Wednesday, March 31, 2010

THE MYTH OF THE TACTICAL RELOAD

It's an important skill to be developed at most training programs. It is an essential part of the gun game known as IDPA. Many have said that it is a required technique for the well-trained gunman's toolkit. We say that claims of the need are a myth, and the so-called tactical reload truly fits that old cliché of "a great solution to a non-existent problem.” Let’s start by identifying just what the TR is.

There are various terms used for various reloading techniques. For clarification, we will confine this discussion to autoloading pistols and use the following terms:
SPEED RELOAD (SR): while there is still a round in the chamber and the slide is forward, the magazine is released from the gun and allowed to fall free as a new magazine is placed into the magazine well.
EMERGENCY RELOAD (ER): similar to the speed reload EXCEPT all rounds have been fired and the slide is locked back with an empty chamber.
TACTICAL RELOAD (TR): with rounds still in the magazine and a round in the chamber, the shooter secures a spare magazine with the off hand, brings it to the weapon, releases the magazine in the weapon into the off hand where it is held while the replacement magazine is placed into the magazine well. The partially spent magazine is then secured for later use.
RETENTION RELOAD (RR): with rounds still in the magazine and chamber, the magazine in the firearm is released into the off hand and secured for later use. The off hand then gets a spare magazine and inserts it into the magazine well of the firearm.

Why would we argue against the need for the tactical reload? There are a number of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that outside of the military there has been no verifiable instance of the rounds saved with a tactical reload making a difference in an actual gunfight. I can say that with a fair amount of confidence because several different people in several different venues have been trying for several years to find an example without any luck.

Second, the tactical reload is the reload that is most likely to be messed up. By its very design the TR is complicated and cumbersome in comparison to other reload techniques. It requires manipulation of two magazines at the same time and with the same hand. As can be regularly seen at matches, when a reload is flubbed it is almost always a tactical reload. Under the stress of an actual incident we can only expect the problem to increase, not decrease.

Third, the tactical reload does nothing that cannot be done as well or better with another method of reloading. If your concern is saving the ammo in the used mag the retention reload works better. It is more reliable, as you only have to manipulate one magazine at a time. If your concern is getting a new magazine into the firearm the speed reload or the emergency reload are better. Again, one needs only manipulate one magazine. So if our concern is speed, the SR and the ER provide a faster reload than the TR. If our concern is saving the remaining rounds of ammo, the RR provides greater reliability than the TR.

Fourth, learning the tactical reload is actually anti-tactical. It takes time from our limited training resources to develop a skill that is not needed, and it creates another decision-point for us by increasing the number of options we must pick and choose from. Both of those issues adversely impact our overall fighting ability.

"But wait" some say. "The TR is designed to get you a full magazine into the firearm during a lull in the action." And they are right...but there is a huge problem. How do we know if there is a lull in the action? Literally by definition we cannot know if there is a lull until the lull has already occurred. I've fired a few rounds at the Bad Guy, and I'm securely behind cover. My opponent seems to be down and out, so I start to reload. He suddenly jumps up and charges my position. No lull any more. If I am able to do the TR, I am gambling, as I don't know if my "lull" is actually sufficient until after the TR is completed.

But let's stay with this scene for discussion purposes. We've had our encounter, the Bad Guy is down, and you have some cover and want to top off the gun. The SR is a better choice here because we have no idea if we have a lull or not. Just drop the partially spent magazine. If things are really over or there really is a lull, then you can pick the magazine up after your firearm is fully loaded. If you happen to be in a position where that is problematic, such as wading through the floods after Katrina or in mud up to your ankles, the Retention Reload shines. You have greater control over both magazines at all times, thus reducing the chance of fumbling one or both of them and losing them in the mud or water. Remember, we need to decide what we want to do. If we are reloading because we think there is a further need for our gun, we need to reload as fast as we can, thus the SR or ER. If we want to save our partially expended magazine and there are no time constraints, the RR provides the greatest reliability.

Michael Bane, well known shooter and writer, relates the following comment from a discussion with an Israeli security specialist and top firearms instructor:
"We stopped teaching tactical reloads," he told me, "because the people who tried to do them kept getting killed." That is the basic problem with the Tactical Reload. I won't go so far as to argue that it gets you killed all by itself. But the time and effort spent learning to perform it well is time and effort that is not spent learning something that could make a difference for you. It is a nice trick for the range, but nothing that can't be achieved just as well with a Retention Reload.

The Tactical Reload can be learned, and it can be done. I learned it well and can do it quite quickly. But it still remains a solution searching for a problem. Many things can be done well given enough training, but their actual tactical benefits are few. And that is the crux of The Myth of the Tactical Reload, the idea that it is tactical in any way, shape, or form. It is the only reload that substantially differs from the others. The SR, ER, and RR all rely on a simple task...take one magazine in the off hand and insert that magazine into the magazine well of the firearm. The TR complicates that task in a way that provides no benefit to the shooter.

64 comments:

  1. I followed you here from GlockTalk and really enjoy your writing and choice of topics. You seem to be a voice of sanity in the otherwise crazy world of internet gun voices. Could you please write more often, if time permits?

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  2. Shoot to slide lock. Reload. Shoot to slide lock. Reload... Repeat as needed.

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  3. I don't really get it either, while I've only shot a total of four IDPA matches, I don't know why I'd ever want to try and change a magazine using only a limited number of digits of my "weak" hand to hold a fresh mag and remove the partial.

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  4. Thanks Greg. That is what the site is about, trying to bring a little sanity and reason to an area filed with fantasy and myth. I write as time and energy allow, plus it takes a bit of time to research some issuses. But I'm alway interested in the views of others as well as their suggestions. So if you (or anyone else) has a topic they would like to write on, or maybe thinks there is an issue that we need to explore, let me know!

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  5. You are right, Dandapani, in that slide-lock is the likely notification that we need to reload during a shooting incident. Hopefully we keep our wits about us enought to keep the situation from reaching slide-lock in the first place, but that is why I feel the single loading process that is shared by SR, ER, and RR is the best way to train. No matter what our situation the process is the same....clear the old mag out of the way, put a new mag in.

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  6. Well JD, IDPA was looking for something to distinguish itself from IPSC/USPSA when it started up, and for whatever reason they latched onto the TR as one of the defining elements, which in turn really popularized the technique. And it seemed like a good idea in the beginning. Shoot a bit, then top off the gun while reserving your ammo for later...that's a good idea. But like so many good ideas it sort of falls apart in the real world, once again demonstrating the myth that what is a good skill on the range automatically translates into a good skill for the streets.

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  7. David, thanks for the reply. I'd be surprised if you don't have a laundry list of topics already, but here are a couple I'd enjoy reading.

    1. Caliber choice for a compact, possibly concealed, handgun. What sort of penetration is necessary, what is effective, and what is excessive? What sort of magazine capacity is needed? I enjoyed your article on the underappreciated .38 and would like to see a similar article on auto-loaders and caliber/ manufacturer choice.

