The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Semi-automatic Forum

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

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 21, 2013, 05:42 AM   #51
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 20,909
If it hadn't been intended to be used to release the slide, the textured protrusion wouldn't be there. It would have been both cheaper and faster to simply mill it flat.
That SOUNDS logical, except that it misses one important point.

The marks could be there to facilitate using the lever exclusively to lock the slide open, not to release it. In fact, that is exactly the case with one particular manufacturer. Glock puts texturing on their slide stops but does not advocate their use as a slide release.
It's a slidestop. It keeps the slide from flying off the front end of the frame when the slide returns to battery.

It's a slide LOCK. It holds the slide open when the magazine is empty.

It serves as an anchor for the link, which pulls the barrel out of the slide when the assemly moves rearward in recoil.

It serves as a camming surface, to put the barrel into the slide and interlock the upper lugs.

It's a slide release, for returning the slide to battery after a reload.
The list focuses on one particular class of pistol designs.

There are many pistol designs in which the slide stop/release has nothing to do with retaining the slide, serving as an anchor for a link, functioning as a camming surface and at least one where the manufacturer states that it should not be used as a slide release.
Quote: many firefights...fought with pistols...will require a thousand rounds to establish the winners and losers? These exercises are fun, I suppose...but in no way do they shed light on any practical circumstances.
Of course, there's no expectation nor implication that someone would use 1000 rounds in a self-defense encounter. The point was that the extreme conditions created a situation that highlighted the difference in the two techniques.

However, it's a mistake to assume that the lesson applies only to extreme conditions or unusual situations. The information derived from the match DOES shed light on some practical circumstances that are often encountered in decidedly NON-extreme conditions.

In the match, the weaker than normal slide action was caused by fouling, but that is certainly not the only possible cause for weaker than normal slide action and some of the other causes are encountered in practical circumstances.

A few things I can think of off the top of my head that might cause the slide action to be more sluggish than ideal:
  • Weak or damaged recoil spring.
  • Damaged recoil spring guide.
  • Out of spec ammunition.
  • Foreign material (e.g. lint or dust) fouling the slide rails or the magazine.
  • Insufficient lubrication or lubrication that has migrated/dried/evaporated.
In those situations, it's entirely possible that the slight amount of extra energy provided by racking the slide back to release it vs. using the slide stop/release might make the difference between a malfunction and a smooth feed.
Did you know that there is a TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Old July 21, 2013, 05:47 AM   #52
Billy the Kidder
Join Date: May 21, 2012
Location: Westlake, OH
Posts: 80
The only problem I have ever had was prematurely releasing the slide during a reloading drill (no round got stripped and chambered, but I realized what I had done before I pulled the trigger for my next shot), so I had to rack the slide. It all got done quicky enough that only one instructor noticed my mistake. I guess I advocate both methods.
Proudly causing more problems than I solve, since 1950.
Billy the Kidder is offline  
Old July 21, 2013, 11:15 AM   #53
Senior Member
Join Date: April 10, 2008
Location: Alaska
Posts: 3,706
Well from the results it looks like 59% of respondent choose the wrong career and should have been gun designers. I wonder how many have the maximum number of air bags in their cars? (or sold the one they had because it had few or none and maxed out on air bags?) I would guess there is about 10,000% chance that is going to save you life vs a hot fast mag swap let alone the marginal improvement in chambering odds (if any) on racking the slide and the slow down that entails.

Me, I plan on making the best of the 15 rounds I have and am not figuring I will be taken on Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde, in which case I am screwed anyway.

Ahh Honey, there were a few more than I thought, could you bet that extra magazine and maybe break out the AR, this is looking pretty dicey here and get the 100 round drum while you are at it please.
RC20 is offline  
Old July 21, 2013, 12:18 PM   #54
44 AMP
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 17,253
I've read through the thread, and others like it. And my personal opinion remains unchanged. And that is the question only has meaning IF you include the specific gun used in it.

True that 1911 type systems dominate the defensive and service class auto pistol designs, BUT not all handguns use this system. AND, not all the levers and placements are equal.

If you are going to restrict the debate to 1911s or guns that use a similar type of lever for a slide release, you should say so in the question. IF you aren't restricting it to these kinds of guns, then the question has no merit.

Remember that the handgunning world is not composed exclusively of 1911s Sigs, Berettas and GLocks. It is also not limited to duty class pistols. And though heavily focused on, defensive use (and tactics of reloads) are a very SMALL part of general handgun use. An important part, but not the only part.

