How to Reload a Semi Automatic Pistol

Being able to quickly and efficiently reload a pistol is a handy still to have, even though it is rarely used in self defense situations.

How to Reload a Semi Automatic Pistol Pistol Drill

Pistol reloads are very uncommon in a self defense situation – so for people looking to improve their conceal carry oriented self defense skills, reloads are a low priority skill. Focus more on a fast and consistent draw from the holster, and getting shots on target quickly and accurately.

However, reloads are needed regularly in shooting competitions. I always strongly encourage people to get involved in local club matches because they are fun and will push your shooting skills to the limit. If you’re interested in becoming a better shooter, few things outside of the classroom will hone your skills as much as a shooting match.

Lucky Gunner Ammo goes over some of the technique for different types of pistol reloads.

Which is better, racking the slide or using the slide release?

Like many things in shooting, neither is better or worse than the other. Each have their positives and negatives. Racking the slide is a little slower, but is more consistent and works on all firearms. Using the slide release can cause problems if you don’t train properly, but it is faster. Although, not all firearms have a positive slide release. Ultimately it comes down to your hands, your firearm, and how much you train with that firearm.

How do I get started in shooting matches?

Check your local shooting range’s event calendar and look for a USPSA or IDPA pistol competition. Your local shooting range might have other formats, but USPSA and IDPA are the most common.

Contact the event director and explain that you’re new to shooting competitions and ask for some information on what to expect. He/she will be happy to help you out and may even have some loaner gear for you. When at the event, tell your range safety officer this is your first event and he/she will help guide you through the process.

I’d encourage you to shoot with whatever equipment that you currently have. As long as you have a good holster, a few spare magazines, and magazine carriers, there’s no need to spend a lot of money on an expensive setup for your shooting competition. Go shoot with what you have first. While you’re there, ask all of your fellow participants what they’re shooting, what their equipment is, and what they like and don’t like about it. Competitive shooters love to talk about their equipment.

Written by - always a student, sometimes a teacher.

I don't consider myself a competition shooter - I think of myself as a performance pistol shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.

Want more? Follow on Instagram, Facebook, or Email.


Summer Practical Pistol Course

Join me for a three month virtual training program!

Learn More