    2. External safetys, or no?

    3. Best body locations for carrying a concealed handgun, including backup firearms for peace officers.

    But hey, even if you don't cover those, I enjoy reading your stuff and have your RSS subscribed so I don't miss anything. Thanks for the work you put in to help the rest of us.

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  8. David,
    Thank you for this. I wonder, really, now that you have made me think about something I never considered, what Jim Cirillo would have thought on the subject.

    I suspect I know, but I would still have liked to ask him. There is more to tactics than reloading, and more to gunfighting than guns. I have always maintained that the best reload is the New York Reload, and the most important shot in a gunfight is the first.

    Tactical reloads are little more than a plan of action to increase one's ability to respond during a percieved lull on a fight. Mike Tyson may have few redeeming qualities, but he knew fighting. I fall back on one of his quotes. "Everyone has a plan 'till they get punched in the mouth." There is a lot of truth in that. Having a plan to meet the reality of the fight is better than no plan at all, but a plan will never replace the mindset to persevere.

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  9. Shoot to slide lock? Great thing to have happen when someone is shooting at you. If taught correctly, a TR is done only if there is a pause or break in the shooting. Most likely after shots fired and it "is over." But you prepare for it not being over by topping off with a TR. It's not some high speed drill, it's preparation for what comes next. It is not a major skill but still a good one to have.

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    1. FINALLY!!! The right Answer! Thank you knice! THERE ABSOLUTELY is a need for a TR! Simply put, bad guy is down and I want to approach him with a full mag. And you do know when the lull in the fight occurs...when you stop getting shot at and bad guy is not moving. Shooting to empty is bad ammo management and should only be done if you have to keep shooting to save your life. But if you shoot 4 rounds and bad guy is down, why would I throw the last 9 on the ground before I load with my fresh mag in a RR? All that's done is made me have to fish for the nine rounds (taking my eyes off where they should be).

      As a veteran instructor, I agree that we should not keep things in our tool box that are there "because we have always done it that way", but The Tac Reload is not a tool to loose...it's a tool to get good at...and it's something that does not need a range to practice.

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  10. I have always disliked the so called tactical reloard - figured it best to drop the mag and reload. If you are behind cover and there is a lull, you can always pick up the released magazine but you have a fully loaded gun when doing so and did not have to worry about juggling two magazines at once in one hand at that.

    As for the Rentention Reload, please explain to me how you arrive at the point where you would make it. I just do not quite understand how it is that you have rounds remaining in the magazine (and we are talking semi-auto pistol here are we not) yet have no rounds within the chamber. This sounds like a very unlikely scenario. If my chamber is empty it is either because I just fired everything that was in the gun or that I just cleared a malfunction. I suppose I am missing something so please explain that one to me. Thanks.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

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  11. Thanks for the list of ideas, Greg. Some may not fit the mythology format, but all are certainly issues worthy of discussion.

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  12. Xavier: I'm pretty sure Jim would have questioned the TR, given his concern with focusing on what won fights. And as you mention, he certainly supported the New York reload during his career. As for the "lull in the fight" thing, that is the problem. You just don't know if you have a lull until AFTER the act. Thus the problem topping off during a lull.

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  13. knice: While no one advocates shooting to slide lock most folks that study real gunfights find that the common response is you either shoot until the BG goes down or until you hit slide lock. And if we should do a TR during a pause or a break in the shooting, when do we know that has occurred and how long it will last? How do you know it is "over"?That is one of the problems with the TR, people suggest times to do it, but in a real fight there is no way to know if those times are actually there or not. If the fight is still going on one can top off faster and more reliably with a Speed Reload. If the fight is over, a RR works just fine. Sure, one can learn the skill of the TR, but we go back to the problem of learning another skill when the problem is already addressed better by other techniques.

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  14. Glenn B: Good catch on the chamber empty RR. That was typo on my part. Cut and Paste is not always your friend! I have corrected the terminology in the original post. As for your reasons for disliking the TR, I must agree. If you are not going to have time to squat, kneel, or whatever to pick up the mag you probably shouldn't be messing around with anything except the fastest, most reliable reload you can perform.

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  15. Great post on the Tactical Reload. Let it fall out of fashion. Would that we could get good advice without the fanboy, marketing propaganda overlay. I rationalize that I learned a lot, but as I look back I really would have been well served by the S&W model 13 I was issued and a few speedloaders. I fell for wondernines, 45's, 10mm.

    So I say, practice, practice, practice. Sight alignment, trigger control, dry firing and the manual of arms don't sell stuff.

    If anything, too much tactical reloading will mess up your floorplates when that heavy double stack magazine hits the concrete. (This is me resisting the temptation to shop for rubber floorplate protectors.)

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  16. Hi David,

    Good article.

    Over the years, I have always found your thread responses to be informative and level headed.

    Since you are a thnking gunfighter, How about taking a crack at evaluating the design "flaw" in the 1911, and it's consequences for user's, and the point shooting method that provides for a fast, automatic, and correct flash sight picture as well as a correct sight picture.

    Here's a link to the 1911 flaw: www.pointshooting.com/1911.htm

    And here's one to the FSP/SP info.:
    www.pointshooting.com/1a2auto.htm

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  17. Hi John. I'll consider that for later, perhaps in a larger Point Shooting/Target Focus thread. For those of you who don't know him, John is the developer and ceaseless advocate of a very unique method of firing the handgun that has generated a lot of attention, both good and bad, over the years. This is not the place to debate that method, but I do encourage everyone to visit the Pointshooting.com website. Whether you agree with the specific technique or not there is a fair amount of information there, and much of it should give the Thinking Gunfighter something to think about.

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  18. I would have to say worrying over why TR is a bad thing doesn't make sense. I would assume I would do whatever I did and maybe the training would help and maybe Id forget it all and just try my damndest to hit the sob as many times as I could. Then thinking about cover Id run to it or get to it if moving already and reload as best I could. I would hesitate to reload unless its safe or Im behind cover. That sounds more like how it would go. Dropping your mag on the hard pavement or tile? I can see the rounds popping out of it or sticking up in the mag so when you do pick it up it may be empty or fouled up in some way lips bent or what ever. Ill just keep mine thanks to TR and Ill know its ok and how many rounds Ive got IF I count. Doesn't really matter if you need a few more that dropped mag is all you'll have. As you reload from cover or out in the open while he bleeds why the hell would you want to be looking around on the ground for a mag? My eyes would be on the sob. If he has friends I'd be moving automatically no training needed. Trained or not you'll only do what you do. You may do some of it right and you may do some of it wrong. Reloads may or may not be in the equation. I was tought once to carry as many assets as you can gun, stun-gun, mace, baton and a knife. Now thats a thought.

