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Old December 6, 2018, 10:28 AM   #1
rambo60+
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Semi with the easiest slide?

My wife and I are new to shooting and bought a Stoeger Couger 8000 (9mm) as a starter handgun. We have fired approx. 1000 rounds through it and like it very much. However, my wife has a much harder time pulling the slide back than I do. Being a small lady, it's at the maximum strength effort level for her. But, she can do it.
So, my question to you more experienced shooters is.... Which handguns have an easier/lighter slide operation? I know the compact & subcompact guns will be less. But for an average handgun which ones are easier?...Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Taurus, CZ, ect??
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Old December 6, 2018, 10:41 AM   #2
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This comes up pretty frequently. It didn't used to make sense to me but now I am arthritic enough to care.
I assume she is using good technique.

With a hammer fired gun, a lot of resistance to slide opening is in the mainspring.
She might try cocking the hammer to get that out of the way so all she has to fight is the recoil spring.

Her shooting activity determines how often she has to rack the slide.
In IDPA, USPSA, and SC, every stage concludes with dropping the hammer to demonstrate an empty chamber. So the gun has to be loaded from scratch every stage.
But, if she shoots on a rental range or such, she need not rack the slide but once a day.
Unbag, load and shoot. After that the gun is either being fired, is on safety, or is empty with the slide locked back, nothing to do but reload and punch the slide stop.

I am sure others will be along with a laundry list of makes and models ranked by slide pull effort; helping her spend her money.
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Old December 6, 2018, 10:47 AM   #3
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Instead of looking for a different pistol, have your wife review this article in The Cornered Cat website by Kathy Jackson (moderator pax here at TFL). It's probably not the slide that needs to be different, but her technique in racking it.
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Old December 6, 2018, 11:09 AM   #4
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^^^^ Yep, two handed, close to the chest, push-pull method usually works fine.
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Old December 6, 2018, 11:14 AM   #5
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I found the little Sig 380 is the easiest slide. My SIL end up with one for the reason listed above. It is her carry gun.
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Old December 6, 2018, 11:24 AM   #6
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Anyone can learn to rack a slide but if they have to manipulate the muzzle in a unsafe direction to do it is another matter. Also can they do it safely while under the stress or clearing a malfunction?

Give a hard look at the S&W Shield EZ. It is a .380 with good capacity, backstrap safety, and is a soft shooter. Lot's of them are showing up at our range and they look to be a really nice gun for those who are challenged racking slides.
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Old December 6, 2018, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnystrom View Post
Anyone can learn to rack a slide but if they have to manipulate the muzzle in a unsafe direction to do it is another matter. Also can they do it safely while under the stress or clearing a malfunction?

Give a hard look at the S&W Shield EZ. It is a .380 with good capacity, backstrap safety, and is a soft shooter. Lot's of them are showing up at our range and they look to be a really nice gun for those who are challenged racking slides.
I also tried the Shield EZ 380 and hands down it was the easiest slide to rack I ever tried. It seems like they are selling very well to their targeted customers. Very soft shooter too as advertised.
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Old December 6, 2018, 01:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo60+ View Post
My wife and I are new to shooting and bought a Stoeger Couger 8000 (9mm) as a starter handgun. We have fired approx. 1000 rounds through it and like it very much. However, my wife has a much harder time pulling the slide back than I do. Being a small lady, it's at the maximum strength effort level for her. But, she can do it.

So, my question to you more experienced shooters is.... Which handguns have an easier/lighter slide operation? I know the compact & subcompact guns will be less. But for an average handgun which ones are easier?...Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Taurus, CZ, ect??


Beretta 92 Series

CZ 75, especially if you change out the recoil spring

Sig P238

Hardest? Many 1911s such as Springfield, Some Kimber, and the Desert Eagle 44 and 50 AE


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Old December 6, 2018, 02:13 PM   #9
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Thanks guys...all good advice on the springs and models. The best advice for now is the link to KJ's - Cornered Cat - Rack the Slide from SteveM1911A1. It will help to let her try other models at the next gun show also.
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Old December 6, 2018, 02:45 PM   #10
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Technique aside...

