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View Poll Results: Which is better?
Rack the Slide 67 60.91%
Flip the Lever 43 39.09%
Voters: 110. You may not vote on this poll

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Old July 19, 2013, 04:10 AM   #1
Departed402
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The Great Debate -Slide Lock/Release vs Rack the Slide

I've seen this topic covered on TFL.com before, but not for quite a while, and Lord knows we have seen too many caliber debates in the meantime. The topic of "how we get our guns back into battery" is due for another ride. Which method is faster? Which is more tactical? Which is more reliable? Which is better?! All these and more will be covered I'm sure!

I have a preference, but as the OP I won't say in the opening thread. Often, I find the vocabulary in this topic to be very important. Is it a "slide lock" or a "slide release lever?" Your answer may say a lot about you!
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Old July 19, 2013, 04:18 AM   #2
okiewita40
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I have always been tought in both the military and L.E. to rack the slide.
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Old July 19, 2013, 04:56 AM   #3
P1090
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Some slide stops I seem to have to fight with a bunch more than others (my Shield for instance). As such, I just rack the slide so I use the same reloading procedure on all my handguns. No sense using the slide stop on my 1911, but racking the slide on the Shield. Same basic action for all my handguns just seems smarter to me. However, that is with no official training on pistols. Take it for what it's worth.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:00 AM   #4
kahrguy
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I know some pistol have a slide spring so heavy its hard for some to operate it manually till it breaks in so learn both and practice both. I CC kahrs and I can say the smallest series pistols can be more than some people can rack with ease. Learn to do both as needed.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:21 AM   #5
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Depends upon the pistol and individual's training.
Some pistols (like the S&W M&P's) are very difficult to chamber from slidelock in which case slingshotting the slide is more reliable whereas others (like the Beretta 92) are easy to chamber from slidelock.
I was trained to chamber from slidelock. That's what I do instinctively so something like the M&P requires me to break current ingrained training and learn a new technique.
Rather than do that, I select pistols that better mesh w/my training so I'm less likely to fumble under stress.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:49 AM   #6
Sharpsdressed Man
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It matters on some guns, but many weapons can be operated either way with reliability. Probably racking the slide is more consistent between weapons, but at times, you find yourself with the slide locked back, and the slide release was DESIGNED to release the slide.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:51 AM   #7
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:55 AM   #8
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Having small hands and being right-handed...my right thumb is not long enough to depress the slide-lock leaver (1911),without shifting the position of my right-hand. Therefore, at one time I thought that a slide release with an extended leaver would be an asset in my shooting.
When I posted a question bout such extended releases, competition shooters informed me that the current standard procedure for releasing the slide was not to use the thumb of the right hand, but the thumb of the left hand, eliminating the need for an extended slide release and calling into question the practice of sling-shotting the slide to return to battery. Therefore, given that autos are most effective when shot with both hands on the gun, and releasing the slide (after a magazine change) with the slide release requires the left hand be in the shooting position, it would seem that using the slide release (left hand, thumb) would be more conducive to shooting (requires less hand movement), and re-acquiring the target than using the left had to pull back on the slide to release it in combat or competition.
Nevertheless, I am very willing to hear arguments ("how-I-have-always-done-it's" are useless), in favor of using the pull-and-release method.
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Old July 19, 2013, 06:57 AM   #9
loose_holster_dan
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Quote:
the slide release was DESIGNED to release the slide
i was taught that it's actually not called a slide release, but a slide stop. i was also taught that not all guns function reliably by using the slide stop to release the slide. pulling the slide back that extra 1/4" gives it the clearance and extra momentum to make sure it picks the next round out of the magazine.

tomac, good to run into you. i don't usually see you in the pistol forums. i'm used to seeing you in MSAR threads.
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
i was taught that it's actually not called a slide release, but a slide stop. i was also taught that not all guns function reliably by using the slide stop to release the slide. pulling the slide back that extra 1/4" gives it the clearance and extra momentum to make sure it picks the next round out of the magazine.
The slide lock/slide release on a gun like the 1911 has multiple functions.

