Carrying a firearm and being able to accurately fire a shot is a very important part of self-protection. However, another aspect of self-protection with a firearm is being able to efficiently reload your gun in the event you have fired all of your rounds.
Under stress even the best trained individuals can miss their intended targets. It is easy to see this by looking at police shootings and the number of rounds they fire in a defensive situation. Being able to reload your firearm effectively can mean the difference between life and death.
You need to remember to practice the way you would fight. You need to build the muscle memory of the techniques you would use to protect yourself.
In self-defense encounters, people do not rise to the occasion. They default to their level of training. Build the muscle memory to the point that you don’t have to think about what you need to do.
It cannot be stressed enough that you should carry extra ammunition on your person. No one who has ever been in a gun fight has ever said they wished they had less ammo. In many cases, they needed more than they had.
Whenever you load your spare magazines you should place them opposite of where you carry your handgun and place them there with your support hand. It should be oriented to allow you to draw it and insert it into your gun without having to turn it around.
It is good practice to place your index finger on the first round in the magazine and place it in your mag carrier or pocket. Doing this will allow to put it in the correct orientation when you put it in your carrier and quickly tell you its orientation when you draw it out.
Whenever you fire until your gun is empty, and the slide is locked back remember to keep your head up, looking down range to keep an eye out for any potential threat. Bring the handgun up into your line of sight. Press the magazine release and allow it to fall free. At the same time with your support hand, reach for your fresh magazine, placing your index finger on the first round to let you know correct orientation and ram it into the mag well of your gun.
It is also important to remember that under stress you will lose fine motor skills. In the video above, I demonstrate racking the slide once the magazine is inserted instead of using the slide release. Missing the slide release can take away valuable time you need to get the gun back into the fight. It is also one single technique that works for many types of semi-automatics.
Practice this drill until you become proficient with it and then add another element. Add a snap cap randomly to your magazine, or better yet, have a friend ad a snap cap to one of your magazines so you don’t know where it is. The snap cap will simulate a malfunction and give you the opportunity to practice clearing the problem.
The more you practice these drills, the more muscle memory you will develop and the better you will become. Also be sure to make safety the first priority in your training, building the muscle memory of safe firearm handling techniques.