their right hands in order to reach the slide release with their right hands and received match DQs.You may think this was exaggerrated for effect, but I've seen worse.


Use the thumb of your left hand to push the mag release button.You can do this with a magazine in your left hand if you're shooting Traditional. Then insert the magazine.

If you're shooting with two hands, you probably won't have to switch your grip

After you have inserted the magazine (see above), release the slide with your left thumb.


You're ready to fire

Showing Clear at the end of the stage:

Remove the magazine or drop it. If it's in your hand, it's probably not in the gun. DO NOT holster the weapon until you have been cleared.


Hold the gun where the Range Officer can see in the ejection port. Some want the gun pointed up, so they can see that the magazine is out...

Some want it pointed down so they can see in the barrel. Do whatever they want.

Point the gun downrange and angled slightly down and drop the slide.

Now, PULL THE TRIGGER. DO NOT gently lower the hammer. If there's a live round there after all this, we need to know it now. A GOOD RO will make you do it over if you gently lower the hammer. You just cleared it, didn't you?

You do not need to show clear at the unloading table. You are cleared.