"Press Check" Questions


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Flynt
September 17, 2010, 05:54 PM
I've heard the term "press check," in relation to 1911's and other semi-autos, and if I understand correctly, it means to pull the slide back a little to visually check and see if there's a round in the chamber. I've noticed that classic govt. model 1911's have grooves toward the back of the slide, and I use those to check the chamber. However, I also have a Kimber with grooves near the back and the front of the slide. I understand the front grooves are for press checking, but I don't understand their benefit. If I retract the slide using the front grooves, it seems a lot more awkward, plus my hand and wrist can block the view.

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rcmodel
September 17, 2010, 06:01 PM
Those front grooves were invented by holster makers, so they can sell more new holsters after the front slide grooves tear the linings out of the old holsters.

Seriously, we always did press checks by hooking the thumb in the trigger guard and one finger around the spring tunnel then squeeze.

Yea! I know it's not safe, and so forth, and so on.
But that's the way we did it in Uncle Sam's Army.

Doesn't work with full-length guide rods, and I suspect that is why the front slide serrations became popular.

I notice a recent trend towards doing away with them both lately.
Good riddance to both I say!

rc

Snowdog
September 17, 2010, 06:02 PM
I've seen folks press on the recoil spring plug to press check (which I understand has been done for quite some time), so I guess to each his own. If I need to check the chamber, I simply retract the slide by the rear serrations as you do.

9mmepiphany
September 17, 2010, 06:45 PM
It is interesting how the meanings of terms have changed over time.

The press check is performed as rcmodel described...with the thumb in the trigger guard and the index finger under the barrel, this was one of the early objection to the FLGR

The current training term is chamber check and the most common method taught is to grab the rear of the slide, overhand,...with your hand behind the ejection port...and drawing the slide to the rear just far enough to see a chambered shell.

The front slide serrations are an affection from USPSA competition, where the optic mounts covered the rear serrations. If you choose to use them to check your chamber, you should be grasping them with your hand coming up under the gun in front of the trigger guard, with your thumb on the left side and a couple of fingers on the right (if you are right handed)...this is how you chamber check a Beretta 92/96, grasping the taper of the slide

John Wayne
September 17, 2010, 06:53 PM
If you are clearing the chamber of a gun, front cocking serrations allow you to turn the gun over and have your palm over the ejection port so that the ejected round falls into your hand and not the dirt.

Vern Humphrey
September 17, 2010, 06:53 PM
I also have a Kimber with grooves near the back and the front of the slide. I understand the front grooves are for press checking, but I don't understand their benefit.
Front grooves are an abomination unto the Lord. And yes, they were invented by holster makers to wear out holsters faster.

You're doing the press check correctly -- no front grooves needed.

John Wayne
September 17, 2010, 07:17 PM
Not to get sidetracked...but what was the point of sticking your thumb in the trigger guard and checking the gun that way? That seems about as safe as pulling the trigger to see it it's loaded.

possum
September 17, 2010, 07:47 PM
i trap the front of the slide (no matter if there are serrations there or not) with my hand and pull back enough so i can look into the chamber in lighted conditons as well as enough so that i can feel the round in the chamber with my finger. visual and tactile in all scenarios and you stay consistant no matter what the sittuation is.

The Lone Haranguer
September 17, 2010, 08:00 PM
A "press check" involves retracting the slide just enough to see a hint of chambered round - not so far as to start to eject it - to verify that you loaded the chamber. It is not to be used to verify that the chamber is empty - this is a different situation entirely. You can do this by coming up under the front of the slide with your support hand and using your fingers in a pinching motion to push the slide back a little bit, and some gun makers provide serrations on the slide to help with this. On 1911s without a full length recoil spring guide, you can hook your thumb inside the front of the trigger guard, your index finger on the front of the slide at the recoil spring plug, and pinch them together to retract the slide. I offer these for reference purposes only, as I do not personally recommend them due to having your fingers near the muzzle. What I prefer to do is hook my thumb under the grip "tang" under the rear of the slide, put my first three fingers on top of the slide behind the ejection port, and squeeze the slide to the rear.

