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Handgun Slide Manipulation Methods for Women, useful for Dry Practice (Dry Fire) Training

Ready! Hi, I’m Richard Carlton for
This is a video response for all of the dozens of phone calls and emails Front Sight receives
each week from men who are concerned about bringing their wives, their girlfriends, their
daughters to Front Sight’s four day defensive handgun course. The concern is that they’ve
taken their spouse, their sister, or their daughter to the gun store or maybe out shooting,
and they’ve had a hard time manipulating the slide of a semi-automatic handgun. And if
they’re having a hard time doing that, how could they possibly complete a four day defensive
handgun course at Front Sight? And that’s a very good question.
In truth, it’s easy for women to manipulate semi-automatic handguns, from small-sized
weapons to full-sized automatics. They just need to be shown the proper techniques. Let
me show you here. First off, I have a Glock 21. This is a full-sized
45 semi-automatic. I’m going to ensure that it is unloaded. I’m going to lock the slide
back, I’m going to visually inspect the chamber and physically inspect the chamber. I’m also
going to check the magazine well to make sure that I don’t have any magazines in the weapon.
I’m going to release the slide forward. The weapon is completely unloaded.
One of the primary ways that Front Sight teaches you to do a chamber check is for you to take
your support-side hand, take your thumb and forefingers, drift it underneath the frame
of the weapon, grabbing the slide; pulling the slide back allows you to visually inspect
the chamber. If necessary, you can insert a finger from your firing side hand to physically
inspect the chamber for a low-light chamber check. Then you can release the slide and
you can resume a firing grip. Now that takes a lot of physical strength, and this is where
things can get interesting for women. Now here is the same weapon with a tactical
light. Now to be completely fair, at this point, it’s hard for me to even get a good
grip of the weapon to do a chamber check, because the tactical light blocks access for
me to get a good grip. And so, at this point, I personally need an alternate way of chamber
checking this weapon as well. Now there are two good alternate chamber check
techniques. The first way is to roll the weapon over, level with the ground, with the ejection
port up. Take your support side hand between your thumb and your forefingers, take the
web of your hand, insert onto the top of your slide. Using your firing side grip to drive
the weapon forward, you’re going to push the weapon forward, and bringing that grip back,
force the chamber open. Now, that’s a good way for chamber checking, but even that way,
for some people, is going to be difficult. Now, for my kids, when they were younger,
and for my wife, they prefer a third way of chamber checking, which is as follows.
You’re going to release the weapon with the support side hand and take the palm of it
and apply it along the serrations along the rear of the side of the weapon. Wrap the palm
around the rear of the weapon, tilt the weapon back just a bit, and pull the slide back,
enough so you can see in the ejection port to see if there’s any brass in the weapon.
Then release the slide forward. Now make sure the slide goes all the way forward back into
battery, which means the slide’s all the way forward and the weapon’s back in firing condition.
Now one of the tips for doing this last chamber check technique is to make sure that your
arms are not actually out here loose but you bring them back, and you anchor your elbows;
push them up against your body. That way, you’re in close; it gives you extra leverage.
So then, as I tilt the weapon up, and I break my support side hand, things are close here;
it gives me extra leverage to pull the weapon back, and so I can get a good view inside
the weapon. Now keep in mind that if I break the slide back too far and there’s a magazine
in the weapon, I’, going to end up loading the weapon. Now the weapon’s going to be hot.
If my intent was to not load the weapon, and there was a magazine in there, now I’ve loaded
it. That could be a problem. Now the good news is that Front Sight teaches
all three of these techniques to their student in their defensive handgun classes, but you
need to explain this to your wives, your girlfriends, and your daughters in advance that they don’t
have to worry about not being able to manipulate these weapons. So let’s go ahead and look
at these chamber check techniques from the other side. So Front Sight’s standard chamber check technique,
thumb and forefinger’s out, underneath the frame, on the slide, you drift your trigger
finger out and you pull the slide back, visually inspect the chamber for any ammunition; release
the slide forward, back to a firing grip. The first alternate chamber check technique
is you’re going to roll the weapon on its side with the ejection port up; you’re going
to take your thumb and forefingers of your support-side hand on the web, you’re going
to jam it onto the slide; you’re going to drive the weapon forward and you’re going
to pull the slide back. That allows you to inspect the weapon.
The third and last chamber check technique: take your support side hand, take your palm,
wrap it around the serrations on the aff portion of the slide, tilt the weapon back a bit,
pull back enough to inspect the chamber for brass, release the slide forward, make sure
the slide’s back forward into battery – firing grip back on the weapon.
All right, to prove my point on this, I’ve gone ahead and borrowed my wife. I’ve given
her my Glock 21 and she’s going to use her preferred alternate method for chamber checking.
So go ahead. As you can see, it’s not a problem.
In case some of you thought having my five foot five, petite wife do the chamber check
was cheating, I’m going to have my twelve-year-old petite daughter give it a try. Say hi, Sarah.
Hi! All right, Sarah, go ahead and do a chamber
check with our model 21 full-sized Glock 45. OK, weapon clear?
Yes sir. Are you ready to go to Front Sight?
Yes. Was it easy?
Easy. All right, so is there any reason why any
woman couldn’t clear that weapon? No, sir.
All right! Now keep in mind, these techniques are covered
in Front Sight’s Dry Practice Manual, on pages 27 and 101. Also, if you want to know more
about these techniques, feel free to sign up for one of Front Sight’s ambassador training
classes. Front Sight calls this their At Home Training Program. For more information about
the At Home Training Program, visit

3 thoughts on “Handgun Slide Manipulation Methods for Women, useful for Dry Practice (Dry Fire) Training

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  2. As a firearms instructor myself, I am uncomfortable using or teaching the first two chamber check methods shown in the video. In a high stress (self-defense) or limited visibility situation (low light, smoke, etc.) the first two methods make it far too easy for the support hand to move forward too far and thus allow it to be swept by the handgun muzzle (IMHO). I would encourage people practicing dry chamber checks to stick with method three whenever possible.

  3. In my experience as a female with small, weak hands, the full size Glocks are much easier to rack than the subcompacts. Those give the most problems, and not all women can manipulate them.

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