The Rabbi Speaks: Don’t Use the Slide Stop to Release the Slide

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

15 Responses to The Rabbi Speaks: Don’t Use the Slide Stop to Release the Slide

  1. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    Yup – I'm still going to argue with this! This gentleman makes the argument that under stress, ones fingers can get quite slippery and that it would be difficult to feel the slide stop. He also notes that it is called a “slide stop” for a reason. Point taken, but I’ve heard and seen it referred to as both a slide stop and slide release. Occasionally, I even see it called the “slide stop release”.

    Anyway, the little bit of evidence provided (slippery fingers) can be used as evidence for the exactly opposite argument. Personally, I’ve seen more FTL failures because people ride the slide forward. To make matters worse, I’ve seen even experienced shooters catch some skin in the ejection port as they’re riding the slide forward. Now they have a FTL AND a bloody mess to deal with.
    Do what is comfortable and best applicable to your carry weapon. 1911 shooters tend to grab the slide to reload. Modern polymer guys have more options as the slide stop/release is in a better location. If modern firearm manufacturers wanted us to use the slide during a reload, they would put the slide stop in a different part of the frame.

    • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

      Cont from above:
      My biggest gripe with the slide-n-grab method is twofold. First, it requires two hands. People who make the argument for using the slide grab method often argue that one should always keep a personal carry piece with one in the chamber (they should!). Their biggest argument for always keeping one in the pipe is that one may not be able to use two hands. Well, apply that same logic during reloads. Who says that you’ll have two hands fully available? I've seen people reload a magazine resting on a table with only one hand, so reloading can be done one handed, or with a hurt but still semi-functional weak hand.

      • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

        Besides that fact that there is a bigger chance for a FTL (using the slide stop release will almost NEVER cause a FTL), the second big problem I have with the slide-n-grab technique is speed. It is pretty slow. Sure, in the video this gentleman looks fast during the reload. But he wasn’t moving, the pistol was close to his chest, he hasn’t just manipulated a magazine in place, and he certainly wasn’t in a defensive position ready to reengage. You will notice that when the slide sling-shots forward, his weak hand is FAR from being ready to engage targets or attackers. As a matter of fact, it looks as though he is just inches away from punching himself in the face (probably the camera angle). After a reload, if you use the slide release, your hands will already be getting back into proper grip – ready to engage targets.
        P

  2. avatarjkk says:

    using the slide stop/release is faster and hands are better positioned to engage the weapon on target. extended slide release is a good alternative if you are afraid of not being able to hit it at speed. slide-n-grab is oft an offshoot of those that also teach not carrying one in the chamber (not saying that applies here)…

    oh, fwiw… if you dont know the weapon, slide-n-grab is a much surer way of releasing the slide…. good like hitting the slide release on that walther!

  3. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    Whoa with the caps… Agreed, the proper term is slide stop, but slide release is a commonly used synonym. I checked with my XD and XDM owner’s manual, and both refer to it as a "slide stop". Something interesting I found was that under "Loading Your Pistol" section, it instructs to depress the slide stop lever to load. However, on ALL my 1911 owner manuals, it instructs owners to “grab the slide smartly and release”.

    • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

      I did see in your video that you said NOT to ride the slide forward the first time around. Most people know this to be a terrible technique, but I see it happen every week. When people do it under practice or matches, even when they know that they are not supposed to, means they’re going to do it under stress of combat.
      We will have to agree to disagree on the technique then. For every person that argues that the slide grab technique is better, there is the same amount of people who argue against it. There isn’t sufficient evidence to prove one technique superior to another. As you state, practice is the key to successfully manipulating a weapon during combat. You’re correct – you cannot do what is comfortable under combat. However, you shouldn’t be looking for comfort in a combat situation. You should practice what is most comfortable for you, that way it becomes second nature.

      • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

        FWIW, in all of my practice sessions, lessons, classes, and matches, I have yet to be unable to activate the slide stop lever. This includes outdoor matches at 4pm during the month of July in Phoenix! You don’t get much sweatier than that! I have never heard from a single person that they “found the slide release, but couldn’t press it down hard enough because their hands were too sweaty”. I have seen a guy smack himself in the face grabbing the slide to reload and I will admit that I’ve done it myself (no blood thankfully) during a Single-Stack match.
        Are you sure about the spring power argument? My XDM spring looks like a standard linear rate spring. Hooke’s Law states that the force with which the spring pushes back is linearly proportional to the distance from its equilibrium length. Assuming that the XDM spring is linear, you cannot get 20% from ¼” of travel. I would barely call it ¼” too, more like 1/8”.

  4. avatarRabbi says:

    The caps are simply to highlight my response in relation to your text.

    I will not take Springfield Armory to task for stating to use the slide stop to release the slide because the vast majority of people with handguns do not train for defensive shooting. Using the slide stop is fine for non-defensive shooting. You will note that my video states that the recommendation is for defensive shooting.

    There is no difference in application between tactical tupperware and 1911 pattern pistols. Same technique applies to both.

    If you practice bad technique on the range, you will perform bad techniques in a fight.

    If you research the physical manifestations of Body Alarm Reaction during a lethal encounter you will recognize the folly of comparing a real gunfight to matches in July in Phoenix. Under stress you lose the ability to feel your fingers and the ability to manipulate them properly. The expression is that your “fingers turn to flippers.” Using the slide stop is a fine motor skill and the ability to use fine motor skills degrade under stress as blood is diverted from minor muscle groups and fed to major muscle groups. Grabbing the slide is a gross motor skill that has the greatest chance of success under stress. There is LOTS of evidence to back that up.

    jkk, While grabbing the slide may be slower for you, that doesn’t mean that it is slow for everyone. With proper technique it can be quite fast. Likewise, using the slide stop may not be as reliable when your fingers turn to flippers.

    Extended slide release are fine for the range or competitions, but they have no place on a defensive pistol as it increases the likelihood of an accidental engagement.

    Rather using techniques that work on MY gun and learning MY gun, I train with techniques that work on ALL guns as I don’t know if I will have to use an unfamiliar weapon to save my life.

  5. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    I was just joking with the caps, your purpose was obvious. I was commenting because it was hard read. My father still insists on sending emails with all caps and my eyes tweak out!

    Where is the evidence? Did they actually run tests? I know that it is almost impossible to replicate a defensive shooting, but I know that the FBI, SWAT, etc run some pretty "engaging" scenarios. I wonder what their standard technique is. I will see if I can ask our local SWAT guys here in town what they are trained to do. For the sake of TTAG, I will try to get an answer this Tuesday. I'll also ask the GM/M guys what/how they were taught. I know an older guy up there who is a NRA Instructor and has worked with SWAT teams in CA.

  6. avatarMartin Albright says:

    It's been a long time since I studied any kind of "combat" shooting but I seem to recall that it is generally considered a faux pas to shoot your weapon dry in the first place. I know in combat-style competition, it's normal to change mags whenever the opportunity presents itself.

    If you don't shoot your weapon dry, then the issue of the slide stop is moot.

    • It may be a faux pas to shoot your weapon dry (so to speak), but everything I've read and seen indicates that's exactly what self-defense shooters do. They don't reload until they're done with the first magazine. Nor do they know how many round they've fired—a good reason not to make any specific statements to the police after a shooting.

  7. avatarRobert says:

    Great discussion here. I have an FNP-45 and I find it difficult to use the slide release to chamber the first round. It’s very hard to push down. Could it be due to the fact that it is a new gun and needs break in? Do the slide stops get easier to push down over time?

    Thanks!
    Rob

  8. avatarBiker Bry says:

    I disagree, I can operate a slide release/stop better than racking while achieving my sight picture and placing my grip. Using two hands to release the slide takes longer to get from unloaded to sight picture and depending on the weapon, the slide can be even more slippery. Look at the Glock Gen 3. The slippery finish is just awful on them.

  9. avatarOLD HOG says:

    Slide Stop….Not Slide Release………!

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