Red Cent
September 17, 2010, 08:02 PM
You mean you guys don't pay attention to Steven Seagall??!! Or is that Segall?

bigfatdave
September 17, 2010, 08:04 PM
The front grooves are just another "custom" feature added to jack up the price of guns ... perhaps the scope-mount origin is correct but it has become a useless add-on. In theory, one could grasp the front serrations from underneath and get a peek into the chamber, but you can do that with a non-serrated front end, too.

There's nothing wrong with verifying that the feed boss picked another round out of the magazine, but I see no reason to develop a special method to do so, just grasp the slide as normal (I prefer overhand) and take a look.

On another note, this is a reason I like the "peek slot" type loaded chamber indicators. So long as it doesn't add useless mechanical parts to the gun I'll take an LCI if it is offered. Since guns in my household (should) exist in two states; "loaded on purpose, leave in holster" and "should be cleared, verify each time" the peek slots are nice for verifying a loaded condition, although I'll never trust anything but an eyeball and/or finger into the chamber to verify unloaded.

The Lone Haranguer
September 17, 2010, 08:15 PM
You mean you guys don't pay attention to Steven Seagall??!! Or is that Segall?
Seagal. And no, I don't pay attention to him, at least not where my fingers possibly getting shot off are concerned.

Snowdog
September 17, 2010, 08:42 PM
Not to get sidetracked...but what was the point of sticking your thumb in the trigger guard and checking the gun that way? That seems about as safe as pulling the trigger to see it it's loaded.

This is the way I've seen it done (which again isn't what I do). The slide is "squeezed" slightly rearward as the thumb is hooked in the front of the trigger guard and the index finger is pressed against the recoil spring plug. I've also seen the index finger hooked into the inside of the trigger guard and the thumb on the spring plug, but I'd imagine this would also allow a careless person to have the muzzle pointing in their general direction during this process.

I have had an absent minded shooting buddy try to press check my Kimber Classic custom in this manner, which of course doesn't work. Though my RIA can be checked this way, I still have no desire to change what I do.

John Wayne
September 17, 2010, 09:03 PM
This is the way I've seen it done (which again isn't what I do). The slide is "squeezed" slightly rearward as the thumb is hooked in the front of the trigger guard and the index finger is pressed against the recoil spring plug. I've also seen the index finger hooked into the inside of the trigger guard and the thumb on the spring plug, but I'd imagine this would also allow a careless person to have the muzzle pointing in their general direction during this process.

I mean, I understand how it works...but why would you ever do it in this manner, as opposed to retracting the slide while actually in control of the gun?

Snowdog
September 17, 2010, 09:24 PM
John, I don't know. I've had 1911s for years and never saw a problem with retracting the slide as you mention; I absolutely agree with you there.

CapnMac
September 17, 2010, 09:56 PM
I've seen the left thumb and finger-press on recoil plug. Even tried it a time or two (on a verified empty chamber). The way I was taught, was (trigger finger on end of slide-stop pin, naturally) left palm across top of front of slide so your thumb points back at you. Then, reach the thumb over to the upper front edge of the trigger guard. The length of a person's thumb will define the correct leverage point. Then, use the thumb and palm to pull the slide back the quarter-inch or so to see brass or not.

This is done with the right elbow tucked in close and high, putting the muzzle pointed down somewhere between 10 and 11 o'clock. Recall that this is a very short stroke, and the weapon is out-of-battery 'safe' (not that is worth that much, but is still the case).

Real issue about a press-check is that you are making a big change in focus. And, you only have one hand in a shooting grip. The contra-argument usually offered is the palm-down press-check is the same one used for stovepipe clearance, and some TRB.

Dunno from that. You likely can get the slide movement using your cover, door edge, window frame, whatever, should you suddenly forget if the chamber is empty or not.

