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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I'm a new gun owner and new new to the forum. I just purchased an XDM .40 caliber, with a 4.5 inch barrel. (Please don't judge me as to why I bought such a larger caliber as a first-time gun owner. I believe that recoil is something anyone can get used to, and I would have bought one down the line anyway.) In any case, I've been doing a lot of research regarding all aspects of firearm safety and technique(s) insofar as proper handling. Now, I am a left-handed shooter with a right-hannded gun. I can operate the slide, load/unload just fine; dealing with type 1 and type 2 malfunctions will not be a problem either. However, a type 3 double feed malfunction concerns me, and I didn't think about it in the store. As a result, I may have shot myself in the foot (no pun intended) and should have probably gone with the Smith and Wesson M&P 40 that was shown to me because it has an ambidextrous slide lock, and the magazine release can be switched to the left side, thus making it a fully ambidextrous gun.

My question then is, how do left handed shooters deal with a double feed on right-handed guns, such as the XDM? The reason I ask is, as I understand it, a double feed is a time-sensetive malfunction, in that due to its nature, the gun can go off at any moment, therefore this malfunction (and in a self-defense situation, all malfunctions) have to be dealt with as quickly as possible. I need to be able to engage the slide lock before hitting the magazine release to rip out the magazine. In self-defense situation where seconds count, I'm not going to care about locking the slide, but in all other situations, I do not want to damage the extractor.

The only thing I can think of is to train myself to be able to manipulate the slide and slide lock with the gun being gripped with my right hand. I also need to train myself to shoot [both two and one-handed] with my right hand. So realigning with a type 3 with the right is just one more thing I should add.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.


7,819 Posts
You don't have to lock back the slide - it's possible in most cases, with enough strength, to strip the mag from the magwell: just be sure you actually depress the magazine release when you're doing it.

The "non-diagnostic"/"linear" school prefers a regimented, brute-force approach to address *all* stoppages. Clint Smith's demonstrated methods here are demonstrative of this approach:

The "diagnostic" school has the shooter visualize the stoppage and approach its solution in specific-for malfunction manner. Travis Haley goes over this really well in the Magpul "The Art of the Dynamic Handgun" series, but here he is again in his latest Panteao Productions series:

^ This segment goes to the approx. 1:30 time-point.

Neither is entirely right or wrong, they both have advantages and disadvantages. [ Here, remember that Travis Haley's preferences are just that, *his* preferences. It's perfectly fine for him to tell you and teach you of his preferences, particularly as he goes over the other way to do it. He's showing you his way, which is what any teacher ]

With the XDms, the factory base-pad has a decently pronounced forward lip from which you can leverage the magazine out. You can also cut into grip frame at the base and make a cut so that you can give your fingers a bit more leverage on the baseplate, on the sides of the slide (which, for many, is a more natural gripping area), as I have on the base of my grip:

New XDm9 from Cleveland - POA POI magazine questions Page 3 XDTalk Forums

^ Mine does not go all the way to the body of the mag, it's just a scalloped area which allows the meat of my fingertips to get into that area a bit more aggressively. And here's a more typical cut (this picture taken from one of my favorite local instructor's website - Three Tango Firearms Academy, Cleveland Ohio):

- and if you search "glock magwell cutout" on Google Images, you'll see this done quite a bit.

With a "cold" gun, with you setting up the double-feed with a round dropped into the chamber, you'll almost never have a problem stripping the magazine out by-force. Usually, barely any real force is even needed.

The problem typically comes in when you have a gun that's hot from a lot of heavy shooting just before the actual malfunction occurred in situ. Here, that "locking bar" effect of the incoming round may be considerably more pronounced. To help simulate this, you can get out on the range and load a spent caliber-matched case in the magazine - somewhere towards the bottom of the stack - so that you can live-fire the gun and happen on a "round" that you know will cause some kind of malfunction. More than likely, you'll get a Type-1 or Type-2, but every once in a while, the planets will align and you'll get a Type-3. When that happens, you'll get a better feel for what it's like when a double-feed really presents itself. Alternatively, you can run the gun for ~600 to 700 rounds with minimal lubrication and no cleaning, and make sure to drop it in the dirt and sand occasionally while you do that (kinda make your gun look as beat-up as my gun from that post I in-linked ;) ) - and you should start to see Type-3s start cropping up.

In-reality, any malfunction in which the striker has hit the hammer yet the round did not discharge poses a potential risk of "hang-fire." Similarly, as soon as the stoppage has been reduced and the gun is placed back into battery, that gun is, of-course, live. This is why trigger discipline and muzzle awareness are so critical. Yes, you'll want to reduce the stoppage as quickly as possible, but it's not because there's a "hang-fire," which, via square-range rules, is something that you should actually wait patiently for (typically anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds, with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction and finger off the trigger), before you proceed to remove the problem cartridge.

In terms of locking the slide back with your left hand, if you are able to use your right (support/reaction/non-dominant/"weak") hand to retract the slide, see if you can't then use your trigger finger (your left index finger) to actuate the slide-stop. Reposition your dominant hand (the hand that's gripping the pistol) so that your thumb is pressing down on the grip safety at the "web" of the backstrap - this should allow you to use your trigger finger to actuate the slide-stop.