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  19. Another thing you keep talking in these senerios. You can take cover and do a SR then if it really is a lull you can pick up the mag. Where is the mag? They go all all over the place dont they? Mine do. You really want to start looking for it? Step on it and slip and fall? I can appreciate all your thoughts and facts you've gathered but when Im crouched down behind cover I cant stuff a mag in anywhere so how do I RR? Front pockets are bent closed. Rear pockets are tight or covered by a coat. Maybe down the back of my pants but if I got a coat on it aint goin in there either. So you have to sweep the coat aside and put it in there? All this time to fiddle with a RR and no mag in the gun!! So you get rushed and then what? California guns now have to have a mag safety not so good. So TR "IS" good for something. A Michael Bane comment. Remember the cops in the 60s or 70s that picked up empty shells for revolvers because of training and got killed? The Israelis. Was that kinda the same? Wrong reload for the wrong conditions? I dont feel the TR is that hard. I dont like dropping a mag and moving on either unless its empty or your thinking well enough to know you got to do a SR right at that specific moment or your in trouble. Me I aint that clear thinking. Taking the time to find a place to put it? Id rather get a fresh mag out, catch the partial with my pinky and slam the full one in and fiddle with it after I got a full gun. Maybe the SR is predicated on having 15 round magazines? "It wont matter if you drop 3 or 4 rounds on the ground, you got 15 in it now". I dont feel 7 round mags go well with what your saying. You shoot 4 shots then reload. If you've got 2 mags you just dropped 20% of your ammo on the ground. 3 mags 11%

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  20. 49Guy, you demonstrate just how this mythology tends to cloud our thinking. In the first post you write,

    "Dropping your mag on the hard pavement or tile? I can see the rounds popping out of it or sticking up in the mag so when you do pick it up it may be empty or fouled up in some way lips bent or what ever. Ill just keep mine thanks to TR and Ill know its ok and how many rounds Ive got IF I count."
    Now, looking at that, how does a TR do anything that is not also done with the RR? That is the main point of understanding the mythology of the tactical reload...it doesn't do anything that can't also be done as well or better with another reloading technique. So why spend time learning it? Again, from the first post,

    "As you reload from cover or out in the open while he bleeds why the hell would you want to be looking around on the ground for a mag?"
    Yes, why would you do that? If that is your concern, RR works quite well. If your concern, on the other hand, is reloading ASAP, the SR works fine. Again, nothing there that indicates the TR is a better solution.

    From your second post,

    "I can appreciate all your thoughts and facts you've gathered but when Im crouched down behind cover I cant stuff a mag in anywhere so how do I RR?"
    If you can't stuff a mag in anywhere with an RR how does the TR figure into the equation? That is part of the TR, securing the mag for future use. If you can't secure and store with a RR you can't secure and store with a TR.

    You write,

    "All this time to fiddle with a RR and no mag in the gun!! So you get rushed and then what?"
    And again, if you are in a hurry the SR is the answer, not RR or TR. If you are worried about getting rushed you should be executing the fastest, most secure reload you can, not the one that is the slowest and the most likely to be fumbled, wouldn't you say?

    "The Israelis. Was that kinda the same? Wrong reload for the wrong conditions?"
    That is sort of the point, the TR is NEVER the right load for any conditions. Yes, it can be done. I'm pretty good at it myself. But there is nothing the TR does that cannot be done faster or more reliably with another technique. So we go back to the basic concept: if your main concern is to get rounds back in the gun then the SR is the fastest way to reload. If you want to save mags and ammo then the RR is the most secure way to reload.

    "I dont feel 7 round mags go well with what your saying. You shoot 4 shots then reload. If you've got 2 mags you just dropped 20% of your ammo on the ground. 3 mags 11%."
    Why are you reloading after shooting 4 shots? Is the fight over with and you want to save the mags and ammo? If so, then it doesn't matter that 20% of your ammo is now on the ground, you can pick it up. If the fight is still going on and you don't have the time to put a mag away or pick it up, why would you want to TR? Wouldn't your concern be getting the gun back into full fighting trim ASAP?

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  21. Your firsthand experience and solid logic compliment each other on this topic.

    While I am very new to your blog, I hope to either find that you have written about which night sight configuration provides the optimum quick alignment and best visual acuity needed to aid in quick and accurate shots for most shooters. I am right handed and right eye dominant, I find that the 3 horizontal tritium dots tend to engage my sub-concious by creating a desire for me to aim versus point the front sight. Compare contrast with the dual vertical dot sights (Heinie straight 8) and Novak (dot front bar rear). This may end up being a personal preference and practice issue versus an actual eye to mind facts based advantage with one or the other sight style.

    I know that your goal is to debunk marksmanship mythology, however someone with your background does have VERY educated opinions that are worthwhile to hear.

    I will now procced with scouring your archives. Thanks for the efforts that you put forth in this blog project.

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  22. IDPA is moving away from Tac Loads and RWR's on the clock. I agree with this trend.

    Regards,
    Jeremy
    aka B Coyote

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  23. shoot 1911: Thanks for the comments. I'm not necessarily a good one to look into sights, as I've spent a long time slipping back and forth between platforms. But that sounds interesting and I'll see if I can find someone who might be more familiar with the literature and research in that area. Same thing with the rifle ammo you mentioned in your other post. How about it, folks...anyone want to take up the issue of different sighting platforms or if the short fat magnums are better than the traditional magnums?

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  24. J. Van Gieson: That is good to hear. I would suggest that almost by definition a TR or RWR is usually inappropriate if it is "on the clock" be it competition or real life.

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  25. I just got pointed to your Blog. This is great, open-minded, common sense thinking! When you're behind cover, that is not the time or the place to spend precious time with a TR. It's time to get loaded up fast, fire from cover, and end the engagement!

    Just out of curiosity, do you intend to post some more?

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  26. Thanks, 2 Cents. that is what the site is for, someplace to share common sense. I do intend to post more as time allows. It's been a busy Summer. But the bog is not just for me, it is for all of us. Anyone who has an idea and would like to get it posted here just let me know.
    Hopefully by the end of the Summer I'll get up a couple of things I've been working on relating to Target-focused Shooting (point shooting) and Carrying Chamber Empty/Israeli Style.

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  27. Sgt dean cuputo used a Tac reload to save his life during a 5 vs 1 gun fight he was involved in against known gang members

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  28. From "Anonymous" we see the mythology at work. Dean did not use a tactical reload to save his life. ANY RELOAD would have worked. For those of you not familiar with it, Dean (and a few other notables) were attacked. Dean dispatched some of the attackers with his handgun (1911 .45, IIRC) and did execute a tactical reload while taking cover behind a car. However, he only needed 2 or 3 rounds from that second magazine to finish solving the problem. So the fact that he had done a TR had no effect on the outcome of the fight. I'm operating from memory here, but I think that he would have finished the fight with just the rounds in the original mag if he had continued on.

    Again, folks, it isn't that you can't do a TR, it isn't that a TR has never been used, it is that the TR is the most problematic of the reloads and offers nothing that can't be done as well or better by another technique.

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  29. I think training can enable one to overcome some of the negative effects of the fight-or-flight hormone dump;

    BUT, I also suspect that there is a tendency to vastly underestimate the level, consistency and intensity of training and experience that may be required. Before the fact, we kind of over-estimate what we think we can bring to the table.

    I am guessing that for even the best of us, whether we will adequately perform such skills when there is a realistic probablility that the guy "right there" is going to hit us with his next shot (and here it comes) is probably something of a mystery ... until it is over.