9mmepiphany
September 17, 2010, 10:14 PM
I mean, I understand how it works...but why would you ever do it in this manner, as opposed to retracting the slide while actually in control of the gun?
that's the way Jeff Cooper demonstrated it in his books and how it was taught at Cooper's school in AZ Gunsite...it was all part of the Modern Technique

AK103K
September 17, 2010, 10:15 PM
Not to get sidetracked...but what was the point of sticking your thumb in the trigger guard and checking the gun that way? That seems about as safe as pulling the trigger to see it it's loaded.
If you drop your hand holding the gun just slightly, so the grip safety is disengaged, and assuming its working properly (you'd be surprised at how many dont), your chances of the gun going off are pretty slim. This is how I always did, and do, press check mine.

9mmepiphany
September 17, 2010, 10:17 PM
You mean you guys don't pay attention to Steven Seagall??!! Or is that Segall?
The image I usually get is Pacino in Heat

FLAvalanche
September 17, 2010, 10:43 PM
Seriously, we always did press checks by hooking the thumb in the trigger guard and one finger around the spring tunnel then squeeze.


Thank you rcmodel for finally finding a negative for the FLGR inadvertantly.

MrIzhevsk
September 17, 2010, 10:48 PM
The way I press check is by wrapping my thumb under the beaver tail of my handgun and wrapping the rest of my fingers over the top of the slide and "squeezing" slightly till I can see if I'm loaded. I find this works pretty well if you are precarious of putting your thumb inside the trigger guard.

ET
September 17, 2010, 11:17 PM
I've started press checking my semi's with my off hand by placing my thumb behind the grip at the beaver tail. My fingers are over the slide and I simply close my grip. It opens the slide enough to see/feel the chamber for a round. It is the same action that I use to pull the slide back enough to unlock the slide on a Glock or Sigma to field strip it. Yes, it isn't aimed at a potential target ready to fire, but it is the quickest, most secure way I have found to press check. Hey, I was never a grunt.

...Crap, I didn't read all of the posts on this thread before I decided to post and now realize that I just said the same thing as the post above...sorry.:o

Shawn Dodson
September 17, 2010, 11:21 PM
I refer to it as a battle readiness check. I grasp the slide with my support hand using the overhand method and retract the slide until I can insert the tip of my pinky finger (support hand) into the ejection port to feel for a chambered cartridge. If I feel a cartridge I remove my finger and release the slide. If necessary I perform a palm strike to the rear of the slide to drive it into battery.

If I don't feel a chambered cartridge I remove my finger from the ejection port and energetically roll the pistol in the direction of the ejection port & rack the slide, and perform my battle readiness check again.

I prefer to use tactile (by feel) methods over visual methods. Tactile techniques work in low or no light conditions.

GLOOB
September 17, 2010, 11:39 PM
If I retract the slide using the front grooves, it seems a lot more awkward, plus my hand and wrist can block the view.
Because you are doing it wrong? I can't see how you would block your view, unless you were left handed. In that case, you could do it like 9mmEpiphany suggested. Palm underneath the gun.

But as a righty, I find that gripping the front corner of the slide from the top gives the BEST possible view. The way I most commonly do it, is to turn my grip "gansta," ejection port facing up. Then I pinch the front of the slide from the top, between thumb the index finger knuckle. I push back with just a little pressure. Just enough to where I can use my right trigger finger to crack the action open by pulling back against the side of the slide. This gives a great view with minimal change to muzzle direction and no change to shooting grip.

rcmodel
September 19, 2010, 05:48 PM
The really funny thing is, you can press check till the cows come home.

But all it really proves is there is a case in the chamber, but not necessarily a loaded case.

rc

GLOOB
September 19, 2010, 05:54 PM
Well, even if you check to see if the case has a bullet in it, you still can't be sure there is powder in it! :) At some point you have to just take it on faith. It would take a rare combination of dumb luck, carelessness, and obliviousness for an empty case to get into your gun without you noticing.

rcmodel
September 19, 2010, 05:59 PM
combination of dumb luck, carelessness, and obliviousness
Or a broken extractor.

