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TactiCOOL RELOADS

Is there reason for this? Photo: Team HB. In the past year, a growing number of pistol instructors have been heard railing against the practice of tactical reloads. Always willing to revisit conventional wisdom, I examined their arguments and measured them against my own experience as a shooter, instructor, and range officer. First, a definition of terms. Tactical reload refers to the practice of exchanging a partially full magazine, which is in the gun along with a chambered round, for a full magazine.

The partially full mag is placed into the mag pouch, or a pocket. The firearm can continue to be used, or it can be holstered. By contrast, the speed or emergency reload is done when the gun has run out of ammunition. The commonly accepted procedure is to allow the empty magazine to drop from the gun to the ground, while simultaneously inserting a new mag.

With regards to speed reloads, catching and stowing the empty magazine is not a technique taught by respected instructors of defensive or competitive shooting, for good reasons beyond the scope of this article.


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Among the several arguments against the tac load, the most widely repeated one is the dearth of documented cases of it actually being used in a firefight. Therefore, why train it? Few arguments loom larger than that of real-world application. But people who carry a firearm for protection of themselves or the public are also statistically unlikely to have to use a gun. This is doubly true for those who have severe physical frailties. This is the first symptom of errant thinking. Hopefully you have a fully loaded gun elsewhere, and close by, if self-protection is your goal.

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Assuming your method of transport or carry, and storage, is safe, this is a valid use of the technique. A speed reload also requires fine motor application.


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I agree with choosing gross motor actions over fine when the option exists. Well-known trainer Travis Haley is fond of scoffing at the all-gross motor skill mentality, arguing that fighter pilots perform a plethora of fine motor actions under extremely stressful conditions. People who practice methodically do not fumble the tac load and drop mags, mostly because they use a technique that keeps the magazines secure and avoids dangling the mag from fingertips or between knuckles. The tip of your support-hand index finger should touch the top round in the mag.

Place the back of the mag into the mag well directly to the rear against the backstrap and with the rounds in the mag bullet-end facing forward toward the target. When there is a round in the chamber and you have a partially-spent mag during a break or lull in the action, it may be necessary for you to catch your breath and refresh your partially-filled mag with a fully-filled one for the action that follows.

You want to retain and keep on your person the mag with the few rounds left in it that you are ejecting, while quickly inserting a new fully-loaded magazine, during the break in action. Try to get to cover first if possible and do the reload behind cover. The shooter gets a new mag with his support hand, moves it toward the gun, releases the mag in the gun to the support hand where it is held at the same time the new mag is inserted into the mag well. The shooter has two mags in his support hand at the same time.

Dexterity and fine motor skills are involved. The partially-spent mag is stored in the pocket or elsewhere. It's a personal preference and you must consistently practice whichever one you choose. Remember, you do NOT want the ejected mag to go to the ground so it will be readily available later. Do NOT drop one or both mags or fumble with them. Practice helps. The major advantage of the Tactical Reload is that you have a few extra rounds or so already in the partially-empty mag for later and have a fully-loaded mag immediately. The major disadvantage is that it requires fine motor skills and dexterity to satisfactorily do it.

Do NOT eject the mag to the ground. You should decide your technique before an encounter, so practice each and decide for yourself which works for you. You must be able to effectively manipulate 2 mags in your support hand at the same time. Be sure and keep the gun in your high center-chest area near your chin when doing manipulations to better scan for threats and see the target quicker. Also, index your strong arm's elbow inward into the bottom of your rib cage while the gun in your strong hand is angled upwards.

Use your support hand's index finger extended straight alongside the front of the new mag to index and guide it and insert it into the mag well. Be sure the tip of your support-hand index finger touches the top round in the mag. The gun will still be in battery and loaded, so there is no need to rack the slide rearward to chamber a round. With the RR, you first release the partially-loaded mag into your support hand, stow it in your pocket NOT onto the ground , then get a fully-loaded mag from your pouch, and place it in the gun, with rounds still in the magazine, one round in the chamber, and from a tight, close high-ready retention position.

