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Old June 29, 2012, 05:32 AM   #1
1911Alaska
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Running your slide?

Last week I took a great firearms class. It was a CCW course/beginners course. The NRA certified instructor taught me a lot and I am a far better shooter then I was before, and a lot more knowledgeable.

One thing you told us to always do was to "run your gun". This is where you put your hand on the back of the slide and "punch" with your other hand. You do this when ejecting a round, putting a round in the chamber ect.

This is the first time I have ever heard this, and I wish I asked why but at the time I never though about it. He said we should always do this and this is how he and always does it.

Do you guys do this? If so why or why not? Is there any positive effect on your gun other? Or negative effect for not doing this?

Thanks
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Old June 29, 2012, 05:47 AM   #2
dcobler
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I cant attest to his specific reasons for this practice but I can mention some reasons I see that it would be useful.

When I first started shooting I often had my hand on the slide for at least part of the forward travel. This doesnt allow the spring to do what it is supposed to in returning the slide to its proper place and on more than a few occasions I induced a malfunction.

More recently, my wife was handling a pistol and while chambering a round part of her palm was pinched between the slide and barrel. As I recall it took more than a week to heal all the way up.

By holding your hand in place on the slide and "running" the pistol forward under it, neither of the above problems would occur.
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Old June 29, 2012, 08:53 AM   #3
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I've seen the hand over slide with thumb toward you cause problems-pinched palm, ejected round hitting heel of hand and falling back into port, and cut palm from rear sight edges. I use and promote the gripping from the rear with thumb and index finger on serrated area of slide mode of operation. You may lay the pistol over toward the weak hand during this operation as long as you control the muzzle direction. Main thing if doing the "push-pull" method is to make sure your trigger finger doesn't inadvertently engage the trigger.
This scenario actually happened during the CCW class I attended many years ago.
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Old June 29, 2012, 09:43 AM   #4
DasGuy
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I've only ever heard of doing this if your slide fails to go fully back into battery. I can see doing it to confirm your gun is in battery when you initially load it; but doing it every time you manipulate the slide seems excessive.
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Old June 29, 2012, 11:37 AM   #5
kraigwy
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I'm not sure what "running the slide" is.

I will say I don't touch my slide at all. It was designed to work on its own without assistance from another hand.

Sometimes, if screwy ammo, you may, as mentioned have to push the slide into battery. If I have to do this, yes I wack it.

But I then fix it, meaning I'll check and fit the ammo. Normally for me, its because I might have lube that hasn't been cleaned off the bullet before use, or not properly sized brass, bullet seated too far out.

This can be eliminated if, before you use your ammo, check it to see if it falls into the chamber under its own weight. I use a spare barrel for this, or take the barrel out of the gun.

But I don't want my paws interfering with the movement of the slide.

Besides how do you do this if you shoot with one hand, (which I do with most of my shooting).
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Old June 29, 2012, 01:05 PM   #6
ScotchMan
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The reasoning is that you want as much force as possible moving the slide forward to successfully strip a round off the magazine and chamber it properly. The more force involved in that operation, the more likely it will be able to "push through" any problems it would otherwise catch on. This is especially important for hollowpoints. Likewise for ejecting a round, if you don't use enough force you can get a stovepipe.

Walking the slide forward is known to induce feeding problems. Most guns are pretty good these days, and most guns will work even if you don't slingshot them, but its good muscle memory to develop that will serve you well with ALL guns.

This same logic applies to dropping the slide on a round. It is better to pull the slide back and let it go than to drop the slide release. The reason is it has more force with which to strip the round off and chamber it.

Some people worry that they are unnecessarily damaging their guns with this method. The force you exert by sling shotting the slide is far less than what happens to the gun when it fires a round.
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Old June 29, 2012, 03:05 PM   #7
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If my semi auot guns need manual labor to get them to work, I'm going to fix them, that's not the way they were designed.

What is suppose to happen, is you load, fire, then the slide comes back ejecting a round, picks up another and chambers it.

If it wont do that, there is someithing wrong, either with the ammo, gun, magazines. or a combination of all three.

