The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Tactics and Training

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old November 16, 2013, 10:05 PM   #1
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,487
Tactical Reloads--some common sense...

I just finished reading an article on tactical reloads by a gun writer in which the author proved that whatever he may know about guns, his logical thinking skills are somewhat wanting. Within the last few days, I also read an article by Louis Awerbuck with some common sense advice about reloading during a gunfight.

Ok, let's start with the "authority" on tactical reloads (who shall remain unnamed).

The author states that the only reason one would need to reload in a gunfight is because the situation has escalated beyond your control AND you've been missing too much. He supports his theory that reloading during a gunfight means the shooter is inept by citing the prevalence of high-capacity magazines and this is where the wheels start to come off.

1. While there are a lot of high-capacity firearms on the market and in gun-owners' hands, most carry guns are quite capacity limited. I own a number of pistols with double-column magazines, but my two carry guns are both equipped with single-column mags.

2. The author clearly hasn't tried to run the numbers to determine the probability of hitting two attackers with a couple of solid hits each given the reality of gunfighting accuracy. One can say that if you need to reload you've been missing too much, but the reality of gunfights is that people miss a lot when they're being shot at while they're trying to hit moving targets.

3. The author simultaneously tries to argue that you shouldn't need to reload while arguing that you need to retain every last round possible when you do reload. I understand why he's taking this approach, but he needs to pick one stance or the other--switching back and forth when it suits him to try to support his hypothesis isn't reasonable.

Then the author attempts to justify the tactical reload by saying that it should only be done after the assailants are down ("there are no targets and thus no emergency" is the direct quote). Fine. Except that the author tries to justify the tactical reload by saying that it's faster than doing a speed reload and then retrieving the magazine from the ground.

He continues his argument by trying to make the points that retaining the rounds is critical since they "might be sorely needed", and that keeping eyes on the target is critical.

Again, the logic is lacking.

1. If there's no emergency then speed is irrelevant so you can't logically use time as a discriminant between the two methods.

2. If speed IS relevant then it's pure nonsense to include the retrieval of the magazine from the ground into the speed reload figure. Who's going to bend over and pick up a partially empty magazine if speed is critical? NO ONE.

3. He's also switched to arguing that additional rounds are important when he started by arguing that high-capacity magazines and not "missing too much" made speed reloads virtually unnecessary in the first place.

He then goes on to say that "additional targets might well appear at any moment" as if that is evidence that the tactical reload is a better idea. If additional targets could appear at any moment, it makes no sense to undertake an 8 step process (per the author's numbered steps) that requires about triple the time necessary to reload your gun.

In short, the author, in a single article, argues that extra ammunition is superfluous AND potentially critical, that tactical reloads should be done when there's no time criticality BUT that time is an important factor and finally tries to bias the time required for a speed reload by implying that a defender would try to retrieve a magazine from the ground when time was of the essence.

SOME of the points made sense, but it's hard to take them seriously when the author immediately contradicts his basic premise in the next breath in his attempt to "prove" his next point.

Louis Awerbuck's common sense comments from the May 2012 issue of SWAT's Training and Tactics Column stand in stark contrast.
"...
The <speed reload> means you need more fodder in the weapon right now, whereas the tactical reload is supposedly performed when the mythical Lull puts in his royal appearance in the middle of a confrontation.

...
Get the damn weapon reloaded as the priority. You can always salvage the previously utilized half-empty magazine or remaining cartridges as a secondary objective."


He also makes the point that "...in a gunfight, unless you’re using a single-shot firearm, you don’t know in advance when you’re going to be reloading ... you will lose track of rounds fired. For a variety of reasons...the ability to count fired rounds goes out the proverbial window."

That makes a lot of sense.

I've always been troubled by the idea that we should take ourselves and our firearm out of the fight during the "mythical lull" to reload a gun that doesn't really need to be reloaded and then, on top of that, to reload in a way that takes about 3 times longer than actually required.

The bottom line is that time can't be both critical and unimportant at the same time. If you need to reload in a gunfight then time is critical and you need to do it as fast as possible. If you don't need to reload, then don't. It makes zero sense to spend time juggling two magazines simultaneously to do something you don't really need to do in the first place.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 08:18 AM   #2
g.willikers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2008
Posts: 5,324
If memory serves, the tactical reload being included in a training session or match was when IDPA came on the scene.
Before that, the prevalent idea was to shoot the gun dry and then reload, preferably from behind cover, if it was available.
__________________
Lock the doors, they're coming in the windows.
g.willikers is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 08:48 AM   #3
Navy joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2001
Location: VA, USA
Posts: 1,803
Awerbuck regularly makes the case that your gunfight may vary from the established norm.

