No peaking: Reloading without looking

The USCCA Defensive Shooting Fundamentals teaches you how to reload without looking at your firearm. We also give you suggestions on how to practice this:

Do you look at your firearm when you reload?

  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

How do you train for your reload?

Remember, research shows that most self-defense incidents range from 3-5 shots fired. It could be more, could be less. You might not need to reload during a critical dynamic incident, but we’d rather you knew how to do so just in case.

I usually pull the gun in a little bit and look when I load. I have also reloaded not looking at the gun. What is the advantage of not looking at the gun?

The advantage to reloading without looking at weapon is yo keep eyes on the threat and surroundings. I also recommend reloading while moving as well. Another subject though.

  1. dry fire - reload with dummy round
  2. live fire - 666 drill (4 rounds, reload, 2 rounds)

I use a snap caps. Indoor range here doesn’t allow practicing rapid reloading

The correct answer is yes and no.

It is natural to look the mag into the mag well.

Training allows us to learn to do so without looking but looking is still and always be the more efficient way of doing so to avoid problems.


I feel it is best to train as if your life depended on it. That means your eyes are always on the target. Whether you are doing a combat or tactical reload, you pay attention to the target. That does not mean that you do not see yourself reloading, but that your eyes remain on the target. If you are in a firefight, how you reload is dependent upon the environment. Do you have cover or concealment? If it is a combat reload, one hand is bringing a magazine from your storage to your weapon as the other is dropping the empty mag. Obviously this is better with cover but you use what you have, if anything. Reloads can be practiced anywhere with empty mags just like dry fire. Practice makes perfect.


Practice reloading (magazine swap) - without looking - with empty magazines for safety sake! Once you have confidence in your abilities, do this at the range with live (loaded) mags. Practice this until it is second nature.
The reason, as stated above, is to keep your eyes and attention on the threat while also looking for additional threats… and GET OFF THE “X”!! Also, are you going to be able to look at your gun to reload if it’s dark?

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That’s the reason I love to dry fire and practice with closed eyes.
It’s a good habit -> whatever you learn, you repeat with closed eyes. Make it perfect.

^^^^^^ THIS! The best time to reload is on the move ostensibly because most folks don’t train or actually shoot on the move so you might as well do something useful.

On reloading training. Train to grab the WHOLE magazine and put you grabbing hand index finger on the nose of the first bullet. Then all you have to do is point your finger at the bottom of your shooting hand and the mag will go where you point.

Orient ALL of your mags so that your “Grabby Hand” comes in contact with the front plane of the magazine so that you can do the finger point thing.

Look or don’t look is up to you but train to not look.




In a dynamic critical incident your body goes through a lot of automatic reactions, you hyperfocus on the threat, diminishing sound, distance distortion, time distortion, loss of memory and more. Not everyone will have all of those reactions, however everyone’s body will have some sort of reaction.

If you’re watching your reload during a dynamic critical incident it may appear that you’re moving really slowly (due to that natural time distortion during a self-defense incident) and your natural response will be to move faster - which can cause fumbling and missing issues.

Also, it will be very hard for you to look away from the attacker if you’re in fear from your life. Your body doesn’t want you to take your eyes off the threat.

Those are just two of the reasons we train to not look at our firearm during a reload.