Forget the reality series-like republican presidential debates; this is a REAL debate that is just as important and maybe a bit more entertaining.

Former Top Shot competitor Caleb over at GUN NUTS put forward HIS OPINION on slide operation on a semi-automatic handgun. Ironically, I had already completed an ARTICLE on this very topic for Shooting Illustrated so when it was published I linked the article to Caleb’s post.

Caleb has now posted his rebuttal. Before I get into to the errors of his position let me say that Caleb is indeed a great shot with a rifle or pistol. I know this because I’ve shot against him and watched him shoot many times. I would not want him shooting at me if I was a cardboard IPSC silhouette or a bad guy. He’s also a decent fellow – as far as Yankees go.

That being said, he is wrong. Not so much about slide operation. One method does not fit all any better than one handgun does. I’m a hillbilly and I’m, hopefully, about in the middle of my life so it has become necessary for me to keep things simple. Caleb is smart and young and his hard drive is not full so he can be more versatile in his approach to, well, about everything.

His statement about WV not being in the South is where he is wrong. Of course, Caleb does not live here so he could not understand that the Allegany Mountains of WV are home to a large portion of Scots-Irish immigrants whose belief system is based on Celtic culture. Because of this they were reluctant to big government influence and tended to follow leaders from their community not unlike the clans of Scotland. The idea that the Union was not going to recognize State’s rights drove these war like people to support the Confederacy even though few actually owned slaves.

Nor would he know of the many Confederate monuments in WV. He would not know that the southern border of WV was established by northern politicians as opposed to local residents. And, he would not know that my Great, Great Grandfather who lived in what is now WV was a Lieutenant in the Confederate army. Who, by the way, came home after the war and married a Cherokee Indian Princess. (Combine that with the German ancestors on my father’s side and its no wonder I am the way I am.)

Caleb should know that one of the greatest generals of the Confederate Army and the Civil War – Stonewall Jackson – was born in WV.

I’m willing to let all this pass because I know that Caleb is an upstanding fellow that will admit when he is wrong. Someday, he’ll visit WV (The southern part I hope.) and he’ll experience what really sets the south apart from the north. It has nothing to do with slavery or the Civil War but everything to do with hospitality and true independence. When he does, I’m sure he’ll change his mind and admit he made a mistake.

Getting back to the topic of slide operation, find what works for you and practice that method or methods. If someone with the shooting skill and experience of Caleb gives you some advice, its worth listening to. But, spend more time practicing than arguing about which is best and it won’t matter much which way you do it.


About gunwriter

Born and raised in the West Virginia hills, Richard literally grew up in the woods. He has chased coon hounds until daylight, waited out whitetails perched high in an oak, canoed the New River and hunted from the Montana Mountains to the Green Hills of Africa. During service in the Army and later as a municipal police officer and Special Agent with the railroad police, Richard obtained numerous certifications in small arms instruction. He has trained military personnel, law enforcement officers and civilians in the application of firearms for defensive, competitive and recreational use. Richard won the West Virginia Governor’s Twenty Award for law enforcement, the West Virginia National Guard State Pistol Competition and earned his Distinguished Medal with pistol. Badge turned in, Richard is now a contributing editor for several magazines. He was the compiling author of the book, Rifle Bullets for the Hunter and conceptualized and contributed to Selecting and Ordering a Custom Hunting Rifle. Richard also contributed a chapter to the John Velke book, The True Story of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Richard has patents on a riflescope reticle and a revolutionary bullet testing media. A hillbilly at heart, Richard lives on Shadowland - his shooting range in West Virginia - with the most understanding wife in the world, their three kids and a very protective ridgeback hound.
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18 Responses to THE DEBATE

  1. Ed says:

    Oh ho ho Mr. Hillbilly! It is you who is wrong…about Stonewall Jackson. See, while the location of his birth may have been in what is today West Virginia, when the great General was born, it was Virginia proper, not the rump element that fled the Old Dominion to join the hated Yankees. Furthermore, as General Jackson was not born in a double-wide trailer to his mother/sister and father/cousin, to state that he was born in West Virginia is misleading.

    Of course, I kid. If you’ve ever been to West Virginia, you know for damn sure you’re in the South.

  2. Pingback: I withdraw my previous statement | Gun Nuts Media

  3. Paris Stone says:

    West Virginia fought on the side of the North during the Civil War. I am from St. Albans, so I learned my State and Civil War history there.

    • gunwriter says:

      West Virginia did not exist until 1963. During the 1st half of the war there was no WV. After that the STATE formed several UNION commands. However, there were numerous Confederate units from WV or at least what is now known as WV too. WV is a weird state, the only one formed out of the Civil War conflict. The reason for its southern border had nothing to do with the sentiment of the residents.