On the other hand anyone who asserts that X is not necessary because gunfights use Y rounds and happen at Z distance is doing a lot of assuming. X can be reloads, sights, etc. And at that point I can safely ignore their opinion.

I would tend to agree reload when you need to. Only time when I juggled 2 mags and one gun was in IDPA standards. I prefer a slide lock reload to a slide forward speed reload because mag seating is more positive and I'm pretty quick at a slide lock load due to years of shooting L10 or Production USPSA.
__________________
FY47012
Navy joe is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 08:52 AM   #4
Glenn Dee
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 9, 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 1,487
It is very obvious that this "author" has never been in a gunfight. I doubt that he even spoke to anyone who could claim the experience.
Glenn Dee is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 11:17 AM   #5
Derbel McDillet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2013
Posts: 248
Quote:
I prefer a slide lock reload to a slide forward speed reload because mag seating is more positive and I'm pretty quick at a slide lock load due to years of shooting L10 or Production USPSA.
I always load my pistol with the slide in battery to condition myself to exert the extra force required to positively seat the magazine.

I also perform a tactical reload when I load my pistol as I use loading and unloading as a training opportunity. The manipulations I use to clear stoppages are the same I use for loading and unloading.
Derbel McDillet is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 11:33 AM   #6
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,793
I read the same article, John. You did a fine analysis.

Balancing two mags with all your fingers. Nope - great way to have two mags hit the dirt together.

I noted in my last IDPA match - the high end shooters were trying to figure out how we could legitimately 'round dump' to get to a slide lock reload.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 12:50 PM   #7
Al Thompson
Staff Alumnus
 
Join Date: May 2, 1999
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 3,605
John, well done. I read both articles and find it more akin to idle speculation on both their parts as regards the average earth person's needs. IMHO, until a shooter can achieve fast first round hits at distance, reloads should be very secondary for training priorities.

Had one instructor defend the "reload with retention" with the Katrina/Mogadishu circumstances as examples. Strongly suspect that's training for the 1% not the 99%.
__________________
http://www.scfirearms.org/
Al Thompson is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 01:09 PM   #8
HungryHunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 16, 2012
Location: Arizona
Posts: 164
Cool read, I enjoyed thanks.
HungryHunter is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 01:44 PM   #9
boondocker385
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 6, 2013
Posts: 387
Great analysis, horrible article.
boondocker385 is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 04:25 PM   #10
Derbel McDillet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 6, 2013
Posts: 248
Quote:
…reloads should be very secondary for training priorities.
Tap, rack to clear a stovepipe will frequently induce a doublefeed which requires a "reload" to get the gun running.
Derbel McDillet is offline  
Old November 17, 2013, 05:31 PM   #11
DT Guy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 4, 2001
Posts: 723
I really only anticipate ever actually 'needing' to tactically reload after the aggressor is down and I'm covering him, waiting for help; that would be a time to top off, just in case he has friends.

Most folks just don't realize how short and fast a real fight is...


Larry
__________________
He who fights and runs away had better run pretty damn fast.

Government, Anarchy and Chaos
DT Guy is online now  
Old November 17, 2013, 06:44 PM   #12
Wreck-n-Crew
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 8, 2013
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,397
Quote:
Most folks just don't realize how short and fast a real fight is...
One deadly mistake to assumes it will be short and fast. You can't cover all cases and scenarios with just a narrow view of possibilities without considering different scenarios. Expecting the unexpected is part of training past a few simple classes.

No one will make all the right decisions every time but the idea of protecting myself against the odds of a short gunfight is not my idea of being prepared. Murphy's law will guide my "just in case" thinking. I just hope that "prepared within reason" means a little more than the previously stated belief.
__________________
If you ever have to use a firearm, you don't get to pick the scenario!
Wreck-n-Crew is offline  
Old November 18, 2013, 11:29 PM   #13
Deaf Smith
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 31, 2000
Location: Texican!
Posts: 3,265
I have only two types of reloading techniques for semi-automatics.

The speed reload and the tac-reload.

I don't use any administrative reload ore reloading with retention.

That way only two things to train with. One for flat out emergency and the other when I think I have time to reload and save the ammo.

