The Great Slide Release Debate

You never want the answer to be: 'File not found.'


Slingshot

The second option for the slide tugging methods is the "slingshot." This is where the slide is grasped from the rear with the thumb on one side and the fingers (led by the index finger) are on the other side. You pull back on the slide and release it as if you were shooting a slingshot, and you're in business. This solves the problem of getting your support hand too close to the muzzle or the ejection port and, to me at least, seems like a much more sensible approach. It also keeps things open when trying to clear jams AND you aren't going to accidentally point the gun at yourself or anyone next to you. However, if you happen to have weak hands or wrists, you may have trouble gripping the slide hard enough to pull it to the rear. If your hands are slippery, you may not be able to maintain a solid hold. And if you are trying to clear the chamber, the cartridges may not fall free. However, this method is greatly enhanced if you simply rotate the gun on its bore axis, so that the ejection port is facing down and to the side. For a right hander, this would mean rotating the top of the slide from the 12 o'clock to the 8 o'clock position, or 12 to 4 for a leftie. Now the arms align in a strong position behind the gun, anything in the feed ramp area can fall free and you have more strength in pulling the slide to the rear. In fact, you can put your entire body behind the movement, much like throwing a punch with your gun hand while pulling to the rear with your support hand. This has helped many shooters with hand or arm strength problems, and gives them a safe alternative to the hand-over-top method.

The slide release method

The alternative to the slide tugging techniques is to simply push down on the slide release. This only works, of course, when loading or reloading from slide lock. The minus column on this one includes such things as the design of the slide release itself and its location. SIG Sauer slide releases are near the rear of the slide, while most others are more centrally located, above the trigger guard. Glock doesn't even call theirs a slide release, because they only advocate pulling the slide to the rear. They call the part that locks the slide back a "slide stop lever." It works just like a slide release. Both Glock and the SIG pistols have fairly low-profile slide stop/release levers, and the Glocks are an especially good candidate for an extended slide stop replacement. I have changed them on all of mine. On the plus side? Well, for one, if you ARE starting from slide lock, it is absolutely the fastest way to get a round chambered and get back on target. Either of the slide tugging methods require your support hand to move through a reciprocating arc of almost three feet before it is back on the gun as the support hand. Check out how the best competitive shooters do this. But, some say, "that's a fine motor skill that will not hold up during body alarm reaction." Well, okay, hold your hands as if you are grasping a gun, with your thumbs pointing up. Now close them down into your fists. The closing motion of our opposable thumbs is, in fact, one of our most instinctive motor skills. The thumbs just push down on the lever on the way past. But the single most compelling reason for being able to release the slide in this fashion? It works one-handed. If you only train with the slide tugging methods, what you are going to do when your support hand isn't available? You have two choices. Use the slide release, or find something to push against with the rear sight or ejection port of the slide. (You need to know how to do that too, as well as reloading one-handed, but I'm running out of room here.)

  • Enhance your experience.

    Thank you for your regular readership of and visits to Officer.com. To continue viewing content on this site, please take a few moments to fill out the form below and register on this website.

    Registration is required to help ensure your access to featured content, and to maintain control of access to content that may be sensitive in nature to law enforcement.