Semi-automatic pistols have a neat little lever on the side that both locks the slide open and allows it to close. This feature has both administrative and “tactical” (for lack of a better word) purposes. Administratively, it’s handy for showing an empty gun and field stripping for cleaning and maintenance. Tactically, the lever is one way to close the slide after a magazine change. In most cases, when a pistol runs dry, the slide will lock open, thereby notifying the user that it’s time to reload. After inserting a fresh magazine, the user can operate the slide release lever, allowing the slide to close, pick up a new round, feed it into the chamber, and finish (if necessary) the striker cocking process. Of course, the exact same result can be achieved by a slight tug backward on the open slide, then letting it go.
For dynamic shooting, such as self-defense situations, there are different schools of thought on which is the right technique to use after a magazine change. The correct answer? It depends. Let’s take a quick look at scenarios where each action might be beneficial.
Read the rest: Slide Release vs. Racking: Pros and Cons – The Mag Life