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Author Topic: Reloading on a partially empty mag.  (Read 4514 times)

sohmdaddy

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Reloading on a partially empty mag.
« on: February 13, 2012, 06:50:54 pm »
Recently, I came across two videos about tactical reloads.
You've got this guy, who retains the mag.


and Jim Higginbotham, who just drops it.


I'm wondering as to the reasoning behind the two methods.

I have a theory that it has to do with capacity. The 1911 only carries about 8 rounds, so if you crank off five rounds real fast, you only got three rounds left in the mag, so it makes sense to quickly get the gun back up to full capacity. On a Beretta or a Sig, where you have 13-15 rounds in the mag, after five shots (or two in the above video) you've still got like 8-10 rounds in the magazine, and why would you want to throw away all those shots? Seems like the advantage of a "high capacity" magazine is that it holds lots of bullets, and you negate that advantage by dumping the mag after 5 or 6 shots.

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    Avenger29

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 06:58:53 pm »
    For a civilian CCWer or HD situation...drop the ejected mag and pick it up off the deck later once the situation really is over. You need that gun back up to full capacity ASAP in case another threat shows itself more than you need a few rounds in a partially empty mag (this is what I do not like about IPDA, they and other shooting sports want you to retain that partially empty mag. They shouldn't penalize you for dropping that mag with rounds and reloading with fresh)



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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 07:13:14 pm »
    Agreed. Look how long it takes the first guy to go from loaded and ready back to loaded and ready. He spends 6 seconds with one hand on the gun and fidgeting with magazines. It also surprises me that he got the fresh one seated like that.

    The second guy spends about 3 seconds with a hand off the gun, and his reload is super clean.

    Also, with a higher capacity gun (15 rounds was the example), ripping off 5 shots doesn't warrant a reload. You still have 10 rounds left. If another threat comes out and you need to shoot a few more, then maybe reload.

    Also, don't forget to train for empty reloads, either from slide-lock or from click. Whether you reload and slingshot or reload and slide-release, spend some time practicing that. I know we all have plans, but adrenaline is a delete key for a plan. Even in competition, I can walk a stage 10 times and plan my reloads, and I'll still run the gun empty sometimes. If I'm fighting for my life, I don't want to drop any live rounds if I can avoid it. Then, later, I get to reload a partial mag with who-knows-how-many rounds in it.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 09:16:31 pm »
    TEOTWAWKI?  I'm retaining magazines.  Replacements may be hard to come by.

    Until then, with replacement mags readily attainable?  I'm running to slidelock, then dropping the mag.  On the rare occasions I do carry a shell shucker that means I have 7+1 +7 +7 on me.  If that didn't do it, I'm hosed anyway.
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    sohmdaddy

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 10:29:32 pm »
    Maybe they shouldn't train to change the magazine after two shots? If you only fire a couple of rounds, maybe you should be thinking more about assessing the situation than getting a new magazine out. But if you've fired a whole bunch, and maybe don't really know how many shots you fired, it's better to pop a new mag in. I guess it depends on the situation.


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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 11:53:45 pm »
    I'd be going with the 2nd version.  Makes more sense, especially if speed is a concern.
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #6 on: February 14, 2012, 12:27:15 am »
    With limited funds, and a limited number of mags, they are NOT hitting the ground.  I've had a few mags hit the ground, and that was the last time I was able to use them.  I train to reload, with that in mind.  Having largish hands helps, I can hold three mags in my left hand, between my fingers.  Four if you count between thumb and forefinger.

    As for topping off, after a few rounds, even under calm 'range conditions,' I have had times where I forgot to count how many I put down range.  Adrenaline does that to you.  I've had it happen on quals, basically it was, "O crap, did I use x on that target?  I was only supposed to use y, and I need z for the next.  How many are left in the mag?"  So, tactical reload.
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #7 on: February 14, 2012, 04:04:23 am »
    I pretty much train tactical reloads to replace a magazine with some rounds shot out or I reload at slidelock.  I don't like dropping partially loaded magazines because there is a good chance you'll jumble the rounds when it hits the ground.  I seen it happen multiple times with Glock mags. 

    Both tactics assume a lull in the action otherwise you're shooting to slidelock.  If you can you've moved to cover for the reload. 