This is a more basic and efficient reload method than some of the others and is preferred by many shooters, since there are less manipulations and only one hand support hand is used. I prefer the RR Method myself. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission.

Ben recently wrote the book Concealed Carry and Handgun Essentials for Personal Protection with 57 comprehensive Chapters about concealed carry and handgun principles, techniques, and tips for both experienced and new shooters. His book is endorsed by several organizations and is available on his website at www. I concur with Jim and NotsoSilent.

As per situation outlined in the article for a Speed Reload, there is NO logical reason for step 4. Why rack the slide and waste a round? Jim in Conroe has the same question as I do. Please explain your reason to rack the slide and waste 1 round of ammunition. In an intense firefight, will you really be counting the rounds you fired so as to know when to reload? In an intense firefight kill the enemy and get out! My Glock21 is on my hip with plenty of magazine capacity. Magazine capacity is critical! Yes, but can you count past ten without taking your shoes and socks off? I have serious doubts….

Get that much needed mental health evaluation you so critically need! So, Tex, answer the question. Can you count past ten without taking off your shoes and socks? There must be something up if he wants you to reply, Tex. He must need a reply to add to his total to get paid. I wonder what he means by metal powers. Clark Kent…metal powers… oh, now I get it! What a jokester. Yes, John it is more of a feeling.

combat reload vs. tactical reload Archives - BoomStick Tactical

This is why we move to cover as fast as possible in the shoot, move, and communicate series. I would not hold thge fresh magazine in between my fingers when I also have the spent magazine between my other fingers!

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I would grab the fresh mag with my thumb, palm, and forefinger while pulling out the spent magazine with my ring and index finger — which allows me to rotate my hand along with te grip of the gun so that the fresh mag and grip are aligned and ready to have the fresh mag inserted. I would offer an alternative method, somewhat. When you remove the spare magazine from the carrier you use your thumb, not your index finger to run up the side of the magizine. This situates your hand firmly around the magazine and also allows your thumb to A. Feel if the top round has started to work its way forward, out of the magazine so you can easily push it back, B.

Use your thumb to guide the magazine into the magazine well of the gun and, finally, C. With the fore finger method, your hand remains in the same position on the magazine through the whole maneuver. Too complicated.


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The vast majority of people, trained or not, will shoot the gun dry. No one counts rounds, and I see little reason to disable a perfectly good gun in a fire fight. Speed reload, and practice the hell out of it.

Four Pistol Reload Methods & Nine Magazine Tips

If truly bad luck strikes, you better have the capability to do a NY reload. The ultimate version of the NY reload. I agree, Mike, too complicated for a firefight. Keep it simple, stupid is my rule. I remember when it was just loading. Then people added reloading. Dropping a partially loaded magazine to the ground what COL. Findley calls Speed Reload was considered a grave error.

Now, people that need to teach classes to make money have overthought loading into four kinds of reloads. IfLoad in preparation for a fight. Load again to get back into the fight. BUGs are good, too! In both cases the firearm is in battery with a round in the chamber at the completion of reloading. There should be no reason to rack the slide in the speed reload. With the Tactical Reload you will draw the fresh magazine with your weak hand, and then eject the partially used spent magazine into the same hand and reload the firearm with the fresh magazine.

You will then stow the spent magazine for later use if needed. With the Reload with Retention, you first remove the spent magazine and stow it in your pocket for later use if needed, and then draw the fresh magazine and reload your firearm. Hope that helps. Step 4 of the speed reload, not the retention reload. I also served over 30 years, all active. Worked Spec Ops out of NC. Used many weapons especially long guns. The lead in to your article to handguns states that a Sharps or Winchester respecter of Civil war vintage could have been used in past mass shootings effectively as the M16, Glocks etc.

There is no way a Sharps or any of the lever guns can reload fast enough to cause the carnage at Sandy Hook or in Colorado.