The Realistic Reload

I find it interesting that a lot of shooters get more hung up on the speed of their reload than on the speed of their first shot from a concealed holster.  Granted, for competitive shooters who often perform several reloads on even a single stage the speed of the reload is important and this is one reason that I do put a significant amount of time into practicing my reloads.  For defensive purposes, however, the statistical likelihood of needing to reload in a defensive gun use is close to zero for a civilian.  The likelihood of needing a fast draw in a defensive gun use, however, is huge, so certainly train to the priorities.  However, reloading the gun is part of the gun handling skill set so let’s talk about it.

If you want to gage how fast you can reload an empty gun under more realistic conditions I would suggest that you train in a more realistic manner than what we typically see.  For example, I find all over Youtube videos of guys performing their fast reloads dry with snap caps and a par time set on the timer.  This is measuring the actual time of the mechanical action involved but it is hardly doing it realistically.  First of all, when you do this, you are anticipating the reload.  In a fight if you run dry you will not realize that you need to reload until you actually process the fact that the gun is empty.  The empty gun will no doubt be visually verified as being empty as well because if the gun stops working mid fight the inclination to do a malfunction clearance may rightly kick in if you train for this.  So, as you can see, this realistic reload is going to be significantly slower than the anticipated par-time reload.

Also of consideration, if you practice a realistic reload, you should not be stationary when you perform it.  To set up more realistic reload practice you should be performing the reload from behind cover or at least while on the move as this is certainly what you would be doing in a real fight.  Would you just stand in place if not behind cover if your gun runs empty?  Of course not.  So, the bottom line is that there is no one-second reload in reality as there may be for an accomplished competitive shooter doing a static reload from a standing position with competition gear.  Setting up some more realistic training scenarios will give you a better idea of how long the reload actually takes.  Try reloading the gun from compromised positions as well, like on your back, side, or on your knees.  With all of this said, I am all for developing a fast reload, but don’t let it distract you from the more pressing concerns, like the initial draw.

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