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We were blanketed with three to four inches of global warming last night with one or two more still to drop. That means I may not make it to the range this afternoon as I’d planned. Not that I’ll get much sympathy from inundated Bay Staters like Ralph. Missing range time, though, doesn’t mean here aren’t things I can do at home to hone my skillz; beneficial reps like dry firing, drawing from concealment and, as the Four Gun Guys demonstrate (click the image above to view their vid), reloads. Just like getting to Carnegie Hall, there’s only one way to make quick, smooth mag changes second nature. Do you practice your reloads?

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  1. Only when shooting. Don’t really dry fire, practice drawing, reloads indoors much. I shoot on a private range less than five min away so I get tend to go 1-3 times a week.
    If I didn’t shoot as often I would practice some indoors.

  2. I spend very little if any time practicing magazine changes under simulated combat conditions. My personal assessment is that manipulating a handgun to change magazines involves a level of risk that outweighs the benefit of mastering Jerry Miculek level speed and competency.

    Perhaps a happy middle ground is to practice magazine changes in extra slow-motion. Then I get the benefit of muscle memory without the risk of muzzle sweeps and negligent discharges that are more likely to happen when rushing a magazine change.

    • Sheer fudism here.

      Start slow if you are worried, but you drive a car at 60mph… Don’t pretend that’s not dangerous.

      60mph is 88 ft/sec. Your hand traveles no more than 8ft per reload and that’s in one second if you are that speedy.

      It’s a processing thing. Do you have a particular medical disability that would preclude you from driving too?

      • You do realize that highly competent people have occasionally shot themselves and others while training, right? Here is a video of a man who shoots himself in the leg while practicing drawing and shooting. (Notice for people at work or within earshot of children: the audio includes the man dropping an F bomb While it is exceedingly rare, it happens.

        The chances of me having to use my everyday carry handgun for self-defense is low. The odds that I shoot through all 15 rounds in a self-defense event and need a reload are even lower. The odds that I shoot through all 15 rounds and need a super-fast reload are still lower yet. I have decided that the risk versus reward does not warrant that I spend time practicing fast reloads.

        As for your Nervous Nellie comments and comparison to driving, I’ll leave you with two insightful questions. The first day you got behind the wheel of a car, did you attempt to perform radical/evasive maneuvers at 60+ mph? Why doesn’t everyone practice radical/evasive maneuvers with cars at 60+ mph?

        • We should all know the story behind that guy’s malpracticed training by now. And if you don’t understand what he did wrong, you’re right. Practicing drawing and reloading is probably isn’t for you yet.

          As to the driving thing, yea my dad put me behind the wheel on a gravel road with horses in the trailer and we drove 40mph down the country roads. When I was 14.

          As for why people don’t know how to dive like their lives depended on it… don’t know. I take driving as seriously as I take guns and my bank account. Like my life may depended on it someday. I’ve never felt like good enough will cut it when you need it to.

          Here’s the thing, You could be a national level shooter in two 15 minute sessions of dry fire a day. That’s not very hard, nor very risky for what you get out of it.

    • Muscle Memory is one of the world;s most stupid terms. You practice something until it becomes subconscious. That way when it is crunch time you just do it. Your muscles have no memory. If you are having to consciously think about what you are doing then your awareness and focus will be taken away from the more important things like what the bad guys is doing at the time.

      • I’m pretty sure with the term muscle memory no one here is under the impression that our muscles have memory like a brain or an SD card. Its simply a term to describe the act of making motions becoming second nature or reflexive. Your problem with this term seems to be misplaced and silly.

        • colin p,

          You are right on the money. I adopted the term from a physical therapist who I assure you understands how our brains and muscles work.

          As you and ccchaz stated, muscle memory refers mainly to the way that we ingrain something into our memory to the point that it happens without much, if any, cognitive thought.

          That said, the same physical therapist explained experiments with animals that revealed there is an element of “memory” so to speak in our “muscles”. For example almost everyone has heard about chickens that quite literally run around immediately after someone cuts-off their head. What this tells us is that some of the actions that make our muscles work in a coordinated fashion actually happen outside of the brain.

          Thus we capture the idea of all mechanisms that enable us to move without much (and sometimes no) conscious thought as “muscle memory”.

