Too many times we miss opportunities to train ourselves even during seemingly administrative tasks. Proper repetitions in any skill breeds smoothness, efficiency and eventually speed. Whenever possible, we should always create an opportunity to execute another repetition. The simple task of loading your Jericho® pistol is another chance to execute an important skill set: the empty gun reload.
Normally, a shooter will simply insert the magazine, rack the slide and crack the slide to the rear to see if a round cycled out of the magazine. It is a quick way to administratively load the pistol. It gets the job done, but in doing so, we miss a chance to accomplish two tasks at the same time. We can perform this operation differently and work a critical manipulation while loading the pistol. Next time you load, try the following method.
Whenever manipulating a weapon system, we need to remember that the muzzle should always be pointed in a safe direction; however, we also need to maintain mechanical advantage to make the task easier for the user. We try to manipulate the system in an area in front of our face and we rotate the weapon on its axis either palm up or palm down. Our head is erect while this happens so we can see the weapon and our environment at the same time. This area has several names, but for our application, we will call it the “workstation.”
The slide on the Jericho® is narrower than a traditional slide because it is recessed in the frame, so using this method may make it easier to manipulate. The safety should be off to allow the hammer to move to the cocked position. Making sure you’re pointing in a safe direction, lock the slide to the rear in your workstation. This is accomplished by rolling the weapon palm down. You must adjust your firing grip on the pistol to reach the slide stop. Press the slide stop up with your primary thumb while your support hand grasps the slide at the rear with your thumb and curled index finger (like pulling on a slingshot). Rip the slide to the rear while maintaining upward pressure on the slide stop. The slide stop will wedge itself upward into the slide, locking it to the rear. Engage the safety with your primary thumb. Your trigger finger will remain straight along the frame during the loading process while the primary hand has a firing grip on the weapon with the thumb resting on top of the safety.
This is where we build a neural pathway to perform a critical skill: a simulated empty gun reload. After the slide is locked to the rear, roll the gun in the palm up position. Simultaneously, reach for a fresh magazine from your primary magazine pouch on the support side. Your index finger should lie along the front of the magazine and down the front of the pouch. The rest of your hand should grasp the top of the magazine firmly. You should grab deep enough to feel the base plate in the palm of your hand so positive control is established. As the magazine is pulled from the pouch, the index finger will naturally lie along the front of the magazine.
While the pistol is rolled palm up, look at the magazine well briefly and insert the magazine. As soon as the magazine is seated, disengage the slide stop with your support side thumb and immediately re-establish your grip while pressing the pistol forward and locating the sights. Again, your finger is not on the trigger, but you have essentially replicated the same motion of a slide lock reload.
Another technique is to roll the weapon palm down after the magazine is inserted. The slide can be easily released using the “sling shot” method, then return your support hand to the weapon while locating the sights. Pulling the slide to the rear compresses the spring and provides a larger area to grab. It also aides a left-handed shooter who would have difficulty in reaching the slide stop. Both techniques allow an unobstructed view of the weapon and environment while the weapon is being worked on.
There are other methods in use, but these two have proven to be very effective.
After locating the sights, the weapon is brought back into the workstation for one more important step: ensuring the slide actually picked up a round. Roll the weapon palm down, cracking the action to the rear about half an inch to ensure there is a round in the chamber. Push the slide forward into battery after observing the chamber. Ensure the safety is engaged before holstering.
Don’t forget to replace the magazine from the primary pouch with another fully loaded magazine. Your Jericho® is now ready.
When unloading the weapon, all safety rules still apply. Point in a safe direction and remember to work the weapon in your workstation when possible. Remove the magazine, lock the slide to the rear and verify that the chamber, breach face and magazine well are clear. Then, and only then, can the slide be released. Here’s another opportunity to get a repetition. Instead of just pulling the trigger blindly to release the hammer, get a sight picture (while pointing in a safe direction) and press the trigger properly without disturbing the sights. There are always opportunities to improve yourself in the most mundane tasks. Take advantage whenever possible.