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Old February 29, 2024, 07:05 AM   #1
DaleA
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Racking the Slide-a specification?

Another thread got me thinking (I know!!!).

Maybe firearms manufacturers should list the force required to rack the slide.

Seems like it could be similar to trigger pull. Hook up the scale to the slide (left as an exercise for the class since I'm not sure how this would be done) and then pull until the slide comes back noting what the highest reading is.

Just a thought.

Note: I have known a few people that could NOT rack the slide on a gun until they WANTED to rack the slide. Once they had done it they didn't regard it as impossible anymore. Full disclosure: these are some friends and family that didn't want to shoot (and couldn't rack the slide) and then saw others shooting and having fun and then WANTED to shoot and their ATTITUDE is what made the difference.
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Old February 29, 2024, 08:12 AM   #2
gc70
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What would be counted for a hammer-fired pistol - starting with the hammer down or with the hammer cocked?

Regarding people with difficulty racking slides: some people really have difficulty racking slides, or simply cannot do so.

After hand surgery, my wife said she couldn't rack the slides on pistols. I (wrongly) thought she had just lost interest in shooting during the very painful lead-up to her surgery. Then I was humbled by losing my grip strength from injuring the ulnar nerve in my arm. A drink cup from McDonald's would slip out of my hand and racking a slide was impossible. I had plenty of strength to pull the slide back, but I lacked the ability to maintain a grip on the slide while it was being pulled back. My ulnar nerve healed and my grip strength was restored, along with an appreciation for the real physical challenges some people face using firearms.
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Old February 29, 2024, 09:36 AM   #3
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seniors

My old district ranger called me one day, asking I take a look at a compact .380 he had bought some time previous. Stated the pistol had "locked up" and the slide would not retract. He was in his late 80's at the time.

Few days later I swung by and examined the thing, a Taurus of some sort as I remember. The slide ran just fine. It was clear to me the old boy could not get sufficient grip to manage it. As we pursued a means by which he could accomplish same, he lacerated his hand on the rear sight, bled like a stuck pig(medication).

He advised he carried the tiny pistol with an empty chamber. An old revolver guy, he did not trust carrying the gun with a round up the pipe. Go figure..... he always had strange ways of looking at issues, and you could not tell him otherwise. This time was no different. Though I encouraged him to acquire a snub .38, the operation would be identical to the K and L frame revolvers he had shot for over 30 yrs, he would not hear it. The flat compact .380 "carried easier".

Five or six years later, still kicking at 93, he likely has the diminutive blaster tucked in his back pocket right now, and I promise you, he could not get a round in the chamber if his life depended on it.
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Old February 29, 2024, 04:21 PM   #4
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A listing of the force required to rack the slide would give you a "standard" for comparison against other pistols listed force (provided they used the same measuring method) but otherwise is essentially irrelevant when it comes to telling if YOU can easily rack the slide, or not.

First, because there are so many different ways of doing it, and second because the amount of force needed to "pull" the slide back isn't the only thing that matters.

As an example, my mother, was a small woman, (4'10, "and a half!, Dammnit!) who wore a size 3.5 ring. My high school class ring was 8.5 size and her ring (same school, 20 years earlier) could pass through my ring.

She could rack the slide of a 1911A1, if she cocked the hammer first. Not easy for her, but she could do it. Dad got her a .25 auto, thinking it would be easier for her. Turned out to be exactly the opposite. She couldn't rack the slide on that little .25 AT ALL. Because of the small gripping area of the slide, and not having enough "pinch" strength in the fingers she could grip the slide with. She had the strength to pull the slide back, but didn't have the strength to grip that slide firmly enough to pull it back.

The pistol she settled on, (and loved) was a Ruger super Bearcat. It was scaled to be a good fit for her, and she could run it easily, and she did it well.

With 9mms, the gun I find easiest to rack is the Luger. The toggle action Pistole Parabellum. Its easy, and slick to do, with just two fingers curled over the toggle knobs. No idea how much force is needed, but the feel, and the direction of the pull seems easier to me than regular slide pistols.

With some guns, its easier to simply hold the slide and push the frame forward. Some guns are tough to work unless your use your hand over the slide. Some guns won't allow that method.
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Old February 29, 2024, 09:40 PM   #5
tlm225
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This is what lead my wife to the S&W .380 EZ. She got to where she couldn't rack the slide on her Ruger LC9s. I took her to a LGS that had female staff and turned her over to them. 30 minutes later she had selected the .380EZ which she still uses.

