Failure to lock back/ slide release

I have had the issue with “failure to lock back” with my shield 45. It’s been an inconsistent issue since I purchased it. At first I did have to address the bigger recoil (it’s not bad, but it’s different than 9mm). I am not having limp wristing issues, but failure but failure to lock back still occurs. I’ve figured out it is where my hand comes in contact with the slide release. The 9mm shield slide release is very stiff and it’s virtually impossible to ride it. The Shield 45 slide release is functional and sensitive.

My first handgun was a PC smith and Wesson Shield 9mm. Few months ago I wanted a spare carry gun. I wanted to stick with the same feel and system. I ended up getting the shield 45. The shield 45 is my carry gun %99 of the time now. I shoot my shield .45 very well now. I was really happy today. I’m keeping small groups, and I stay on target with rapid fire. My issue is I don’t really want to change my grip if it works… but riding close to the slide will will cause failure to lock back… then I run the tap and rack drill simply to lock back and empty gun than start the reload.

I know that was a lot. I just wanted to discuss this. Not sure if it’s a big deal, I’ve heard people have this happen some times. I watched a carry trainer video on how to fix it, but that would mean changing my grip from when I first started shooting a few years ago.


The only solution I see is changing the grip or changing the firearm… :neutral_face:
I had to change the grip on PPQ in order to lock the slide. :grimacing:

That’s very interesting, that Shield9 and Shiled45 operates differently.
Does your support hand interfere with slide stop?

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Yes, Jerzy is correct. Try shooting with a slightly higher thumb and see if that helps. Try it and then go back to your 9mm and see if the changed grip works for you there as well.


(I had to edit this, I got confused). My dominant hand is the one interfering. My thumb rides the safety, if I ride the safety, I ride the slide lock. It’s also a small gun.

OK, to clarify it. Yo are right handed… (BTW… not good… :sweat_smile:… just kidding).
So when does the problem occur? When you shoot one handed or two handed grip?

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I would submit that you try a “thumbs forward” grip I do understand the concept of big paws and small’er guns. It was a grip that I adopted when I was forced to carry a Beretta M-9 but it crossed over to the 1911 and other platforms so well that it is now my grip. Essentially on the draw your dominant thumb goes high on the slide and the non dominant thumb goes straight forward and your dominant thumb comes down on top of the other thumb after sweeping the safety and lands on the outer aspect of the non dominant thumb but off the gun. It takes a little bit of playing with (as do all grips) to get it to work for your hand/gun combo but IMHO well worth the effort. The curve of your non dominant thumb will end up where the slide stop is and not interfere, (Hopefully)



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Just played with this, it’s so close to my original grip I don’t think it will be a problem at all! I’ll have to practice of course, but I don’t feel like all of my practice with the weapon was in vain if that makes sense :sweat_smile:. It’s not a very drastic change. It is a change though!

I’ve seen someone actually sand it down, but I don’t like that idea at all. Would rather just do this.

Two handed.

Just for fun, I’m going to show how the other m&ps are different. I really love the size of the shield .45 though. Maybe one day I’ll venture to an M&P compact or subcompact, but that will be years away… my wife would kill me if I bought another gun right now :rofl::joy:.

The full-size, slide release wouldn’t even be an issue if the safety was gone. The shield 9s release is actually smaller and my thumb barely reaches it even though it’s a much smaller gun than the 45. It’s also not functional as a slide release, and is not in any way sensitive enough to keep the slide from sliding back.

I like to keep the same system among my guns because they all operate extremely similarly if that makes sense.

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Yeah, small handgun doesn’t give a room.
Like @Craig6 has written, the only chance you don’t interfere with slide stop lever is to put it in the support hand’s (left) thumb curve.
Try the test: do you proper two handed grip, remove your right hand, keep left still.
Look how is the slide stop lever relative to the thumb.


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I may not run the tap and rack drill if I’ve gotten a few rounds out of the magazine. I may start training if I’ve fired multiple rounds jump strait to a new mag instead. Usually tap and rack drills fix a magazine failing to be properly inserted from the get go. In a gun that only holds 7 rounds, if I get a click late in the mag I may try to train just to drop it and go to the next mag since it probably was a my hand in contact with the slide release.