    A good analogy might be to think analytically and perform independent digital manipulations when one has accidentally fallen off some second-story landing is about to hit the ground.

    In the words of a great and realistic martial philosopher, "Simplify,simplify!"

    (Good article! -- dugo from GlockTalk)

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  30. You're right, dugo, that training helps us overcome some of the problems but that it also gives a false sense of how we will perform. As others have pointed out we generally will perform at our BEST level during training and our performance during an actual incident will be somewhere below that "best" level.

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  31. >Again, folks, it isn't that you can't do a TR, it isn't that a TR has never been used, it is that the TR is the most problematic of the reloads and offers nothing that can't be done as well or better by another technique.

    One place I find a TR better than a RWR is working off the belt without a dump pouch, I prefer to the partial into the most rearward mag pouch.

    Picture four mags on the belt with two on the left and two on the right of centerline stopping before 09:00 and 03:00.

    By doing TR with the mag closest to the 09:00 or 03:00 I keep full mags closest to the centerline and the place most likely to draw from during an emergency reload.

    The TR works best with this setup (this is a SHTF slick setup, not CCW) because I streamline the process from "dump mag to pocket / load mag to gun / load mag from pocket to mag pouch" to "bring mag to gun / return partial to pouch" as I'm going.

    Digging in the pocket full of partials is uglier than digging in a dump pouch. Since you are doing a TR outside of an immediate fight (aka "lull") you have time to do a TR. If you fumble you have more ammo on body and pick up the mag and carry on.

    If I have 2 spare mags only then fumbling becomes more tragic and the RWR is the way IMO.

    I use to be a RWR ONLY!! guy, but having moved outside of the CCW "box" and in between the "full kit" box, I see a need for it now.

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  32. Jim makes a good point, that there are always going to be certain situations or narrowly formatted issues that can change what we would think of as the "normal" process. While I might argue a few of his points for general use or for me in particular, he has identified a response that he thinks best for him in this scenario and that is something for us all to remember. What works best for you, with your particular situation, using your particular gear, with your particular skills, is what you should probably do, rather than what works best for somebody else.

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  33. I have been reviewing the NYPD report for officer involved shootings since the late 1800's. In almost all accounts by that department, shootouts were brought to a close with an average of 3 rounds fired; in low light conditions. From their example, I would say that no reload is just as probable as a tactical reload.

    I believe that most of the documented encounters involved the service revolver and not autoloaders. Besides this tidbit, how many concealed carry holders routinely carry additional ammo? I don't. If 13 founds are not enough to solve a lethal force situation, I'm gonna be in a world of hurt. Not being where the bad guys are is, in my opinion, far better an option than performing a reload to fend off the swarm.

    Just my thought.

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  34. That's a good analysis. We often put a lot of effort into training that gives us very marginal results. Reloads are one example of that. The odds of needing to execute a reload of any type during a fight are very small, and the odds of knowing how to do "Reload A" versus "Reload B" making a difference are even smaller.

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  35. David
    Just came across the entry, and must disagree with some of what you wrote. I can say unequivocally, that if it is true the Israeli instructor does not teach TR, he is in danger of losing his license, as TR is a mandatory part of the standard curriculum for all CT courses. I know because I live in Israel and have had about 200 hours of post army CT training.

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  36. Since I haven't been there in over a decade I can't speak from first-hand experience, but I'm sure Mr. Bane didn't just make that up, as I have also heard the TR spoken of with a fair amount of disdain by a number of Israeli firearms instructors that are here in the U.S. And Michael didn't indicate the date or context of his conversation, so I certainly won't disagree with you regarding your personal experience. However, I will point out that mandatory training does not automatically mean good training, as I'm sure you would agree! Thank you for providing more input on this issue.

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  37. I definitely do not consider myself an expert in any way on training or protocols. I can say that the courses I was in were advanced CT courses for people on government security teams, and the curriculum is designed around actual situations encountered in the past. A key impetus for TR was never being in a situation of an almost empty magazine against an unknown amount of attackers in a CQB environment, or having to wonder how many shots were fired; obviously difficult to keep track of in the 'heat of the moment.' In terms of equipment, it was obligatory to carry three full magazines at all times.
    I enjoy reading your blog, and have found it insightful. Thanks.

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  38. No disagreement on needing to keep up with magazine management in a hostile situation. The issue is if the TR is the right tool for the job or if our goal can be accomplished just as well in some other manner, such as the reload with retention or other option. That is the point being made by Michael Bane and others, IMO, that the TR as a tactic does not add to our fighting ability, and may in fact detract from it.

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  39. I have been trained and I teach, to shoot until slide lock, out of ammo or until a malfunction. Either perform a mag change or a malfunction clearance.
    Nothing more is needed, nothing less is required.

    Jake Starr

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  40. That has to be sarcasm, Jake...

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  41. I'm sure he will clarify, but I think what Jake is saying is that there is only one basic reload technique needed, as one technique covers slide lock, out of ammo, malfunction, or anything else. Drop the old mag and put in a new mag will pretty much cover any situation where a reload is called for.

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  42. As a fomer Special Forces Soldier with multiple deployments to South America and Afghanistan I can unequivocally state that the TR does have it's application. While arguably in a non-combat situation, definitely in a combat situation, especially when in a CQB type of situation where there are multiple team members in a room with you that can secure the room while you conduct a TR. It is a force wide applied technique, however the difference being that other guns are in the fight while your gun mite temporarily be out of the fight for a very (hopefully) limited period of time.

    Likewise even in a lone operator or lone individual in a situation where it is you against multiple individuals, I would certainly look for an oportunity to conduct a TR as opposed to dropping a mag and then searching for it in any capacity. I keep spare mags and spare ammo throughout my house and vehicle. The last thing I would want to do is come to the end my magazines and still have a handfull of bullets, no magazines and an adverseray still bent on my destruction.

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  43. It's not so much does the TR have any applications, the issue is if the TR is the best application in any situation. In other words, is there a time where juggling two magazines and increasing the likelihood of messing up the reload is better than a more secure method or a faster method. Now certainly there are some different considerations going on when one is in combat and operating as part of a squad, but I'd contend that if there are other guns to do the fighting then the need for a TR is even lessened. If one wants the gun to be out of action the least amount of time, speed reload. If one is wanting to save the magazine, retention reload. Having other guns there to provide covering fire simply makes the SR or the RR better. If one looks for an opportunity for a TR then one can take that same opportunity for a RR and increase the chance of having that magazine later on, although I can't imagine why one would end up with bullets left over and no magazines in a fight. If that is a concern, again the retention reload seems the better alternative.

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  44. "but I'd contend that if there are other guns to do the fighting then the need for a TR is even lessened."-- Dave Armstrong

    Well The fact that you have given up on TR before ever using it or understanding it's role shows that your blog "The Thinking Gunfighter"...isn't.

