Loading & Unloading Your Gun - Semi-Auto
Before loading any firearm, thoroughly read the owners manual for specific loading instructions for your firearm.
Remember The Four Rules apply ALWAYS so keep them in force while loading and unloading your firearm.
The Four Rules Are:
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
- Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.
Verify you have the right ammunition. Ammunition "can" be confusing. Know which round(s) are appropriate and safe for your model. Shooting the wrong ammunition in your firearm is extremely dangerous. Check both the labeling on the box and the actual round as well, (The round itself should be marked on the bottom). If you are not sure, don't load your firearm and get some expert advice.Revolvers and semi-automatic pistols are loaded and unloaded differently.
Before loading your firearm, thoroughly read the owners manual which will provide specific loading instructions for your particular firearm.
Verify you have the right ammunition. Ammunition "can" be confusing. Know which round(s) are appropriate and safe for your model. Shooting the wrong ammunition in your gun is extremely dangerous. Check both the labeling on the box and the actual round as well, (The round should be marked on the bottom of the bullet). If you are not sure, don't load your gun and get some expert advice.
Step 1: Point the barrel in a safe direction.Place your hand on the grip of the pistol without placing your finger in the trigger guard.
Step 2: Press the button on the side of the hand grip to eject magazine.
Step 3: Verify the gun is fully unloaded and a round is not still in the chamber. Most semi-automatic pistols, after the final shot is fired, will lock its slide open. In the event the chamber is not locked open, pull back the rack and push up on the "slide lock" to reveal the chamber. Visually check the chamber to make sure it is empty.
Step 4a: Hold the magazine firmly in your non-dominant hand with the tip of the rounds facing forward, the higher angled side, or toward the right if you are right-handed. The back of the magazine should be positioned in the V between your thumb and index finger.
Step 4b: Insert rounds one at a time with your dominant hand by placing the bullet so that the case of the bullet rests on the top front third of the top of the magazine, with the rounded side of the round forward. Push firmly with your thumb (or index finger) on the center of the round and slide it back until it is below the retaining lip. Repeat until magazine is full.
Note: The magazines can be "tight" and inserting the rounds can take quite a bit of pressure, but will loosen some with use. I found loading the magazine was a great thing to practice and it becomes easier the more you do it.
Step 5: Re-insert the magazine by pushing firmly upward into the hand grip with rounds pointing forward, untilyou hear a click, indicating the magazine has locked in place.
Note: No need to be shy. Firmly insert the magazine and gently tap the back of it against the palm of your other hand to align the ammunition.
Step 6: If applicable, disengage the safety by pushing down on the safety lever at top, rear of gun. Disengage the slide lock and allow the slide to ride forward on its own. Do not follow it or ride it with your hand. Let it go. This action pulls up the top round in the magazine and chambers it.
If your slide was not locked open when inserting the magazine, you will need to manually chamber the first round. To do this you will need to "rack the slide"
Step 7a: Grasp your gun with your dominant hand, similarly to your shooting grip with your trigger finger outside the trigger guard and with your non-dominant hand grasping the upper and rear end of the slide.
Note: As you grasp the slide, your trigger finger will naturally clasp as well. You must consciously prevent your finger from moving onto the trigger while you work the slide.
Position your hand so the heel of your hand is nearest you with your other four fingers over the slide and grasping on the outer side. CAUTION: Do not let your hand cover the ejection port as your hand can get severely pinched in it during the sliding action and blocking the ejection port can also cause a jam.
Step 7b: Bring the gun toward your middle belly (midline) pointing in a safe direction with your dominant elbow braced in your side. Simply drive your gun hand firmly (very firmly) forward while holding the slide firmly in place toward your midline, so that it does not move with the gun. Think of this motion as punching the gun forward, not pulling the slide backwards. CAUTION: No matter how much you struggle with this movement, do not let your trigger finger slip into the trigger guard.
Step 7c: Once the slide is pulled back to its rear most position, release the slide completely. Do not "follow" or "ride" the slide with your hand, let it go. The slide must slide unrestricted to properly chamber the round.
Step 8: Raise your firearm and aim down the sight at the target. Only place pointing finger onto trigger when you're sure you have a target and are ready to shoot. Pull trigger one time for each shot you fire.
For many women, racking the slide is frustrating and discouraging as it takes a very particular motion to successfully and consistently rack the slide. Following the correct technique, you will get more proficient with this action. .380's and 9mm do tend to be easier to rack. Of course your hand strength and the model of your gun are the defining factors.
If you have just finished shooting a full magazine, your semiautomatic pistol will lock the slide open. If it did not, or you did not shoot all rounds in the magazine the slide will be closed.
Step 1: Point your handgun in a safe direction.
Step 2: Press the button on the side of the hand grip to eject the magazine.
Step 3: Verify the gun is fully unloaded and a round is not still in the chamber. If your slide was not open, you will have to pull the slide back and raise the slide lock.
Step 4: Carefully lay the gun down with the muzzle in a safe direction.
Step 5: If rounds of ammunition remain in the magazine, press down slightly on the top round and with your thumb, slide the round out of the magazine. Continue until all rounds have been removed.
Step 6: Safely store your firearm.