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Old 08-06-2018, 09:52 AM
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Default Hard to engage slide lock on Shield 9mm

I took a concealed carry tactics class yesterday that included how to reload - using empty mags and guns of course. We were all using our edc guns which in my case is a Shield 9mm. During an emergency reload I noticed that after the fresh magazine was inserted it took an excessive amount of pressure to get the slide lock to release the slide. Not wanting to slow the class down I resorted to the (slower) overhand method for the rest of the segment.

When I got home, before reloading the Shield I locked the slide back, inserted an empty magazine, and attempted to release the slide by pressing the slide lock. Again, it took what I consider an inordinate amount of pressure for it to disengage.

Have any of you noticed this with your Shields, and if so, what was your solution to reducing it? I will be going to the range this weekend and will examine it with a full magazine. It shouldn't make any difference (I don't think) but is worth a try.
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Last edited by Protected One; 08-07-2018 at 03:02 PM. Reason: Meant overhand, not slingshot
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:59 AM
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I used to shoot my Shield a lot and remember that releasing the slide lock was always nearly impossible for me.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:53 AM
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Not unusual. Manual says it is a lock not a release. Been discussed often on the forum. Mine has loosen up over the 4 years i have owned it. Before retiring I carried a Glock 23 .40 caliber. No problem at all using the lock as a release.

I assume yours will be easier as the pistol is broken in over time.
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:04 PM
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As noted, it is not a slide release, but only a lock as described in your manual. Simply grab back of locked back slide and pull close slide on fresh mag.
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:11 PM
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I have noted that on just about every semiauto I have ever owned -- assuming that the mag in the well is empty. Why? Because usually the catch is activated by the slide follower, and as long as the slide follower is holding it up, it ain't going nowhere without considerable force. If it does it with a full mag, I just very lightly stone the rear of the notch in the slide, but that is rarely called for.
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:30 PM
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For what it's worth, I've never been to a combat pistol class that advocated using the slide stop lever to charge the weapon. Ever . . .
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Old 08-06-2018, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
For what it's worth, I've never been to a combat pistol class that advocated using the slide stop lever to charge the weapon. Ever . . .
Have to agree with Muss and the others on it being a stop, not a release. All my Shields are that way....never even considered using the stop as as release.....Just saying......bye the way for what it's worth, if you mess with it to loosen it up it may get to a point it will not lock back on empty mag.....
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
For what it's worth, I've never been to a combat pistol class that advocated using the slide stop lever to charge the weapon. Ever . . .
A lot of instructors don't, but it's the quickest way to get the gun back into the fight with a two-handed grip on the gun, which provides the most stable firing platform.

By comparison, the over-hand/slingshot methods delay the weak hand returning to the grip.
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Old 08-06-2018, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
A lot of instructors don't, but it's the quickest way to get the gun back into the fight with a two-handed grip on the gun, which provides the most stable firing platform.

By comparison, the slingshot method delays the weak hand returning to the grip.
Totally disagree. If you're changing a magazine, you don't have a two handed grip on the gun, and if I'm out of rounds and still fighting, I need to get back in the fight, not stabilize my grip. You'll be much quicker with the below depicted maneuver than struggling to release a slide with your thumb (or index finger if your a lefty) while moving your support hand around. That's just a stock picture I found, and I like to be a little higher and a little more out front, but you get the idea. I'll race ya' . . .
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2018, 03:05 PM
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First of all, you will not go wrong by following factory instructions or the many voices recommending the overhand method. Do not use the sling shot method, which is pinching the rear of the slide between thumb and forefinger, like a slingshot. There are advantages to the overhand release, not the least of which is that it works for almost any locked slide on any auto you pick up.

However, no method of closing a locked slide is 100% guaranteed to work every time. Expect and train for a slide that won’t close properly.

There has been A LOT of discussion on this matter here and across other forums. It is searchable. Suffice it to say it is equivalent to the AR vs. AK or 9mm vs. .45 and other such debates. There are many strong opinions. What you choose to do in operating your pistol needs to work for you and make you feel comfortable. However, if your actions are so customized that they won’t work on hardly any other pistols, then you’d better have a trained and automatic plan B that will work.