It that's the case I'm going to fix the problem.
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Old June 29, 2012, 03:33 PM   #8
Crow Hunter
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I always "run the slide" if I am interpreting what you are saying. Versus using the slide stop/slide release.

I don't think it matters that much if you push the gun forward or pull the slide back as long as you are consistent and train that way.

Either way, it won't hurt the gun.

I try to do the same thing every time.

If I have a malfunction, I Tap/Rack.

If I load the gun, I Tap/Rack.

If I swap magazines, I Tap/Rack.

I only use the slide stop/release to lock the slide open for administrative reasons/malfuction clearance (phase 3).

That way it works the same offhand/primary hand and no matter which gun I am using. (I forget where the slide release is on a Sig sometimes.)

I think that is what you are asking about.

If not, can you clarify?
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Old June 29, 2012, 07:19 PM   #9
MLeake
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He's talking about initially loading, or clearing stoppages, by punching the gun forward instead of pulling the slide back.

There's nothing magical about it. It's simple mechanical advantage. Most people can generate more power punching the grip through, while holding the slide overhand, than they can generate by trying to pull the slide.

Pulling the slide isolates to the biceps, forearm, and hand muscles.

Punching through involves core muscles, pectoral, and triceps, while still using some muscles of the weak arm and hand. IE it uses more and bigger muscle groups.
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Old June 29, 2012, 07:27 PM   #10
Dragline45
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Quote:
I'm not sure what "running the slide" is.

I will say I don't touch my slide at all. It was designed to work on its own without assistance from another hand.

Sometimes, if screwy ammo, you may, as mentioned have to push the slide into battery. If I have to do this, yes I wack it.
I think when the OP is referring to running the slide, he means grasp the slide firmly, and instead of pulling the slide back you push forward with the hand grasping the frame of the gun to rack it. This is normally how I chamber guns with heavy slides, it gives you a more positive rack of the slide compared to just pulling it back with your fingers.

Quote:
Most people can generate more power punching the grip through, while holding the slide overhand, than they can generate by trying to pull the slide.
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Old June 29, 2012, 07:53 PM   #11
Frank Ettin
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MLeake
He's talking about initially loading, or clearing stoppages, by punching the gun forward instead of pulling the slide back.

There's nothing magical about it. It's simple mechanical advantage. Most people can generate more power punching the grip through, while holding the slide overhand, than they can generate by trying to pull the slide.

Pulling the slide isolates to the biceps, forearm, and hand muscles.

Punching through involves core muscles, pectoral, and triceps, while still using some muscles of the weak arm and hand. IE it uses more and bigger muscle groups.
Nailed it. It's all about mechanical advantage.

In effect. It really doesn't matter whether you push the gun forward, pull the slide back or do both. In any case, after the slide has reached the rear most point in its travels, it needs to be released to fly forward on its own -- not ridden down.

Personally, I pull my slide back. In our monthly Basic Handgun classes, we have some students who have trouble doing that. But if they push the gun forward, and especially simultaneously pull the slide back, they can manage. We also have them turn their bodies to keep the gun pointed down range and hold the guns closer to their bodies.
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Old June 29, 2012, 09:09 PM   #12
kraigwy
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OK guess I didn't understand the term "running the slide".

Anyway I've always just hit the slide release and let it do what it was designed to do.
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Old June 29, 2012, 10:31 PM   #13
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kraigwy, a lot of us have been known to do that.

Some trainers, these days, train to physically manipulate the slide instead, for the following reasons:

1) Fine motor skills (slide release) vs gross motor skills (racking the slide) - assumption that fine motor skills are more likely to degrade in a stressful situation;

2) Universality across pistols - some pistols don't lock back on an empty chamber, so by training students to rack the slide, the instructor prepares students to handle any semi-auto the students encounter;

3) Commonality of movement - the same motion used to routinely load the gun is used for stoppage clearing, so it's easier to instill muscle memory;

4) Control fit - IE, some people can't reach the slide release without substantially altering their grip on the weapon.

You may or may not agree with any of the above, but those are the primary reasons I've been given by those who teach "running the slide," as the OP phrased it.

