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Smyth Busters: Is It OK To Use the Slide Release?

Author Steve Ostrem
3 years ago

Today our myth-slaying heroes, Brownells Gun Techs Caleb Savant and Steve Ostrem, respond to a viewer's request and take on one of the oldest myths in the gun world: You should not drop a pistol's slide by hitting the slide release lever (aka "slide stop") because it will damage the gun. Better, goes this line of reasoning, to use the "slingshot" method of pulling the slide back slightly with your support hand to release it. OK folks, here's the good news: the slide release lever is there to... release the slide. That's why the top of the lever has grooves or knurling or some kind of non-slip texturing. The gun's manufacturer wants to make it easy for you to operate it and drop that slide. Where did the myth come from then? One theory is that hitting the slide stop / release is a fine motor skill that you may lose in a high-stress, life-or-death, self-defense situation. But... says Caleb, pulling the trigger and hitting the magazine release button are the same kind of fine motor skill. The truth is that when you're under extreme stress, your ability to function all comes down to muscle memory. Hitting the slide release or using the slingshot method are about the same. Which one you use will depend on how you trained. Go with either method - neither will hurt the gun. There's no right or wrong here, and so the myth is BUSTED. Got another question you've always wanted to ask but were afraid to? Go ahead, ask it below.