Some pistols have weaker factory recoil springs, look at Wolff Gunsprings, Beretta 92 is one of the easier (like 13#) whereas I think Kahr P9 is like 21# (guesstimates)

Another factor, slide mounted safety, like on the Beretta 92, helps with grip on slide.

Another factor, hammer that can be cocked like 1911, if the hammer is cocked that removes that much force (23#) from the equation; also a 9mm commander uses a lighter recoil spring than a 10mm Delta.
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Old December 6, 2018, 04:23 PM   #11
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Springfield XDE.
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Old December 6, 2018, 05:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo60+ View Post
My wife and I are new to shooting and bought a Stoeger Couger 8000 (9mm) as a starter handgun. We have fired approx. 1000 rounds through it and like it very much. However, my wife has a much harder time pulling the slide back than I do. Being a small lady, it's at the maximum strength effort level for her. But, she can do it.
So, my question to you more experienced shooters is.... Which handguns have an easier/lighter slide operation? I know the compact & subcompact guns will be less. But for an average handgun which ones are easier?...Glock, Sig, Beretta, S&W, Taurus, CZ, ect??
The easiest non-.22 I am personally familiar with is my Gen 3 Glock 19. (Later generations use a different recoil assembly, and may be different.)

The Walther CCP and S&W M&P Shield 380 are said to be very easy to rack.
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Old December 6, 2018, 05:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rambo60+ View Post
Thanks guys...all good advice on the springs and models. The best advice for now is the link to KJ's - Cornered Cat - Rack the Slide from SteveM1911A1. It will help to let her try other models at the next gun show also.

The link from who?
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Old December 6, 2018, 10:37 PM   #14
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Hi Point C9 - not kidding

Also, compacts & sub-compacts are actually harder to rack due to the limited grip area.
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Old December 6, 2018, 10:58 PM   #15
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We had a very similar discussion to this on the forum a couple of years back. I remember it since I went through all my pistols to find out. The easiest I own is a Norinco 213, but is a rather hard one to find since Clinton stopped their importation. It also has a low capacity single stack magazine. The next easiest slide was on my Beretta INOX 92. Many others responded claiming their Model 92 won from their pistol collection. It is buttery smooth.
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Old December 7, 2018, 12:04 AM   #16
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If you were interested in a sub-compact, I'd say the Ruger LC9S (striker). Borrowed one from a friend for a week and was really surprised at how easy it was to rack that slide.

In my own experience, so far as full-size guns go, Glock 19s are pretty easy, as are Beretta Storms, Canik TP9s, S&W M&P9 2.0, Ruger American in 9mm, Ruger 1911 in 9mm. I don't know if I can put them in order of "easiest to rack," but I think it'd go: Ruger 1911 9mm, Ruger American9, Canik TP9, S&W M&P9 2.0, Glock 19 (gen4), Beretta Storm9. From easiest to hardest. I think. They all rack pretty easy anyway.
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Old December 7, 2018, 12:08 AM   #17
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Ruger P 85/89 is an easy rack. My wife has no problem with it. Most of the full size wondernines are fairly easy.

I think people make a bigger issue out of this than it is. Its all technique and feel. If someone is struggling to rack a slide they just need to play around with it for a while and get familiar with the feel.
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Old December 7, 2018, 12:51 AM   #18
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I have about all of the micro and easy shooting pistols imaginable and by far the easiest to load, work the slide and handle recoil is the S&W Shield EZ .380. I have used mine as a house gun with a small light hanging below, even used it to dispatch a bunch of Texas hogs in traps quite efficiently.
Some Other very easy pistols to operate are :
Sig P238 (380) and P 938 (9mm)
Kimber Micro 380 and 9
Glock 42 (was not impressed with the 43)
S&W Shield 9 (40 is handful)
Colt Mustang
I would stay away from the PPK 380 (32 is ok)’smaller 9 & 380 pistols like Kel tec , SCCY, and more as they are often unpleasant to shoot or load. The only way to know is to check out all that appeal to you.
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Old December 7, 2018, 12:59 AM   #19
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Keep this in mind: the shorter the barrel, generally the stiffer the recoil spring- to adjust for the loss of mass in a shorter slide.

