Pistol Slide Grip Enhancements
Dr. John Woods 08.21.19
For some semi-auto pistol shooters, the toughest part of shooting is just getting the slide cranked back to load a round off a magazine. Pistol slide springs on some gun models can be awfully tough to manipulate. This is especially true for older shooters, people with small or weak hands, or those with afflictions like arthritis.
But it is not limited to those select people. Many shooters of auto pistols struggle with finding a good grip on a slide surface to pull the slide back to load, clear, or eject a round from the chamber. Thankfully, there are some ways to help facilitate this very critical aspect of getting your semi-auto to function and into “Ready One” condition.
Most, if not all, pistol manufacturers today have machined various types of gripping surfaces into the flat sides of their pistol slides. These come in many different forms and fashions and are most often located at the rear of the slide just ahead of the hammer and/or on the front of the slide on either side of the front sight.
Sometimes they’re just for cosmetic appearance and offer little in the way of a true grip grab to pull the slide back. Others can be deep cut for the shooter to really get a firm grip to pull the slide to the rear.
Some gunmakers are starting to add slide grip enhancements that are very pronounced in an attempt to assist the shooter in hand cycling the pistol’s slide. Kimber for example has several models of their 1911 pistols and other models with “S” shaped millings in the side of the slide surface for an easier and more firm grab. Again, some models offer them rear only, or front and rear. Rarely do you see slide grip enhancements on just the front of the slide.
An easier slide pull? A couple tips include first cocking the hammer instead of using the slide pull to do this. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard, of course.
Another technique used by some is while pulling back on the slide with the offhand, use the pistol grip hand to push the pistol forward or away at the same time. This increases the force used to cycle the slide. It takes practice. Look for pistols with good slide gripping surfaces.