      • muscles have no memory

        It means remembering how something feels. That memory comes from many many repetitions. The more that feel is ‘burned-into’ memory the more we can operate on a sort of autopilot, putting less attention into performing that motion, leaving more attention for something else. For example, standing up and walking across the room. That had to be learned. By now it’s on autopilot.

  3. Of course I practice reloads. Both for IDPA and in all my carry guns. Both in dry fire and live fire. Dry fire gets the mechanics down. Several different live fire drills help you reinforce that and get you noticing you are actually at slide lock;.

    • This.
      IDPA has the added benefit of simulating stress of a self defense scenario. Still amazes me how much a little dry practice makes a difference when you’re reloading on the clock
      By default (being a poor college student, wait is that redundant?) I shot IDPA a lot with my carry SR9c.

    • Same here. But since I shoot 3 Gun I get to practice reloading pistol, rifle, and shotgun.

      I do practice my carry gun reloads as well, because if you carry an extra mag you better know how to get it in the gun.

  4. Took a Defensive Pistol Course at my range. In short order, my palm was riddled with blood blisters because when I quickly and clumsily inserted the metal magazine into my Sig, it almost always pinched the skin of my palm when I pushed it home. After the class, I worked on developing a better technique and started saving for a pistol with more than a 6 round magazine.

    Also tossed out the POS magazine holder that I bought solely on price. Never again.

  5. Sad to say, I think I’ve practiced reloads more often than I have practiced draws. Sat in front of multiple football games on TV practicing mag changes, from pocket/shirt pocket/mag holder, but not near as much time practicing draws (which is difficult to do from seated position). Need to practice draws more, I want to start shooting IPDA soon.

  6. Reload? I draw the 2 pistols in my drop holsters and fire them until they’re empty. I then throw them away and draw the 2 pistols from my hip holsters and shoot them until they’re empty. I throw them away and draw the 2 pistols from my middle of the back holsters and shoot them until they’re empty and I throw them away. Then I reach over both shoulders and draw my 2 cut down double biden shotguns and shoot them until they’re empty and throw them away.

    Then I reach back over my shoulders and draw my 2 ninja swords and……..wait. What were we talking about, again?

      • That’s a New York reload, and some.
        Say, that reminds me, I was on the police range with my wife and we were the only two there so the range officer gave us a few tips. He told me to put my wife’s Nano In my holster and one round in my Glock. I figured he was going over the New York reload. He said to shoot the Glock then pull the BUG out and shoot it.
        I fired the Glock then dropped it on the ground as I drew the Nano. He yelled “Don’t do that!”
        I don’t give a crap. It’s a Glock. Still have the scratch on the slide where it hit the ground. What is the point of holding an empty gun that you don’t have the means to reload? He wanted me to re holster the Glock then pull the Nano. I guess he wanted me to get shot if I was in a real gun fight.

  7. Thanks for the tip, and I agree we should practice perishable skills of gun manipulation. Still, I suspect most normal people carry a smaller gun with a spare mag(s) that’s loose in a pocket; they don’t wear a dual mag OWB holster as an every day matter.

  8. I practice reloads the same way I learned to juggle. I stand over a bed or sofa so I don’t have to pick objects off the floor. I lay a couple empty mags on the bed and have a third one in the pistol. I keep my eyes forward and eject the magazine and pick one up off the bed and load it then rack the slide which will remain locked. Eject again and repeat the process as long as you want. You can do 20, 30, 100 reloads in very little time. Don’t look down for the mag. Do it by feel and learn to feel the right way to insert the magazine without looking down. Bring the gun up to your eyes if you have to peek.

  9. I put a few snap caps in my magazines to practice malfunction clearing. I also play a game where every time I hit a snap cap I do a tactical reload.

  10. What are the odds of getting into a “situation” if you stay away from the three stupids X the odds of having to draw X the odds of having to fire X the odds of it not being over either way by the time you’re empty (9 rounds for the Shield)?
    But just in case I’m at the end of that long chain of odds, I do have another mag so at least I have a chance for a reload and that means I still have brought a gun to part two of a gun fight.

    So that leads the the next in the sequence:Do you practice throwing your empty gun?

        • Check how rich AlBore is and then take a guess. Who all do we suppose is invested in all these “green” energy etc. firms. If we believed it, we would be being took. Since we do not, what we have is armed robbery.

