Stop Me If You’ve Heard This…

It almost appears the manufacturer felt you might need to release the slide…

Sapper Gentleman just posted a video on Youtube that got me thinking. Mostly what it got me thinking was, ‘I don’t know what to post, so I’ll post on the same topic!’ I steal, but at least I’m honest about it. That’s something, right?

Modern trainers insist that during a gunfight adrenaline will cause your fine motor control to be degraded. This is absolutely correct; it’s been demonstrated and proven. That being the case I recommend against trying to thread a needle or count grains of sand with tweezers while engaged in the defensive use of a firearm. These acts require fine motor skills, and will be extremely difficult under duress. Also the baddie will kill you while you try.

Operating a firearm does not require this level of fine motor skill. You will be able to operate the controls of your handgun just fine. People have somehow managed this since the invention of handguns and likely you will too. Your odds of doing so will increase dramatically if you practice. There’s that word again… *sigh.*

Sling-shotting the slide is not a bad way to go. It’s not a great deal slower than using the slide release. Not enough to matter, anyway. Find what works for you and practice to do it. Because if anything is going to save your ass it’s training. that means you need to practice. While the little monkey part of your hind-brain is running around screaming hysterically and throwing balls of dung and rotten fruit the rest of you will be automatically doing whatever you have trained yourself to do. Unless you have not trained yourself to do anything. In that case the baddie is going to break your toys and steal your lunch-money. Or, you know, kill you.

I have heard various justifications for why you should always release the slide by reaching over, pushing it to the rear and releasing it. We’ve already disposed of the ‘fine motor skills’ argument. Another I’ve heard (that Sapper Gentleman mentions) is that if you need to continue the fight with an attacker’s weapon you won’t have to try and locate the controls. Hey, it’s possible.

You might need to pick up a downed assailant’s weapon. It might be empty with the slide locked back. You might just happen to have a spare magazine that fits their weapon. Or find one. Or search them for one of their spares. Or you might fart a rainbow and pink space monkeys will fly out of your butt and carry you to safety.

Let’s get real here. Basic familiarity with common weapons will stand you in good stead regardless of what occurs. Training will dramatically increase your odds if you practice. But training for bizarre, unlikely scenarios is just going to take away from your time to practice for things that are reasonably likely to occur. Over-thinking and what-iffing is not training. Knowing how to manipulate your weapon, knowing what to do when operating and practicing those things will improve your chances.

In the Neolithic Period I was shooting an NRA action-shooting match. You started with the gun holstered and on the signal you drew and engaged a target at 25 yards with five shots in a set time period. After each stage the amount of time decreased until on the last stage you only had five seconds to draw and fire five shots.

I was on the firing line, my gun was loaded with the gun holstered when someone else on the firing line realized his revolver had jammed. Yes, his revolver jammed. It happens. When it became obvious it was going to be a protracted process they had the rest of us on the firing lime unload and show clear. We were the last group on the stage so we had to wait twenty minutes while they cleared the jam. By which time I had forgotten that I did not have a round chambered. When they asked if we were (finally) ready I said yes and assumed my firing position. The signal sounded, I drew, aimed and squeezed the trigger.


Oops. I racked the slide and put five rounds on-target before the timer expired. Because I am amazing? No. Because I am a freak of nature? No. Because I had practiced.

Recently there was a video where a police officer was charged by a guy with a club and she put twelve shots in him in about 3-4 seconds. If you had sharp enough eyes you would have realized that she cleared a jam during those 3-4 seconds. Under extreme duress. While putting twelve rounds into her attacker, who dropped at her feet. In the heat of the moment, in the ultimate extreme of stress, she did what she had trained to do.

Slingshot the slide or use the slide release. Shoot with both eyes open or close one. Use a thumbs-forward Isosceles Stance or a Modified Weaver stance. But whatever you do practice. Because if the excrement hits the rotary impellor and your mind goes chittering off through the forest you will do what you have trained to do. If you have practiced. If you haven’t? Who knows?

In case I didn’t mention it, if you carry a firearm for self defense it would be a good idea to practice.

Stay safe and take care.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 20 October 2021

4 thoughts on “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This…

  1. Caleb

    This does remind me of a shooting match I was in a number of years ago. I was running a Canik TP9 instead of my usual CZ85 with which I always used the slide release on the right side with my trigger finger. Well in the heat of the moment I forgot it wasn’t there, then my thumb slipped off the normal slide release, my palms being sweaty they slipped right over the slide, and striking the magazine to release the slide failed for some reason. Finally I grabbed the slide again and was able to hold on and get back to shooting. More aggressive slide serrations and more weapons familiarity would have been welcome.


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