Reloading Drills To Incorporate Into Concealed Carry Practice
A best practice for concealed carry practice is to incorporate some reloading drills into your practice routine. On the one hand, it is true that most defensive shootings are concluded very quickly with only a few shots fired, but it is also true that some are not. Therefore, it behooves you to train for both contingencies.
It is also true that one of the most common failure points of semi-auto pistols is the magazine. Revolver fans love pointing this out. This is also why you should carry a spare magazine, whether in a pocket (not recommended) or in a magazine holster.
So, how to get some reloading drills into your training? Let's go over a few easy reloading drills that will cover all the basics, so you can drill the skills you need.
Start Simple: The Tactical Reload Drill
Let's start with the simplest reload drill there is: the basic tactical reload. The idea is not complicated; you shoot a few rounds, drop the current magazine before it runs out and insert a fresh one.
Start by shooting, say, a five-shot group. Stop shooting and bring the next magazine up to the gun, keeping the muzzle on the target. Actuate the magazine release and let the spent magazine drop or pull it out of the pistol. Insert the fresh one and fully seat it. Continue shooting or reholster.
This is the most basic drill; you can actually incorporate it elsewhere for even more versatility. As with anything, there's only a few basic things you have to learn for anything whether its a sport, a musical instrument, whatever. You just then drill the heck out of it until you got it down. When it comes to reloading drills, the tactical reload is it.
As to what to do with the extracted magazine, some people train to let it drop free. After all, who gives a tinker's about a partial magazine if they're in a gunfight? Others, however, train to retain. You'll have to figure out which is better for you. Just make sure you clean your magazines well after concealed carry practice.
Reloading Drill For Clearing Malfunctions
If anything goes wrong with your gun, there are three usual suspects: you haven't cleaned and lubricated your pistol sufficiently, the recoil spring and the magazine. This attempts to address the third.
Load a magazine with two rounds, with a full magazine in reserve in a pocket or magazine carrier. Insert the partially loaded magazine, seat it fully and charge the pistol by racking the slide.
Getting used to a partial magazine and having to reload is also part of the FBI's qualification shoot protocol, as well as that of other federal agencies and certain military units, so this is a valuable drill to learn.
Slide Lock Reload
A slide lock reload is where you're practicing continuity of fire. You're shooting, gun runs out and the slide locks back, and you insert a fresh magazine and keep shooting.
The best way to run a slide lock reload drill is to only partially both magazines. It's your choice as to how many total rounds you want to fire; you could load two in the first magazine and three in the second for a five shot group, or one in the first and two in the second, whatever you want.
However, the procedure is fairly simple. Shoot until gun runs out, drop the magazine, insert the next one and continue firing until you've finished the string. Reloading is done just as with a tactical reload; bring the gun up to face level, but still pointed downrange. Insert magazine, release the slide and go.
In a way, this is a better drill to practice than a tactical reload. The philosophy of a tactical reload is to top up the pistol in the middle of shooting. However, some people have a problem with the tactical reload, and for good reasons: you're dropping unused ammunition!
This is a problem some shooters have with IPSC competitions, because they use tactical reloads, sometimes referred to as an "IPSC reload." IDPA competitions use slide lock reloads; you start with a magazine loaded with a set number of rounds to create the slide lock conditions.
How you want to practice it is up to you. A good drill would be to run a Failure drill, with two rounds in the first magazine and one in the second. Shoot a double-tap to the body, reload, and one to the head of a silhouette target
Incorporating These Reloading Drills Elsewhere In Concealed Carry Practice
Reloading is necessary for two reasons: your gun has malfunctioned and you need it to work again or you need to get more rounds into the engagement. These two reloading drills basically get the bases covered.
You'll want to start slow until you've gained proficiency. Incorporate them into dry fire practice to help get that muscle memory built up, just make sure to use empty magazines during dry fire practice and to observe good gun safety.
You can change up the exercises that you go through for concealed carry practice. For instance, if you practice the first shot drill - where you draw from the holster and fire a single shot - you can add a tactical reload or tap-rack-bang to the procedure.
And so on and so forth. Once you've gotten the basics down, you will easily see when/where a reloading drill will easily fit into your concealed carry training. Add a few here and there to keep the skill up.