A 3" 1911 will have a stiffer recoil spring than a 5" 1911- for example.

Or, in the same size gun, a more powerful round will require a stiffer spring. The Browning Hi Power, for example.
9mm has a recoil spring of 17lbs.
The .40S&W version [barrel within .2", on same frame, but slightly heavier slide] has a stock recoil spring of 20lbs.
20lb spring is harder to compress [or rack the slide] than 17lb.

The worst recoil spring I ever used was a Kahr K9, but it was a DARNED reliable 9mm, and soft shooting.



Unless CC or open carry is an option, I would recommend the largest semi that she can comfortably and safely utilize.


I taught a friend's 11-year old daughter how to shoot. Took her through the following progression [carefully, with a LOT of safe preparation the day before].

.22lr Browning Buckmark.
.22lr Ruger 22/45 [mk II]
9mm: M&P 9c
9mm: Walther P38
.40: Glock G23 4th gen.
.45: 1961 Argentine Systema 1927 [1911]
.357mag: Ruger GP100
.44mag: Ruger SuperRedHawk.


She did fire all of them, and hit the target with all of them. SRH she only fired 2 rounds, and that was enough. I gave her credit for guts- and she didn't have the gun slip in her hand either!

When done, her dad asked her which one she liked shooting the most.

Her answer? the .45acp 1911. And she was accurate with it.



The one she liked the least [of the semi's]: the Glock G23.


The point is- no matter what technique is used, a heavier recoil spring requires more force to compress than a lighter recoil spring. And heavier ones tend to be in shorter barrels [if caliber is the same].
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Old December 7, 2018, 02:56 AM   #20
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I can't believe nobody's mentioned the H&K VP9. To me, it feels like it has about the same resistance as just about anything else I own. However, it has rubber ears (protrusions?) set in dovetail mounts on the rear vertical edge of the slide. These things are ingenious! And, they make manipulation of the slide so much easier.

Another plus for the VP9 is that not only is the rear of the backstrap adjustable, they have panels on the side of the grip that can be changed out. I have no idea why, but although I carry either a Sig P228 or my CZP10, I refuse to ever part with my VP9. It's very much worth taking a peek at I'd think.
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Old December 7, 2018, 03:46 AM   #21
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In center-fire calibers, the lightest force needed to rack a slide will probably be found in locked-breech 380 pistols (i.e. Sig P238 and S&W Shield EZ). It takes little effort to rack the slide of a pistol that operates on the recoil of such a mild cartridge.

Considering 9mm, slides on full-size guns will generally be easier to rack than their compact or subcompact counterparts. As previously noted, the Beretta 92's slide is generally considered easy to rack, probably at least partially because its recoil spring does not have to be as strong to handle the reduced mass of the open-top slide design. Also as previously noted for hammer-fired designs, the force to cock the hammer can often be separated from the force to rack the slide (e.g. overcoming the recoil spring). Those forces cannot be unbundled in striker-fired designs, which often have heftier recoil springs.
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Old December 7, 2018, 06:59 AM   #22
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My Canik TP9 sfx comes with an ambidextrous screw in cocking handle that makes this model very easy to cycle. Included to increase speed in competition.
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Old December 7, 2018, 08:26 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Rangerrich99 View Post
If you were interested in a sub-compact, I'd say the Ruger LC9S (striker). Borrowed one from a friend for a week and was really surprised at how easy it was to rack that slide.
But I'd certainly shoot it first. I had one and it was pretty 'snappy'..traded it for a Glock 42.
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Old December 7, 2018, 09:10 AM   #24
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Walther CCP. It uses a gas-retard system that doesn't require a strong recoil spring.
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Old December 7, 2018, 01:06 PM   #25
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I also tried the Shield EZ 380 and hands down it was the easiest slide to rack I ever tried. It seems like they are selling very well to their targeted customers. Very soft shooter too as advertised.
My wife purchased a 380EZ just because how easy the slide is to rack. It been a very good gun for her.

She had a CCP but that gun didn't work out well.
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