BTDT

rc

Zerodefect
September 19, 2010, 06:35 PM
I press check 1911's and other long slide pistols by grabbing thier nose overhand and pulling:
http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss290/zerodefect2533/DSC01572.jpg DW V SS 5"


Thats what the forward serrations are for:
http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss290/zerodefect2533/DSC01573.jpg K CDP Custom 5"

Not really needed, but I like the look of Kimbers front serrations, nobody elses, especially Baers.:barf:


On smaller guns you can press check the same way if you push on the top of the slide hard, full length dust covers get in the way, so you can do it like this:
http://i584.photobucket.com/albums/ss290/zerodefect2533/DSC01574.jpg G23


But still I prefere using a similar method to the 1911 even on short Glocks, you just can't grab all the way around and need to push harder. it's a skill that needs practice. Obviously my grip in the pics is off a bit as i'm holding the gun at a horrible angle for pics.

We incorporate press checks into some of out run&gun senerios, it's good to know you have one in the pipe before leaving cover and aggressivly moving forward.

GLOOB
September 19, 2010, 07:04 PM
combination of dumb luck, carelessness, and obliviousness
Or a broken extractor.

BTDT

BTDT, as in you press checked, thought you were good to go and reholstered? And then when the time came and you pulled the trigger you got a click because there was an empty case in there?

Or BTDT, meaning you had a broken extractor once. And NOT being a careless oblivious vegetable, you realized something was wrong. As in the gun unsuccessfully tried to doublefeed, leaving the action jammed open, so you thought just maybe something was off? Or if it happened to malfunction on the last round of the mag on a gun with no slide lock AND you actually happened to have done a random press check at that point, you might have seen the broken extractor jump the rim on an empty, fire-formed, stuck case?

If there's a reasonable explanation for option 1, then I'd like to hear it! Otherwise, we're back to dumb luck combined with carelessness.

1858
September 19, 2010, 08:21 PM
However, I also have a Kimber with grooves near the back and the front of the slide. I understand the front grooves are for press checking, but I don't understand their benefit.

What model of Kimber do you have? My Kimber TEII has a LOADED CHAMBER INDICATOR PORT shown below. The first photo shows that the chamber is empty. The second photo shows that there is a round in the chamber ... a snap cap in this example ... so rcmodel makes a good point about the importance of knowing what is in the chamber. Kimbers with external extractors use the extractor as a loaded chamber indicator (see page 10/11 of the Kimber manual HERE (http://www.kimberamerica.com/downloads/manuals/1911Fullsize45.pdf)).

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/pistols/kimber/photos/chamber_2.jpg

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/pistols/kimber/photos/chamber_1.jpg

:)

Zerodefect
September 19, 2010, 09:15 PM
Top pick is a Dan Wesson Valor 5" and the middle is a Kimber CDP 5".

The port and external extractors, even edgey glock extractors, are tough to use under pressure. Both work if you have time, but won't during any kind of "situation". So I train to use a 1911 style press check with my support hand over the front of the slide.

1858
September 19, 2010, 09:46 PM
Both work if you have time, but won't during any kind of "situation". So I train to use a 1911 style press check with my support hand over the front of the slide.

Since I assume that most people carry 1911s in Condition 1, I find the easiest method under most conditions is as follows:

With my trigger finger straight and on the slide below the ejection port, I take the safety off with my thumb, grab the rear of the slide with my left hand (thumb on the right side of the slide) and with pressure on the slide with my trigger finger to control rearward movement, I move the slide back 1/2" or so. Fast, comfortable, safe ... works for me.

:)

bigfatdave
September 20, 2010, 02:54 AM
It just occurred to me that much like the overhand slide-racking method, an overhand method to peek at the chamber for brass would also work on just about every autoloader ever made.

All these model-specific methods are great, but why not use something simple that works with everything?

easyg
September 20, 2010, 10:17 AM
Once I chamber a round, my pistol does not leave my sight.
And I never carry without a round chambered.

So I really don't see the need to press-check.
It sounds a little too OCD in my opinion. :D:D

9mmepiphany
September 20, 2010, 04:11 PM
Just a devil's advocate question, How do you know the round chambered and the slide didn't just ride over the top round in the mag?

easyg
September 20, 2010, 04:43 PM
Just a devil's advocate question, How do you know the round chambered and the slide didn't just ride over the top round in the mag?
It's real obvious when you remove the magazine to "top it off" after chamber the round. ;)


And for those OCD types plenty of pistols these days have some form of "loaded chamber indicator" (Glock, XD's, S&W M&P's, etc...)

wally
September 20, 2010, 07:14 PM
Quote:
Just a devil's advocate question, How do you know the round chambered and the slide didn't just ride over the top round in the mag?
It's real obvious when you remove the magazine to "top it off" after chamber the round.

