NEW Front Sight Training Article #23 – Loading and Unloading Your Firearm

December 13th, 2015  

Our purpose at Front Sight is to positively change the image of gun ownership in our lifetime by training responsible citizens in the defensive use of firearms, to levels that far exceed law enforcement and military standards, and deliver the training without any boot camp mentality or drill instructor attitudes so the training experience is great for your entire family.

We are entering our 19th year, have trained nearly a million citizens, and look forward to the day when our training will positively impact every American.

Here is Training Article #23…

This series of articles gives you a glimpse at the handgun techniques we teach at Front Sight. Unfortunately, these articles cannot impart any actual skills. The life-saving skills of gunhandling, marksmanship, and tactics can only be gained from attending a course at Front Sight.

This chapter focuses on loading and unloading of your semi-auto handgun. Loading always begins and ends with a chamber check and magazine check. As described in the previous chapter, bring the weapon in close to your body to chamber check and magazine check. With your support hand, index a fully loaded magazine and insert it into the weapon. Now you need to run the action to chamber a round. To do that, grab the grasping grooves on the back of the slide with your support hand. Use the heel of your hand on one side and the pads of your fingers on the other side. Next, you will run the slide all the way to the rear. Your hand will come off the slide and continue to the rear until it strikes your firing side shoulder. This ensures that your hand comes off the slide and allows the slide to go forward on its own. If you ride the slide forward with your support hand, you run the risk of inducing a malfunction. Now that you have chambered a round, chamber check to verify that the weapon is loaded. Seeing is believing! Finish with a magazine check. Actually take the magazine out and look at it. Make certain the round you just loaded wasn’t the last round in the magazine. At this point, your weapon is loaded.

Unloading the weapon also begins and ends with a chamber check and magazine check. Take the magazine out of the gun and stow it in a pocket. To remove the round from the chamber, bring the weapon in close to the body, keeping the trigger finger straight and the muzzle pointed downrange. Roll the weapon 90 degrees to the right, which puts the ejection port down. This allows gravity to help you. With your support hand, form a cup over the ejection port and grasp the slide with the heel of your hand and your fingertips. This cup is where the round in the chamber will end up, so make sure there is room in your hand for that round. If the round won’t fall free from the ejection port, your support hand likely isn’t properly cupped. The round is trying to escape but it hits your hand and is forced right back into the gun. If that occurs, reposition your hand and try again. Don’t get into a wrestling match with your weapon in an effort to remove that round. If you do, you run the risk of an “open-breech detonation” which means the round goes off while the ejection port is still open. That can result in a significant injury. Additionally, keep your support side elbow high and away from the muzzle; always obey rule number two. Then, gently run the slide to the rear and the round will fall into your support hand. Ease the slide forward and put the round in your pocket. Now chamber check and magazine check to verify the weapon is completely unloaded.

Pretty simple? Yes, but how many times have you heard the words, “I thought it was unloaded!” when a gun owner, sometimes even a seasoned gun owner, has a negligent discharge?

How does this happen?

The most common reason is failing to complete a chamber check to verify the gun is unloaded.

But why didn’t the errant gun owner do a chamber check? Because he believed he just unloaded the gun. After all, he saw the round eject onto the ground or into his hand and he removed the magazine!

The problem is unloading the weapon out of sequence.

Go back and read the unloading procedure. Notice the magazine comes out of the gun BEFORE you retract the slide to eject the round that is in the chamber. If you erroneously reverse this process, and remove a round from the ejection port while the magazine is still in the weapon, as the slide moves forward, it strips another round off the magazine into the ejection port.

Removing the magazine now leaves you with an ejected round in your hand and the magazine out of the gun and you believe the gun is unloaded BUT IT IS NOT. Failing to do a final chamber check to verify you completed the unloading procedure properly, leaves you mistakenly believing your gun is unloaded when it is not! THIS is exactly how negligent discharges occur after a gun owner thinks he has unloaded his weapon.

DON’T make this mistake. Always complete a final chamber check before and after loading or unloading to VERIFY the condition of your weapon.

Let’s talk about loading ammunition into magazines. To load a magazine, simply take a round, push it down on the leading edge of the follower, and then slide the round under the feed lips. Do that again and again until the magazine is almost full. We suggest that you to load your magazines at least one round down. For example, if you are using a ten round magazine, load it with nine. The magazines are far more reliable loaded one round down.

In the next chapter of the Handgun Training Series, we will explore the proper grip and stance with a handgun.

If you want the best training and the greatest value in the firearms industry… Take advantage of our 5 Day Defensive Handgun Course, 30 State Concealed Weapon Permit and our entire set of 7 training manuals (over $2700 in total value) for only $200.

That’s right! Only $200. But you will need to act fast before this link is taken down. Go here to grab a 5 Day Front Sight Course, plus 30 State Concealed Weapons Permit, and our entire set of 7 Front Sight Training Manuals for only $200. Just do it before the offer sells out!

And here is a great video we created so you can share it with your family and friends:

I highly recommend you view it in 720 (a selection you can make at the bottom of the video window)…so you can see all the awesome detail.

Keep up the great work! Together, we are positively changing the image of gun ownership hundreds of times faster than any other group in America!

Thanks again for your participation in Front Sight’s phenomenal success.


Dr. Ignatius Piazza
Founder and Director
Front Sight Firearms Training Institute
#1 Front Sight Road
Pahrump, NV 89061

Entry Filed under: Concealed Carry Training,Dr. Ignatius Piazza,Front Sight,Gun Training,Handgun Training,Monday Blog Posts,Newsletter,Self Defense.

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