Personally, I still go either way - IE I use my slide releases pretty often - but I taught my mother to rack the slide, in order to keep it simpler for her.
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Old June 29, 2012, 11:29 PM   #14
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Deleted my long wordy reply.

I started writing before reading MLeake's well written answer.
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Old June 30, 2012, 07:17 AM   #15
kraigwy
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I can see what you guys are saying, but for me, If I'm using a semi for SD or a serious situation, I want to be able to work the gun with one hand.

The only time I've used a semi in combat, was a 1911a1, crawling along or on my hands and knees. Carrying a flash light or dragging my ruck.

In LE I can't think or many times where I drew my service revolver or did building searches 'n such that I've been able to use my revolver with two hands.

Anyone who's read many of my post know that I stress that most SD pistol/revolver training and practice should be done with one hand, (strong and weak).

This is the reason I wouldn't use a pistol for self defense that I couldn't reach the slide release or safety catch with out disturbing my grip.

I realize that there are pistols that one allow that, I just don't have one.
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Old June 30, 2012, 08:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
kraigwy, a lot of us have been known to do that.

Some trainers, these days, train to physically manipulate the slide instead, for the following reasons:

1) Fine motor skills (slide release) vs gross motor skills (racking the slide) - assumption that fine motor skills are more likely to degrade in a stressful situation;

2) Universality across pistols - some pistols don't lock back on an empty chamber, so by training students to rack the slide, the instructor prepares students to handle any semi-auto the students encounter;

3) Commonality of movement - the same motion used to routinely load the gun is used for stoppage clearing, so it's easier to instill muscle memory;

4) Control fit - IE, some people can't reach the slide release without substantially altering their grip on the weapon.

You may or may not agree with any of the above, but those are the primary reasons I've been given by those who teach "running the slide," as the OP phrased it.

Personally, I still go either way - IE I use my slide releases pretty often - but I taught my mother to rack the slide, in order to keep it simpler for her.


I also use both techniques, but VERY heavily favor the slide release as far as reloads are concerned. To date, the slide release has failed me exactly zero times, and I have never immediately reached for the slide release in case of a malfunction... I always go straight to tap/ rack, as I have always trained.

I completely realize the benefits and commonality of failure manipulations associated with the overhand technique, and I don't discourage it a bit. But what I can't stand is the "overhand only" people that cry blasphemy if you use the slide release. Our range master at my agency is one of those people, and he is why I get so wound up about this topic from time to time, so please don't think that I'm putting anyone in this thread into that category.

I heard the best argument ever as far as the fine motor skill myth the other day though in a class with Frank Proctor (wayofthegun.us). He said pointed out that the slide lock/ release is roughly the same size as the magazine release, and requires much less "fine" skill to operate than to effectively operate the trigger. So if those actions can be performed, so can manipulation of the slide release.

I've also never understood how most (LE) trainers preach muscle memory on so much of fundamental work, but somehow we can't apply muscle memory to the slide release for some reason.

When training to the lowest common denominator, "running the slide" may indeed me the best bet. When training shooters though, slide release is where it is at (IMHO
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Old July 1, 2012, 01:40 AM   #17
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I went to racking the slide rather than hitting the release after a few sessions of shooting in the cold with and without gloves. The slide release just wasn't there for my partially numb thumbs or gloved thumbs. I can easily manipulate a slide with partially numb hands, so that's what I practice. (Note: the mag release is significantly easier to manipulate, even using partially numb or gloved hands. Just mash it until it's even with the frame!)
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Old July 1, 2012, 02:20 AM   #18
Sheriff Gotcha
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I had no clue what was meant by punching the gun forward so thanks for clearing that up. When I first shot a gun I was one of those people who had trouble racking the slide and locking it back when empty. Then I remembered something I saw in a Hickok45 YouTube video where mentioned trip strength. I went out and got some grip training equipment and worked on the for a couple weeks as I sat around and watched tv. Now I have no problem racking the slide and I use the overhand method when I reload mags. Good to know there is a similar easier method if I come in contact with a harder slide.