Beat me to it. I've never felt the need to do a press check. At the range where I pretty much never top off unless shooting my carry gun, if the top round doesn't feed because the mag isn't seated properly I just do tap-rack-bang! after the click.

Dr.Rob
September 20, 2010, 07:26 PM
Zero defect your front sight is missing on that Kimber. ;)

I never liked the term 'press check.' 'Army way' or not, it puts your fingers in danger and violates one of the 4 rules.

I always check the chamber before holstering, But I can usually 'feel' if it hasn't chambered a round by friction of the slide going forward. I use the rear serrations, point it down range or 45 dgrees to the floor and look.

Shawn Dodson
September 20, 2010, 07:31 PM
I usually remove my handgun from the holster and put it directly in my gun safe. I don't bother to unload it because there's no need for me to do so. When I jock up for CCW I perform a quick battle readiness check before I holster it.

When I unload my pistol the chambered cartridge becomes training ammo (to guard against bullet setback caused by repeated chambering). The next time load the pistol I simply chamber the next cartridge in the magazine, perform a battle readiness check, top off the magazine with a fresh cartridge, and drive on. Yes, there's redundancy (battle readiness check AND topping off the magazine) but that's the way I prefer to do it. They are positive measures to ensure that I know the pistol is indeed ready. I leave little to chance.

Zerodefect
September 20, 2010, 08:05 PM
Once I chamber a round, my pistol does not leave my sight.
And I never carry without a round chambered.

So I really don't see the need to press-check.
It sounds a little too OCD in my opinion. :D:D

True, it is OCD usually.

But it is a consistancy of training issue. The more I press check the more natural it becomes.

The real reason for press checking is after fireing off some rounds ducking behind cover. Deciding to make a run for it, either away from the threat, or towards to protect someone.

Chamber checking before you make that move. Because once you move you'll have all thier attention and very little time to act.

So you'll see me chamber check sometimes, sometimes with a tac reload, from behind cover during a run&gun comp/training, before moveing to the next spot.

It's just a consistancy and training thing most of the time. For example I never just load my CCW and spare mags. I turn that loading time into a quick practice to get my mindset right, and to burn in the seriousness of my decision to carry.

Loading my CCW goes like this:
-Draw, point, aim, relax.
-Load mag from my mag pouch just like a speed reload.
-chamber check
-hammer punch back of slide to make sure it's in battery
-safety on, reholster.

-load another mag and put it in my mag pouch

Just a weird thing I do, but press checking which felt weird a couple years ago is perfectly natural now.

As if it ain't obvious, I copy alot of technique and mindset from these guys:
http://www.bravocompanyusa.com/Magpul-Dynamics-Dynamic-Handgun-dvd-p/magpul%20dvd%20dyn%20004.htm

I haven't been topping off my mag unless it's a capacity challenged 1911. I like haveing a place to stick that round should I need to set the gun down in my room at a hotel or something with an empty chamber. I travel too much.

bigfatdave
September 21, 2010, 02:10 AM
Just a devil's advocate question, How do you know the round chambered and the slide didn't just ride over the top round in the mag?

The inability to top off the magazine is a dead giveaway.

qwertice
September 21, 2010, 02:10 AM
1. Insert magazine and manipulate to load firearm.
2. Remove magazine and grasp front quarter of slide with non-master hand thumb and index finger, from under the firearm. Retract slide to verify cartridge is chambered, return firearm to battery.
3. Top off magazine and re-insert. Verify magazine is seated by giving base a firm tug.
4. Visually and physically inspect extractor to ensure it has a firm hold of loaded cartridge.
5. Apply safety (if any) and holster.
6. Get on with it.

GLOOB
September 21, 2010, 02:12 AM
I never liked the term 'press check.' 'Army way' or not, it puts your fingers in danger and violates one of the 4 rules.
Which rule does it violate?

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