Sometimes you have to go hands on with a gun to determine if it will work for you.
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Old February 29, 2024, 11:28 PM   #6
tangolima
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Poundage to rack a slide wouldn't hurt.

I have helped a few elderly customers overcome this issue with their pistols. Most of the time the complaint was the slide being too slippery. Stainless steel is one of the usual culprits. I put strips of sandpaper with adhesive backing on the slide after degreasing. Of course I also showed them better ways to grip the slide too.

They left happily, but the boss not so much. He was hoping the customers would trade in their guns for something else.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
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Old March 1, 2024, 10:25 AM   #7
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Maybe just give us the weight of the recoil spring....
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Old March 1, 2024, 10:54 AM   #8
wild cat mccane
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Let's list the poundage to put the last round in a magazine...

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Old March 1, 2024, 10:57 AM   #9
JohnKSa
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Quote:
Maybe firearms manufacturers should list the force required to rack the slide.
I do think there's merit to the idea since the difficulty level of racking the slide is a factor for some users. I just don't have a good idea for a way to do it that would provide information that would be useful. Sometimes there are other factors that are more of an issue than just the force required.
Quote:
Let's list the poundage to put the last round in a magazine...
That's a good point--it can vary significantly from a fully-loaded magazine as compared to loading from a mag with only one round in it.
Quote:
...the amount of force needed to "pull" the slide back isn't the only thing that matters.
Correct. You have to be able to get a grip on the slide and all slides are not created equal in that respect.
Quote:
Maybe just give us the weight of the recoil spring....
That's part of it, but as noted, the design of the slide makes a difference. The CZ-75 design that puts the slide inside the frame rails means that there's less surface area to grasp compared to other similar-sized pistols and makes them harder to rack than one might expect just based on the recoil spring spec.

Another issue is the magazine spring strength and how the first round in the magazine "interacts" with the underside of the slide. I have one little .380ACP blowback pistol that had a design that made it a bear to chamber the first round from a full magazine. The magazine spring was pretty stiff and the underside of the slide had a "feature" that tended to catch on the rim of the top round of the magazine. On top of that the slide was pretty small since the whole pistol was pretty small.

I used to know a guy who ran a gun shop and one of his customers was an older woman who owned the same brand/model of pistol. When she had to load the chamber of the gun, she would bring it to him and have him do it--she was completely unable to manage it.
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Old March 1, 2024, 12:35 PM   #10
L. Boscoe
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Anybody who bought a new Les Baer knows it takes all a grown man can do to rack the slide before 500 rounds of hardball are
run thru it. At 87, the only way I could do it was to hold it close
and use one hand to hold and the other to push. It was a PITA,
but it loosens up with use.
I hate to think what the poundage necessary was.
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Old March 1, 2024, 02:43 PM   #11
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Recoil springs aren't always the only springs you are compressing. Often you are also cocking the hammer (or the firing pin spring) at the same time.

Sometimes those springs are actually heavier poundage than the recoil spring.

if its got an exposed hammer, there is a quite noticeable difference in the force needed to rack the slide when the hammer is cocked first. Sometimes, that's all you need to do to turn a gun that is "hard to rack" into one that is "easy".
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Old March 1, 2024, 09:49 PM   #12
Nathan
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Quote:
Let's list the poundage to put the last round in a magazine...
What would S&W list for the Shield Plus? It is nearly impossible, like maybe impossible….not quite impossible with a tool of some sort.

Try this: https://gun-nutz.com/products/b-l-t
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Old March 3, 2024, 08:51 AM   #13
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Trying to visualize how the bullet loader tray works. Looks like you place rounds in the bottom and press the magazine onto the cartridge to load it. At 74, if I lost my Uplula, I might have to go shooting with half loaded mags.
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Old March 3, 2024, 10:09 AM   #14
Jim Watson
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If I lost my Uplula and the various .22 loaders, I would be limited to real 1911s and their 7x.45 magazines. For some reason they are easier to load.
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Old March 3, 2024, 12:38 PM   #15
Nathan
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The great thing about the bullet tray is the way you grab the magazine. I only have one hand and my fingers are starting to dislike loading full mags. I had a Caldwell mag loader but some mags don’t like it loading the last round. The squeezing can be hard on the hand.

With my tray, I load 380-45 auto.

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