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Old February 21, 2008, 01:01 AM   #1
wyocarp
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No Time to Rack the Slide

On numerous threads people talk about needing to have a bullet chambered because one might not have the split second needed to rack the slide if you carry a semi-auto. I think it would be good to talk about the scenarios that one might find themselves in that wouldn't allow you the time to rack a bullet into the chamber.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:02 AM   #2
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i would say in any situation where you are facing an armed assailant. kinda like in the movie collateral. "yo homie, is that my briefcase?"
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:06 AM   #3
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I'm thinking that is too vague. It takes precious little time to rack a slide while bringing a gun up from a holster, in fact, maybe no appreciable extra time at all.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:09 AM   #4
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It can be very fast, but it's not as fast as NOT having to rack the slide. In addition it requires two hands. Assuming that you can insure that you never have to draw with an injured hand, while carrying something you can't put down, or that you'll never have to hold off an attacker with one hand while you draw with the other and that you'll never be in a situation where draw time is critical then it's probably not that much of an issue.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:12 AM   #5
Boris Bush
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wyocarp

That may be so, on a range shooting at paper. You just might be carrying something in your racking hand. You might have to fight off someone with your weak hand. A dog may clenching your racking arm.

Racking while drawing on the range might work fine, but in real life it would be a no go and one no go in real life means game over for you.

One thing everyone should realize is the first time you have to use your firearm to protect yourself, it will go exactly how you never trained for it to happen. The less you have to do from the time you skin your smoke wagon and fire the first round, the better off you are.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:24 AM   #6
wyocarp
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Okay, so one scenario is:

When you are jumped and caught totally unaware.

Carrying something isn't a reason for me to not be able to rack my gun in that type of situation unless I'm carrying my wife. Anything else I can drop if needed.

For it to be extremely fast, both hands are needed. But it isn't hard to rack with one hand. I practice it all the time.

Time? Are people not aware of their surroundings? I've not been attacked by a person. I have had several different attacks by animals. There are no animals quicker than lions and bears. I've had both happen. They are so quick that people would look like they aren't moving in comparison. I'm not convinced of the time thing.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:29 AM   #7
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damn they have lions in wyoming... i'm staying out of there. but honestly, i wouldnt want to have to take the time to rack the slide, or even line up the sights if i'm attack. it'll be down to pointshooting if i actually have to fire.
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Old February 21, 2008, 01:38 AM   #8
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Carrying something isn't a reason for me to not be able to rack my gun in that type of situation unless I'm carrying my wife. Anything else I can drop if needed.
Child, spare magazine, flashlight, keys, etc. You can drop ANYTHING, but it's not always a reasonable option and it's often undesirable.
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For it to be extremely fast, both hands are needed. But it isn't hard to rack with one hand. I practice it all the time.
Yup, but while it's possible,it's not as positive a method as racking two-handed, and as you say, it's certainly not as fast. And even with two hands it's just one more thing you have to do and one more thing that can go wrong.
Quote:
Are people not aware of their surroundings?
It's not completely unheard of for criminals to do their best to remain unnoticed/undetected until they attack. They understand that it gives them a significant advantage.

A person can't "slice the pie" on every corner or clear every room they enter. It's not always possible to walk without passing near automobiles or other objects large enough to conceal a person.
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Old February 21, 2008, 04:50 AM   #9
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I sure would like to know what the advantage is of NOT having one in the chamber

maybe some people just like getting stabbed in the face, I dunno.
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Old February 21, 2008, 04:55 AM   #10
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would you be sitting at a drag race with your car in neutral??? no, its in gear with your foot on the brake because it is .000002 seconds faster takeoff if you dont have to shift right away......




why the hell is this even coming up????? christ talk about playing russian roulette man.........
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Old February 21, 2008, 05:35 AM   #11
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You won't believe how fast something can happen until it happens to you. Nano seconds count.
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Old February 21, 2008, 05:41 AM   #12
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would you be sitting at a drag race with your car in neutral??? no, its in gear with your foot on the brake because it is .000002 seconds faster takeoff if you dont have to shift right away......
Good point. And I would add that life or death fights are often won or lost by tenths of seconds. Even if racking the slide is only .12 seconds slower than coming out of the holster with a hot gun, most experienced shooters can fire shots with split times of about .12-.15. Thats one extra shot that may end the fight for either party.
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Old February 21, 2008, 06:01 AM   #13
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I notice that you are from Wyoming, I used to live in Wyoming. There are very few people there so maybe you can't imagine all the different scenarios because you do not live in a place where the people that are there are 80% of one color and that color hates you.

Trust me if that were the case those people could and would come up with all types of scenarios that would prove to you that sometimes you don't have time to rack the slide.
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Old February 21, 2008, 06:04 AM   #14
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I can think of one reason:

if you live in Israel, do what's required by law.

