Semi-Auto Slide Assist
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Thread: Semi-Auto Slide Assist

  1. #1
    Junior Member IVOFanatic's Avatar
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    Semi-Auto Slide Assist

    Hi folks, I am new to this site but it looks like the place to find some answers! I have a lady who recently had heart surgery and lost much of the strength in her upper body and her doc says it could be a year before this comes back fully. She conceal carries a S&W M&P Shield 9mm but now struggles to rack the slide. She has made it clear that she does not want to carry hot with a round loaded so I am trying to find a way for her to be able to easily rack a semi-auto slide. What would be the best way to accomplish this? Thanks in advance! -C

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    Member Kennydale's Avatar
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    Tell her to tryout a .38 Revolver.
    If she cant rack a slide most of the time... She will certianily not under pressure of being possibly attacked, in which case she might get shot with her own firearm. A good S&W or Ruger is a better solution.
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  3. #3
    Junior Member IVOFanatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kennydale View Post
    Tell her to tryout a .38 Revolver.
    If she cant rack a slide most of the time... She will certianily not under pressure of being possibly attacked, in which case she might get shot with her own firearm. A good S&W or Ruger is a better solution.
    I have suggested a revolver as well, however she wanted to look into every option before settling on the switch. I can understand preferring a Semi as my primary but I agree it would be easier on her to have a revolver in the mean time. Could there be another way?

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    Member AZdave's Avatar
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    https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/han...i-auto-slides/
    Was suggested in another thread here for someone with arthritis.
    Handi racker, I bought a couple. They come in different sizes.
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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Go with the revolver idea.
    Carrying with an empty chamber is a recipe for disaster, and will result in a crook being in possession of her gun.

    Make sure that she buys a couple of speed-loaders appropriate to her new revolver.
    And make sure that she practices with it, too.
    Hoping to effectively use a revolver without having practiced with it (including shooting it) is just as bad as carrying a semi-auto with an empty chamber.

    She will also have a recoil-control problem, regardless of which gun she chooses. Recoil control requires upper-body strength.
    I suggest that her best revolver choice might be a .32 Magnum. It is a fair compromise between recoil and fight-stopping power.
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    Junior Member IVOFanatic's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I'll show her the Handi-Racker Idea although it won't help for carrying but could help her at the range. but she may have to go with a revolver. Much appreciated!

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    Senior Member Cait43's Avatar
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    Have her try the "slingshot" method of racking......
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqxYOjap86E
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    I agree with the revolver recommendation. I don't see how she (OR ANYONE ELSE) will be able to rack a slide while under the stress of a personal defense situation. If someone is not comfortable with carrying with one in the pipe, they really should not be carrying, IMHO!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoMan View Post
    I agree with the revolver recommendation. I don't see how she (OR ANYONE ELSE) will be able to rack a slide while under the stress of a personal defense situation. If someone is not comfortable with carrying with one in the pipe, they really should not be carrying, IMHO!!
    Especially with the number of different DA semi autos available. You can load one in the pipe and decok the hammer then all that is necessary is to draw and pull the trigger, just like a revolver. I carry either a S+W Bodyguard (internal hammer fired DA only) with one in the pipe, or a S+W 469 with one in the pipe and decocked. Either one works just like a revolver, pull the trigger for the first and subsequent shots, no racking necessary.
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    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RK3369 View Post
    ...just like a revolver, pull the trigger for the first and subsequent shots, no racking necessary.
    Um, yeah, but...
    What if she has to do a reload, after shooting her gun dry?
    What then?

    Short-barrel revolvers are hard to use effectively and well, so I suggest that a barrel length of at least three inches is necessary...and four would be better.
    But a revolver reload is easy. A little slow, perhaps, but easy to do. And no slide rack is necessary.

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    Yes, that could be a problem. The Bodyguard only holds 7 rounds with one in the pipe, whereas the 469 holds 16 with one in the pipe. That's 2 and a half times what a normal revolver holds. I'd still go for the 16 round semi over a revolver.

  13. #12
    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    As others have suggested, have her go with a revolver.

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    Member Craigh's Avatar
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    I would also probably recommend a revolver which is large enough to be easy to control. No matter what the process is with a semi auto pistol, moving that slide and possibly the slide stop, as well, is going to have to be performed. This is true even if so just to get it loaded. Some of these older women (and men) just do not have the strength, otherwise.

    A month or so ago, I saw this poor lady, 55-65 I'd guess, at the range with something about the size of a Shield, but couldn't tell what it was. I didn't want to interfere as the range officer had already intervened. She couldn't rack or even pull the slide enough to get it to chamber a round. She used the edge of the firing line dividers to push the slide in a somewhat dangerous looking way. She then used a screwdriver to lever the slide stop enough to close it. Her whole process was scary looking. It was a rental range and the officer provided her with a 38 Special revolver at no charge and worked with her for about 30 minutes to her delight. I hope she traded that other pistol in, but I'd left so don't know.

