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Old January 20, 2005, 01:26 AM   #1
JamesD
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Reload and not lose Mags

When firing an auto, what are some methods to practice quickly reloading without losing or damaging the magazine(s) you drop? In winter, there's often several inches of fresh snow on the ground at the range where I fire, and in the summer, I'd worry about damaging my magazines by stepping on them or dropping them on something hard.

I've considered tying off the first magazine (I'm only using two mags right now), probably to my arm, elbow or above. That way, there's quite a bit of slack, and a magazine swinging from my wrist won't interfere with reloading. The cord would be affixed to the magazine with the force with binds the universe together (AKA duct tape).

Any other ideas?

Last edited by JamesD; January 20, 2005 at 02:49 AM.
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Old January 20, 2005, 03:21 AM   #2
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Yes; just pick pick up some old ratty ragged thick blankets from a thrift store (if you don't happen to have some lying around in the attic - or on yer' bed ). Depending on the size, you can fold one a couple of times into about a four or five foot square and simply throw it on the ground beforre you drill. Don't throw it away, hang it up to dry if needed, roll it up and keep it for next time.

You can get mags with bumper pads on them - or put padding on them yourself too. But a cleanish soft surface is better of you are shooting in a static point. In addition to preventing scratches and dings, this keeps soil and grit from getting into them as well.
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Old January 20, 2005, 05:48 AM   #3
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That's a pretty good idea... the way we're planning to do these drills, we're moving around, but it shouldn't be too hard to wind up over a convenient surface, like a blanket, when it comes time to reload.
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Old January 20, 2005, 07:27 AM   #4
Jeff22
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tactical reload or reload with retention

Pick up just about any of the good instruction manuals about combat shooting written in the last 15 or 20 years and they will contain photos and written descriptions of how to perform a tactical reload. It's a useful secondary skill to know and would solve your problems with dropping mags into the snow.

Basically, to perform a tactical reload you access your spare magazine, holding it in your fingers. Drop the empty or partially expended magazine into the palm of your support hand and insert the fresh magazine with the fingers of your support hand, and then place the empty or partially expended magazine into your pocket. You have just recharged your gun without dropping a magazine on the ground.

A reload with retention involves ejecting the empty or partially expended magazine into your support hand, putting that magazine into your pocket, and then reloading with your spare magazine out of your magazine holder.
If you have small hands and wide magazines, this might be the better option.

I probably haven't explained the procedure very well. It's easier to do than it is to read about! In real life, these reloads would only be performed behind cover, usually after the initial exchange of shots and when you have "broke contact" and retreated to cover to continue the fight.

If you want to practice the "emergency" or "reactive" reload where you eject the magazine from the gun and then reload, like the previous post said, placing an old blanket or something on the ground works pretty well. It's not a bad idea to protect your magazines from damage when conducting stationary shooting drills anyway -- dropping them on a hard surface is hard on the floor plates and the magazine lips, and dropping them in mud or snow or sand may render them unusable without cleaning.
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Old January 20, 2005, 08:42 AM   #5
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I bought three magazines (those 10-shot mags are likely to get real cheap soon!) that I reserve for practice. I do not practice with my carry mags and I do not carry with my practice mags. This way I can drop them wherever I am practicing (e.g., moving around where a blanket wouldn't be practical) and I can even practice tactical reloads. But I wouldn't want to practice ONLY tactical reloads. Practice-only mags are a great way to go, and the 10-rounders let you run out faster so you can practice more reloads!
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Old January 20, 2005, 10:57 AM   #6
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Whatever method you use, be consistent! My personal recommendation would be to pull out your fresh magazine first; then, drop the used magazine into your palm and retain it in any of the ways described above. (Or just drop it if you're in a rush or fighting for your life.)

I use a very large canvas painter's tarp when practicing with a semi-auto; (One of the best shooting investments I ever made.) but I, also, reload; so, I'm looking for the brass - too!
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Old January 24, 2005, 05:11 AM   #7
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On the subject of practice mags; those "unreliable" mags everyone runs into once in a while make good practice mags now and then for clearing stoppages.
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Old January 24, 2005, 05:56 AM   #8
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I had an RO step on one of my Mak mags. Luck I suppose, but it didn't screw it up. I like the blanket/towel idea.....
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Old January 24, 2005, 07:33 AM   #9
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In the 'old days' the 1911 had a lanyard ring on both the gun and magazine !! But remember that as you practice you you will also shoot when the SHTF !So put down a blanket and don't think about the magazine. BTW, I've heard some funny stories about African hunting when the hunter is a reloader and when he shoots something dangerous he looks for the fired case instead of paying attention to the animal !!
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Old January 25, 2005, 09:51 AM   #10
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Rule One: Practice like you will fight because you will fight like you practice!

If you are so worried about a magazine that you don't want it to get damaged, you're in the wrong game.

