Hrachya at The Firearm Blog has a post up about a new racking gizmo: the Chambermax TA-1. I’m not usually a big proponent of adding aftermarket doodads to a carry pistol, but I can see a limited application for this one. Here’s their promotional vid.
The conventional wisdom’s that third-party add-ons are a possible failure point and should be avoided. Paraphrasing my shooting coach, “Don’t use gear to fix a training problem.” In this case, the concept seems fairly solid for either: 1) shooters who have trouble running the slide on a stock Glock or 2) lefties like me.
The standard answer for shooters who have trouble running the slide (usually from hand/ arm strength issues or injury) is to keep the firing side elbow bent at a 90-degree angle while pushing forward with the firing side hand and using the support hand to grip the slide. Punching forward using the firing side hand from that bent position definitely works better than using the support hand to rip the slide back with the gun extended forward. However, I’ve run into students who still struggle with running the slide or can’t do it at all.
For lefties, we have a different issue. I walked away from Front Sight’s Instructor Development class on the first day because I just couldn’t comfortably teach their left-handed technique for running the slide. To me, the “clamp” grip they use to run the slide is fine for righties on a larger pistol. As a lefty, I feel that grip’s a dangerously bad idea. Here’s the deal: for a lefty, the “clamp” grip (all four fingers together clamping the side of the slide against the meat of the palm) is possible for a full-size pistol like a G17. For smaller guns, that puts the meat of the palm on the edge of, or covering, the ejection port. That’s some bad ju-ju there. Turning a Type 1 malfunction into a Type 3 by fouling the ejection port is bad stuff in training and I’ve had it happen. In the real word, I’m not thinking that you’ll be able to say, “Hey Mr. Mugger with a knife, hold on while I fix this.” I either use a modified “clamp” grip with the support hand fingers together on one side of the slide and the support hand thumb on the other side or I just slingshot the slide.
I’ve got no experience with the TA-1, so I can’t say for sure if it’s a good idea or not. The voiceover on the vid says that using the TA-1 doesn’t cause any extra printing for a concealed carry piece, but I’d have to see and try that to be convinced. I don’t see how the extra width at the back of the slide wouldn’t stick out, but I don’t know anyone who has a TA-1, so I can’t make an informed judgement.