All my semi-auto pistols have the slide stop friction adjusted so a hard insertion of the loaded mag on a locked slide will jar the slide stop and send the slide forward. This is autoforwarding. There is no argument that it is the fastest way to get the gun back in action. It has worked for me at probably a 99.99% level. My goofs have been at home dry training. It is also useful for one hand manipulations. I train with finger release as a backup method. And overhand as my last resort. I am comfortable using any of these methods on my guns. Simply thumbing a slide stop on someone else’s locked slide with no mag will tell me if I need to use only the OH method.

The adjusted slide stop can also be used as a release with any finger or possibly some other object, like a belt buckle, in a one-handed emergency.

The overhand or slingshot methods also still work.

The slide does not fail to lock back, but if it did, OH is default, like a malfunction. A simple readjustment of the slide stop friction would fix it in just a few minutes with some heavy grit sand paper. I have not had this happen ever with thousands of rounds in more than a dozen pistols.

I teach the overhand method first. I later show the autoforward method—with the same gun—and when the shooter is competent with reloads, I will help adjust the slide stop to release more easily if they want. They always do.

Having options and being knowledgeable about their use is not a bad thing.

Check this thread:
M&P 2.0 slide RELEASE
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2018, 03:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
Totally disagree. If you're changing a magazine, you don't have a two handed grip on the gun, and if I'm out of rounds and still fighting, I need to get back in the fight, not stabilize my grip. You'll be much quicker with the below depicted maneuver than struggling to release a slide with your thumb (or index finger if your a lefty) while moving your support hand around. That's just a stock picture I found, and I like to be a little higher and a little more out front, but you get the idea. I'll race ya' . . .
I think you missed the point. Once the fresh mag is inserted the weak hand can go to the pistol simultaneously to the slide being released by the other. In your scenario the support hand must first rack the slide before returning to the gun. As fast as a person can perform 3 functions...they can perform 2 even faster. The shot timer has already proven this to be true.
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:23 PM
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Some schools do teach the thumb release but use your weak hand thumb.

Of course, it depends on the gun and shooter. I prefer overhand. However, I do need to be a bit more careful doing this on my Beretta M9A1. Plenty of folks unintentionally flip it to SAFE. Perhaps this is the case with other slide mounted safeties too. I addressed this by converting to a "G" model (decock only).
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Old 08-06-2018, 03:42 PM
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The Shield's Slide Lock has always been very difficult to use as a Release, due to the Very Strong RSA, but as Pisgah noted, with an Empty mag, One is dealing with overcoming the Very Stiff mag spring that's pushing up on the Mag Follower as well as the RSA tension.

My Shield is 6yrs old now and while I CAN use the Lock as a Release with a loaded mag, I can NOT do it with an Empty mag (I just tried).

Also, with my Shield, I do not use the thumb of my shooting hand to release the Lock (my thumb is not long enough to work the lock tab without shifting my grip, which I won't do)... I use the thumb of my Support hand, once my Support hand is back on the grip.

Last edited by RobzGuns; 08-06-2018 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:06 PM
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Also, with my Shield, I do not use the thumb of my shooting hand to release the Lock (my thumb is not long enough to work the lock tab without shifting my grip, which I won't do)... I use the thumb of my Support hand, once my Support hand is back on the grip.
Not shifting one’s grip is generally desirable.

However, my shooting grip right handed on my Shields has my thumb about 1” above the mag release and just touching the bottom of the slide lock. It takes movement and grip shifting to use my right thumb to release the mag, so I have already “lost” my grip. While reacquiring that grip, operating the slide lock as a release is not difficult, and reacquiring my full firing grip requires only minor movement.

In addition, my right thumb blocks access to the slide lock for my support hand to get to the slide lock unless I drop my thumb back down to the mag release—again losing my ideal grip.

Right handed manipulation of both the mag release and the slide stop is an advantage also for one handed shooting.