It locks the slide back when is it empty = slide lock
It halts the slides forward movement = slide stop
If you press it down it will allow the slide to ride forward = slide release

In the end I use both. I think it is smart to be proficient with both methods. It is not an either or proposition. Training and developing muscle memory and proficiency using both seems prudent to me. Some guns like the Kahr actually state you should always use the slide release because the sling shot or overhand method can cause poor feed due to the design. My Kahr CW9 feeds well both ways.
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
the slide release was DESIGNED to release the slide.
It would seem so. If the object were just a slide stop, there would seemingly be no need for the the hump on the lever which releases the slide....it would still work as a stop to allow for mag changes, without that little hump. If it was not intended to be used, would John Browning have put it there? I pose that question because of how everything about the original 1911 seemed so well thought-out... consider how the rounded magazine floor plate perfectly fits the radius of the barrel bushing/recoil spring plug, allowing it to be used as a take-down tool. And, how the thickness of the stock screws matched the thickness of the floor-plate allowing the magazine to be used to remove the stocks. Those things support the idea that the slide stop release was intended to by used, or it would not be there.
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Last edited by dahermit; July 19, 2013 at 07:56 AM.
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:15 AM   #12
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just cause it's there, doesn't mean it's a good idea. why do they serrate the front of the trigger guard?
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
the slide release was DESIGNED to release the slide
Okay, prove that 1) this is specifically designed to do this and only this job and 2) that the design stipulated it could not be used for anything else.

You can't, of course as it isn't necessarily factually true, certainly not across the board for all semi-auto handguns.

Quote:
i was taught that it's actually not called a slide release, but a slide stop
It does not matter what you think it part was designed to do and it does not matter what you were talk about what this part is called. Different instructors teach different things and different manufacturers call the same part by different names.

Looks at posts 45 and 48 here.
http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...e+lock+release

Depending on the manufacturer or the military, what it is called and how it can be used will vary widely and in many cases, the terminology of the part changes with the description.
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
just cause it's there, doesn't mean it's a good idea. why do they serrate the front of the trigger guard?
On the original 1911, John Browning didn't.
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Old July 19, 2013, 07:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Quote:
the slide release was DESIGNED to release the slide
Quote:
Okay, prove that 1) this is specifically designed to do this and only this job and
Other than releasing the slide, what can the little "hump" on the lever (with striations), be used for? If it was not intended to be depressed to release the slide, are you going to grind it off? The magazine follower will activate the slide lock when the gun goes empty, but that does not require the presents of the "hump".
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Old July 19, 2013, 08:17 AM   #16
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I use the slingshot method because two of my semi-autos have slide stops which cannot be used to release the slide. My CZ-52's slide stop has no provision to be depressed with the thumb and my Walther PP's slide stop isn't even visible from the outside of the pistol. Because of this, I find the slingshot method to be preferable because it works on all my semi-autos.
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:17 AM   #17
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I use the slide release, but at the range I typically don't shoot the magazine totally empty... I drop it and insert a full one when the last round is in the chamber. Call me lazy.
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Old July 19, 2013, 09:27 AM   #18
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I use the slide release but that is probably because that's how I was taught with the M9. so much of my handgun skills are carryovers from the navy that it's mostly second nature to me. I use the slide release though on my SR9 it's called a slide stop.

in my opinion the slide release is more tactically sound for speed. if my gun is pointed down range and I do a mag change I can use the slide stop while I'm still positioning my support hand while with the slingshot method I have to make a complete second movement to return it to battery which costs precious seconds which I may not have if I really need to use my gun in a self defense scenario.

