Beginners Guide to Expert Firearm Manipulation - Pt. 2


Now that we are holding the firearm in a comfortable and secure fashion: let's talk about the actual physical manipulation of the firearm.


The first thing we should do when we pick up a firearm is to make sure that it is unloaded and clear of any ammunition. The way we do that with a semi auto is to drop the magazine out of the firearm and manipulate the slide to the rear to eject any round that could potentially be in the chamber. That way, we can visually inspect to ensure that the magazine is out of the firearm and that there is nothing still in or going to be fed into the chamber when we close the slide. This can be an issue for people that have weak grip strength or weak upper body strength. However, there are some techniques that you can use that allow for way more muscle groups to get involved in the process without you having to go sign up for a gym membership.

With our strong hand firmly holding the grip of the firearm we're going to press the magazine release to drop the magazine out of the firearm. This step may vary depending on which platform you're using as some magazine releases need to be pushed inward, some may have to be pushed down, or some firearms may have a magazine release that is located on the bottom of the firearm. Once the magazine is clear of the firearm, we will place the thumb of our strong hand onto the slide stop and apply constant steady upward pressure. With our support hand, we are going to grip the slide over the top. We place our palm and fingertips over the serrations that have been cut onto the slide to give us the best grip possible.

Making sure that we keep the muzzle of the firearm pointed in a safe direction and away from anyone or anything of value, we're going to bring the firearm into the bottom part of our workspace centered in our chest. As we begin the process of opening the slide to lock it to the rear, imagine pushing the muzzle of the gun forward with your strong hand using your shoulders chest and back muscles. At the same time, you are to push the slide of the firearm in the opposite direction using your shoulders chest and back muscles. Once the slide is completely back you will notice that the slide stop that you have been placing upward pressure this entire time on has moved up a little bit and into the slide stop channel of the slide.

Keeping upward pressure on the slide stop, we are now going to release some of the pressure to allow the slide to come forward and catch the slide stop. Once the slide is captured by the slide stop and under the recoil spring pressure, you can remove your thumb from the slide stop and reacquire your strong hand grip.

As you become more comfortable manipulating the firearm, and as your grip strength increases this task will become much easier, and eventually will feel like second nature to you. You should repeat this process over and over until you are able to pick the gun up and lock the slide to the rear without having to think of it as a step-by-step process. Once you have this basic skill down, you can begin to explore other ways to perform the same task of locking the slide to the rear.


Now that the slide is locked to the rear, we can look down through the top of the gun to ensure that there is no magazine in the firearm, and then we can tilt the muzzle of the gun forward a little bit so that we can physically see the chamber of the barrel to make sure that it is free and clear of any debris or ammunition.

Please make sure that you fully understand and know the four firearm safety rules that should be followed, always. Even after we have confirmed that this firearm is free and clear of any ammunition, we will still treat it with the same respect as if it were loaded. We do this by making sure that we don't point the muzzle at anything we do not intend to destroy, we keep our finger off of the trigger and completely outside of the trigger guard, and we are aware of what is down range of the muzzle.

Now that you know the ins and outs of firearm manipulation, browse our catalog and see which one is right for you. Want more Armscor content like this? Check out our news and blog page for all the latest coming out of Rock Island Armory and Armscor!

Beginner or advanced, you can always improve your shooting technique.