Posts Tagged ‘Semi-automatic handgun’

By Ruth Goodman

umpire safe

I am declaring it official. The gun-buying panic is over. The mad rush to arms following the Sandy Hook tragedy (and the politicians’ attempts to exploit it) has finally come to an end. In case you were out of the country or otherwise occupied during the last two years, let me bring you up to speed. The gun industry was already experiencing high activity thanks to the reelection of our current president when tragedy struck in Newtown, Connecticut. Immediately following the reports of a school shooting AR’s began flying off the shelves.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

Most of our inventory of Modern Sporting Rifles was gone within a week, all of it was gone within a few weeks. (On our busiest day, we went from a regular staff of 5 to 9 and still had customers lined up to the door.) Once all the AR’s were gone, attention turned to handguns. Self-defense purposed handguns became impossible to keep in stock. The rapid rise in handgun purchasing led to ammo shortages in nearly all the popular calibers. For most calibers, the supply quickly caught up with demand and the shortage ceased to be a problem many months, if not a year, ago. The notable exception to that is .22 ammo. In our store, the .22 ammo shortage began around the same time the rest of the calibers were catching up with demand and has continued on from that time. The most bizarre thing to many of us in the industry, is how long it has taken .22 ammo to catch up. A full year later and we still have a very limited supply of .22 and impose strict limits on how many boxes a customer can purchase. 

However, as we entered Spring we noted a marked slow-down in our store. As we talk with others from around the country, we are hearing of the return of the normal “summer slow season.” Gun stores and industry reps for national companies are reporting an industry-wide slow-down of purchases and firearms activity (with the exception of states that recently enacted increasingly infringing gun laws). I believe this slow season feels much slower to many, because it stands in stark contrast to the record making sales of the last two years. We have been so busy for so long, that record busy became the new normal. Stores increased staffing and ordered more product, producers ramped up production, etc… 

out of breath

Now that pre-chaos norms have reinstated themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for us all to rest and catch our breath. It’s a chance to look up from the daily activities and see the bigger picture. How many of the recent gun-buyers were first time buyers that now need training, supplies, and support? How can we as an industry meet those needs? Women are steadily increasing their presence in the firearms world. What can we do to encourage and support that growth? Have the local demographics changed in the last two years? Should a store focus more on building their online presence or on their brick-and-mortar functionality? There are countless questions we, as an industry, can ask ourselves at this time. Now is the chance for each of us to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as a store, an industry member, a service provider, and a member of the community. 

Let us all make the most of this time and catch our breath. 



Here lately, I have found myself repeatedly asked for recommendations on a “good purse gun.” If, after much encouragement she still won’t consider on-body carry, I whole-heartedly urge her to go with a revolver. Why? Because at some point in the not too distant past I read an article about semiautomatics jamming when shot through a purse. The article I read, which I could not rediscover tonight, indicated the fabrics of the purse entered into the slide and caused the firearm to not only jam but get stuck in the purse. Effectively this converted a 15 round 9mm to a 1 or 2 shot brick in your purse.


As I went back and researched this topic further, I realized the previous issue must be a worst case scenario and the most frequent malfunction with semiautomatics was actually the stove-pipe (a round not fully ejected) caused by the confined space in the purse. On a good day, a stove-pipe can be cleared very easily. On a bad day, with training, a stove-pipe can still be cleared, but it will use precious time. Of course, both problems are resolved if you simply pull the gun out of the purse before firing. However, that counts on you having ample warning and time enough to draw your gun. Time is a luxury we are not always afforded.

While not much has been written about this topic, to me, this factor is critical in deciding which gun to purchase. I would love to see more tests done. As shown in the videos below, if the purse is large enough, the semi-automatic may not jam at all. However, I would need to see some very definitive data before I would ever feel comfortable recommending a semiautomatic as a purse gun.


How about you? Have you ever shot a gun through a purse or some other similar material? What happened?

*Disclaimer: I am not recommending or advocating for any of the products displayed in the pictures. My use of pictures is simply to illustrate a point.


Here are the only videos I could find of people actually shooting through purses.

And the only article I could find about it:

Other resources worth your read/watch:


Everyone who has ever shot a handgun, rifle or shotgun has faced a dilemma. You shot your 5, 6, 17 or 20 rounds and now your gun is empty. Now what? What do you have to do in order to continue shooting? Reload. The way you reload the firearm depends heavily on the type of firearm you are using, but it also depends on your preferred technique. With a revolver you can use a speed loader or manually load round by round. Rifles may be single-shot, requiring constant reloading, or they may have a magazine that can be loaded manually or with stripper clips. Shotguns come in a variety of shapes and sizes but most require individual rounds to be loaded manually into chambers or tube magazines. Semi-automatic handgun magazines may either be pre-loaded or continuously reloaded after each series of shots. The techniques involved in the insertion of a fresh magazine into a handgun, currently in use, will be the focus of the rest of this article.

To accomplish the goal of feeding your handgun more ammunition there are a number of options:

Emergency Reload

fast-reload-lede-354x200A properly functioning, semi-automatic handgun slide will lock to the rear once the last round is fired and the magazine is empty. Once that happens to reload the gun you need to follow a series of steps; press the magazine release button, insert a new magazine, and release the slide forward. Now there are two, much debated, methods of releasing the slide. One, pull the slide stop down to release the slide. Two, bring your support hand to the top of the slide, quickly pull the slide to the rear and release the slide. The latter is better known as the slingshot method. Each option has it’s pros and cons. I recommend you practice both and find what works best for you.

Speed Reload

MG_1150-2To accomplish a Speed Reload, release the magazine and let it drop to the ground while the gun is still in battery (loaded) and insert a loaded mag. This is the quickest way to reload a semi-automatic as you do not need to manipulate anything other than the magazine release button and the spare mag. The downside is you lose the few rounds left in the magazine for the rest of the firefight.

Reload with Retention

To reload the gun while retaining the magazine, eject the magazine into your support hand, stow it somewhere on your body, grab your spare mag and insert it into the firearm. The general idea here is to not lose those few extra rounds left in the magazine. If the firefight continues, you may need those few rounds. However, it is also simpler to handle one mag at a time. Hence, the Retention Reload.

Tactical Reload

TacLoad_07_phatchfinalFor a Tactical Reload, grab your spare magazine, hold it in your support hand, drop the nearly empty magazine into you support hand, and insert the spare magazine into the firearm. This was originally designed to be used with 1911 single-stack mags but with much practice it can be done with double-stack mags. A Tactical Reload is generally expected to be performed during a lull in a firefight. The idea is to retain the few rounds left in the magazine while getting a full magazine as quickly as possible.

Administrative Reload

An Administrative Reload is generally described as exchanging an (nearly) empty magazine for a fully loaded magazine while the gun is holstered.


Which option you choose may depend on what situation you find yourself in. There are pluses and minuses to each one. Which ever method you use, make sure you position your index finger on the front of the magazine to assist you in aiming the magazine into the mag well. Also, give a tug on the magazine after seating it into the pistol. This ensures the mag is properly seated and doesn’t drop out after the first round is fired. While it is time-consuming and embarrassing (I speak from experience on this one) during a competition, it could be deadly in a firefight.

Which ever option you choose, practice, practice, practice.


Further Resources…