Friday, February 3, 2012

Magazine Changes - Strong-handed

I think, for every shooter, there are a few things that are a struggle and for me it was magazine changes.  The guys at the shop had this very complicated "tactical" mag change/reload thing that involved juggling two magazines in one hand that I could never master.  I tried, but it just didn't work for me.

Luckily, the Original Bad Boy had a much simpler way to do it and it has worked for me ever since.  I know that dropping your magazine to the ground is all the rage with competition shooters, but it was drilled into me that my magazines should never hit the ground.  You shouldn't leave a trail of magazines like bread crumbs - you never know when you'll need the magazines in a real-life situation.  Makes sense to me, even if it takes a half a second longer to retain the magazine than to dump it.  The other factor, for me, is magazines are expensive!  I'm not just dumping $35 to $40 on the ground.  No way, no how.

But just because I always retain my magazines doesn't mean you need to; it's my little quirk drilled into me by the OBB.  I know other instructors who drill their students to just dump their magazines because it takes too long to retain them.  Which ever method works for you is what you should do.

I thought I'd share with you a couple of things I've learned about mag changes; hopefully you'll find them helpful or can use the ideas as springboards to come up with your own methods.

#1 Loading your mag carrier
Always make sure that the round is facing forward
when loading up your mag carrier.
By loading your magazines into your mag carrier, or holster, with the round facing forward, you're allowing the natural rotation of your wrist/hand to properly position the magazine for insertion into the gun.  As your elbow comes down, and your hand up, the magazine is facing the correct way - it essentially "flips" right side up just through the movement of your arm.

#2 Leave the first slot of your mag carrier open (if you retain your mags) - or load it up, but always remove the front mag first.

#3 At slide lock, bring your gun back into your body.
Bringing the gun back into your body allows you to manipulate your gun
without taking your eyes off the target

Having the gun close to your body makes it easier to control. If you try to change your magazines while your strong arm is extended, you will waste time and increase your frustration as you attempt to find the opening.

Because my hands are normal girl-sized hands, not man hands, I have to use the thumb of my left hand to release my magazine and strip it from the mag well.
I shoot with extended magazines,
so there's a lot of magazine to hold on to.
Since I retain my mags, the empty goes in the front
and my hand moves smoothly back to the next mag.
#4 "Index" the first round with your finger to ensure it's facing the right way.
I actually do this a couple of times, I've become OCD about it.
I index when I load up, before I step to the line, and as I load into my gun.

Keeping my index finger on the round, I can "feel" my way into the mag well.
This allows me to keep my eyes focused on the target.

I always give my magazines a good smack to make sure they're seated well.
#5 Once loaded, bring the gun back up into your line of sight.
Using the slide lock release ensures I'm not riding the slide.

A couple of notes: I have made a few modifications to my gun.  It is not a race gun, nor is any of my gear set up for competition speed.  My set up is purely defensive.  First, I added an after-market magazine well, which makes it easier to find and feed the magazine into the gun.  Also, I have added a heavy recoil spring at Boss Man's suggestion (I think it's 22#), which allows me to shoot hot defensive rounds quickly.  I will say that the heavy recoil spring might be a touch too heavy, as it takes a lot of effort for me to lock the slide back manually and releasing the slide by cupping it and letting go is difficult.  Should I change it?  Probably.  Will I?  Probably not - it's a good workout.


agirlandhergun said...

Good info. Sharing on my FB!

GunDiva said...

Glad you found it helpful, and thanks so much for sharing it!

Tomorrow's post is weak-handed mag changes. I hope you find that helpful as well :)