Gun manufacturers purposefully position their slide locks to be within reach of a right handed shooter’s right thumb. Why, if the only way to release the slide lock is using the overhand method? Of course, it could be argued that it is so the stop can be pushed up with the thumb, and that’s the only reason.
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Old 08-06-2018, 04:59 PM
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I didn’t miss it at all . . .

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Originally Posted by Protected One View Post
I think you missed the point. Once the fresh mag is inserted the weak hand can go to the pistol simultaneously to the slide being released by the other. In your scenario the support hand must first rack the slide before returning to the gun. As fast as a person can perform 3 functions...they can perform 2 even faster. The shot timer has already proven this to be true.
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Old 08-06-2018, 05:29 PM
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As has been well documented in this thread, if you carry a Shield you probably chamber rounds by slingshot or overhand release.

That's not tactics, that's the physics of the gun.

Also; getting the job done in 9 rounds or less is a better tactic than faster reloading.

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Old 08-06-2018, 07:42 PM
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Quote:
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,,,with my Shield, I do not use the thumb of my shooting hand to release the Lock (my thumb is not long enough to work the lock tab without shifting my grip, which I won't do)... I use the thumb of my Support hand, once my Support hand is back on the grip.
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Not shifting one’s grip is generally desirable.

However, my shooting grip right handed on my Shields has my thumb about 1” above the mag release and just touching the bottom of the slide lock. It takes movement and grip shifting to use my right thumb to release the mag, so I have already “lost” my grip. While reacquiring that grip, operating the slide lock as a release is not difficult, and reacquiring my full firing grip requires only minor movement.
Well... I also use my Support hand thumb to trip the Mag Release... For the same reason... I can't trip it right handed without shifting my grip.
So... the full maneuver is:
Trip the mag release with my support thumb,
Grab the mag (with support hand) as it drops,
Swap mags and insert fresh mag,
Trip Slide Lock with my Support Hand's Thumb.

While I do shoot 1-handed, I still do the mag swaps as written above. Of course, if my support hand/arm is out of commission, all that is out the window, but then...

Like anything, it gets smoother with repetition.
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Old 08-06-2018, 07:44 PM
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I think the operative word is "strength" when it comes to my Shield.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:05 PM
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I have the 9 and the 40 shield, both require the over hand release, slide lock doesn't work on either. Not so with other handguns, I have several that work fine with the slide lock, not the shields though.
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Old 08-06-2018, 08:07 PM
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It's how I was taught as well. Never been to a school that taught otherwise. To me, this is how it's done.

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Old 08-06-2018, 10:38 PM
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It's a little hard to be sure from the picture, but is that gun pointed at the target or the shooter to your left?
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:00 AM
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It's a little hard to be sure from the picture, but is that gun pointed at the target or the shooter to your left?
Usually, when someone uses that Criss-Cross technique, the shooter is turned so that the muzzle is pointed down range.

(If the shooter were not standing sideways pointing the muzzle down range, that would put the person taking the picture down range from the shooter. Not a safe place to be)
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobzGuns View Post
The Shield's Slide Lock has always been very difficult to use as a Release, due to the Very Strong RSA, but as Pisgah noted, with an Empty mag, One is dealing with overcoming the Very Stiff mag spring that's pushing up on the Mag Follower as well as the RSA tension.
Finally was able to get through to S&W Customer service who co-signed the comment above about trying to use the slide lock with an empty mag. With a loaded mag it's will work, as I confirmed with my gun already. He did say that using some 800 grit sandpaper on the slide I could reduce the pressure required to get a release but that over time, with use it will lessen some anyway.

He said that S&W calls it a slide lock in the manual NOT because that's the only function it can or should be used for, but because it (like the slide) was designed for minimum width, and doesn't extend out far enough for most to use it as a release. So they called it a "lock", but he emphasized that there is no reason or danger in using it for both!

He also said that 1911's have larger levers and some manufacturers call them releases.
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Old 08-07-2018, 01:36 PM
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I don't claim to be an expert. I'll leave that to others. The following is based on my experience, right or wrong:

I vote for the overhand method. It works reliably! IMHO and experience the slide lock/release method is a good way to get a miss feed or a failure to go completely into battery. I recall some on my Dept, using Glocks, pushing the "auto release" method for awhile. I believe that fell out of favor as it was really hard on the mags.

