Slide release or rack the slide?

When reloading, do you hit the slide release or rack the the slide? This seems to be somewhat debatable. Some 1911 guys say don’t use the slide release on a 1911, I think they may be talking about a collectible. Some people say hit the slide release since you may only have one hand, and if the mag slams home you won’t waist time and a round going over the top.

My LTC instructor actually told us not to use the slide release, and showed us a 1911 that no longer stayed open because of wear from the slide release.

I personally rack the slide. My 9mm PC Shields slide release mechanism is very difficult to engage and is not worth it. BUT my shield 45’s slide release works great, so I’m wondering what y’all think.

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The result should be the same, so do whatever you’re comfortable with. For me, it depends on the firearm and what I feel like. The only one I dislike the process on (because it causes failures) is the PPQ .22lr. Putting the mag in closes the slide. That causes (no idea why) the second round to fail to fire.


In a perfect world if you have the ability to use both hands in a firefight and your slide release is very well broken in it would be easier to use the slide release because the gun is already in your strong hand, it takes more time to rack the slide than to hit the slide release to load your gun.

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I’m with @Brad - do whatever you’re comfortable with. :point_up:

Me personally - whenever slide release works - I’m using it. It is way faster that pulling the slide (in my case).

With 1911 it is so easy to use slide release. As a lefty it is natural to hit the lever with trigger finger.

With my EDC - CZ P-01, I made small adjustment, and slamming new mag cause the slide release move up a little and new round is loaded right away :slightly_smiling_face:

With SIG 229… no way to use slide release at all during reload :pensive:

It is great to know and use ALL techniques. It is also good to be able to rack the slide with belt or boot.


Slide release. 1911’s (and other guns) may suffer from long term dropping the slide empty, but not with a loaded gun. At least that is my way of doing it, racking the slide works, just is slower on reloads.

Some other thoughts on it:


I’m a rack-the-slide kinda gentleman… But to each his own :100::v:t5:


I had a 1911 with low round count with wear around the slide stop. They replaced the gun. I sold the new replacement gun.

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I always use the slide release, thats is why its there. When training with the Deputies the Sergeant
tried to get me to change but you know old dogs.
I think using the slide release is faster and keeps the pistol pointed at the target after a reload.


Larry Vickers drops the release on his new Wilson EDC x9 during promo video on Wilson’s pages:

See 2:45 time mark.

If it’s good enough for him…


I actually made this segment after watching a video of on TFB where they got a lesson from Taran Tactical, the guys who trained Reeves for John Wick :joy:. They were recommending the slide release. But Sometimes it’s difficult to know if instruction is for self defense OR for competitions. Though I’d reckon they most skills go together with those situations.

Better training for jam clearing. It’s already your go-to move.

That said, I use the release most of the time because it feels faster and my guns don’t grief me doing it.


@Scoutbob - I have the MP Shield and was complaining about how hard it is to engage the slide release. Then was told that the Shield doesn’t really have a slide release or at least they didn’t expect you to use it for that purpose. They call it a “Slide Stop” and not necessarily used for a “Release” after loading a magazine.
I guess you are supposed to rack the slide which is what I am trying to get into the habit of doing on all my toys now instead of pressing the slide release.

Now I can’t find in the manual right where it says don’t use it as a release, but I do recall something about that.
Anyway, my manual that came with the Shield does say a few other interesting things:
Do not load the pistol until you are ready to use it.”
Never load you pistol until you are sure of your target, what is beyond it and are fully prepared to fire.”

Just seems to me that after I have made the decision on the target I don’t want to be busy loading the pistol. Or if I am ready to use it on something, I don’t want to be busy loading it.


I say it the weapon you Carry it’s manual of arms what I mean is Berretta 92fs slide lock
Glock/poly 80. Rack the slide
Most striker fired pistols rack slide
H&k 45 slide lock it’s long enough to manipulate with one hand the glock my steyr it’s small and semi useless the double single 92fs and H&k 45 they are functional my opinion : striker fired rts
Double single sl

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Even that, he has shown proper technique for 1911/2011.
I’ve got plenty questions form my friends, how it’s possible to drop the slide as a right hand shooter with short hands… :thinking:
That has been a tricky questions, I haven’t had idea that people tried to use right thumb for it… :neutral_face:

I will say he may was instructing brand new people (like myself at the time). There could have been any reason for his choice even if it was a simple as less likely to have issues during the shooting assessment. It could have also been my own misunderstanding. It was a lot of information in a short period of time.

Some guns do it better than others. Especially when empty, I’ve noticed some don’t want to drop (not that it’s a great idea anyway when empty).

Maybe the mp shield is one where the catch is tapered with a real hook, so you can’t easily drop it with a thumb on reloads.

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Thank you for the clarification! I remember hearing this somewhere it just didn’t really stick with me. I just know it doesn’t work :joy:. It’s interesting that the Shield 45 definitely has a slide release. Maybe they were seeking to appease 1911 fans looking for a plastic gun? :thinking:

This makes me want to stick with over the top as well because it would be disappointing to carry my 9 shield one day and then try to hit the “stop” thinking it would release when reloading.

M&P was designed to NO use it as a slide release. It’s hard to use it as right handed, almost impossible as lefty in ambidextrous models.
Completely useless during fast reload (especially in stress situations)

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:exploding_head: I knew my 9mm shield worked this way. I looked it up and you’re right. I’ve been able to get my M&P full-size to release and my Shield 45. BUT they are still designated as “Slide Stops”. I’m definitely sticking with the sling shot method. Holy cow…

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Looked it up. The guy who made this post doesn’t even have a gun with a slide release :flushed::rofl:. That explains when I have played with the slide releases (or stops) they don’t work so great. I thought it was because I’ve always practiced over the top and just haven’t practiced :joy::joy:. I guess I won’t be changing how I reload.

(Edit: I did find someone on a forum state that the left side of M&P 2.0s is supposed to work as a slide release but it’s not specified in the Manuel. This would make sense, but I’m not sure. Any added info would be appreciated)