    My tactical reload is gun out at contact ready until I have the magazine in my hand.  As I'm bringing the magazine up I swing my arm upward/inward until it's in front of my face so I can see it but I can also look through it and see the threat.  I also rotate my wrist slightly so I can see the bottom of the magazine in the gun. Exchange magazines.  As I'm returning the pistol to contact ready I'm stuffing the used magazine behind my duty belt. The support hand goes back on the pistol. 

    Anyways that's what I like. YMMV

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #8 on: February 14, 2012, 08:34:25 pm »
    I have trained with both methods. I have heard good arguments for both methods. I think both methods have their time and place, so practice both.

    The drop the mag argument goes along the lines of you life is much more precious than those mags, who cares if they break or get lost you can always buy new ones later. The most important thing is to get back in the fight as quickly as possible.

    The retain the mag argument usually goes along the lines of you may very well need those spare rounds after you run out of fresh mags, they do you no good sitting on the pavement where you can’t use them and have probably lost them as you have been moving.

    I generally prefer to hold onto my mags unless the slide has locked back on my M1911A1. This is especially true if we are talking about most rifle mags. I figure if I am using my rifle it is far more likely that the crap has literally hit the fan big time, than if I am using just my pistol. If I am using my pistol it is more likely that I am at work or concealed carrying and a random victim of a crime than it is that the world has turned upside down. In the case of the SHTF it isn’t likely you will be able to get more mags any time soon. If you were only in as justified shooting in self defence you just buy new mags when it is all over or pick them up after the fight.

    My personal theory goes along these lines, mags don't grow on trees, especially if the crap has hit the fan and who knows if you will ever be able to get a new supply. Depending on what type of mags, we are talking about I don't want to risk breaking them by dropping them. This goes double for training where you life doesn’t depend on getting back into action ASAP. Now granted you tend to fight like you train but, my budget isn’t unlimited and, I have no supply chain to replenish me afterwards. 

    Lets take for example L1A1 mags. Those aren't cheap, they are hard to find and, worse than that they aren't being made anymore as far as I know. I do not like dropping those in the dirt where they may break from the fall, or I might step on them and break them. Especially if I am just out training.  If the crap hits the fan and I am dropping my mags how long before I have no working mags? Or worse what if I damaged all of them training. Yeah I hoard those mags for those very reason but, if I break them all or lose them where does that leave me? Ok granted I have other guns and I would have to break a lot of stuff but, my point is you could end up in a really bad situation without mags, belt or, clips. It makes no sense to me to break them especially if you are just out training. It isn’t that hard to get a mag dump pouch and use it especially while training. Also L1A1 mags don’t drop free when you are reloading, you have to hit the mag release lever with your spare hand and, with that action it isn’t all that much more time consuming to hold onto the mag while you do that and drop it in the mag dump pouch, before fishing out the fresh mag to insert into the now empty mag well.

    Further more if you have a lull in the battle and you have a chance to top off before you have to get back in the fight it makes sense to me to hold onto those mags that may not be empty yet. You may very well run out of fresh mags and, having no ammo would be a really bad place to be. If we are talking about the L1A1 here, I would be carrying six spare mags that isn’t a whole lot of mags or ammo at 20 rounds a piece. If you are dumping those mags and losing them you are just about out of ammo after reloading just six times. With only 20 rounds per mag I would want to reload about every time I thought it was safe to, not to mention when you are empty.

    If we are talking the 1911 with a 7+1 capacity things get even more critical here. Especially when you figure at work I usually carry only four spare mags. When I am not working I usually only carry two spare mags. I think it is worth the extra couple of seconds it takes to hold onto the mag and put it in your dump pouch or pocket so you don’t lose the ammo. You never know, you could get in a protracted fight and, need those partially empty mags later.

    Now when the bullets are flying and it is a two way range I may very well rethink this and, may just dump those mags on the ground in a hurry but, I sure don't want to break, lose and, run out of mags just from training before the fight even begins.

    I would be more likely to dump those mags on the ground though if I have shot my gun dry. I think this is the case where the hurry up and reload argument gets it right. I figure if you have shot your gun dry obviously you are in a heap of trouble. Obviously you need to get back in the fight as quick as you can if you have been shooting so much your gun is empty, as opposed to if you had time to find cover and reload before you had to return fire again. I will practice dumping empty pistol mags on the ground while I reload from slide lock other wise I try to hold onto them.