One question though... What is meant when you say you "tap" the slide on a malfunction?
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Old July 1, 2012, 04:47 AM   #19
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When I read the above responses all I could think was Head-Space....
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Old July 2, 2012, 11:24 AM   #20
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The "tap" would be for a FTRB (failure to return to battery) that almost made it home, but not quite. This might be caused by recoil spring issues, magazine follower issues, or a too-tight extractor. A tap (more like a karate chop with the support hand, really) may be enough to drive the slide home and the round into chamber.

Obviously, this would be pointless with something like a stovepipe.

With regards to grip strength, there are plenty of tools on the market for that, some spring, some rubber.

For those who don't like buying gadgets, a couple other tricks work well.

1) Drive a nail or screw into a length of broomstick, perpendicular to the long axis of the stick. Tie one end of a line to the nail or screw, and the other end of the line to a relatively light weight of some kind. Roll the stick in your hands, to wind in the line and raise the weight. Good for grip and wrists/forearms.

2) Grab a decent quality bath towel. Toss it over a beam or upright of some kind (I like the pullup bars at the gym). Do pull-ups, or hangs if you can't do pull-ups, gripping the towel instead of a bar or bars.
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Old July 2, 2012, 01:26 PM   #21
raimius
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I think the "tap" in question was making sure the mag is fully seated. "Tap, rack, bang."

Of course, you can whack the back of the slide if it fails to return to battery, assuming there is no obstruction.
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Old July 2, 2012, 01:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
One question though... What is meant when you say you "tap" the slide on a malfunction?
Make sure you aren't confusing this with Tap/Rack/Bang drill.

Generally the best thing to do when you have a failure to feed for any reason is to:

Tap (or smack) the bottom of the magazine.
Rack the slide again to get a fresh round in the chamber.
Bang (pull the trigger).

If this doesn't work, swap magazines then Tap/Rack.

If still no Bang, hopefully you have a backup gun or back up friends with guns.

Or, you can also throw the gun at them and run away.

Quote:
When training shooters though, slide release is where it is at
I think it also depends on the gun.

Glocks slide stop doesn't work very well as a slide release and does require some "fine motor skills" unless you go with the extended release.

Other guns, particularly smaller pocket guns, may not have one at all. (My NAA Guardian .32 ACP doesn't, nor did the old PPK I used to have.)

I train to just rack the slide. It is slower, but for me it is more sure. That and being part of the lowest common denominator means I can spend less time training.
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Old July 2, 2012, 01:55 PM   #23
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I can see why group trainers use this.. Technique has to replace strength for marginal personnel. I have seen LGS crew struggle with a shorty Kimber to overcome the heavy springs they require. Any semi auto shooter should consider their ability to rack their slide, and do a little physical training, if required. The pushup is still a wonderful training aid, albeit under used outside of the uniformed services. Hey, I never said man up, no sir, I never did!

Thanks for the eyes
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Old July 2, 2012, 08:49 PM   #24
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Much of the current training emphasizes tactical reloads vs. emergency reloads. So, manipulating the slide is done less often. In a fight you don't want to ever find yourself with a slide locked back because it means you are out of ammo! At least for a bit. With a tactical reload you're never totally empty.

But when you do need to release the slide, slingshotting is preferred for the reasons noted above plus the fact that it gives you a quarter inch or so more spring action. Assuming of course you have 2 hands available. With just one, then slide stop release is it, obviously.

And, the malfunction clearing drill is now slap, rack, ROLL. Slap the mag, rack the slide back, hold it and roll the gun to the right to allow gravity to pull out any round that has been cleared. Then release slide and go bang.
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Old July 2, 2012, 10:27 PM   #25
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Never answer when sleep deprived...

... and never answer when thinking about another thread.

Sorry, in this context, raimius, Crow Hunter, and moxie are all correct, "tap" is positively seating the magazine.

In a discussion of a specific pistol that I own, I had mentioned having to tap the back of the slide on the last round a few times, and my mind had wandered to that discussion.

Realized it after going to bed last night, and thought, "well, somebody will correct it..."

They did.
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