    In combat you are not just given unlimited magazines and even less so do you carry 1000's of rounds with you. Basically, you don't just drop your mags on the ground and run off to chase bad guys. That eliminates your SR. ER is for an emergency you just do it and hope you recover your mag. That leaves the TR and RR. If you enjoy being in combat with one round in your pistol while you fumble with putting one away somewhere on your body before you grab a second mag... well... some people die in combat for silly reasons. The TR is a RR but you have less time where your gun is empty. Figuring out how to hold the two mags in your hand for half a second is easy and you may drop one while training but a few hours sitting in front of the TV with the right technique and you're a believer.

    Now take that into the combat scenario. You are conducting CQB as part of a team and do some shooting. Your long gun runs dry or you have a malfunction. You draw your pistol and continue the engagement. Now you are standing in a cleared room with BG's somewhere ahead with a half empty pistol. TacReload your pistol, put it in your holster and get your long gun back up. If you encounter a BG while doing that you get the pistol back up. When you reach your LOA and you end up in a BHD scenario but you were the guy that just dumped all your mags on the floor, well, you're not getting mine. I'll be the guy that has 2 or 3 half mags on his rig.

    The TR is just a faster RR and is more tactically sound.

    As far as IDPA goes... That's a joke that they have a TR or RR in their classifier but say in their rule book to avoid putting it in competitions. It's a joke.

    And BTW, you will know what a lull in fire is, when it happens, it will be that moment when you aren't crapping your pants. During that moment, if you fired your gun, you may want to do a TR.

    Try this site if you want to "think" about it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xAuIxQNNvxA

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  45. Oh goodness, where to begin??
    {Well The fact that you have given up on TR before ever using it or understanding it's role shows that your blog "The Thinking Gunfighter"...isn't.}
    I always like folks that make wild claims without anything to support them. The assumption that I gave up on the TR before ever using it or understanding it is rather silly as I was trained in the Modern Technique by good folks from Gunsite and Thunder Ranch and anyone who has been there will tell you that the TR is explained, advocated, and used extensively. And not only do I understand it and have used it, I'm actually fairly good at it. Just for grins once I did the Air Marshal qualification doing only TRs. So let's put that silly bit of bad mind-reading aside.

    As for the rest. Some interesting comments, but little to show how the comments relate or why they are relevant. Not having thousands of rounds and not dropping mags on the ground to chase BGs really has little to do with whether or not a TR is the better choice of a reload.
    {The TR is a RR but you have less time where your gun is empty.}
    Once again the old bugaboo about speed. Folks, if your concern is to get the gun loaded quickly the TR is SLOWER than the SR or the ER. If you think you need to have your gun reloaded quickly it makes little sense to intentionally slow the process.
    {Figuring out how to hold the two mags in your hand for half a second is easy and you may drop one while training but a few hours sitting in front of the TV with the right technique and you're a believer.}
    And yet we still find the TR to be the reload that is most likely to be fumbled, even by experts, in non-stress situations. So why execute a reload that is more likely to be messed up than one that is more reliable during a high-stress situation?
    {Now you are standing in a cleared room with BG's somewhere ahead with a half empty pistol. TacReload your pistol, put it in your holster and get your long gun back up.}
    Or get the pistol reloaded fast by doing an SR if that is a concern then pick up the mag if convenient. Or do a RR and accomplish the same as the TR far more reliably. Whatever you choose you end up with the same result, but the TR creates the greatest disadvantage to you.
    {When you reach your LOA and you end up in a BHD scenario but you were the guy that just dumped all your mags on the floor, well, you're not getting mine. I'll be the guy that has 2 or 3 half mags on his rig.}
    Great. I'll have my spare mags also, I'll just get them there in a more efficient manner. Of course, I'd suggest that chasing a BG around and leaving a trail of partially spent mags behind you indicates we have far worse problems than knowing how to reload the weapon. BTW, there you are with your 3 half-mags on your rig. You swap a few rounds with the BGs. Do you do another TR? Which mag do you grab for? How do you know the mag you grab has more rounds than the one you are swapping out?
    {The TR is just a faster RR and is more tactically sound.}
    A nice claim, but there is no evidence to support it. In fact, most of the evidence indicates the TR to be the least sound choice for a reload.
    {And BTW, you will know what a lull in fire is, when it happens, it will be that moment when you aren't crapping your pants. During that moment, if you fired your gun, you may want to do a TR. }
    On the contrary, you won't know it is a lull until it is over. One can argue about that all they wish but pretty much by definition how long a lull is can only be determined after the fact, not before. If it is a lull the RR works better because it is more reliable, if it is not a lull the SR works better as it gets the gun back into action faster.

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  46. Where do I begin also? I'm sure we can go round for round on this and I apologize about the irrational statements on your training, it was unfair at a minimum. I can be very acrimonious at times.

    I think that perhaps I didn't fully explain a point or two. I went for brevity instead of clarity.

    1. I only use 2 reload techniques (KISS). One is for speed and the other for "plussing up", The ER for me is a slidelock reload. The TR is for (me) plussing up your gun. Having to think about 2 other techniques in the middle of a shootout is a hindrance, not a help. Now if you like the SR or RR use ONE of those.

    2. Let me add about dropping your mags (SR/ER). You say you will keep them in a more efficient manner, I assume you will pick them up off the ground? Add to this scenario 40+ lbs of gear, adrenaline, radio chatter of your boss telling you to hurry, no lights, smoke, blood, bodies, furniture, naked ladies, debris, you know...Murphy. An example, when you drop your bolt retaining pin on the floor putting your weapon together and you know it fell right at your feet... you find it a week later across the room under the sofa. If I ER, the mag is gone (in training I can go back and look for it, in combat you just lost it.)

    3. That leaves TR v. RR for plussing up. TR your weapon is unloaded for about 1-2 seconds as you switch mags. RR, unloaded 2-4 seconds unloaded as you are stowing your mag before getting the other out. The speed is not about your movements but in the time you have a paper weight in your hand. You say that TR is tactically unsound because you could drop a magazine while briefly holding 2? You could drop your RR mag too by placing it in your belt...it could fall out. We could "if" it to death if we want to go there. Once my TR became muscle memory there was no chance of dropping it unless it was knocked out of my hand...same could happen with ANY reload. Moot point.

    You don't like TR, great, but don't make it a crusade to stop others from using it because it doesn't fit you. We can argue the minutia of what makes it more or less viable/tactical/fast all day. let's encourage experimentation and thought.

    4.((((On the contrary, you won't know it is a lull until it is over. One can argue about that all they wish but pretty much by definition how long a lull is can only be determined after the fact, not before. ))))

    Have you been in a gunfight? BGs run out of ammo too. When they do there is a lull in fire. When you shoot and make the BG take cover, there is a lull in fire. When you take cover and the BG decides to save his bullets until you show yourself, there is a "lull in fire". One of your own articles describes "lulls". If you are being attacked and all of a sudden you have the opportunity to retrieve your weapon from another room, there was a "lull in fire". You know it when it happens, believe me. Time compression and hypervigilance happen during Serious Stress Reaction scenarios. A 2 second lull can feel like 2 minutes.