Do this first with a gun cleared of live ammo and using snap-caps/dummy rounds.

Once you get the hang of it, you can try it live. Remember, watch the muzzle and watch your trigger finger.

Once you've mastered this two-handed technique, proceed to try to do this single-handed with only your dominant hand. Again, start with dummy rounds/snap-caps before you progress to live-fire.

If you are at all hesitant about live-fire malfunction drills, I would *SERIOUSLY* advise you to contact a local trainer/instructor who can teach you these skills, live, and help better insure your safety. Particularly single-handed, malfunction drills are no joke, and virtually all responsible instructors save these skills sessions until the intermediate level, and even then, they are not run "on the clock," again as a concession towards safety.

Get some force-on-force training, and you'll see exactly how many times you'll get to reload during a violent encounter. Now look at how fast you can reload, versus how fast any of these stoppage clearances can be performed. ;) A Type-3 isn't something that you'll be dealing with while you're trading lead with someone: if it happens, you'll likely need to first seek cover or to otherwise open up that time/opportunity window - and this goes double if you have the extreme bad luck of having only one functioning arm/hand to reduce this stoppage. I firmly believe that if your day's already that bad, it can only get worse; so, yes, these are skills that I do practice. However, don't get too wrapped up about them - there are more important things to worry about. :smile:

12,197 Posts
You are not clearing a type 3 out in the open in a gunfight, so put the gun in your right hand, lock the slide back clear it, mag in, back in the fight. It will be faster than trying to manipulate the slide stop/release with the left hand IMO. You can pull the slide to the rear & lock it open with your trigger finger, but the small release may be hard to hit. I can do it weak hand on a 1911 or sim pistol with a larger release, weak hand only, but it is certainly going to take time.

7,819 Posts
...so put the gun in your right hand, lock the slide back clear it, mag in, back in the fight. It will be faster than trying to manipulate the slide stop/release with the left hand IMO.
What if you can't use your right hand?


Some can do it, some can't - it's dependent on the person's anatomy and how it fits the gun - whether they can articulate their fingers/hand in the manner necessary to accomplish the goal. Everyone's different.

There's an old member here - a lefty - who loved his XDs but eventually sold them and converted his entire setup to M&Ps because he went to a class and figured out that he could not, for the life of him, actuate the slide-lock/release with his *right* hand, single-handed. :?: Go figure, right? :confused: Unfortunately, despite really loving the gun - something that he maintains even to this day: that he can shoot his XDs much better than any other gun he's ever owned - he made the switch because he thought it was important that he be able to manipulate the gun single-handed, in either hand.

Now, if one's anatomy does allow it but he/she finds it awkward, then it's simply a training issue. As Vickers - someone who shoots the pistol right-handed but mounts the carbine lefty - is fond of saying: "training overcomes awkwardness." :cool:

As for speed, that simply comes with proficiency. As you mentioned, it's very, very unlikely that in a real-life scenario - or even force-on-force training - for the student to stay stationary, as we do on the square range, in what would well be the line-of-fire, to execute these motions. Certainly, for someone who is naturally right-handed, it may well be faster to swap the gun over to the dominant hand - but for someone who is naturally left-handed? well...the possibility of that person being the member I mentioned above is always a possibility, too! :p Nevertheless, for those who wish to really pursue this set of skills, I would encourage them to attend an ambidextrous-manipulations-heavy course such as Chris Costa's Costa Ludus "Handgun Elements Theory II" three-day class.


I found this great video today too, dealing with all of the main malfunctions; figured it would help others as well. It looks as though I'll never gave to use the slide stop if I don't want to. :-D

Running the Gun How to Clear a Handgun Malfunction - Guns Ammo
As I mentioned above, one thing you'll want to remember is that these "classroom" demonstrations are with a "cold" gun. It's much easier to remedy the malfunction in that context.

Spaulding's methods are definitely valid, and I've seen plenty of guys/gals who do it his way. Just remember that, like the other two videos I showed you above, they're "ways," Find the way that works best for you. Each "way" will have its advantages and disadvantages - overall, it's always a trade between speed and the robustness of the technique (i.e. yes, it's incredibly fast to just depress the magazine release while running the slide, but remember that in a "live" double-feed event, the round that's stepping out of the magazine feed lips may be cammed so far forward that it'll exert significant pressure on the magazine and actually not allow it to fall out on its own - this is why some schools/instructors prefer to actively rip it out).

And remember that with the XDm, if you've got factory sights, that rear sight offers only a very small ledge to leverage against. Practice with your everyday-wear clothes (including shoes) and gear to find out what will actually work for you - some techniques may work better than others - and some may not be viable at all.

General tips:

Start the "catch" as far forward as you can. This is why you'll see people cutting aftermarket cocking serrations forward of the ejection port, on top of the slide - it just gives them that much more friction surface to work with. "Skater" or "safety"/friction-tape works well, too, and will actually hold up much better than you'd imagine.

Remember that the ejection port offers yet another hard ledge to use as a catch. Miss the front part of the slide, catch the ejection port, miss the ejection port, catch the rear sight. Even if you're aiming for the rear sight, still start as far up/as early as you can.

Remember that you can use objects in your environment, too.

Be extremely aware of your muzzle and your trigger finger, particularly when you're using your non-dominant hand.
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