How To Unload A Pistol And Load It Safely

In this video, Alien Gear Holsters was visited by Jason Beighley of Skeleton Key Tactical, who had some training tips for us.

Today we're going over the basic load sequence and unload sequence that you can do safely with your pistol.

Safe gun handling is up to each of us to practice, so you need to know how to safely perform any administrative tasks with your gun.

Loading The Pistol

There's basically only three ways to do this, and all of them are acceptable. They all start with the slide locked to the rear.

A lot of ranges require you to have your pistol with the slide locked to the rear when you're not on the firing line just to know you're safe, so it's good to know how to load the gun from the slide locked back.

The easiest is to just pinch or grab the slide at the back, pull it all the way back and let it go. You start by checking to make sure the gun is clear by looking in the chamber, looking down at the magazine well and also at the front of the breech face right here where the bullet actually goes to go into the end of the chamber.

Once we know that's clear we don't have an obstruction, we take our magazine. It goes into the magazine well until it clicks and then we work our slide by pulling it all the way back and releasing it.

Most pistols nowadays have some sort of a loaded chamber indicator. On a Glock, the extractor sticks out just far enough on the right side. You can feel it with your thumb if you know what to feel for. Some of the other guns have a thing that sticks up on the slide, and some have a little hole where the slide runs into the back of the barrel, so you can see the piece of brass down in there.

It doesn't really matter if a gun has an indicator, but it's just helpful to the shooter.

The second version of this is if you have the slide already forward and know my gun is clear. Some people don't want to bother locking the slide back, which is fine. This is sometimes called the slingshot method, or some people call it "shotgunning" the slide.

You want to make sure the magazine goes in until it clicks and you know it's seated. You need to run the slide all the way back it, compressing the spring all the way till it won't go any more and then let the gun go forward. You want to push forward with the hand holding the gun and let all of the energy that's in that stored spring push that slide in and puts the bullet in the chamber like it's supposed to.

Loaded, with no issues at all.

The other method, if you're slide is locked back, is after you insert the magazine is to just come up on the gun and hit the slide release button with your shooting hand or non-shooting hand. Push the button and the compressed spring will push the slide forward and load that bullet into the chamber. Then you're ready to holster up or start shooting and get on with your day.

How To Unload A Pistol

When we finish shooting and want to unload our pistol safely, unlike the load there's only one way to do this correctly.

When you get done whether you've expended all your bullets or just finished with whatever you're doing, you push the magazine release button and drop the magazine out.

A lot of people refer to that as removing the source of supply. If this is my magazine, that holds all my bullets, it's a storage and feeding device for the gun. So if I take this out first, now I don't have a source of supply that's going to feed another one in.

After you've dropped the magazine, run the action or lock it to the rear and put it in the holster. It's safe, everyone around can see that it's safe.