We usually do the disclaimer at the end of the article, but we need to get this one out of the way. Don’t worry, we’ll repeat it at the end, too.
Warning!: Do not try basic or advanced tactical shooting techniques at home, on the range, or anywhere else without experienced and competent adult instruction (emphasis on the “experienced and competent” part). Beware of learning “redneck” firearms training from Cousin Eddie or any other so-called “expert” that could get you seriously injured, hurt or otherwise, ugh, totally killed! Note: even though you’re getting this from a very credible source, Guns.com, you need to employ common sense safety measures. When in doubt, DON’T DO IT.
Whew. Okay, now that that disclaimer is over, there are a few things anyone interested in self-defense and tactical shooting needs to know, things that can be added to your tactical toolbox. Holding the slide and shooting is one of them.
What’s that, you say? Yep, that’s what I said: hold the slide and shoot.
Hold the slide with your support hand and shoot the semi-automatic handgun. Be sure your support hand, weak hand or off hand (whatever you want to call it), isn’t in front of the muzzle. That would hurt.
Hold the slide and shoot?
Okay, let’s get down to business.
Granted, employing this tactical technique may not be something you’ll ever need, but if you need it and you don’t know it, then you’re in a world of hurt. Remember the old adage: It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
A good friend explained the difference between tactics and techniques this way: a tactic is thinking, like strategy to succeed at a puzzle or a game. A technique on the other hand, is a method to employ a tactic in order to gain the upper hand. Sometimes these two words are used interchangeably, and sometimes they apply with double meaning, but it’s nice to know the difference.
Okay, here it goes. The suspense is killing you, I know.
Not too long ago I attended a SigArms Armorer course where the instructor, a retired law enforcement officer and competitive shooter, reminded me about a tactical and technical concept I had long since forgotten. The idea: holding the slide and shooting in the close-quarters or weapon retention position.
Shooting from such a position isn’t something even the most squared-away tactician thinks of—or trains on—very often.
What is holding the slide of a semi-automatic handgun and shooting all about anyway? Well, if someone grabs your weapon (as if s/he is trying to take your gun away) and s/he locks or stabilizes the slide, when the gun goes bang! the weapon will malfunction. Why? Because the slide must move in order for the shell casing to eject and another live round to get chambered. That’s the quick explanation of such a malfunction.
What’s the fix? Tap the magazine to ensure it’s seated, rack the slide to load a good round, and reassess the threat (Tap, Rack, Reassess).
Let’s view the overall technique in another way that will give you more of an understanding of where and when this is useful. Here’s a tactical scenario: An evil person bent on killing you attempts to take your weapon away and possibly use it against you or others in the immediate vicinity. You attempt to retain your weapon, pulling it back in close to your chest (contact or compression ready position) or to the side of your body in a weapon retention or CQB position. Mr. I’m-Gonna-Kill-and-Rape-You grabs the gun and it goes off (hopefully into him and not you).
Fortunately, the guy let’s go of the gun. Unfortunately, he’s still a threat. Since he had his hand on the gun when it discharged, the weapon might not have cycled properly and/or the chamber could be empty. Step away from Mr. Dahmer’s eviler twin (if that’s possible) and Tap, Rack, Reassess—which might mean (depending on the reasonable person standard of justified lethal force) start shooting the guy again until he’s no longer a threat.
Key points: hold the slide firmly, twist it even. Notice the inadvertent grimacing look on my chin while demoing this technique. I mean, I’m pushing that slide forward hard. Push the slide forward like you mean it! Don’t let it come back. Holding the gun in tight by the chest offers more leverage and weapon retention stability verses holding the gun with the arms or elbows extended.
If you have a hammerless type weapon, Glock, Springfield XD or XD(m), etc, you can put your thumb behind the slide. If you have a hammer on your weapon, Sig Sauer or a 1911, you can put your thumb on the back of the rear sights and press forward. The latter will allow your hammer to actually work.
Lastly, this is an advanced and unconventional technique. It simulates a struggle with your weapon where the slide does not cycle. There are a few variations and other concepts to this technique that will be mentioned in forthcoming video(s), so stay tuned—and stay safe.
Warning! Trying this technique could be extremely dangerous to your health. I do not recommend trying it without competent oversight. This technique can hurt—or put a hole in a body part that shouldn’t have a hole—if done improperly. Furthermore, if you employ this technique while holding on to the top of a compensated vent, that could hurt even more.
Though Guns.com does recognize Mr. Jeffrey Denning as a professional firearms and self-defense instructor, we must insist that no one attempt the activities described in this article. Apply this information at your own risk.
(Photos of the author courtesy of Welden Anderson of Self-Defense Solutions)