And no, my tac-load technique is more-or-less fumble proof (nothing is absolutely fumble proof!)

Deaf
__________________
"The government has confiscated all of our rights and is selling them back to us in the form of permits."
Deaf Smith is online now  
Old November 19, 2013, 01:46 AM   #14
zombietactics
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 7, 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 336
A link to the article would be helpful.
zombietactics is offline  
Old November 19, 2013, 10:48 AM   #15
Glenn E. Meyer
Staff
 
Join Date: November 17, 2000
Posts: 15,793
Look at www.dillonprecison.com for the Blue Press. You can sort through the monthly PDFs. Don't know if it's up yet. Didn't look.

PS - fixed the link - I kan't spel.
__________________
NRA, TSRA, IDPA, NTI, Polite Soc.
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...05_Feature.htm
Being an Academic Shooter
http://www.teddytactical.com/archive...11_Feature.htm
Being an Active Shooter

Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 19, 2013 at 07:28 PM.
Glenn E. Meyer is offline  
Old November 19, 2013, 06:49 PM   #16
zombietactics
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 7, 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 336
Link is broken.
zombietactics is offline  
Old November 19, 2013, 07:24 PM   #17
FireForged
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 4, 1999
Location: Rebel South USA
Posts: 1,185
No matter what I do, alot of things end up being a roll of the dice and simple chance. I will reload at slide lock and I don't subscribe to the blind reload... Its important enough that I am going to look at what I am doing till I get the mag seated. That's just me and I am no expert. People can what if this and what if that all day long and if "what if" happens in the second and a half that it take for me to seat a mag, then so be it. I want to be proficient in the use of my defensive firearm and I want to be well practiced in clearing jams and reloading. All the when , where and what will be determined by me in the moment. I cant fight a dozen ninjas and I wont plan or train to do that.
__________________
Life is a web woven by necessity and chance...
FireForged is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 07:50 AM   #18
ClydeFrog
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 1, 2010
Posts: 5,798
3x3x3 Rule....

I agree with the 3x3x3 Rule....
That is with a license holder or armed citizen; not a sworn on duty LE officer, US armed forces member, security officer/EP agent, etc a "gunfight" or critical incident would be: 3 fired rounds in approx 3 seconds at a range of 3 feet.
A armed citizen or CCW license holder should be ready to defend themselves and have at least one or two spare reloads(magazines or speed strips).
Remember the old saying: two is one & one is none.
Doing tactical or reloading drills is not a bad idea IMO either.

Years ago, my cousin was jumped & robbed by 2 armed thugs. Off to the side, about 50 feet away, a older male subject watched the event.
A police detective later told my cousin the armed robbery may have been a "test" or requirement to join a gang.
If a license holder were to engage the same threat, the use of a extra magazine or revolver speed loader/strip might come into use.
ClydeFrog is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 12:45 PM   #19
zombietactics
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 7, 2012
Location: Northern California
Posts: 336
The necessity of a reload (tactical or otherwise) is exceedingly rare in citizen-self-defense cases. The numbers are such that it approaches a statistical zero.

In such cases, I haven't found a single instance where the difference between going home or to the morgue was determined by a reload, or where it was necessary to perform an especially speedy one.

As such, it occurs to me that getting obsessive over super-speedy reloads is a low-return-on-effort exercise, unless you are shooting in competitions.

Nonetheless, while it may be a low-occurrence (or low-probability) skill, learning to do a reasonably fast and fumble-free reload does not require some herculean effort. It's a part of basic technique.
zombietactics is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 01:36 PM   #20
RBid
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 10, 2012
Posts: 1,059
Tactical Reloads--some common sense...

The energy and debate around reloads continues to puzzle me.

Reload when you have to.

To my mind, criteria for 'I have to' is:

- slide lock
- reset after completing shooting

The second includes examples that should be obvious. One such would be mil clearing a structure and engaging threats in an early room. It makes sense to quickly reset before moving on, so you don't run dry during a subsequent engagement. As a citizen, I would reload post threat before reholstering, as well.

