Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fast And Efficient Reloads

Brian Searcy of TigerSwan who taught our one-day Introductory Pistol class stressed efficiency and economy of motion.

This really came out when he showed us how to do a pistol reload efficiently and effectively.

The first step obviously is to drop your empty magazine out of the pistol. You don't need to engage in any side-to-side wrist flips to accelerate the process as this will just slow things down. Rather tip the muzzle up just enough so that the magazine is vertical to the ground and hit the mag release. The empty mag will drop to the ground.

At the same time that you are dropping out the empty magazine, you are indexing your weak hand with your thumb on your belly button and sweeping along your belt until you hit the mag pouch or carrier. It doesn't matter if you keep this pouch in front of your hip bone, at the hip bone, or behind it, indexing in this manner will get your weak hand to where it needs to be quickly.

The next step follows the traditional method of keeping your index finger along the front of the magazine touching or almost touching the bullet of the first round as you remove it from the pouch and turn it up to reload the pistol.

At this stage it was stressed that we should not drop our strong hand with the pistol down towards our waist. Brian said we should keep the pistol at eye level with the mag well pointed at our weak side elbow. Keeping the pistol at eye level when reloading means that it only takes a small turn of the wrist and you are back on the target again. Moreover, you are better able to keep your eye on the threat if you are in a self-defense situation.

To aid in keeping the pistol at the proper point, Brian suggested painting a line as shown above in the mag well of the pistol. You should be able to see the line as you are bringing the magazine up to the pistol. If not, you probably have dropped the pistol below the proper level.

You finish the reload by firmly seating the magazine, regripping the pistol, and then turning your wrist back to vertical. You hit the slide release and you are back on target ready to go.

Of course, practice makes perfect and I intend to practice this daily. It is just like dry fire practice in terms of building muscle memory and just as important.

To paint the line in the magazine well, I used a paint pen. You just as easily could have used a little paint brush and a bottle of Testor's enamel. I plan to do this to all my pistols as it is a great aid.

As Rich of Knitebane Manor blog said of TigerSwan and the instruction from Brian Searcy, "the average teacher explains complexity; the gifted teacher reveals simplicity." Thus, it was with this method of efficiently and effectively reloading your pistol.


  1. I still have the paint (I think it was actually silver Sharpie) in my magwell from the first course I took with them.

    I've had some inquiries from friends. Want to go again?

  2. @Sean: Definitely thinking of it. I saw that Rich and his wife as well as George and his wife plan on taking the class together.

  3. I'm there.

    Reloads are simple to practice, and they add a lot of speed.

  4. I have the yellow fluorescent Krylon paint pen on order from Amazon.

    Both me and the Mrs. want to go again but it can't happen until after the first of the year. Probably closer to spring. :(