How do you work the slide?


January 19, 2006, 03:55 PM
Vote please. Is one method agreed upon as the more tactically correct?

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Kramer Krazy
January 19, 2006, 04:16 PM
Looks like I'm the first to vote. Yippie!

Anyway......I usually just use my thumb and the side of my index finger to rack the slide, but how I rack it usually depends on if it is loaded or not, or which gun I'm shooting. If the gun is loaded, I generally grip it with both palms behind the gun, thumb on the right side, and with it pointing down range. Sometimes, though, I will rack it with my hand over the top of the gun with the thumb on the left side of the slide. When it is empty, I usually grip it like I'm getting ready to cross my arms, because I find it easier to operate the slide lock with it slightly turned to my left.

January 19, 2006, 04:37 PM
Option 1 is the "best" tactical method. It's least likely to slip if your hands are wet/bloody, and requires less fine motor skill than the "pinch" method.

The potential downside, is accidental disassembly of the pistol (I did this one time with my P7, cuz I'm lefty), or causing a stovepipe if your hand partially covers the ejection port.

January 19, 2006, 04:42 PM
Hand over the top of the slide is my usual method.

I tried it with my teeth, and the hammer pinched my lip. So I don't do that anymore.


January 19, 2006, 04:48 PM
Hand over the top is what the Army taught me 36 years ago and the habit is now ingrained, although I teach students to use the "slingshot method" (thumb to the strong side), especially for releasing the slide, and more especially on Glocks.

January 19, 2006, 04:53 PM
I hold it in my right hand, rotate it to the left a litt,e and grab the slide with my whole left hand.

January 19, 2006, 05:13 PM
I had to think about it a moment, but it's #1. I suppose I learned that was the "right way" years ago and so I just stuck with it.

For some reason, I only rack the slide with my teeth when I'm firing my "Super-longslide .454 Casull autoloader."

January 20, 2006, 08:26 PM
Azreal245 posted this pic in a similar question I asked......


Black Majik
January 20, 2006, 08:58 PM
Hmm.. i switch between 1 and 2

When I chamber a round I use #1, when the slide is locked back I use #2 to chamber a round.

1911 guy
January 21, 2006, 01:31 PM
I always rack with my left hand, thumb on the right side of the pistol. Same way to load, unload, when doing a TRB, etc. Only exception is when shooting lefty, then I use the same technique with my right hand, thumb to the left.

January 22, 2006, 04:48 PM
I do it two different ways. From the back, left thumb on the strong side to load a round but when clearing a loaded weapon I use the left hand over the slide so I can catch the live round from the chamber in my cupped fingers.

January 22, 2006, 05:06 PM
ditto to bakert

January 22, 2006, 06:30 PM
I use the second option. I find this method easier for clearing jams while keep the gun pointed on target with minimal wrist movement.

January 22, 2006, 11:29 PM
Below is a pic lifted from F&S' "Shooting to Live." That's how I do it.

Funny that this should come up right now. I was at the range/gunstore/gun repair shop the other day and a smith was out in front looking over a gun. He did the #2 over the top as shown in the previous pic posted here. In doing so, he pointed the gun at the middle of his left forearm. :eek: I'd never really thought about different techniques of working the slide and the whys and wheretofores of each, but that struck me as really dumb.:scrutiny:

January 22, 2006, 11:39 PM
I hook my hand overtop of the slide, and sort of press it into the heel of my hand with my four fingers (my thumb ends up pressed tight against the cocking serrations on the 1911, pointing toward the hammer-end). Give it a good yank and let go.

So, basically, I just grab ahold of the top-back of the gun with my whole hand (except sort of a... 180 degree grip, instead of encircling it, y'know).


January 22, 2006, 11:40 PM
When clearing a live round or dealing with a jam its really a good idea not to have any part of your hand covering the ejection port in case you get a rather rare failure where the round goes off because of an extraction/ejection problem. Its rare, but does happen, I think there was a thread about it a while back where the shooter had some injury to his hand when a round detonated while clearing.

Normally I use thumb an a finger or two on the rear of the slide. When clearing a failure I'll put my hand (four fingers and palm) on front of the slide ahead of the ejection port but not in front of the barrel, so I can push the slide lock up with my thumb.

Method one is good if you can keep your hand behind the ejection port. I taught my wife this as you can use the rear sight for extra leverage, but once she didn't get her hand all the way down onto the sight and when her grip slipped, the rear sight gave her a nasty cut.


January 23, 2006, 04:54 AM
Taking a note from "Training Day" I've been known to use the pinch method and catch the round mid-air.

In the police academy, we had to practice racking the slide with our knees. No joke. In the case that we lose the ability to operate on hand/arm. The method was to take a knee (being right handed i would put my right knee on the ground and keep the left knee up so i was already in a firing position), put the gun in the grounded knee, pinch the slide by putting weight on the knee, rack the slide, and fire away. The first couple times I did this were interesting to say the least.... definitely worth practicing. But one this I had to learn the hard way was not to do it with shorts on. It hurts when the slide pinches your skin on it's forward motion. Ouch.

When I'm racking the slide to unload, I cup my left hand over the ejection port and let the round fall back through the magazine well, which my right hand is cupping. The round falls into the cupped hand, never to see the dirty ground.

Finally, when racking the slide to load, I do the "over the slide" method as demonstrated in the military graphic above.

January 23, 2006, 09:18 AM
I always rack with my left hand, thumb on the right side of the pistol. Same way to load, unload, when doing a TRB, etc. Only exception is when shooting lefty, then I use the same technique with my right hand, thumb to the left.

I find it's easier to keep the muzzle downrange.

January 23, 2006, 09:59 AM
20 years ago a rat trap went off on my left thumb it messed up the knuckle and tendons pretty bad to where the thumb kinda flops around if much pressure is put on it.
I have adapted the over the top method to account for this

I reach over the top of the slide with instead of my thumb the heel of my palm on the serrations on the left side and my point and bird fingers on the the right with my palm up at about a 45 degree angle over the ejection port or down across the port if I'm clearing the weapon.

The other method is to turn the gun 90 degrees and grip it with the same two fingers on the left side and the thumb on the right with the gun pinched between the heel of my hand and the bird and index fingers.

The gun is kept at chest level with the muzzle pointed down range and I shove the gun forward instead of pulling the slide

January 23, 2006, 12:37 PM

This is how I always work the slide...on my full size gun. A friend of mine has a Walther p22 and I use the "slingshot" method when racking that slide. I find I cannot fit my wide hand on the back of the slide without covering up the ejection port.
By the way, this site is pretty cool if you've never checked it out.

January 23, 2006, 12:43 PM
Whole hand. Most of the contact is between my palm and the top of the slide. I don't have to worry about slick fingers.

January 23, 2006, 07:20 PM
Depends on the gun sometimes. Some guns like the CZ75b in 40S&W have a fairly strong recoil spring and not much purchase on the slide to grab on to. Others like the Beretta 92fs seem at least to me to be very easy to rack the slide. I have been known to cock the hammer before racking the slide to make it a bit easier to do so. On guns like the Beretta autos with tip up barrels I almost never rack the slide and use the tip up barrel feature only.

January 23, 2006, 08:04 PM
you ever have a handgun fire as the slide closes (hammer follow down) you'll damn well recall that there is ONLY one right way.

Down range down range down range.

That popping to the side pointing the barrel at youyr forearm or guy next to you is an accident waiting to happen.

January 23, 2006, 11:13 PM
Some of us rotate our bodies 90 deg. when it's administrative.

Muzzle stay safey.

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