We’ve all seen it or even experienced it: the awkward manipulation of what feels like an impossible-to-operate semi-automatic pistol slide. No matter how committed you are to grasping, twisting and yanking the slide, even as you grimace and grunt until your arms shake and sweat is running down your brow, you may end up relenting and ultimately "settling" for a revolver. Not that revolvers aren't an adequate choice in a defensive gun—in fact, you'll get extraordinary firepower out of many revolver chamberings—but if you were counting on the additional rounds offered in most semi-automatic concealed-carry pistols, you'll wind up disappointed.
Although this phenomenon of experiencing difficulty racking a slide occurs with men, too, it is more common among women, with blame typically assigned to our inherently weaker upper body strength and hand strength. And that would be a viable excuse for throwing in the towel on the semi-automatic platform except for one thing: The ability to seamlessly rack a pistol’s slide has nothing to do with hand or upper body strength. It is, in fact, a matter of technique, and it’s a skill that any shooter, regardless of gender or size of the pistol, can easily master.
So take heart, stay positive and recite the words "push-pull" as you watch this video featuring renowned Gunsite Rangemaster Il Ling New, who proves that you don’t have to be a six-foot-tall male Crossfit trainer to effortlessly run a semi-automatic pistol.