I learned these techniques while attending Thunder Ranch. It is an excellent school and I would recommend it to anyone interested.

In a gunfight, you may find yourself in a "lull" when the action has stopped. It may began again, without notice. In the mean time, you would want to do a "Tactical Reload."

This means to replace any partially loaded magazines with full ones. You do this while keeping the weapon pointed towards the threat and ready to go into action immediately.

As you pull out the new mag, you use your finger to feel the top round and make sure it is properly seated in the mag.


You would then remove the partially loaded mag and switch to the fully loaded one.

Do not drop the partially loaded one.

As Clint Smith says, "There may come a time when you will be really, really glad to have those extra few rounds."


You should then give the new magazine a good bump with the palm of your hand to make sure it is fully seated.

Place the partially loaded mag in your pocket.


You are then faced with a question: "Is there a round in the chamber?"

To confirm this, you must do what is called a "Systems Check".

You slightly pull the slide back enough to place your finger in the open chamber and feel for the loaded round.

You "feel" rather than "look", so that it can be done in low-light situations as well.

Be sure to keep your off hand clear of the muzzle at all times.


After feeling the round, close the slide and return to firing position.

You now have a fully loaded pistol and are now ready to go back to work.


How about with a rifle?

Again, you are in a lull in the fight and want to load a fully loaded magazine into the weapon.

Holding the loaded mag in your hand, release the partially loaded mag and save it.


Give the new mag a firm bump with the palm of your hand to fully seat it.

You can then place the partially loaded mag in your pocket.


You are then faced with determining if there is a loaded round in the chamber.

You must do a Systems Check.

Pull the charging handle back with your right hand and use the finger of the left hand to feel for the loaded round on the bolt.


Release the charging handle and let the bolt go forward.

Use your finger on your left hand to place it in the groove in the bolt and pull the bolt fully closed.

Do not use the Forward Bolt Assist.


As Clint says, "If that round doesn't want to go into the chamber easily, why in the world would you want to force it into the chamber. Eject it and load another round."


You are now ready to return to the fight.

You have a fully loaded rifle and are assured that the chamber is loaded.


A couple of reminders:
1. These drills take practice, practice, practice. Make them a routine part of your range time.

2. Practice only at the range. These drills require live ammo and the weapons must be pointed down range at all times.

Thanks to Tman for taking the pictures.