    I was in an ambush in A-stan that lasted almost 2 hours. It felt like it lasted 20 minutes. At the same time my awareness went up 10X. There were several lulls in fire. I went through 1000 rds of 7.62 on my M240. They were set up in 200 rds cans. I did five reloads during the firefight. Each reload felt like it took minutes, when in reality they took about 10 seconds. All the while firing on enemy and spotting BGs for the .50 cal and keeping track of our interpreter. The lulls gave us time to "catch your breath"...regroup, reload, and check on each other, while getting our bearings and trying to ID the next BG locations, it's the time you get to try to think your way out of the situation. Lulls do happen and you KNOW when they do. Something that maybe you have to experience I guess.

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  47. Yes, brevity can often assassinate clarity. I understand well! I also will point out that you seem to be addressing the use of the TR in a very narrow context, that of CQB with a group during a military action. If I have misunderstood that I apologize in advance. I believe I have stated before that I can imagine some combat scenarios where the TR does make sense, even though nobody has ever been able to provide a single documented instance where a TR was needed to win a fight outside of the military.

    1. I agree, KISS. Given that the TR is the least reliable and does not do anything that cannot be done better by another method, it should probably be the first method we consider dropping. For me it is very simple. When wanting to reload we need to be concerned with one of two things. Do we need to reload quickly or not and do we need to retain ammo or not. The TR tries to accomplish both and thus fails to be the best for either.

    2. If I am in a hurry and needing to reload quickly yes, I will pick them up off the ground if I have time. But if I need to reload quickly that is going to be my concern, not if I can retain some ammo. If I am not in a hurry the RR is more reliable with only a minor cost in speed. If you ER it is because you need to reload right now, correct? My gun is empty, I need to get it back into action right now. So why are you even worrying about saving an empty mag?

    3. I’m not sure where you are getting your times. The weapon should be empty with a TR for only a fraction of a second, and an RR certainly shouldn’t be 4 seconds. But you make the argument that lacks consistency. You are trying to argue that you should do a TR because it is faster. By definition, if you need to reload quickly, the TR is NOT the correct choice.
    {You say that TR is tactically unsound because you could drop a magazine while briefly holding 2?}
    I don’t think I said that. I believe I said the TR is the most likely to be fumbled. That includes dropping one or more mags, not seating a mag properly, having trouble getting the mag into the mag well, and a variety of things. And yes, a mag can be dropped with any reload. The question is why go with an option that INCREASES the chance for problem instead of lessens the chance?

    {You don't like TR, great, but don't make it a crusade to stop others from using it because it doesn't fit you. We can argue the minutia of what makes it more or less viable/tactical/fast all day. let's encourage experimentation and thought.}
    I like the TR. I use it a lot on the range. It is great for keeping mags out of the dirt. I don’t discourage others from using it, I hope to encourage them to think about it and figure out why they do what they do and if it is good for them. I simply point out that when one looks at the TR from a logical and rational standpoint the justification for it is very slight. That is why, again, evidence of it making a difference in an actual fight seems to be practically non-existent.

    4. Yes, I have been in gunfights. And I’m not saying a lull does not occur. Heck, I guess by strict definition the time between shots while the weapon cycles can be considered a lull. The point is that you cannot know how long the lull is until it is over. Sure, you shoot and the BG goes to cover. We have a lull. How long will the lull be? That is decided by the BG, not you, and you have no way to know how long he will let it be. Yes, the BG runs out of ammo. There is a lull. Is the lull going to be 1 second? 2? 3? 30? You don’t know until it is over. Heck, what you think might be a lull might not be a lull at all because he pulled out a second gun, or his buddy has started shooting.

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  48. A civilian gunfight by definition is CQB. So whether I state it as a military operation or a civilian shootout the distances are similar as is the environment. The fact that one hasn't been reported doesn't mean that it hasn't occurred. As far as training Force on force with SimMunitions in CQB environments I have used the technique...a lot. After training the technique on the flat range and creating the muscle memory (that you would have to produce for any of the techniques) I have yet to have a failure in the high stress environment.

    1. You have no proof of the TRs reliability, that is your opinion.

    2. The TR is not necessarily done in a hurry, what I was trying to convey about speed was the amount of time that the gun is a paper weight...unloaded and useless in your hand. The RR you eject and move the partial mag to your belt, stow it then get your fresh mag and load it in your gun. The TR you pull the fresh mag up switch it with your partial mag. Now the times I put up were not the amount of time it take to conduct the drill but the time that you have an empty gun. I sat here and timed myself before writing and added time to what it would take my 71 year old father-in-law to do it with arthritis. Just because Rob Leatham or Mas Ayoob can do the drill in .5 seconds doesn't mean we all can. Now if I have my gun plussed up in 2 seconds and the shooting continues and I haven't stowed my partial, I can drop it and continue the fight. If in the RR situation, I have to still get my other mag out and load it then I'm committed to that course of action (basically a ER at that time) or I can throw the gun at the BG.

    3. Already commented on.

    4. Cycling the weapon is a lull? Really? Let's keep this out of Fantasyland.

    You don't need to know how long a lull is going to be. There is a saying in parachuting that if your main doesn't deploy, you have the rest of your life to deploy your reserve. Does it matter if it's 1, 2, or 3 seconds? In the same sense you have the rest of your life to keep your gun shooting. If you have time to stop shooting and think, that is a lull. If you wait until the end of the shootout to analyze when you could have done a TR/RR/SR you may be analyzing it from the pearly gates. The thinking gunfighter commits to action not passivity. Do you know you have 2 seconds? No. Does the bag guy know what you're doing? I hope you're not standing there telegraphing it. You have no idea but if you are running a SS pistol and you fired 6 rounds and don't change your mag, you will be FORCED to do an ER after the next shot. Not something you want to be doing with bullets flying back at you (no longer a lull) Of course you can SR or RR, Fine pick one and train on it and know that's what you are going to do. I prefer to keep my mag and have the gun down for the least amount of time. I prefer not to hunt for a mag on the ground during the same stress period that you say will cause me to fumble my mags. Not to mention that if I do a SR and drop the mag on the ground and move to another location, that partial mag may never be recovered. If I end up in the outlier gunfight and end up needing those last few rounds, I may regret the decision. Ask the FBI agents in the 1986 FBI Miami shootout. Only 2 agents reloaded. The other 6 used their Service Rev. and BUGs to empty state and and were shot or killed with empty guns (slightly exaggerated but mostly correct).

    ***not to start another thread but their (FBI) premise on the stopping power was wrong. The problem was marksmanship not stopping power.

    Caveat: On the Serious Stress Reaction (SSR)(Fumbling/loss of fine motor skills) Hard physical realistic training overcomes the SSR. Get out and "Run and Gun". It tests your skills, TTPs, and your equipment set up. My TR is tested and true. Its not a Myth.

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  49. I would really question the idea that one should equate military CQB involving multiple soldiers armed and armored as they tend to be these days with the typical civilian gunfight.

