Knowing how to rapidly refill the pistol is an essential officer survival skill. The speed reload consists of dropping the magazine in the pistol and replacing it with one from the belt. The reload is executed when the gun is either empty or the need for more bullets outweighs the few bullets that may still be in the seated magazine. Under the confusion of battle, the officer may not have a solid idea how many bullets are in the gun. Executing a speed reload will remedy this condition.
The sequence for a speed reload is: (1) grip fresh magazine, (2) drop old magazine, (3) seat new magazine, and (4) continue engagement. This entire sequence can be accomplished with the business end of the gun pointed toward the threat.
To speed reload, bring the gun closer to the body by slightly bending the shooting-hand elbow. The gun should still be oriented toward the unsafe zone, and the officer's attention should be on the threat or most likely avenue of approach. A slight canting of the gun, where the slide stays completely horizontal and the bottom of the grip points toward the naval, is normal. Disengage the support hand, allowing it to feel for the fresh magazine. The shooter should still be able to sight and shoot, maintaining all concentration on the threat. The magazine is withdrawn from its holder by pinching it between the thumb and fingers. Once the shooter has gripped the magazine, he may press the release, dropping the old one, watching it in peripheral vision. If it does not fall free, the shooter can run any part of the hand against the floorplate to help it along.
When practicing, the shooter has arrived at the correct cadence when the shooter is "up" before the expended magazine hits the ground.
Insert the magazine into the well by guiding with the pointer finger. Use the flat side of the back of the magazine (where the base of bullets are) against the flat back of the magazine well to guide it home. Force the palm upward, packing the magazine in firmly. Maintaining contact with the gun, roll the hand to the front of the gun and reacquire the grip. A full extension of the gun hand ends the reloading sequence. If the slide is locked to the rear it should be released by grasping it and letting it slam forward.
The speed reload must be done in the proper sequence. Shooters should never press the magazine release button until a fresh magazine is in hand. If there aren't any magazines on the belt, dropping one that potentially has a round or two in it is a bad idea. It is better to shoot the gun in hand until slide lock and then go for the backup. Extra points to any officer whose backup gun uses the same magazines and bullets.
A tactical reload is used when the officer knows he does not have a full magazine on the gun and must "top it off." It differs from the speed reload because it retains the magazine ejected. Sometimes called "reloading with retention," the simplest version incorporates releasing the magazine in the hand, pocketing it and ramming another home. This should only be used when there is a safe break between engagements.
The second method requires trapping a spent magazine from the gun between two fingers while holding a full one between two other fingers. The inserted end of the magazines poke through the loosely formed fist and are banged home with the palm.
The rule for using a tactical reload: If the officer at any time wonders if it is a good time to use a tactical reload, use a speed reload.
Begin the tactical reload by preloading the full magazine between the middle and ring finger. The floorplate should be on the palm as if the shooter were using a syringe. The gun goes in the same position as the speed reload. Spread the pointer and ring finger open under the grip so they can receive the one in the gun. Press the magazine release, catch the spent one and shift so the full one is in the well. Ram it home. Retain the spent magazine.
The tactical reload is done correctly when, at any time the process is interrupted, slamming the palm upward puts the gun in firing mode.
The administrative reload also is used to ensure there is a full magazine in the well, although it is a more subtle form. It is executed while the gun is still in the holster. Press the release, strip the one in the well and retain it. Insert the new one.