I don't make a lot of money on my job. I'm not rich, by any standards. But, all of my guns and magazines are top quality, and they all get abused. When it comes time for a reload from slide-lock, that $25+ mag hits the dirt just as fast as I can get it there. If the drip comes in the middle of an IDPA stage, I'm moving on.

I've had several Wilson, CMC and Tripp mags stepped on by myself and the RO/SO...and I never looked back. Yea, this could damage the feedlips or squish the tube, but that's the price you pay for trying to fight like you want to live.

Like I said, you shouldn't be worrying about a $25 magazine when your backside is on the line.
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Old January 25, 2005, 08:29 PM   #11
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I know that a speed reload looks real cool but I believe that the tactical reload would be much more beneficial to most CCW users. Obviously you need training for both but how many CCW types are carrying enough mags that they could afford to drop them when they partially full. I will put the patially used mags in my belt, in a pocket, or even in my mouth until the string of fire is over. Out in the world, probably without back up, no armor,and you just blew the hell out of the odds by even being in a gunfight. Now is not the time to throw away partially used mags or pass up the chance to reload.
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Old January 26, 2005, 12:53 AM   #12
David Armstrong
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Quote:
I know that a speed reload looks real cool but I believe that the tactical reload would be much more beneficial to most CCW users.
It is not. I'm one of a number of researchers/trainers who have been actively seeking incidents where a tactical reload mattered, but there just aren't any. After over a decade of searching, we have not been able to come up with a single non-military incident where the rounds saved by a tactical reload or performing a tactical reload made any difference in the outcome of a fight.
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Old January 26, 2005, 11:43 AM   #13
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Yes i would think if lets say you had a .45acp of somesorts and lets say you just had an 8round magazine and you got into a gunfight and somehow you got all 8 or hell just 5 shots into the bad guy and he got not a one in you, and you reloaded and either put more in his back while he was running "however i dont think he would be running" or put all 8 in them while they were laing on the ground, would that not set you up for some legal ramifications? But if you were practicing for some sort of competion i like the blanket idea.
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Old January 26, 2005, 05:32 PM   #14
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David

Can you give me some specifics and/or the number of incidents you have been able to study? In some past studies I've read reloading period did'nt seem to be an issue in many gunfights. I'll still train with both types. I think it's just another tactic in the toolbox. I can see where it could be benificial especially with lower capacity auto's and revolvers.
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Old January 26, 2005, 06:51 PM   #15
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Since I don't go into combat often, losing mags is not really a problem.
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Old January 27, 2005, 01:19 AM   #16
David Armstrong
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Can you give me some specifics and/or the number of incidents you have been able to study?
I've studied/reviewed/researched several thousand defensive gun uses. The great majority have been LE-related, but a large number have been non-LE also. Specifically regarding the tactical reload, requests for cases have been made at major LE trainers conventions, virtually every major firearms trainer in the U.S., posted on numerous fireams-related forums and boards, without any luck.
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In some past studies I've read reloading period did'nt seem to be an issue in many gunfights.
It's not, and in those few cases where a reload is needed, the speed of the reload doesn't seem to matter much. That is why we teach the simplest form, as it is the fastest to execute and the least likely to be fumbled. No sense in getting too excited about a non-issue, IMO.
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Old January 27, 2005, 01:40 AM   #17
Tim R
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VaughnT hit it on the head.

If doing a tac reload there is some new thought on taking the mag from pistol, put it in your pocket and then insert a fresh mag. It's really about as fast as grabbing a fresh mag, dropping the part. used one into your hand and then inserting the fresh mag while holding the used mag BS.

A speed reload the now empty mag goes on the ground with a fresh mag going in. Slide is closed. Empty mags go on the ground period. They can be cleaned and they should be cleaned once in awhile anyways. Drop them on the ground. Did I say drop them on the ground?

Reloads as well as malfunction drills should be practiced.

David, I believe in Murphy's Law. If I've got bullets left in a mag, I'm keeping them. Course in a real gun fight all bets are off until I've taken care of business.
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Old January 27, 2005, 03:07 AM   #18
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The magazine is not just an ammo container

It is also the feeding mechanism for your weapon.

One very cool feature of auto pistols (and rifles) is that you can easily carry a second feeding mechanism...along with more ammo

While the speed reload certainly has its place in getting the weapon back into operation quickly....

Imagine how stupid you would feel if you just ejected a perfectly good mag, with rounds left, into the mud, snow, darkness.

Only to find that your second mag does not feed...possibly because it was previously dropped on the feed lips

Now you are fumbling around in the snow, mud, water, dark looking for that magazine while trying to continue scanning for new threats.