    {The fact that one hasn't been reported doesn't mean that it hasn't occurred.}
    I’m sorry, but that is unacceptable reasoning. Nobody has reported having an on-going gunfight with 6-armed Martians armed with HK submachine guns, but I’m pretty sure one has never occurred. IF something happens enough to be of importance it will get reported. For over a decade a number of people in a number of venues have actively looked for evidence of the TR making a difference, without any luck. IF one wants to argue the value of something they need to be able to show it. That nobody can is rather telling.

    {As far as training Force on force with SimMunitions in CQB environments I have used the technique...a lot.}
    Again, it is not an issue of if the technique has been used. The issue is if it is needed.

    1. No. The proof is seen regularly on the range, where the TR has been shown to suffer far more problems than any other method, even among those who are well-trained in the technique.
    2. Again your argument is based on the idea that the TR is faster, but by definition a TR should not be done when you are worried about speed. You cannot have it both ways. If we are concerned about speed the TR is slower than the ER or SR. If we are not worried about speed the RR is more reliable.

    4. You prove my point. If a lull is any time bullets are not actually being fired, there are lots of lulls but most folks would say trying to reload in them (weapon cycle) is not smart. If a lull is defined by a specific time period then you cannot know if there is a lull until that time period is over.

    {If you have time to stop shooting and think, that is a lull.}
    I would disagree with that completely. I’ve had multiple times where I have stopped shooting and was able to think but there was no lull, I assure you.

    {If you wait until the end of the shootout to analyze when you could have done a TR/RR/SR you may be analyzing it from the pearly gates.}
    Why analyze at all? If you need to reload quickly then reload quickly. Then worry about securing leftover ammo. If you need to secure the leftover ammo then secure the ammo. Very simple.

    {I prefer to keep my mag and have the gun down for the least amount of time.}
    That is certainly your choice and I don’t fault that choice as long as one recognizes that it is a compromise that offers no real advantages. That is the premise of the article, that there really is no need for the TR outside of some military combat scenarios.

    {Ask the FBI agents in the 1986 FBI Miami shootout.}
    This is what I mean, folks, when I suggest we need to really think about what we are saying. The agents had spare ammo but due to circumstances several did not get their guns reloaded. Using the ‘86 shooting as an argument for saving spare ammo or using a specific reloading technique is not just silly, it is completely wrong.

    {My TR is tested and true. It’s not a Myth.}
    Again, you seem to miss the point. My TR is tested and true also. Of course the TR is not a myth. We see it all the time. Whether the TR is really needed or if we should spend much time training for it is the issue. Given that the TR provides nothing that cannot be done as better by another technique, and given that apparently there has never been a non-military instance of the ammo saved making a difference in the outcome of a fight, I've got to say the need for it is still a myth.

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  50. http://www.thetacticalwire.com/archived/2011-04-05_tactical.html

    Last article on the page. The Myth...

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  51. A good article by one of the top guys in the business, Rich Grassi. To me one of the most important paragraphs is:
    "The typical magazine juggling act won't work if you have fingers numb from cold, the magazines are too big, there's blood on your hands or a range of other issues. The competition reload (with retention) is speedy and secure. "Flip it and strip it" - turn the gun inside your grip to get the magazine release button to the thumb. Press, dumping the mag to the support hand which stows it, snatches a loaded magazine and drives it into the magazine well. Quicker than it sounds, it's very secure."

    Another good article, this time from Michael Bane, can be found at:
    http://www.handgunsmag.com/2010/09/24/tactics_training_treload_061604/

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  52. ANONYMOUS sent another post which I rejected, and thought I would mention why. The issue here is not if someone can do a TR, or if after years of training in Special Forces one can do certain tasks, or anything like that. Part of the reason behind The Thinking Gunfighter is to learn to look at issues and not get dragged off into irrelevant side issues. ANONYMOUS makes some good points, and I invite him (or anyone) to submit articles they might want to present for discussion. But the issue here is simple...the idea that the TR is an important skill for a gunfighter is a myth, and we support that conclusion based on the idea that it does nothing that is not done better by an alternative technique; and there is little to no evidence that a Tactical Reload has ever made a difference in the outcome of a fight. If one wishes to discuss that, great. But if one wants to discuss other issues another article is indicated.

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  53. RE: MIKE on Aaugust 26, 2014

    Where to begin? First, if the BG is down and you want to approach him with a full mag that is easily done with any of the reloads. Second, if the BG is down and you are not getting shot at the fight might be over or not. If it is over it is not a lull, it is over, and again any reload will work. If it is not over then you might want to reload with something other than the technique shown to have the greatest chance of fumble (the TR). Third, if you are throwing rounds on the ground during the RR it is not a RR. The retention reload (RR) is based on saving the rounds by securing them, THEN putting the fresh mag in. I guess finally I would say that while yes, the TR can be practiced off the range, why practice it at all as it does not provide any advantages? Anything the TR does can be done with one of the other reloading techniques, so why learn a technique that adds nothing to your arsenal?

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  54. Awesome article. As an instructor I think it is crucial to keep an open mind and explore all options in regards to tactics and training. I believe that the "Tactical Reload" is a great tool that like anything else must be practiced. We teach the tactical reload and different methods of doing it. One method is manipulating both magazines at the same time, which I have no problem doing under stress because I have done it thousands of times. Another method we teach is the "Retention Method" which was explained in this article. The retention method isn't a separate reload, it is just another method of doing the tactical reload. The way I train and the way I teach my students is this. After you have drawn and fired rounds at the threat, performed your scans/after actions drills, broke that tunnel vision and realized that the threat is currently over. Perform a tactical reload, because you don't know if there are more bad guys coming around the corner and you want to be equipped with a fully loaded weapon. The idea is to reload when you want to, not when you have to. Again, different methods are out there and I don't think there is a right or wrong here, just an indifferent. Regardless, at least it is getting everyone thinking about what they do and how they will do it! Train safe everyone!

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  55. Thanks, Roger, and a good analysis. I push the Retention Reload over the more traditional Tactical Reload and differentiate between the two specifically because it (RR) allows the same end result without the problem of manipulating two magazines at the same time and the potential problems that can create. If everyone would practice something thousands of times defaulting to the simplest option probably wouldn't be as important, but since few will do that it seems better to go with the simpler technique and devote the limited practice time to other essential skills.

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  56. Thanks for the discussion on reloads. I teach the TR and the RR for our folks at the range. One telling observation for me was that officers that had previously been trained in only the TR or ER, picked up the RR very quickly. That's not to say there weren't some initial grumblings, but the RR proved to be more efficient (especially with rifles), and often faster.

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  57. That is what sold me on the RR. It is easy to pick up, it is plenty fast when needed and gives greater efficiency (reliability) than the TR.

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  58. Nice to read this article will be very helpful in the future, share more info with us. Good job!Josh

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  59. The following was sent to the site for moderation. I’ve left it pretty much intact but did need to do some extensive editing to make it more readable, as the original had a number of issues with punctuation.