    If your lady friend insists on a semi auto pistol, I'd take her to a large gun store or rental range and have her rack various slides to see if one is the easiest for her. I find my S&W M&P 9mm Shield isn't too bad after breaking it in, but here's the trick with any of them, I think. Many new guns are much easier after breaking them in and a very small amount of inexpensive gunsmith work.

    First of all, have her really clean the new gun, getting rid of all the factory grit and grime. I like G96 Nitro solvent for this work with a hard bristle tooth brush or copper brush. Pay special attention to the rails both on the slide and the frame. I'd scrub the barrel and recoil spring including the guide rod. Use a soft cloth to completely clean up the solvent and then rinse and repeat with the cloth only using a little more solvent. I'd dry brush all the moving parts I could see involving the trigger. I'd apply light oil to the trigger and anything else per the manual. I'd then apply some light grease (I use RIG) to the rails, both on the frame and slide. I'd also apply a thin coating on the barrel and locking block.

    Once clean and greased, have her get an oven mitt or pad. Remove the magazine and make sure the gun has an empty chamber, then use that oven glove or pad to rack the slide over and over. You or she is going to move it back and forth to work it in really well. She may want to do this every day for a period of time. Add a little bit of grease once more, if needed. I believe this truly accelerates the break in period.

    If you want to do more, you can hand polish the rails with a cloth and a compound called Flitz or red jeweler's rouge. I use both, but really like that Flitz. By hand polishing with either of those two products, you won't be removing metal, just polishing to a bright surface like glass. While you're at it, polish the feed ramp too. Add the grease, put it all back together and she should be able to notice an easier to rack slide.

    Beyond all this, I'd hire a competent gunsmith, but I think she'd be happy. Hopefully, this will make it easier for her to put maybe a couple hundred rounds through it to break it in, additionally. You helping will add to the fun and make it easier for her to get a good start.

    Take care,

    Craig

  15. #14
    Senior Member paratrooper's Avatar
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    My wife is an extremely good shot. She qualified for her CCW with a S&W model 60 snubby.

    As many times as I have tried to get her interested in a semi-auto, she shuts me down. Too many levers, buttons, switches, etc. And, if she has a misfire, she has to stop and think about what needs to be done. That, and the fact, that she hates to load magazines. Too hard on her fingers.

    I think the last straw was when she was shooting one, and the slide came back and bit her good.

    She likes my S&W 642 a lot! So much so, that is her bedroom gun. It's about as simple operating as you can get.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IVOFanatic View Post
    Hi folks, I am new to this site but it looks like the place to find some answers! I have a lady who recently had heart surgery and lost much of the strength in her upper body and her doc says it could be a year before this comes back fully. She conceal carries a S&W M&P Shield 9mm but now struggles to rack the slide. She has made it clear that she does not want to carry hot with a round loaded so I am trying to find a way for her to be able to easily rack a semi-auto slide. What would be the best way to accomplish this? Thanks in advance! -C
    The right answer - as you have already been told, is for her to shift over to carrying a REVOLVER!

    A REVOLVER is "always ready"....it has anywhere from 5-8 shots READY to be pumped out by actuation of the trigger! FEW people engaged in a SD situation will EVER reload...what you brought is what you got! The revolver eliminates the question of "readiness" and is ready to go the instant the cylinder is snapped in place.

    Generally speaking, exceptions not withstanding, MOST of the time, when anyone produces ANY firearm of ANY type, the bad guy breaks off, and if he does not, 5 shots of .38 special to the face are a mighty powerful persuader. If you don't think the .38 Spl has the suds, then go with an extremely reasonably priced CA "Pug" .357 Magnum...which DOES have the suds even from a 2.2" barrel! IF you don't like that, consider the various 8-9 shot .22LR revolvers on the market. The S&W M43C carries 8 rounds of potent .22 LR...pump eight of those into anyone's face and they likely won't continue to press the attack.

    The wholesale craze to carry semiautomatic pistols has overwhelmed the REALITY that few people need a semiauto for personal defense.

  17. #16
    Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Illyia View Post
    The right answer - as you have already been told, is for her to shift over to carrying a REVOLVER!...
    There is no single "right answer" for everybody.


    Quote Originally Posted by Illyia View Post
    ...The wholesale craze to carry semiautomatic pistols has overwhelmed the REALITY that few people need a semiauto for personal defense.
    My wife is too small and too thin to comfortably conceal a potent revolver.
    The way I dress, a thin semi-auto is easier to conceal on my old body than any revolver would be.
    In both of our cases, if we carry a reload, a thin semi-auto magazine is easier to conceal, easier to access, and quicker to use than is any speedloader.

    It is a foolish idea, to try to make universal rules for everyone.
    There is no one size which fits everybody: "One size fits all" really means that it fits nobody properly.

  18. #17
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    There are all kinds of charging or mechanisms to help in the racking process, I think there is one specifically for the M&P .
    TacRack for S&W - M&P Pro Slide Assist - Racking Made Easier | eBay
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  19. #18
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    Having had heart surgery myself a year ago I know I know it will be months before she is allowed to go past a 10 lbs weight limit in order to protect the healing breast bone. It will be a few months past that before she will have the strength to rack a slide. A revolver is going to be her only choice for a while.

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