That being said, I also don’t want to over think it. I live by the KISS method.

I get this on a few guns, mainly due to how I grip. I am not changing my grip. You could try a more thumbs up, however it really is not that bad. I have just learned if there is a failure, unless I just put a magazine in, I drop the magazine and get a new one. I have done this over and over and over so it is just how I do things. It really used to bug me, coming from shooting 1911’s and CZ’s all the time. Took a trainer to work on my head that it was not quite as big of a deal as I was making of it.

The only guns that will lock back consistently for me are 1911’s and CZ’s. :smiley: Even the vaunted Glock with the tiny catch… yep, won’t lock back at least half the time if not more. My loved XD9 is at least as bad or worse.

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Thank you for this input. I’ve heard this as well. I shot my gun with better accuracy than I ever had today and I also know that was because of my high grip. I’m not going to stress over it, I’ll just have to play at the range a bit and see if it’s worth changing my grip or not.
Like you said, maybe if I get a click I just drop the mag and put a new one in. Maybe I’ll start carrying two spare mags just in case of this instead of one.

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So I did this. While I was playing a round I think I found a viable solution. It’s a combo of what you and Craig recommend, and what I originally was doing. If you look at my full size and 9mm my thumb actually curves with the safety. My grip is not the same as it was on the .45. I think I have been inconsistent with where I put my right thumb while at the range. Some times it arches on the safety, other times it finds its way to the slide release.

If I do what I do in this picture, I have a good grip on the gun and I’m not near the slide release. I basically put my thumb in the same angle as if it where on my hand, but instead it anchors on the safety.

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I don’t know if you are able to make that change, but your right thumb shouldn’t ride on slide lock lever. It’s best position is on the top of left thumb’s metacarpal bone.
I’m sorry for medial nomenclature but I don’t know other terms :slightly_smiling_face:

So here’s what it looks like.

Today when I had trouble locking back, this was my grip

This is the grip I talk about when I don’t have issues. This is the grip I ride the safety at an angle. I just realized I often do this grip when shooting slowly, when I do rapid fire my thumb has the potential to drift like the first pic.

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I do not like this grip. This is the grip Carry Trainer recommended to fix the slide lock issue.

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Are you able to take the picture from the top. My guess is your left palm doesn’t stick to the grip or is too low.
When you put right thumb on the left one, you shouldn’t ride over slide stop and problem solved :slightly_smiling_face:

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I don’t like it either. Doesn’t give full control over the handgun.

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Awesome! That definitely helps. What’s funny is I do this naturally with my full size gun. It’s grip is wide, and there is a lot of room for my hands.

So I did this the best I can on my shield .45.

I kind of had an epiphany. I do not have slide lock issues on my 7 round shield mag with the extended plate. My dominant hand creeps up high on the slide when I have my 6 round flush mag. The shield (9mm and .45) are really thin guns too. Getting that palm higher on the gun is definitely good. It creates space between my thumb and the slide lock :+1:.

The other issue is the thinness of the gun. The shield 45 is bigger than the 9mm, but it’s still really thin. When I shoot in the traditional lane slowly, I adjust my grip and get the gun nested in the perfect spot between my thumb and index finger. Today I practiced drawing and shooting. When I draw the gun, I don’t always get the gun in the perfect spot. It’s really darn close, and it’s close enough to be precise, BUT the difference is where my thumb ends up. If it’s gripped in the perfect spot, it just barely doesn’t make it to the release. If I’m off by just a little bit, my thumb will make it.

When I get the thin grip, and flush mag, I start to grip the gun as deep in between my thumb and index finger as I can. I push my dominant hand as high as I can get it.There’s a lot more variables here than I thought :sweat_smile:.

I think the palm moving up may actually fix this though! :+1: I think maybe I’ve been trying to compensating with my thumb where I should be compensating with my support hand palm.

Sorry for the rambling. What I’m saying is I think you’re right :rofl::joy:

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Great, I’m glad you found it. :slight_smile:
The trick with support hand’s palm high and close to the handgun as possible force the wrist to be locked (4 fingers go 45 degrees down) and thumbs are naturally meeting together. Your strong hand’s thumbs won’t ride the slide.
I know it’s hard to make it perfect using different handguns but “practice makes perfect” .

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