Tiger McKee

Shootrite Firearms Academy

How To Hold A Magazine

The skill to manipulation your pistol is one of the big three components of Jeff Cooper’s Combative Triad. The ability to operate your pistol is a critical skill, both for safety and its application during a lethal confrontation. When your weapon runs dry, or a malfunction occurs, you need to get reloaded or clear the stoppage as quickly as possible, which means performing the task efficiently. One of the areas commonly overlooked during training and practice is the proper way to hold your pistol magazine.

Although holding the mag properly is easy, it’s often fumbled during stressful situations. Positioning the mag correctly in your hand is also a simple thing, and like most simple matters if this isn’t performed properly it leads to bigger problems. Take care of little things and they don’t create big problems.

To hold the mag properly your first finger should be on the front of the magazine, with the fingertip actually touching the top round. The thumb and other three fingers hold the mag on the sides, and the base of the mag should be in contact with the heel of the hand. Indexing the mag in this manner does several things. It positions it properly for inserting it into the pistol. Placing the first finger on the top round lets you know the mag is being held correctly, not upside down or backwards, without having to look at it. Everything you do with your weapon should be by physical confirmation, keeping the eyes up on the threat(s) or your environment. When a round is partially sticking out of the mag, which occurs often with a type three malfunction and will prevent you from inserting the mag into the pistol, your finger can push it back or flip it out of the mag. With the base of the mag against the heel of the hand you can seat it into the weapon aggressively, like your life depended on it, which it may.

To insure the mag is positioned correctly in your hand the mag should be carried properly in your mag pouch so that as you pull it out your fingers are exactly where they need to be. When carrying mags vertically the actual bullet should be facing forward, toward the centerline of your body, and on the support side. For horizontal carry the mag is positioned with the bullet facing upward. This way as you draw the mag from the pouch your first finger is ready to drop down on the first round.

The key with this skill, and all other fighting skills, is consistency. Every time you pull a mag from a pouch, or pocket, you should be indexing it the same way in your hand. With repetition you learn, develop good habits, and help insure you’ll do it properly when lives depend on your performance.


September 19, 2010 - Posted by | Auto Pistol

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