I also have found the actual slingshot method to be reliable also IF the shooter can reliably jerk the slide back so that it is yanked from between the thumb and finger as opposed to being actually released. Releasing it as opposed to having it yanked from the fingers can result in an anemic release similar to that achieved by using the slide lock as a release, resulting in a higher probability of a miss feed or a failure to go completely into battery, especially if the gun isn't super clean and lubricated. An extended range session will result in the shooter returning to the overhand method as he/she wears off the skin from between the fingers.
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Old 08-07-2018, 06:36 PM
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A lot of it is based on what the gun designers wanted to achieve. Glock can go either way. Kahr says you should use the release and not slingshot it. More energy from the release to chamber the round correctly. Smith and Wesson is opposite. Use the slingshot not the slide lock. You can file it down and make it easier. But, at that point it's a normal wear and tear part. Be prepared to replace if you shoot a lot. Know your audience and deliver what prevents phone calls.
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Old 08-07-2018, 08:23 PM
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Kahr says you should use the release and not slingshot it. More energy from the release to chamber the round correctly.
Physics tells us that statement is completely incorrect (edit: IF the overhand release is done properly . . . )
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Old 08-08-2018, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
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Before retiring I carried a Glock 23 .40 caliber. No problem at all using the lock as a release.
I took 2 guns to the class. The second was a glock 23 which I used for the second half of class. You're right...no problem at all.
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Old 08-30-2018, 10:27 AM
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I have two shield 9mm Gen 1. One gun I can use the slide lock to release the slide on a fresh magazine with no issues. Other gun the Hulk couldn't release it using a thumb, so that is slingshot or overhand only. Not ideal to have two identical carry guns that do not function the same way.
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Old 08-30-2018, 12:29 PM
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Using the slide lock as a slide release works but for Gen1 fullsize guns, this is what happens after about 1,000 "releases"



This is actually the second time the lever broke. After the first replacement, I only used the overhand or slingshot method of releasing the slide.The second Gen1 FS slide lock broke around the 50,000 round count so I'm guessing the lever will last about 4 times as long when not using it as a slide release.

I've always used it from day one with my Shield. It will take a long time for me to break one on a Shield simply because I don't shoot anywhere near as often with it as I do with my M&P 40 FS. Newer generation FS slide locks have a more beefier lever and may last even longer but I would much rather use the 2 handed method of releasing the slide.
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Old 08-30-2018, 01:02 PM
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I found this on my .45 Shield and I believe that it is common to most or all of them. The issue is the angle machined into the slide lock surface that engages the frame. It is cut at an angle that causes you to be fighting the recoil spring when you try to use the slide lock as a release. In other words, to force the lock down, you are also forcing the slide further back. I took the approach of re-surfacing it to get more of a vertical surface, just to the point that the lock will work as a release, and no more. I would not do anything to the frame, just the lock. So if you mess it up somehow, you merely have to buy an new slide lock and not a new frame.

Last edited by andyo5; 08-30-2018 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:07 PM
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Not the frame.

You are adjusting either the slide lock lever or the slide lock notch on the slide.

Proper terminology when giving advice is important.
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Old 08-30-2018, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
Using the slide lock as a slide release works but for Gen1 fullsize guns, this is what happens after about 1,000 "releases"



This is actually the second time the lever broke. After the first replacement, I only used the overhand or slingshot method of releasing the slide.The second Gen1 FS slide lock broke around the 50,000 round count so I'm guessing the lever will last about 4 times as long when not using it as a slide release.

I've always used it from day one with my Shield. It will take a long time for me to break one on a Shield simply because I don't shoot anywhere near as often with it as I do with my M&P 40 FS. Newer generation FS slide locks have a more beefier lever and may last even longer but I would much rather use the 2 handed method of releasing the slide.
50,000 is a lot more than 10x 1,000. Your observation and experience make sense.
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