    Unknown has left a new comment on your post "THE MYTH OF THE TACTICAL RELOAD":

    1. Waco Texas ATF Branch Davidian shootout.
    2. Miami FBI shootout 1986 with the bank robbers and armored car robbers.
    3. North Hollywood bank robbery shootout.
    4. San Francisco SLA Black Panther shootout.
    5. California Christopher Dorner shootout
    6. Waco Texas biker gang shootout
    7. Watertown shootout in Boston regarding the Boston Marathon bomber
    There's a couple dozen more of these just in the United States. So basically I'm calling b******* on you. You may be a trainer for 30 years but NTOA and ILETA FBI SWAT as well as HRT don't agree with you. Go figure the only people that agree with you here are the people who aren't good at it, don't want to train for it, in general don't want to train at all, don't like to do things they're not good at, so they love you they think you're a smart guy so I sincerely hope you enjoy your status. As for me I'll keep training as if my life depends on it because one day it might and since I carry a single stack with a total of 8 rounds in it I'll carry it back up mag. And if ever again I'm involved in another lethal Force encounter and I fire 5 bullets you can guarantee I'll be doing a tactical reload to make sure I have 8 bullets ready to go in my weapon and I'll have the other three bullets left in the first magazine just in case I need them. You should know that law enforcement agencies train their officers for survival, their number one job is to get back safe after their tour. I've got the same job. So I trained to their standards. And those standards are they train for the worst-case scenario not for the best. That's the same mentality that any CCW permit holder should have. The last thing I'm going to do is purposely eject a magazine with rounds onto the floor in a firefight. You fight like you train and that's a fact. By the way there's been officer fatalities where the officer runs out of bullets and their magazine they dropped previously during the fight still had rounds in it that's just a fact and you didn't bother to bring that little detail up and I'm sure you know about because you come off as an expert.

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    1. My Response:
      1. There are a number of shooting incidents posted by "Unknown", but nothing to indicate how they relate to the issue of a tactical reload. AFAIK the fact is that in NONE of those incidents would a tactical reload have made any difference.
      2. “NTOA and ILETA FBI SWAT as well as HRT don't agree with you.” As often happens, someone thinks that looking to the exception proves the rule. When one has the level of training that the FBI SWAT or HRT has then perhaps there is a case. However, the fact is that very few people (including “uUknown”, I would bet) have even a fraction of the training of these folks. A Thinking Gunfighter deals with reality and likelihood, not fantasy.
      3. “Go figure the only people that agree with you here….” Lots of claims about a number of people. Perhaps you would care to share with us how many of the readers here you actually know, and how much you have trained with them. Unless you can do that it would seem you are just working from imagination, not facts. Just FWIW, I do know some of them (as well as many others) who train quite a bit, are VERY good at the tactical reload and have come to the conclusion that it really doesn’t serve much of a purpose.
      4. “….you can guarantee I'll be doing a tactical reload to make sure I have 8 bullets ready to go in my weapon and I'll have the other three bullets left in the first magazine just in case I need them.” No disagreement with that idea, but I don’t see any logic or reasoning on your part as to why the tactical reload is needed to do that. That is the essence of actually thinking about these things. There are a number of ways to top off the gun and save the ammo in the used mag. The question to ask is which method gives the best chance of successfully doing that?
      5. “So I trained to their standards. And those standards are they train for the worst-case scenario not for the best.” A number of problems pop up with that. First, nobody trains to a worst-case scenario because pretty much by definition a worst-case scenario is completely unwinnable. Second, I don’t know who provides “their standards” as there are a number of well-known trainers and lots of LE agencies whose standards do not include tactical reloads.
      6. “The last thing I'm going to do is purposely eject a magazine with rounds onto the floor in a firefight.” Ummm, if you are actually in a firefight, why are you ejecting a magazine with rounds in it in the first place? You are supposed to be shooting, not juggling magazines. If you need to shoot, shoot. If you want to reload, reload. Don’t try to combine the two things at once, it doesn’t work well.
      7. “By the way there's been officer fatalities where the officer runs out of bullets and their magazine they dropped previously during the fight….” OK, I’m always open to new information. Perhaps you can give us an actual example or two instead of just making a wild claim like that. And of course that doesn’t address the actual issue of the tactical reload. Why would the tactical reload have made a difference as opposed to a reload with retention? That is the real question. Nobody claims that controlling your ammunition is not a good thing, the issue is how best to do that.
      8. “….you didn't bother to bring that little detail up….” Correct, I did not bring that little detail up because, in spite of decades of research and discussions with dozens of top trainers around the country, nobody has been able to provide a single non-military example of where saved rounds made a difference in the outcome of a fight.

      And so friends, once again we see why it is so important to be a Thinking Gunfighter. “Unknown” offers a lengthy post but not a single bit of reasoning to indicate why a tactical reload is a better choice than, say, a reload with retention. One can train to the “it never really happens anyplace except a range” standard or one can train to the “what really matters in an actual hostile encounter” standard. I know which I prefer…how about you?

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  60. Hi Dave. Thanks for the chuckle, it is always fun to watch you point out the problems with much of the dogma that has gotten into this business over the years. You probably don’t remember, but I had the pleasure of taking your shotgun course as ASLET one year. One of the best general tactics courses I’ve had and definitely the best fighting shotgun class! And I remember sitting around a table with you and some other trainers (Mas, Chuck, Marty and so on) that evening when you asked that question about anyone being able to give an example of the tac load making a difference. Anyway, I thought you might like some other articles I’ve read that question the need for the tactical reload. Keep up the good work!
    ‘The Myth Of The “Tactical Reload” (And Why It Could Get You Killed In A Real Gunfight)’ by JEFF ANDERSON
    http://moderncombatandsurvival.com/firearms-2/tactical-reload-myth/

    ‘Bullshit! (Or, the Myth of the Tactical Reload)’
    http://www.breachbangclear.com/bullshit-or-the-myth-of-the-tactical-reload/

    ‘Tactical Reload: Trick or Reality?’ By Michael Bane (Mike does say in another article later on that "….environmental considerations might mandate a less than optimum reloading technique” but even then it looks like the reload with retention might be better.)
    http://www.handgunsmag.com/tactics-training/tactics_training_treload_061604/

    ‘What's "tactical" about the tactical reload?’ By Ralph Mroz
    https://www.policeone.com/archive/articles/122347-Whats-tactical-about-the-tactical-reload/

    ‘The Tactical Reload: Worth learning or not?’ By Christopher Eger
    http://www.rugertalk.com/The-Tactical-Reload-Worth-learning-or-not-Ruger-Talk.html

    ‘Tactical Reloads’ by Todd Green
    http://rrmemphis.com/op017.html --OR--
    http://www.ccijax.com/action/index.php/main/index-single/tactical_reloads/

    ‘Tactical Reload vs. Reload With Retention’ by Chris Christian
    http://www.shootingillustrated.com/articles/2016/2/2/tactical-reload-vs-reload-with-retention/

    Keep up the good work!
    tedhunter45

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  61. Hi Dave:

    I enjoyed and agree with your comments on tactical reloads. May I have your permission to copy your article to my blog with of course proper attributrion?

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  62. Sure, George, and that is valid for anyone that would like to use any of this material. As long as it is credited I have no problem with others posting this stuff. Thanks!

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