Slide Racking Tips for any Strength User

This article was recently published by Cheaper then Dirt. After the debacle that they created a year back I have not been won over by them. That said good information even from a bad source is still valuable.

 

The actual article is published here: http://cheaperthandirt.com/blog/

However for those of you who might not want to head over there we are including it below. There is a wonderful series of images and instructions on how strength is not as important as technique when racking a slide.

 

 

If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I can’t rack the slide. It’s too hard,” I’d probably have a condo in the Keys. In fact, when I started shooting, I thought I wasn’t able to operate all semi-automatic handguns either. Believe me, ladies; I understand your slide intimidation. However, have no fear! Regardless of what you may think, it is not your strength or lack thereof that enables you to rack a slide properly—it’s learning the correct technique.

Racking the slide allows the gun to “grab” the first round from the magazine and load it into the chamber. I love semi-automatic handguns and hate to see a woman give up on them simply because they think they can’t operate one. So, how do I rack a slide you ask? Follow these six steps and with a little bit of practice, you’ll be racking slides all day long!

Step 1: Place the gun in your dominant hand (the one with your trigger finger) in a good, solid grip. If you need help with your grip, read “Handgun Basics 101: Get a Good Grip.”

Step 2: Bring the gun close in towards your body. I prefer to bring my gun up close to my chest rather than my belly or middle. I find I get more leverage this way. Remember always keep your muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Do not sweep the people in the shooting bay next to you with your barrel.

Picture shows a woman holding a Glock safely, finger off the trigger close into her body at the bottom of her chest.

Bring the gun close in towards your body.

Step 3: Take your non-dominant hand and place the meaty part of your palm on the top, left side of the slide. Lefties will place your palm on the right side. Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

Picture shows a close up of a woman holding a Glock handgun against the meaty part of her palm.

After bringing the gun close in to your body, place the meaty part of your palm on the slide.

Step 4: Wrap all four fingers around the top of the gun, avoiding the ejection port. Grasp the slide serrations with the tops of your fingers—from the first joint to your fingertips. You might find you get a firmer grip with the tips of your fingers using your index finger as leverage and pressing into the gun with your thumb. However, longer nails might impede how firmly you can keep a hold of the gun when using this method.

Picture shows a close up of a woman holding a Glock handgun demonstrating how to wrap one's fingers around the slide in order to rack it.

Wrap all four fingers around the top of the gun. Grasp the slide serrations with the tops of your fingers.

Step 5: With as much force as you can muster, PUSH the gun forward with your dominant hand, keeping a firm grip on the top of the slide. You want this motion to be as smooth as possible.

Picture shows a close up of a woman racking the slide on a Glock semi-automatic handgun.

With as much force as you can muster, PUSH the gun forward with your dominant hand.

Step 6: When the slide reaches as far back as it will go, completely let go with your non-dominant hand, letting the slide thrust forward.

Picture shows a close up of a woman letting go of the slide on a Glock handgun.

When the slide reaches as far back as it will go, completely let go with your non-dominant hand.

Tips:

  • You may pull with the non-dominant hand in a push pull motion to rack the slide, applying an equal amount of force with both hands. However, do not depend solely on the pull—this is what made the operation difficult for you in the first place.
  • Practice with a full-sized, unloaded .22 Long Rifle first to get a hang of the motion.
    A properly oiled firearm makes all the difference in the world. Keep a bottle of lubricant, like Shooter’s Choice FP-10 in your range bag.
  • Always keep fingers away from the ejection port. If you are covering it with either hand then reposition. It’s fine if your pinkie has to come off the gun to clear the ejection port. There isn’t much power in your pinkie anyway.
  • Don’t extend your arms far out from your body. Bring the gun close in to utilize all your arm and pectoral muscles to push.
  • Do not treat the gun gently. This was the second most important lesson I learned in semi-automatic pistol shooting. Let go of the slide completely and let force do its job. Helping the slide along—also called “riding the slide”—causes malfunctions.

Picture shows a woman holding the top of the slide of a Glock handgun.

Alternatively, you can grip with the tips of your fingers using your index finger as leverage and pressing into the gun with your thumb.

Another intimidating thing about semi-auto pistols is the perceived recoil. Have you tried changing how you stand? Now that you have perfected racking the slide, perfect how you stand. Read “Managing Recoil with the Correct Stance” to learn how.

Ladies, have you mastered racking the slide on a semi-auto? If so, share your tips and tricks with us in the comment section.

Suzanne Wiley started shooting at a young age when her older brother bought a Marlin 60 and taught her to shoot. She took to shooting and developed a love for it when she realized she was a natural with a .22 LR rifle at summer camp. Suzanne has been an outdoor adventurer since she can remember-being from the Ozarks, there were bountiful caves, national parks, lakes, and camping spots to explore. From a young age, she has camped, fished, rode horses, went ATV exploring, rappelling, and even dabbled in beginner spelunking.
Suzanne joined the content team with over eight years experience at Cheaperthandirt.com. Starting out as a product description writer, Suzanne has extensive knowledge of the Cheaper Than Dirt! product base and is a good resource for suggestions on which products you need. Suzanne specializes in writing for the female shooter, beginner shooter, and the modern-day prepper. Though she prefers plinking with her S&W M&P 15-22, Suzanne also loves revolvers, the 1911, short-barreled AR-15s, and shooting full auto when she gets the chance. Suzanne is a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!

About 248 Shooter

248 Shooter
Charles is the editor and lead writer for 248 Shooter, a Michigan based gun, news and gear review site. An avid student, taking classes from top tier trainers around the country. Charles is not LEO, Military or Invested in the companies he reviews. The goal of all articles is to show an gun fan enthusiasts opinions on popular products in the market. The opinions expressed are individual opinions that we hope you enjoy reading and offer a unique user perspective that may be of assistance. Charles shares his love for training as well as experience and opinions on some of the most talked about gear and products used by competitive shooters, military, leo and civilians. Ever a supporter of the Michigan economy, the hunting sports and the 2nd amendment.

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