Defense Tactics

Racking the Slide on a Pistol is Easy When You know How

Without exception, the most common reason given for not carrying a gun for self defense or protection is, “I’m not sure my hands are strong enough to pull that ‘thingy’ back.”

Even those with small, weak or injured hands,  can rack the slide by learning proper technique, and a little practice.

Racking the Slide on a Pistol is Easy When You know How

Of course, the first step is mental.  Do not mistake indecision for a lack of skill.  Once you have determined what you will do in a given situation, next work hard at developing the skill necessary to save your life and/or that of your family and home.

Practice builds confidence.  With confidence, your mind isn’t tied up with trying to remember technique. You will no longer freeze with indecision or lack of knowledge.  In an emergency situation finely honed skills along with mental resolve may very well save your life!

In the video on the next page,  a small framed woman with very small hands displays proper technique while giving excellent verbal instruction on just how to rack that slide.




  • Most older folks have issues when the slide is smaller, like a .380 where there is not so much slide to grasp as on a 1911.

  • This technique works well for most people, not just women. However, it is important to keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction while doing this. The person standing to your left at the range will appreciate it. And finally, no mention was made of “slide surfing” which is a common cause of malfunctions. It is important to “let the slide go” and let it return under its own power. Riding the slide is one of the hardest habits to break.

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