      • JFM says:

        Don’t you mean 1863? And here’s some light on the whole Yankee/not Yankee thing; To Southerners (members ot the orginal Confederacy) everyone else is a Yankee. To everyone else only people from New England are Yankees.

  4. gunwriter says:

    Um, yes, 1863. See what happens when you get old.

  5. Mr. Mann,

    I am very local to you. I would be more than happy for you to bring a PACT timer and we can meet a Triangle or another local range and put the two techniques to the test. I bet Bill A the Police Commish and Professor can get us in the FOP range at City Park. I will bring my G-19 and perhaps a G-17.

    My technique using the suport-hand thumb, as instructed to me by Larry Vickers, I strongly suspect you know who he is, and Mr. Ken Hackathorn, I KNOW you know who he is, is on average a half second faster than going over the top of the slide. That is a significant chunk of an emergency reload.

    I will bet you a snickers bar you come away a convert.

    PS, I bet our mutual friend Mr. Len Waldron will agree with me, I have bumped into him in two LAV classes recently.

    • gunwriter says:

      Yeah, I know all them fellas. But, I’ve never seen a man cycle the slide of a semi-auto handgun with his thumb. Deactivate the slide lock, yes, cycle the slide, no. Might be worth some popcorn.

      • I think you know what I mean Richard, did not say anywhere in the above-post that I used my thumb to cycle the slide.. Like I said, the timer doesn’t lie, even you will be faster.

      • gunwriter says:

        If you are talking about using your support hand thumb to release the slide by deactivating the slide lock, sure, that will work and it is very fast, no doubt. In my opinion its just not ideal. I like the idea of one response; easier to learn and easier to teach. And, too, some semi-autos do not have a slide lock. With those, its not an option at all. (When I carried a Glock on duty, I removed mine to make sure it didn’t inadvertently get engaged during what can be unpredictable and dynamic shooting situations.)

        Bottom line, its what works for you. Believe me, I’ve tried just about everything; techniques taught by well known not and not so well known instructors. I’ve found what works for me. Yours and others mileage may vary.

        Next time you see Bill, tell him I said hello and to drop by and do some shooting.

  6. I will tell Bill what you said when I talk to him in a week or so.

    We will have to agree to disagree. I think cutting nearly a quarter off the time it takes to do an emergency reload is worthwhile and worth the tiny bit of added complexity, especially with a gun like a Gen 3 Glock that tends to very, very rarely choke when fed decent ammo like reputable modern defense loadings from major ammo makers such as Speer Gold Dots or Winchester Ranger.

    Again, I have never failed to properly apply a Tap-Rack-Bang when one was necessary. Cheap, grossly underpowered Russian ammo can sure be a help with the practice of Immediate Action.

    • gunwriter says:

      Rusty, its kinds like wine, different tastes for different folks. For example, I’m not much of a Glock fan. Carried one for 13 years because I had to. I witnessed two catastrophic failures with Glocks and one not so gun-ending. (That’s a politically correct way of saying the guns blew up. They should come with protective eye wear 😉

      • I bet they were 40’s that KB’d, possibly .45 or .357sig.

        Nine MM Glocks seldom go high-order, I have witnessed hundreds of thousands go down the pipe of 9mm Glocks and sent tens of thousands down them myself and never seen one have a rapid, unplanned dissambly event. The pistol was originally designed around that caliber and others like 40 and 357sig were shoe-horned into that slide and frame. The reason being, as relayed to to me by an industry insider, was Gaston G wanted to beat Smith to the market with a .40S&W pistol so his engineers did not have time to design a new platform around the caliber and had to make do cramming it into the 17 platform, followed by the 23 squeezed into the 19 and so-on with the 35 and 27 respectively.

        That said, latter Glock 40’s do a better job supporting the chamber and the Gen 4’s have made the platform more .40 friendly (while screwing the 9mm with the changes, but they do seem to have finally recently fixed those problems after chasing their tails for over a year) I may break down and eventually get a Gen 4 G-22 even though I have little love for that caliber.

        The 20 and 29 were designed around the 10mm too. I also have a G-20. Every other caliber Glock offers is either shoe-horned into the 9mm or 10mm platforms.

        Notice I only own 9mm and 10mm Glocks for a reason.

        I would like to know why the Bluefield PD adopted Gaston’s Bastard, the .45 GAP? I understand they had a shooting that did not go the way they wanted with the 40S&W but the .45 GAP? How about trying a more premium hollow-point and more training first! At worst, a G-21SF in 45 ACP like my friends at the WVDNR carry! I am sure that Gaston’s little ego-cartridge is not a cheap round to train with. Getting affordable ammo in that caliber will be a real problem in years to come.

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