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I sometimes find myself thinking of weapon designs and/or modifications that can affect performance in ways we normally don't consider. I recall my Dad in his later years being unable to retract the slide of a pistol to place it in firing condition due to loss of strength in his hands. This caused his change to revolvers, these he could still operate. With this in mind, I thought about having one arm disabled and how difficult getting into ready mode might become. With standard length recoil guides, it becomes possible with most pistol designs to place the lower part of the slide against an object and accomplish loading by pushing forward to chamber a cartridge. Also with the "right" type of rear sight, it would be possible to "snag" the rear sight on an object and again, push load the pistol. (one reason I don't like Novak sights-no snag design) Anyone have other ideas such as these? I'd like to hear yours if you do!
 

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Howdy Mr. Demented,

I moved your post to this section, as it appears many current and former firearms instructors tend to lurk here frequently. Based on that I thought it might receive responses more tactical in nature, which this subject actually is in my view.

My agency required instructors to teach various techniques involving one handed shooting, reloading, and malfunction clearing. The concept was as you stated, you take a round in your strong shoulder/arm/hand, and are no longer able to continue the fight as normal. These skills allowed you to stay in the mix and hopefully come out ahead still. At the very least, they would give you more of a fighting chance. We taught these techniques one hand only with both the strong and weak hand.

I knew several techiniques to teach and require gun folks in my office to practice on the range. But in my current (and last) office assignment, until he retired, I had the pleasure of working with one of our guys who only had one arm. While that might sound strange to some LEOs, I quickly shook off the shock, and realized in many ways, he was not handicapped, the rest of us were. He was doing the same or more with only one arm.

The day I met Mr. Tom, we were both students in a class teaching and certifying us to deploy diversionary devices (aka flash bangs). That sort of told me all I needed to know about Mr. Tom. I quickly proved my initial assessment to be correct - he was nearly as "crazy" as I was. We quickly came to enjoy and respect working together. Having Mr. Tom on the range, and watching him routinely do various tasks with pistols, revolvers, rifles and shotguns actually let me observe several additional skills I could pass along to the rest of the office in tactical training.

A lot of our normal operation, apart from building entries for arrest/search purposes, took place out in the desert in the 0'dark hundred time frame. Trust me folks, when they turn that light bulb off out in southern AZ, it gets plum DARK out here. Because of the additional complications I felt operating in total darkness could provide, my training was geared to performing those skills in total darkness.

Ok, along that line this may sound weird to some folks, but once I tried it, I realized at least for my folks - it worked. Our policy only allowed for one night qual a year, so the other 3 were done during daytime hours. Severe clear and bright is normal SOP for southern AZ during the daytime here as well.

I would demonstrate some techniques and let folks practice them. It was a new skill they were working on, but I noticed they were paying too much attention to looking at what they were doing, and totally ignoring the threat(s) that were downrange. That is one of my major pet peeves with shooters - what you are doing more likely than not will not kill you - what they bad guy(s) are not only can but often does. So I preach watch the threats not what you are doing.

I ended up finding blindfolds that I began to use in training to correct this issue. I would let folks try the skill with their vision, yelling at them not to look at themselves to watch down range. I kept explaining out in the desert at 0300, you can not see what you are doing anyway. Get used to staying locked on the threat as best as you can.

Then I would issue dummy rounds and blindfolds. I then made shooters run throught the skill several times blindfolded, which forced them to learn to do things by feel. Once I allowed them to remove the blindfolds and go back to live ammo, they were performing the skill much more smoothly - as long as they did not look at what they were doing.

I mentioned that as I think it could apply equally well to folks working on their own to build some of these skills - if they were having problems not staying focused on the threats. It is a good way to break yourself of that habit - AS LONG AS YOU ARE USING DUMMY ROUNDS, NOT LIVE ONES. I obviously can not stress that enough. Of course even with your vision, you should never practice skills with live rounds.

As you have noted, one way to chamber a round is to allow the rear sight to catch on something. I taught a variety of methods - the edge of your holster, your tactical belt, any piece of equipment that would work really. You can also use the pants pocket opening, or the heel of your tactical boot or footwear. Because many of these would be required in a dark desert environment, I also required most of this practice to be done while folks were kneeling. My thinking was if a mag or the pistol was dropped in total darkness, by reducing the distance they would fall, it would also reduce the distance they would land from the shooters.