    With my M1911A1 my theory differs a bit then with my L1A1 for a couple of reasons. The first is that with the 1911 it is obvious when the slide locks back you are more than likely empty. The bolt does not lock back to the rear on my L1A1 to announce to me that it is out. With the slide locked back you figure you are empty so if you drop the mag you are just losing a spare mag as opposed to a spare mag and some ammo that your life may depend on if you run out of fresh magazines. 1911 mags are also cheap compared to L1A1 mags, and readily available. Also it is more likely that I would be using my pistol for regular self defence than say using my L1A1 because the crap hit the fan. I view 1911 mags as much more expendable especially for training than L1A1 mags. Also if we are talking about using the 1911 or any other pistol for that matter, chances are that the threat is really close meaning time is even less of a luxury when it comes to reloading. In addition because the mag drops free with the magazine release button, you can reload much faster by dropping the empty mag while reaching for a spare at the same time with your other hand. With the L1A1 though you are reaching for the mag with your spare hand just to get the old one out before putting the new one in. Also once you get the spare 1911 mag in you just hit the slide release and you are back in business. With the L1A1 after you get the fresh mag in you still have to reach up with your spare hand and yank the charging handle back. In the case of the 1911 I see a much bigger time advantage to reloading by dropping an empty mag than I do with the L1A1. In the case of getting in a fight with just my 1911 I wouldn’t normally be carrying a mag dump pouch either to put the empties in as well. So it makes some sense to me to just dump the obviously empty mag and not worry about it. In the case of reloading if I get the chance before my pistol runs dry I practice putting the partially empty mag in my left front pocket. I can do that fairly quickly.

    Any way that is about how I look at the two methods at least as they apply to my L1A1 and my 1911. I suppose I would view it differently for other guns like say the M1 Garand. I am not going to go around looking for clips that go ping and fall on the ground who knows were in the middle of a fight. I will worry about getting a new clip in and not smashing my thumb in my haste to reload.
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #9 on: February 15, 2012, 11:33:44 pm »
    I train to drop mags. In competition, sometimes they're half full. I avoid slide lock in competition.

    When training with my carry gun, I go until click, because my carry gun doesn't lock back. I can ride a slide stop on a Glock and a 1911, so the Sig on my belt has no hope. It's click, reload, slingshot.

    In either case, dropped mags aren't retained.
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #10 on: February 23, 2012, 01:16:08 pm »
    I retain, but I try to do it properly. Keep the amount of time the magazine is out of the gun to a minimum, and remember that you can respond one-handed to an immediate threat while you drop the partially-full mag you were trying to stow. It may take you several seconds to put away/pocket/dropbag your old magazine, but you're back in business as soon as the fresh mag is seated, which is ALMOST as fast as a speed reload (not quite, but if you practice it should be pretty fast). Remember that on a speed reload, the clock starts as soon as the slide locks back, includes the time it takes you to diagnose the problem, retrieve the magazine, insert the magazine, and drop the slide. On a tac reload, the time you're out of operation is only from the moment the old mag is released until the new mag is seated. Before and after that, no matter what prep work you may be doing, you can still shoot

    Also, do your reloads-with-retention from cover or distance, or under circumstances where a new threat is unlikely to arise.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #11 on: February 23, 2012, 02:05:30 pm »
           My approach varies greatly:

      true SHTF/TEOTWAKI, I'm retaining every mag.  No resupply, every one goes in a dump pouch.   

      Training:  Ditto, no need to chew up magazines.

      IDPA: Since everyone else is going for speed  ::)   Stuff get's dropped then.  AK and Sig 226 mags are tough, and available should one go kaboing.

       Handgun/self-defence,etc: All depends on the situation.  Slide lock, I rip the magazine out and toss it.   If I am reloading on a partial, there's a lull and I likely have time to retain the magazine.       

     In my opinion, in almost any "real life" instance, we're either going to be in the middle of shooting and go to a slide-lock/click, or there's a lull and we top off.     If there is a lull, and you're changing out a partial magazine, there is NO reason to drop/toss it. 
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #12 on: February 23, 2012, 08:25:42 pm »
    I didn't read the other posts so if the others already covered this...sorry.

    I think you have two different situations in these videos. What I mean by that is a little complicated. A tac reload like the first is one where you should be either behind cover/concealment, bad guy 1 is down, and you need to be sure you have a full mag on deck. That's simply because you don't know if there is a bad guy 2, 3, or 4. But one way or another you have time and it is appropriate to take the extra time to retain the mag.