I think I spend 15 mins/week on reloads. I devote more resources to draw to first hit, and follow up shots. Those skills seem dramatically more practical for a private citizen.
RBid is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 09:00 PM   #21
Frank Ettin
Staff
 
Join Date: November 23, 2005
Location: California - San Francisco
Posts: 6,832
Quote:
Originally Posted by zombietactics
...Nonetheless, while it may be a low-occurrence (or low-probability) skill, learning to do a reasonably fast and fumble-free reload does not require some herculean effort. It's a part of basic technique.
As I've said before, you can't know ahead of time what you're going to need to do to solve your problem. The more you can do, and the better you can do it, the luckier you'll be.
__________________
"It is long been a principle of ours that one is no more armed because he has possession of a firearm than he is a musician because he owns a piano. There is no point in having a gun if you are not capable of using it skillfully." -- Jeff Cooper
Frank Ettin is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 10:23 PM   #22
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 18,487
Quote:
The energy and debate around reloads continues to puzzle me.
For my part, there are a couple of main reasons that it is worth talking about.

The way tactical reloads are incorporated into some of the supposedly practically oriented shooting competitions reinforces the use of poor tactics and penalizes those who try to take a more realistic approach to reloading under the gun. The rules of one organization effectively encourage competitors to take a loaded firearm out of the fight by reloading it before a reload is actually required and while targets still need to be engaged, and then, on top of that, the rules require that this unnecessary reload be done in a manner that takes about 3 times as long as necessary.

Second, many instructors and institutions have bought into the concept of the tactical reload and spend time (waste their students' time and money, IMO) teaching it in contexts where it has no realistic application.
__________________
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 10:36 PM   #23
DT Guy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 4, 2001
Posts: 723
Quote:
One deadly mistake to assumes it will be short and fast. You can't cover all cases and scenarios with just a narrow view of possibilities without considering different scenarios. Expecting the unexpected is part of training past a few simple classes.

No one will make all the right decisions every time but the idea of protecting myself against the odds of a short gunfight is not my idea of being prepared. Murphy's law will guide my "just in case" thinking. I just hope that "prepared within reason" means a little more than the previously stated belief.
Certainly true, and I certainly did not say that was ALL I prepared for. I stated that the only realistic scenario I could foresee doing a tac-load in was after-action.

I'm hard-pressed to envision myself pinned down in a shootout anywhere in my life; I'm going to shoot to stop or to get away. I'm not an LEO anymore, and I'm not going to follow-through to an arrest, I'm just going to do something to stop the threat until I can leave the area.

I do agree with some statistically unusual scenarios being included in training; I've even written about them (http://www.thegunzone.com/well-enough.html) I just don't foresee lots of chances to tac-load in the real world.


Larry
__________________
He who fights and runs away had better run pretty damn fast.

Government, Anarchy and Chaos
DT Guy is online now  
Old November 20, 2013, 11:03 PM   #24
RBid
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 10, 2012
Posts: 1,059
Tactical Reloads--some common sense...

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnKSa View Post
For my part, there are a couple of main reasons that it is worth talking about.

The way tactical reloads are incorporated into some of the supposedly practically oriented shooting competitions reinforces the use of poor tactics and penalizes those who try to take a more realistic approach to reloading under the gun. The rules of one organization effectively encourage competitors to take a loaded firearm out of the fight by reloading it before a reload is actually required and while targets still need to be engaged, and then, on top of that, the rules require that this unnecessary reload be done in a manner that takes about 3 times as long as necessary.

Second, many instructors and institutions have bought into the concept of the tactical reload and spend time (waste their students' time and money, IMO) teaching it in contexts where it has no realistic application.
Being outside the competition environment, I often miss valid points relating to it. As someone interested in practical shooting, and appreciative of the fact that many people leverage competition for practical skill development, I can see why something that is not actually practical would be a source of irritation.
RBid is offline  
Old November 20, 2013, 11:39 PM   #25
RamItOne
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 24, 2011
Posts: 983
Tactical reload can be useful in a combat scenario (nothing we will be in) eg you've fired 12 rounds a few minutes earlier, now you're going to breach the house he/they ran into. You'll want a full magazine, either planing on going through the entire mag laying down suppressive fire if dealing with a fatal funnel or just not having to reload 12 rounds earlier than needed in a close quarters situation.

I generally carry a S&W BG .380, doesn't hold that many, not sure how well I'd be able to keep a round count in my head and pretty sure my slide would lock back before I knew it.

Others mentioning the tac reload for after the primary incident is over is a good idea, once you've assessed no immediate threat.


Couldn't resist
http://youtu.be/u0-oinyjsk0
__________________
M&P- the other dark meat

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/pet...rtant/DJyvnHz0
RamItOne is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:15 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.13545 seconds with 9 queries