That made using the heel of their boots a favored technique by many folks. It also had the advantage if done properly, of keeping the barrel away from their body while performing the technique to charge a new round. The only safety issue with this situation is that the barrel can cross the body of other folks on the line if it is not controlled properly.

I would let folks shoot a few rounds till the slide locked back, then require them to do a one handed reload, charge the weapon, and come back up and fire mulitple rounds. If the slide stayed locked to the rear, it was obviously much simplier. We taught to place the locked action pistol back in their holster so they could obtain a mag and reload. They could also stick the pistol in their pants belt, or even between their knees, under the opposite armpit, etc.

I favored the holster or pants belt technique over all others, as if you were forced to move while trying to perform the reload, you could take your hand holding the mag and push against your pistol with that hand while moving. That insured when you got from point A to point B you still had a pistol to reload and shoot. Several times when folks did not heed my suggestions, once I had screamed "move, move, move" they did - only to find their pistol was on the ground where they had moved from.

If the slide fails to lock to the rear, then it will become necessary to use the additional skill to function the slide to charge the round (mentioned above).

I carried the majority of my mag pouched positioned for quick reloads with my weak hand, so they were on my weak side. But I also carried one double mag pouch between my tactical belt buckle and my duty rig on the right front. My tactical holster also held spare mags as well. Initially folks in the office would often look at my tactical rig and sort of grin while shaking their heads. I hear many comments along the line of hey, two mags have always worked well for me for spare reloads.

Then they began to discover just how complicated it could be using your strong hand to try to find and remove a mag from a pouch on your weak side. They suddenly understood why I also had mags on my strong side. I helped several shooters in the office figure out the best position and type of pouch to work for them to be added on their strong side.

When using the holster weak hand only, it becomes harder to keep the weapon in the holster as well, as you now have it positioned in the holster backwards - mag well to the front. Care needs to be taken not to push the pistol out of the holster to your injured rear side while trying to effect the one handed reload weak handed. It is easier than it may sound if you do not pay deliberate attention in this skill.

For that skill, the front of the pants belt may prove to be a better technique. Of course, anytime you are using the belt to retain the weapon, you must pay attention to how you perform any movements, especially while dropping the slide. You do not want to catch clothing in the ejection port and jam your weapon, so fully draw the weapon from the belt and move it away from clothing before working the slide release lever. Watch for clothing getting caught if using the pants belt to function a closed slide to chamber a round as well.

The trick on working the slide like this in my view is to force it back to its full rearward position, and then rip it off the object your are using for leverage so that the recoil spring is then allowed to function as normal, with it full force. Doing that insures a round is more likely to be fully chambered, rather than the slide not fully locked forward because it has been babied some during this movement.

If the rear sight will not adhere to some object for leverage, the front sight can also be used. But this is a higher risk level in my view, as you now have the barrel much closer to you while doing everything. I see that technique as sort of a last ditch resolution, but it does exist.

I may seem like I am stressing the difficulty of these skills a bit too much. But remember, the entire concept behind them is that you have already been shot or otherwise injured so that you do not have use of both arms now. You are going to be in pain, probably bleeding, probably going into shock and suffering some degree of tunnel vision or vision problems. My point is you are not running on all 8 cylinders then, so I do see a serious risk on using the front sight to help to charge the weapon. That is why I call it sort of a last ditched method.

So the more these skills are practiced, the more natural they hopefully will feel should you ever need to make use of them in a real world situation.

Hopefully some other folks can post some additional skills to practice, or some tricks they have learned. I really only discussed pistols in this post. I did not want to steal all of the thunder in one post, lol. If others do not mention revolvers in their comments, I will add another comment that discusses revolvers.

