the tactical reload

The Tactical Reload: You are in a gunfight and have fired a number of rounds. You are not “out” yet so you do a “tactical reload”; which is a technique where you exchange the magazine in the weapon with a fresh one during a “lull in the fight”, giving you a fully loaded weapon. You retain the old magazine and put it in a pocket or back in a magazine pouch. Conversely, the “speed reload” is just stripping out the old magazine to the ground and ramming a fresh one home as fast as possible. Typically done when you have run to lockback.

Proponents of the tactical reload argue that you should have as much ammo in the weapon whenever possible, which is difficult to argue against.

You gotta think though…only about 20 or less years ago, my dept. was carrying .357 magnum revolvers. Lets see 6 in the gun, maybe 2 speed loaders and if you were serious another 6 in a strip loader on belt or in pocket. Total of 24 rounds with 3 reloads to expend all rounds. I can crank out 46 in 2 reloads. You would only want to crack open your cylinder and top off if you were damn sure there wasn’t another BG around.

If I thought I had fired over 1/2 my magazine in the initial exchange I may tac reload..if I thought of it. If I knew I only fired 3-6 rounds, I wouldn’t want to divert my attention by fumbling with my magazines. It would suck to have a BG pop up with one in the pipe and no magazine in….would it be worth the risk for those 3-6 rounds??

However, to say to not train it at all is extreme.

Follow this discussion at the Convocation of Combat Arts as well.


5 thoughts on “the tactical reload”

  1. Okay I am not against a tactical reload nor am I one hundred percent for it. If during the course of a fire fight I were to say unload thirteen shots and know that I only had a couple left and their is a lull then a tactical reload might make sense. Still you raise excellent points about being very vulnerable in the time between. Now I know in the video they are just practicing but tactical reloading after only firing two rounds is pretty stupid. So in practice I think you should go farther and say expand at least 90% of your magazine before reloading. Just a little point but I would hate to train to fire two rounds and then tactical reload. That could be an issue because after all we quite often perform like we train. Just my 02.

  2. Meh, we train with tactical reloads. I think of it as just another tool. I know how to do it if I am in a situation and the need arises. That’s how I view all training. I think there is usefulness in all learning. Even if it’s viewed as something not to do. I am also in agreement with Brian. You play how you practice. I hope departments aren’t training their people to tactical reload after two rounds. It’ll be like when they found the dead FBI agents with empty casings in their pockets.

  3. Im with you guys. Best to be trained in it so its in the memory banks if needed, but I wouldnt overtrain it. My dept. inserts the TR in our range training. There are no orders to reload between stages so its up to each officer to keep topped off and complete the qualification. That can be tac or speed reloads. If I complete 2-3 stages without running out, I tac reload.

  4. TR is a good tool. Training it should be like any other tool. When it is isolated for the sake of drilling “that skill” then throw a few short mags in the belt and work it. After you’ve got the hang of it training it ‘in context’ is good for maintenance. If/when you decide to cycle back through your skills and revisit TR, then do it like a white belt again.

    This, IMO, is comparable to going back to white belt skills.

  5. I see it as a valuable military skill for various situations such as MOUT. If I had just cleared a building and fired a few rounds, while I was stacking up for a rush on another structure Id be TR my weapon for the next entry because you know that you are going to be firing again and you dont want to be speed loading on a room entry.

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