For those who think that using the lever is the only way to do it, what do you use when the gun doesn't have that feature? (and don't say use another gun, that's ducking the question)

Since the OP does not limit us to just common duty guns, all autos are fair to consider. For you "slingshot is a bad habit" guys, how do you load/reload a Luger? Or a Mauser HSc (which locks open when empty, but shuts when you remove the empty magazine?) For that matter, what about all the pocket pistols (which do get defensive service sometimes) that do not lock open when empty? No option but the slingshot, there.

Find me the human that can actually use the slide stop lever on a Desert Eagle MK I to release the slide. I'm sure there must be some, but slingshotting is soo much easier.

The military has changed its "official" recommendations back and forth, over time. People were found to fumble the lever in combat, so they said slingshot the slide. Then they learned people were fumbling slingshotting the slide, so they said use the lever. The fact is that some people in combat are going to fumble with either method. And there is the fact that no matter how you train them, in the field, on their own, each user is going to do what they think best, in each situation.

There is something to be said for the slingshot method, in so far as consistency of training is concerned. It works with every gun. But there is no free lunch. What we consider acceptable today is different than the past, and likely will be different from the future as well.

Remember that in the past, keeping a shooting grip and keeping the empty gun on the target (as much as possible) wasn't the priority it is thought to be today. And while doing that can save seconds (or more likely fractions of a second0, can be important to winning a match and may be important in combat/defense, it wasn't focused on like we do today.

After all, during a reload, your pistol is empty, so nothing you do during a reload matters, except the time it takes to return the pistol to a firing condition, and back on target.

Design philosophies differ. The manual of arms differs due to the specific features on the guns used. One system might have advantages over another in specific situations but real world conditions often cancel that out to one degree or another.

Germany didn't lose WWII because Lugers don't have a slide stop or because P.38s use a heel clip mag catch. There was a lot more involved than that. And I doubt you can come up with any proof that anyone lost a gunfight with a Luger or P.38 because of having to slingshot the toggle or whatever. There's more to it than just that.

As to what Browning did, or did not think about when he designed the 1911, I won't even hazard a guess, absent any documented proof from him, personally.

However, I do wish to point out that the primary customer was the US Army, and at the time, the Cavalry was still the prestige arm and had a great deal of influence. And they were pretty insistent the pistol be capable of being safely operated with one hand, and on horseback.

And since maintaining a good shooting grip and keep the empty pistol pointed at the enemy during a reload were not considered vitally important items in those days, I find it entirely logical that Browning intended the slide stop to be used to release the slide. And, it kept the customer happy.

Times change, attitudes change, designs change, some of what was "right" then is "wrong" today, and some of what is "right" today seems unnecessary to me, but then, I'm no expert, I'm a high drag, low speed operator, these days. I slingshot the guns I have to, slingshot the guns that are easier to do that with than use the slide release, and use the slide release on guns where it is easiest. I would suggest you do what works best for you, and the specific gun you are holding, and don't worry overmuch about what the rest of the world (probably with different guns) is doing.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is online now  
Old July 21, 2013, 02:44 PM   #55
Senior Member
Join Date: October 9, 2009
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 5,983

Not read all posts, but can say with certainty that using the lever is faster, but manipulating the slide is more tactical, though maybe not for the reason that is most often voiced.

If you get around competition events, etc, where winners are decided by score and time, you will not see many (if any) top shooters grasp the slide and "slingshot" if they have shot the gun dry. The lever is faster.

The logic you hear, and has been likely posted, is that one will need gross motor skills to run the pistol under stress of a real life of death shoot, that finding the dinky "slide lock lever) (a SIG term I think) will be difficult due to all sorts of physiological responses.

Maybe, maybe not. I wonder because is not manipulating the trigger itself, properly, a fine motor skill? So also any manual safety ? (think Colt 1911 or M16/AR) Maybe even a mag change (mag release button) or exchange for that matter? How do we manage any of our weapons manual of arms (handling skills) without fine motor skills?

Where the logic makes sense for me is getting a strange gun back into action, or when you dabble with with different firearms. How many of us have more than one pistol and the controls are in different locations? It is simpler and likely more efficient at that point to simply slingshot the slide rather than to search for a lever that may not be there!

When I compete (poorly usually) I use the lever, as I'm hunting for split seconds to shave. On duty , strange gun, or clearance drills, I slingshot.
bamaranger is offline  
Old July 22, 2013, 12:13 AM   #56
Senior Member
Join Date: November 25, 2012
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 1,062
I stumbled upon this training video from PDN's Rob Pincus and thought it applicable to share here. Seems like consistency is the key and other tactical advantages to using the overhand method racking the slide.
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2
Koda94 is online now  

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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 12:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent:
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.05985 seconds with 10 queries