    Video 2 shows what should be, bad guy 1 is down, I want a full mag but don't know what my situation is, I may not have any time to spare, and I have no cover. So you would basically do a normal reload as if the slide was locked back. When you know you are clear you have a chance to pick up the dropped mag.

    Such is the Gundoctor's take on this.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #13 on: February 23, 2012, 08:56:10 pm »
    I think it's situational and it probably is a good idea to practice both methods. If you ever get a chance, watch the pilot of the new iteration of Hawaii 5-0. The Navy seal character works his way through a ship, taking out bad guys along the way. He has a 226 and shoots two shots at one guy, drops the mag and pops in a new one, and moves on. . . . leaving 13 rounds on the deck. He shoots another bad guy, two shots, drop the mag and pop in a new one, and moves on. That kind of thing is unwise, I think. But gundoc's comments about the reload depending on available cover makes a lot of sense.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #14 on: February 28, 2012, 12:47:07 am »
    Quote
    Remember that on a speed reload, the clock starts as soon as the slide locks back, includes the time it takes you to diagnose the problem, retrieve the magazine, insert the magazine, and drop the slide. On a tac reload, the time you're out of operation is only from the moment the old mag is released until the new mag is seated. Before and after that, no matter what prep work you may be doing, you can still shoot
      bold emphasis mine.

    Unless you have a particular pistol model with a mag disconnect.  Lawyers are hell, eh?
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    Coronach

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #15 on: February 28, 2012, 12:58:12 am »
    Yes and no. Most of the prep work is in getting the mag in hand for the change, or stowing the partially used one after the switch. You should only be without a seated mag for about one second.

    If you did not have a mag disconnect, you could theoretically shoot the whole time, but I bet that's more theory than reality. I'm certainly not good enough to do anything other than jam something (full, partially spent) back in the gun and drop whatever else was in hand if the fight suddenly got hot again.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #16 on: February 28, 2012, 01:07:46 am »
    I just rewatched the OP videos. The "slow" tactical reload is about 1 second where the gun is sans magazine. That looks pretty darned good to me. Don't count the time from when he starts to get the mag out. Assuming he's doing this right, he is behind cover, his target is down and or there is some other reason why stuff just got boring enough to contemplate a reload. He has had time to go "you know, I just jerked the trigger a bunch, the slide is still forward, that guy seems to have taken a stopper of a shot ... why don't we get behind this here concrete column and think about reloading my gun?"

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    coyotesfan97

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #17 on: February 28, 2012, 02:18:37 pm »
    It looked like it took longer to get the mag stowed in his pocket than to swap the mag.
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #18 on: February 28, 2012, 02:35:37 pm »
    I think the slow video was a training demonstration, because I'm pretty sure I can stow the magazine a lot faster than that guy. It comes down to practice I guess.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #19 on: February 28, 2012, 02:41:00 pm »
    Also, the slow video guy keeps the gun extended out while reloading. I think that invites fumbles. I guess that goes along with what gundoc said, that if you need to still have the gun extended, you shouldn't be fiddling around with magazines. Get to cover, bring the gun into the workspace, change the mag quickly. Maybe I'll make a video sometime.

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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #20 on: February 28, 2012, 02:59:45 pm »
    Maybe I'll make a video sometime.

    After watching all of these so called 'Experts,' (here and on other threads).  :facepalm  Many of us could make better training videos.

    And even avoid shooting ourselves in the ass.  :neener
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    Re: Reloading on a partially empty mag.
    « Reply #21 on: February 28, 2012, 03:20:47 pm »
    I wonder how old that 'slow' video is. The school of thought up until recently was to keep it extended, since you may need to shoot (and with this drill you retain the ability). More recently, the 'workspace' idea has evolved, and there seems to be some debate in the training community about which is better. Either way, it is a refinement of technique, not some huge revolutionary difference.

    I can see both sides. One keeps the gun on target almost 100% of the time, but might be a trifle slower and more prone to bobbling. The other is a little quicker and easier to execute, but you've lost sight picture and will have to reacquire it if you do have to shoot.

    I do both. If I'm behind cover and have something to aim at, I'll keep the gun extended. If I'm up and moving or have no readily identified target to cover, I'll reel it back in. I especially like the workspace idea if I'm moving. Locking the elbows against your sides and making like you have T-rex arms sure does help you get Peg A in Hole B while hauling butt. Stuff bounces around a lot less.

    Sprinkled or dunked? It's that kind of debate.

    Mike

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