tactical reload [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-25-2010, 18:20

What is your opinion of tactical reload? I gather there may be different techniques that people refer to as "tactical reload."

I really have problems with techniques where the fresh mag and partially filled mag are juggled around in one hand. Even in practice I have tendency to either drop both mags or reinsert the partially filled mag I have just removed.

If you are being cover and have the time I can see putting partially filled mag in pocket and then drawing/inserting new mag.

But at the end of the day I feel it is best to keep it simple. Pull out partially filled mag, let it hit the ground and immediately draw fresh/full mag. If possible you might pick up the partially filled mag from the ground.

But I think the real answer to the concern about not having enough ammo is not to chase after partially filled mag, but to carry a second spare mag or a higher capacity pistol with one or two spare mags. In my case it is a mini glock with two spare mags.

What is your current thinking on this question? Thanks.

Mas Ayoob
06-25-2010, 18:59
Jack, the tactical reload -- how to do it, whether to do it at all, where to stow the depleted magazine afterward -- is a debate that's generally worth about six rounds of drinks when instructors gather after class. (IDPA competitors too, no doubt.)

The tactical reload (a magazine exchange that tops off the gun with a full load, with the partially depleted magazine stored on the shooter's person) was intended to be used during a "lull in the action," and usually ends up being done when the fight is over.

If the shooter has enough ammo, performing a speed reload and attempting to retrieve the dropped mag after things have settled down will be a good plan much of the time, but not so good if you're up over your boot soles in powdered sand, up to your ankles in mud, up to your knees in snow, or standing at the edge of a volcano.

And it's great for looking cool at the public range and not having to pick your mags up off the ground...:cool:

Personally, I see it as a useful technique but not an imperative one and don't get into teaching it until the second 40 hours with a student. However, I train cops and armed citizens. On the battlefield, far from re-supply and with more "skirmishes" likely, a fast and positive tac-load is probably a lot more important to have in your bag of tricks.


06-25-2010, 19:35

I was thinking in the NORMAL civilian context. Exception might be a Katrina situation were you need every round for possible action later. Might even need to save empty mag, as you may find ammo at looted Walmart, but no mags for your gun.

If you are reloading behind cover and cover is a good thing you might well be in kneeling or in other position that makes it hard to get partially loaded mag into pocket. In this situation I have suggested putting partially loaded mag between your teeth, reloading full mag and then with fully loaded gun, figure out way to more permanently secure the partially loaded mag.

Strange when you mention putting mag between teeth people, who just prior to suggestion, were talking about stabbing, gouging and actions of hollow point bullets, will get almost California girl with reaction to my "totally gross suggestion."

I once asked at IDPA match if I could put my partially loaded mag between my teeth and they said no.

Mas Ayoob
06-25-2010, 20:19
Jack, easiest place to stow the old magazine is the same place from which you got the fresh one.

I agree with you that you'll have trouble putting the depleted mag in a trouser pocket if pants fabric is stretched taut in a kneeling position (especially if you're wearing a suit, or tailored police uniform pants). My second issue with putting it in the trouser pocket is that most people who carry spare mags in pouches aren't used to reaching into pockets for magazines. We're saving that last-ditch partial mag in case we desperately need it...so why not put it someplace where we're likely to find it by habit?

If you carry two spare mags in a double pouch, I think it's a good idea to speedload your pistol from the forward magazine cell, but tac-load it from the rear one. When my gun is topped off I'll put the partial mag in the REAR cell, which is now empty, and will put it in BACKWARDS. Now, when my groping hand hits the sharp rear edge of the floorplate instead of the usually rounded front edge, it knows that it's on the last-ditch magazine.

If you only carry one spare magazine, just put the partial back in the pouch that became empty when you drew and inserted the full one. Yeah, I've heard it too: "you'll get the partial mag mixed up with the full one!" But if you started with only two, the one in the pistol and the one in the pouch...and the full one is now in the gun, and the partial is in your hand needing to be stowed...there's nothing left to mix up, is there?:cool: In this case, since the partial is all I have left, I'll put it into its single cell pouch in the normal orientation, so I can draw with the habituated movement if it's needed. Again, if it's the only ammo I have left, there's nothing to mix it up with.

Hoping this was helpful,

06-25-2010, 20:39

I am confused concerning your suggestion to put partially full mag in empty mag pouch. Problem is my mag pouch is not empty, when I take out partially full mag and hold it in my hand.

I could of course dump partially full mag on the ground, draw and insert fresh mag, and then pick up partial mag on the ground and insert it in now empty pouch.

Am I missing something? I really want to avoid juggling two mags in my hand.

I am thinking back to my old idea in combo with yours. Put partial mag between teeth. Draw and insert new mag and then take partial mag from teeth and put in now empty mag pouch.

Mas Ayoob
06-25-2010, 21:05
Jack, I'm afraid we've entered the land of Combat Semantics. Different folks use different terms to mean different things.

To me, a tactical reload occurs at the gun, and the sequence is: draw fresh magazine, come up as if to perform speedload. Pluck out depleted mag and insert fresh mag. (At this point I SCAN IMMEDIATELY, because a tactical reload sounds like some poor SOB struggling to reload an empty gun, and if a bad guy IS playing possum out there during the "lull in the action," you've just given him what he may think is an excellent opportunity to attack you now.) After scan has indicated you're safe, THEN secure depleted mag wherever you are going to put it.

What you've described is what IDPA calls a "reload with retention": depleted mag is pulled out and put away, and THEN fresh mag is grabbed and inserted. I have to agree with IDPA terminology that this ain't tactical, because the object of the whole thing is to get a fully reloaded pistol in hand and ready to fight with as soon as possible.

In other words, the gun will have no magazine in place a lot longer during the reload with retention that you described, than in the tactical reload I was thinking of when I answered your question earlier.

See why I said it's one of the most discussion-producing elements of tactical pistolcraft? :supergrin:

06-25-2010, 21:41

Yes, I can see where you would have an empty mag pouch, when the reload "occurred at the gun." Problem for me, as I mentioned earlier, is that this involves what I describe as "juggling two mags in one hand." When I do this I often end up dropping both mags or reinserting partially full mag, I just took out. And I find thick glock mags especially hard to handle or juggle.

However, if one is behind cover and does tactical reload the overall speed is not that important as in IDPA. The speed that is really important from behind cover situation is the time from when one mag is disengaged and new mag is engaged. In short from behind cover you can get set before you begin tactical reload. In IDPA the clock is always running. So I might revisit tactical reload with this in mind. I scan and carefully take spare mag out and prepare to execute tactical reload. This opposed to IDPA when shot x is fired, now reload tactically, with retention, whatever, as the clock continues to run.

However, I think your ideas of using rear section of pouch or reversing mag can still be applied when one drops partially full mag and is successful in picking it up off the ground.

Thanks for suggestions, I will have to work on these ideas.