In our country, I feel carrying without a round chambered is less responsible than not carrying at all. It could cause a fatal delay in employing your weapon.

I get the impression the OP must live in the sticks. For those of us who carry in urban settings, it's quite likely you may be drawing to a contact shooting. Your off hand may be blocking a strike/trying to keep head control while slipping your thumb in his eye/crushing his windpipe/breaking down his balance while you knee his groin, etc.

Maybe I can't convince the OP on the distance/speed equation, so how about the noise argument?

What happens when you're eating at McFattykins with your family, and the place gets held up? Of course, you're not going to draw to a drawn gun if the perp's looking your way, and your first job should be to discreetly exfiltrate your loved ones. Still, as you're doing the above with the perp's attention elsewhere, would you rather deftly (and SILENTLY) slip your Kahr/Glock/cocked and locked 1911 out of your soft, leather IWB and have sights aligned on the perps back without noise (except maybe the muted click of a 1911 safety)? Or would you rather have the perp turn at the sound of ching-ching? Or worse, have the perp turn early and see your weapon, before you had a chance to chamber a round?

Sounds downright negligent to me. If you're paranoid about having a chambered round, avoid horizontal shoulder holsters and front pocket carry, and instead choose strong side or ankle carry or another mode where you can ensure your muzzle is always pointed safely at the ground in the event that every mechanical failure in the world--or a proton choosing to decay inside your primer--causes an AD.
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Old February 21, 2008, 07:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
I'm thinking that is too vague. It takes precious little time to rack a slide while bringing a gun up from a holster, in fact, maybe no appreciable extra time at all.
Ah, but it does take extra time. Time that you may not have. It also assumes that you have both hands free for the task. Oh wait, you practice one handed too.

Okay wyocarp, how quickly can you draw and rack the slide on a semiauto when your weak had is busy fending off a person trying to stab you or hit you with a club? Have you practiced being able to do this?

How quickly can you draw and rack the slide when you are using your weak hand to drag a loved one out of the line of fire with it?

How quickly can you draw and rack the slide when you are using your weak hand to staunch the flow of blood on your own body?

How quickly can you draw and rack the slide and your dominant hand/arm has already been disabled in the fight?

People who talk about drawing and racking almost always talk about having both hands free for the task and in real life, we don't always have both hand available for such a task. Now, it isn't so much of a speed issue anymore as it is an issue of just being able to successful accomplish the task and if that gives you problems, it will take a LOT more time. You can learn to do a one-handed rack, but it takes time and increases the risk of inducing a malfunction if not done right, thereby necessitating more time to have to possibly clear the malfunction and then re-rack the slide.

A lot of folks don't practice one-handed racking and a lot of ranges won't allow it to be practiced because it is considered a dangerous way to handle a gun, and it is more dangerous to do than doing it in a traditional two handed rack method.

But hey, if you want to carry without a round in the chamber and feel safe doing so, you are just handicapping yourself, but you apparently don't feel your handicap is enough to give the bad guys an advantage. Good luck.
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Old February 21, 2008, 07:12 AM   #16
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Gordo beat me to the punch so I'm just going to repeat.

1) Close Quarters - If you have had to push away, or if you are trying to hold a badguy off, your other hand may be fully occupied.

2) Stealth - Visualize "Star Wars"...Would Han have gotten Greedo in the cantina if he'd had to rack a noisy slide? (yes I know, fictional movie, but my point still stands that stealth and surprise are force multipliers). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1YbFnkZwZk
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Old February 21, 2008, 09:41 AM   #17
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Why carry with a round chambered vs. empty? Because I won't give any advantage I don't have to to someone who is a threat to my life or the life of a loved one.

The criminal already has the advantage of chosing the time, timing, method and place of the attack as well as how many assistants he brings along. They are trained in launching an attack up close and with a high level of violence. Not all of them are going to give pre-assaultive behavior that justify your drawing and chambering a round to get ready.

In short, the incident you are involved in may be a "come as you are" event. That's no time to be reaching for a half loaded gun.
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Old February 21, 2008, 09:59 AM   #18
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Not giving away any advantage is a good point. Chances are that you will be reacting to a threat and as such, you will be behind the curve even before you start.
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Old February 21, 2008, 10:09 AM   #19
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Why not try a drill? Have your unload firearm in your holster and have a friend run at you from 21', which is within the area it is said most SD situations happen. Have him/her run at you from there... You un-holster & rack your slide before they get to you. I think you'd be quite surprised how fast even a fat boy like me can cover 21'. You'd have no time.. IMO....
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Old February 21, 2008, 10:30 AM   #20
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So I am in Burger King when a deranged nut job starts a hostage standoff. Do I want him to hear me racking a slide or would I rather his first indication of trouble be my bullet exiting from the front of his forehead?