          We had an oncoming ice age in the ’70s, now this, one valuable crisis after another, change the rules as we go. Fleece the suckers faster, never mind they’re not fooled, we have the power!

  11. Yes, for IDPA purposes. Shooting reloads in any shooting sport will get you squared away for clearing malfunctions in fairly short order. That said, I’m confident in my gear that I’m not going to be clearing equipment related malfunctions due to the fact I’m a civvie and it’s pretty good stuff That’s been tested plenty, that said, I’m ready IF it does. If I need to reload in a DGU, something is bad wrong. I’m one of those romantics who carries a pistol with a 100 year old design so I carry a spare mag for capacity reasons!

  12. I practice reloads often. I have AR platform reloads down and I spend less time with it. I spend more time in AK reloads or weird rifles like my PTR91 where the magazine change takes a few different steps. I hope to get the extended magazine release next month for my VZ58 to improve reload times. You can’t strip the magazine out with another mag AK style but they do drop free. With the magazine release and bolt release it should make VZ reloads on par with an AR.

  13. Yes, my wife and I practice reloads over the bed with a timer.

    Every time one of these “do you practice xyz” posts comes up, I wonder how often various police departments require that type of practice, reloads in this case. If I’m not “professional enough” to carry a gun but I practice reloads every few weeks in the winter and one or more times a week in the summer, how often must the police practice? Just curious about the requirements. I’ve heard a wide range from fairly often to not often at all.

    • “Yes, my wife and I practice reloads over the bed with a timer.”

      The first time I read that I thought it was a veiled reference to intimate acts … my apologies sir.

  14. yes i do. i practice every aspect of operating the firearm, even basic field strips with my eyes closed. the best way to quickly develop muscle memory is do a run of the exercise with your eyes closed. this helped me develop muscle memory a little faster on reloads.

  15. I try to practice self defense skills in order of the probability that I will need to use them. I therefore practice drawing from concealment, shooting, and shooting while moving (usually diagonally backwards) quite a bit. I practice reloads, but somewhat less.

    FWIW I have had to draw from concealment under actual stress once in my life, but never had to shoot, shoot on the move, or reload. That said, if I ever have to pull a reload off under stress failure to do so would likely not end well…

  16. I get up in the morning, do some light work out like situps and then when I get dressed to go out for the day, regardless if I actually go outside, I practice dry firing and reloads, sometimes with snap caps and I do it as if I’m being serious and not on the range. Meaning, I take cover when I reload, using things around my house to stand in for things outside like fences, lamp posts, cover that you find outside your house.

  17. “We were blanketed with three to four inches of global warming last night”

    You may know guns but you don’t know much about science, do you? Global warming (read climate change) does not mean that it won’t snow in the winter, FLAME DELETED. Nor does it have to do with any particular areas weather on a given day. FLAME DELETED

    • It is old news by now that the global warming campaign was a hoax. That information comes from the “scientists” that first started the hoax. They were applying for grant money to do research and they needed to scare you into funding their livelihood. Don’t get mad at us because you fell for it.

  18. Yes. Ayoob says to carry two spare reloads. My EDC is a GP100. I carry two HKS speed loaders in Andrews Custom Leather carriers.

  19. Armed intelligentsia? Really? Color me dumbfounded at the lack of anything resembling gun sense. A dry gun you say? A dry gun is a useless gun. Get this single fact in your head. If you shot your gun dry, then a speedy reload isn’t what you should be practicing. Pardon my brutal reality check, but if you end up with a dry gun, you’ve already failed. A failure that may well end up being your last. Anyone get where I’m going with this?
    COUNT YOUR SHOTS!!!!! There is no excuse anyone can offer to refute this. If you’re empty(dry), you’re holding a worthless piece of metal. You can be shot 5-6 times in the 1-2 seconds you take to reload. If you’re not practicing counting your shots, you are trusting you life to chance. Is that what you bought that gun for? To allow random chance to play its hand? I practice reloading…..but with the 15th, or 13th round chambered while I do it. Whatever happens, I will ALWAYS have a chambered round to defend myself when I’m reloading. Plus, I don’t have to take more time to release my locked-open slide to chamber a new round, as it’s already in there. Also, when I’m reloading, my gun isn’t pointed anywhere but the direction of the immediate threat or imminent danger. It is not pointed up.
    Four guys with guns? A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.


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