(Or running away with your non functional firearm in your hand)

When there is time, then there is a place for the tactical reload (RWR)

Statistics are fine...but concentrate on them too much and you can convince yourself;

1. Not to practice at any distance over 7yds

2. Not to carry a second mag

3. Not to carry with a round chambered (after all...just presenting a weapon often ends the confrontation)

4. Heck might as well carry a wheelgun...most times 5-6 rounds is enough
(My apologies to any wheelgunners I may have offended)

You get the idea

Outdoors I don't worry about dropping my mags.

On rare instances where I shoot indoors,and actual gunhandling is actually allowed, I have put a rubber mat on the floor.

I also think that TR, RWR can help a bit with general dexterity
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Old January 27, 2005, 02:35 PM   #19
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David, I believe in Murphy's Law.
As do we all to some extent. But one should still make decisions based on logic and reality, particularly when discussing limited resources. I realize that goes against the grain of many, but when discussing reality "what really is" trumps "what might be" every time, IMO.
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Old January 28, 2005, 01:38 AM   #20
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I think the tac reload is worth knowing about as a secondary technique, but I suspect Dave Armstrong is right in that performing a tac reload (or not) is not very significant in police or defensive shooting incidents.

I have recently read that the Army Rangers involved in the shootout in Somalia in 1993 (as depicted in "Blackhawk Down") did mostly speed reloads during the running gun battle and then later on they were short of magazines to recharge with their stripper clips (because that's how the spare ammo is issued), so they addressed this in the after action report and the Army introduced the tac reload to their training.

For police or defensive gunfighting the normal dynamic is a brief exchange of gunfire, and then the survivors run away or retreat to cover to reload and at that point the action usually ends. But if you are involved in the atypical incident, best to be prepared . . .
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Old February 3, 2005, 07:55 PM   #21
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From what I've gathered, the purpose of the "tactical reload" is to have a single shot weapon for as little time as possible. But to perform it, you have to have nimble fingers - no problem for me on a single stack, haven't tried it on a double- and it requires four different arm movements (obviously after you've pulled the pistol back in close to your body):

1. Reaching down for the fresh magazine;
2. Returning to the weapon and performing the reload;
3. Down to the belt, pocket, pouch, etc to stow the removed magazine;
(why else are we performing this -- otherwise it should be a speed reload)
4. Back up to the handgun to reestablish grip and present weapon.

IMO, too much wasted movement. I *could* see training this along with a one handed stance to minimize downtime, but other than that limited idea the tactical reload sees very little time in my training.

Instead, I use a conventional reload and reload with retention that differ only in that fact: retention of the magazine. They use almost the same motions.

Again from the weapon being brought in close:

1. Support hand is cupped around the bottom of the grip, still partially touching the frontstrap. There is enough room for the mag to fall into the palm of my hand. Eject magazine into support hand. If the mag sticks, the hand is there to strip it free.
2. Hand travels downward (similar to 1 above). If I am performing a retention reload, it travels to my support side pocket and stows the magazine. If it's a speed reload, it travels past the pocket and slightly behind me where I drop it.
3. Grab the fresh magazine with index finger along the front.
4. Hand travels upwards where it meets the butt of the firearm and slaps the fresh mag in. (Similar to 2 above)
5. If the pistol is at slide lock, I use an overhand grab with the support hand, and then reestablish grip and present.

Instead of 4 major arm movements, this way there are two. Additionally, the motions are basically the same, so there is only one skillset to learn instead of two. It also addresses malfunctions that may be encountered (mag hanging when you try to eject). And lastly, it keeps an empty mag out of any forward movement.

I guess a bonus is that my empties are dropped from waist height -- I haven't had any damaged yet. Just to be safe though, I don't sling my carry mags around like that at the range.

- Jon -
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Old February 4, 2005, 07:33 PM   #22
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Sorry, I've been out of town for a while.

My main concern here is not losing equipment at the range. I don't carry, I just shoot "for fun" with a couple of buddies. If I were in an actual gunfight, I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't be more concerned with getting rounds downrange than with damage to replaceable magazines.

Mainly, I just don't want to drop my magazines on the ground or in the snow. Y'all have given some great ideas, and I appreciate it!
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Old February 4, 2005, 08:18 PM   #23
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Jeff Cooper. Tactical Reloading. Colt 1911. The Bible. Kanilure
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Old March 2, 2005, 01:50 PM   #24
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I also think it depends on your equipment. If you're shooting a single stack compact 1911, that extra round has a chance of being handy. As for me, with 15 rounds in each mag of my 92 - I'd have to put 8-9 out before I'd start worrying enough to swap mags and if I did I'd have 15 more in the next. If I get into a situation where I need all 30 rounds fired, I have a lot more trouble than just finding more ammo.
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Old March 3, 2005, 07:51 PM   #25
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During a combat situation, I would just drop a mag and not worry about it. If I had cover, I would drop it, and keep it in a pocket or something, but if I was out, and had to get my gun back into action quickly, where that spent mag went would not be a high priority for me.
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