What I may need to be doing with my other arm:

Grabbing my child
Pushing my wife to safety
Applying direct pressure to a wound
Bleeding and useless because of a wound it received
Fighting off a close quarters attacker while the weapon is brought to bear
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Old February 21, 2008, 10:41 AM   #21
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Nobody will make you keep a round chambered if you don't want to.
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Old February 21, 2008, 10:52 AM   #22
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Wyocarp-

It's hard to imagine how fast something can go down unill it actually does. Take this event that happened to me just this past Saturday...

I'm a musician. We had just finished our set and were waiting for 2am to roll around so we could load up the van because the place was packed with people. At 2, the bouncers started kicking all the drunks out, which is totally normal. These two guys were giving one of the bouncers trouble, mainly just talking trash, but still more trouble than usual. After a few minutes of macho jackass talk, they back down and leave.

So we get the van packed up and I go back in the bar for a once over to make sure we didn't forget anything. Two of the five band members were out with the van while two of us went in to do the once over. I got about halfway to the stage when someone from out back called out to us that someone was messing with our van.

The singer and I run out and those same jackasses from earlier were trying to rip the windshield wipers off our van and our guitarist and drummer stopped them. One of the guys was nose to nose with our guitarist and the other guy just kept saying "stay out of it" and "just let them fight".

Let me set the stage from my point of view. We were working, albeit playing music and having a good time, but it's what we do for a living. I was completely sober (I don't drink at all) and so was the rest of the band. We had just come out of a bar, which meant that my pistol was locked in my car across the parking lot. I had a knife, fists, and my most important self-defense weapon - My Brain. I've been doing this sort of thing for years, and this wasn't the first barfight I'd been to and unfortunetly it won't be the last because it's kind of a occupational hazard. From experience, I didn't think this guy was going to do anything. He was drunk and there was 5 or 6 of us and really just one of them since it didn't seem like his friend was into it.

So then this guy totally goes for it and tries to tackle my guitarist. I'm standing right next to them, our backs were to the van (Mainly so no one could come from behind). I'm still in the "I'm going to break up the fight" mindset so I move to grab the guy and pull him off. From out of nowhere his friend hits me and rams me into the van, pinning me. So my left side (arm and all) is jammed up against the van so with my right hand I give the guy a hammer fist, break his nose, and he drops to the ground.

Now that the friend is out of the picture, we kick the crap out of the other guy trying to get him off the guitarist because he just won't let go. Eventually he lets go and they stagger off. They come back a few minutes later, but we're all inside because the cops are on their way.

So I learned a lot from this encounter. It had been over two years since something like this happened. Here's what I learned and how it applies to the OP:

-I was in code burning-hot-like-the-sun, and I still didn't see the guy's friend coming for me. You can't expect yourself to be looking everywhere at all times. It's just not reasonable.

-A guy smaller than me had my left side pinned against that van. Had he had a weapon and I would have not been carrying with a round chambered, that'd been it for me. It's all too easy for someone to do the same thing in any parking lot with the intent to carjack or mug or just kill for the sport of it.

-Last and most importantly, this whole this took place in less than 2 seconds. The friend came around to my side, hit me, pinned me, and got his nose broken in less time than it took for my guitarist and the guy he was tangleing with to hit the ground.


I learned a lot more from this encounter, really just re-enforced things I already knew and made clear why I do some things I do. But they're not relevant to the OP, so I left them out.
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Old February 21, 2008, 11:08 AM   #23
mamboreta
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-At the range, I keep the chamber empty untill I start shooting, that´s a RULE.
-My home defense guns are always empty-chambered, mostly because my doors are always locked and my dogs are always "in the chamber". That´ll give me time to open my eyes and clear my mind in case of a home invasion while I sleep, take a bath, etc.

I train often, but I can imagine myself having an accident under stress, or losing control of the gun. Being stupid, maybe. You don´t know until it happens... but I want to pull the trigger and hear some noise.

Keeping a semiauto without a bullet in the chamber it´s almost as good as keeping the next cylinder on the revolver empty. I see no reason to ALWAYS have a round in the chamber when carrying (example: inside a friend´s home), but It´s the best choice for sure.
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Old February 21, 2008, 11:21 AM   #24
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see below.
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Old February 21, 2008, 11:22 AM   #25
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Quote:
scenarios that one might find themselves in that wouldn't allow you the time to rack a bullet into the chamber.

To believe that in a situation where you need to use your gun, that you will also be granted the time to make your weapon ready to fire... puts your mindset at unrealistically optomistic at best.
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