I hope some of these suggestions may help to answer some of your questions sir. They are not intended to be all encompassing. There are other tricks to do as well. So hopefully some other folks with strong tactical skills will offer some of their favorites to add to this thread.

twoguns
 

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Yes, D, I have. Most police agencies teach officers how to load and reload their automatic pistols as if disabled, and these techniques often hinge on use of the rear sight as an aid to single hand slide retraction. I was required to master these techniques in my LEO career.

I have serious problems with arthritis and degenerative bone disease in my hands, and on cold, rainy or cloudy days I have to butt my offhand trigger finger up against the front of the rear sight and grasp the slide that way to retract it**......and without a big, lumpy sight I would have to hook the sight on the bench, which I will not do on a range because it requires charging the pistol while it is not pointed downrange. So I've had real reservations about the no-snag sights since I saw my first one. I've pretty well had to stop instructing because of this, and I've also had to decline offers to shoot in the local IPSC and IDPA competitions because of it.

I'm still very conversant in the emergency loading techniques from my LEO career, and would use them in a defensive setting in a heartbeat. However, they are in conflict with the safety rules of our local ranges, and their use for routine loading and unloading is unacceptable there. Similarly, like any other use of firearms, without training and practice they can pose a high risk of accidental discharge and injury. Use of them in the home setting is also quite risky with my particular impairments, even with training and practice. So I've made up my mind to give up my auto pistols as soon as I have to start using an external aid to retract the slide.

I love my auto pistols, but I am looking forward to a day in the not too distant future when I will have to dust off my old Smith M19-2 and go back to revolvers exclusively.....if I can't retract a slide with two hands, unassisted, I'll say it was a heck of a good run and put them away for good. My old partner is already there.....he lost his ability to retract a slide a couple of years ago to an old nerve injury and pets his 1965 Python every day.
Hopefully that's a day or two away for me, and that big, lumpy rear sight is giving me a repreive for a little while.

JayPee

**Even this technique has risks. You have to be very careful not to point the gun at the arm doing the retracting, or any other part of your body, and you also have to be careful not to turn sideways during the process in a range setting.
 

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Also with the "right" type of rear sight, it would be possible to "snag" the rear sight on an object and again, push load the pistol. (one reason I don't like Novak sights-no snag design) Anyone have other ideas such as these? I'd like to hear yours if you do!
You can, but BE CAREFUL! The tendancy is to tighten up your grip on the gun when doing that, which can "tempt" the trigger finger to go to it's natural place and do the same.
Bang.
And at best, that "bang" would be right next to your body. At worst...

On guns with a full length guide rod, you can often catch a part of the slide muzzle, like a corner, on something (like the heel of a shoe) to operate the slide.
You might be able to snag the edge of a blocky ejection port.

BTW- Even with a standard guide rod, it won't work on a Commander length or shorter 1911 anyway. Not enough travel to fully cycle the slide.
 

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i have found that when in gun fighting training, the use of cover is not always taught but one of the most essential tactics...obviously returning fire, moving and reloading go without saying....but if hit in the arm and it is disabled, ive practiced and got good at chambering a round from a new magazine by placing the gun upside down between my knees, clasping the slide with my knees and moving the frame/receiver to chamber the round.....

of course the muzzle is facing away from your groin when you do this....

mind you, i have only done this with full sized guns, glock 17 and 1911 in particular. i dont know how this technique would work with a cut away slide like on a beretta or with a smaller sized gun, you have to really pinch the slide tight with your knees.

a BUG is a good thing to have.

FWIW...im a cop, so shooting it out with a bad guy has a higher potential for me, but if im hit, i no longer go for trying to effect the arrest, and change tactics to self preservation by firing to get away until back up arrives....


BTW i have been in two OIS, both lasted a few seconds, i spent 3 rounds the first time after i got stabbed, and 1 round the next time...both times the bad guys stopped right away and lived but i have no faith in OSS statistics unless you hit the head straight on....


i believe you will run out of time before you run out of ammo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks to all for posting your ideas. They are very much appreciated AND will be thoroughly digested! Those of you that have "been there, done that" possess a treasure vault of experiences that most of us can only imagine. Again, Thank You!
 

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I push the lower part of my FM HiPower slide against anything and it will chamber a round on empty but won't eject the catridge in it if loaded. May have to put a new extactor in it.
 
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