some argue that the small size of the slide stop becomes it's Achilles heel because in a high stress situation you are so tense that muscle memory might be rendered useless, missing the stop by just a few centimeters will completely miss it and then you are stuck fumbling for it and argue that instead the slide makes a larger target to grasp and actuate but I do not buy it. there have been times especially with sweaty hands and tough slides that I can't actuate them on the first try so I don't see it becoming any easier under stress. the slide stop method is as second nature to me as flipping off the safety after unholstering.
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Old July 19, 2013, 10:56 AM   #19
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Interesting thread. IMHO its a moot point, do what feels best. It has not been proven to me that using the slide stop does or doesn't harms the gun. I tend to believe that it doesn't. In a self defense scenario, what if your weak hand was injured or busy defending yourself. what if your strong hand was injured and using your weak hand but your pistol didn't have a ambi-release. I was taught how to rack the pistol with my heel, not something I practice with a loaded pistol. I guess my only point is we should practice with self defense in mind, cause when the adrenaline starts to flow we will fall back on what we have practiced. OH, maybe I missed the main point of thread, which is slide lock or rack. And i turned it into a self defense thread, sorry for the drift.
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Old July 19, 2013, 11:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Other than releasing the slide, what can the little "hump" on the lever (with striations), be used for? If it was not intended to be depressed to release the slide, are you going to grind it off? The magazine follower will activate the slide lock when the gun goes empty, but that does not require the presents of the "hump".
Excellent! The presence of the "hump" does not indicate the circumstances of use of the part, whether it is to be used functionally during reloading or as an administrative tool for things like lowering the slide on an empty chamber with a mag in the gun.

Maybe it was designed to do both? Maybe it wasn't.

Unless a manufacturer's manual specifically says not to drop the slide using the lever, then I don't have a problem using it for that purpose. Regardless of the intent of the design, it does function well for that, but to know the intention of the design is a whole other matter.
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Old July 19, 2013, 11:40 AM   #21
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1) Reload before you are empty and the point is moot.
2) My HK pistols release the slide on their own when a mag is firmly inserted.
3)In a high stress situation slingshoting the slide is a gross motor skill which is prefered to releasing the slide stop which is a fine motor skill.
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Old July 19, 2013, 12:25 PM   #22
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Quote:
1) Reload before you are empty and the point is moot.
But then again, under the stress of combat, counting is not likely to happen, or be accurate and with high capacity magazines (not single-stack seven rounders ala 1911), it could become problematic to keep count accurately. That is likely why most military weapons lock open when empty...even the old 5-shot bolt actions.
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Old July 19, 2013, 12:32 PM   #23
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It is one of those issues that befuddles me in how strongly some feel about it.

On my Beretta PX4, I use the lever. It's very easy and for me much quicker than the slide. In addition, the pistol locks open when empty, and inserting + hitting the lever feels much more natural.

On my Ruger LCP, I use the lever. The LCP doesn't lock back when empty ,but when I rack the slide the pistol sometimes fails to return to battery. Not sure why - it is entirely reliable in operation.

However, on other pistols like a friend's Walther PPS or another friend's SR9, the lever is very stubborn and racking the slide is much easier.

Neither approach has ever given me any issues and both are fairly quick. Depends on the firearm.
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Old July 19, 2013, 12:47 PM   #24
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On my Kahr CW9 I was having trouble slingshotting it. The thing would not feed properly. I read the manual and it said to feed the first round using the slide stop / release. It works fine using this method. I believe that the best method would depend on the particular firearm. On my LCP racking the slide works better for me.
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Old July 19, 2013, 01:29 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double Naught Spy
different manufacturers call the same part by different names.
Well, let's take a look.

Colt calls it a slide stop.

Kimber calls it a slide stop.

Les Baer calls it a slide stop.

Wilson Combat calls it a slide release.

Springfield Armory calls it a slide stop.

Four out of five ain't bad. I'll call it a slide stop because 80% of manufacturers call it a slide stop.

Honestly, I don't care if you chamber a round by using the slide, or using the slide stop. It's your pistol, do what makes you happy.
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