2. With a blow-back style pistol, is it hard on the gun to use the slide release to release the slide when the chamber is empty? If so, would I be better off pressing the slide release, but then riding the slide back into its locked position?
Do you own a blow-back pistol? The Canik is a locked breech pistol on a modified Browning design.
It won't hurt your pistol to release the slide under recoil spring power. I wouldn't do it a hundred times a day for a year, but every now and then will be OK.