What is a press check?
This blog post and other posts DO NOT constitute or form an instructor-student relationship between the author (me) and the reader (you). Online education can only supplement in-person formal instruction, it cannot replace it. It is your responsibility to understand the firearm laws in your area and to follow the Firearms Safety Rules.
Objections to Press Checking
- Failure to feed is uncommon.
- Your slide may remain out of battery after conducting the press check.
Why conduct a press check?
- You failed to insert a magazine (user error).
- After inserting the magazine, you forgot to rack the slide/bolt (user error).
- You did not fully insert the magazine (user error)
- You short stroked the slide/bolt (user error).
- A bad magazine follower or firearm malfunction (equipment error).
- The round you just fired did not cycle the slide fully. This could result in an empty casing being in the chamber (equipment error).
When to do a press check
- After first loading your weapon. Loading your CCW weapon, your duty weapon before shift, or your weapon before training.
- Before reholster your handgun. The situation will dictate whether this is tactically acceptable.
- After engaging a threat/target and time allows. Think of conducting a press check like conducting a tactical reload.
How to perform a press check
Rear of Slide
- Manipulating the rear of the slide is great for gross motor movements (loading and clearing malfunctions). However, slow and controlled manipulation is difficult to do in this way.
- I am not a fan of removing my weapon hand from the pistol grip (fire control).
Front of Slide
Armalite (AR) Platform
With your index finger of your support hand curled, hook the edge of your finger on the charging handle and place your thumb on the other side. Then, slowly begin to manipulate the charging handle rearward until you can see the round attached to the front of the bolt face.
Brass + Bullet
- Firing a pistol during a close combat physical altercation and the slide did not cycle fully after firing a shot. This could be due to a contact shot or another interference with the slide. (Hopefully if this happens, you’ll just tap and rack)
- The slide did not cycle fully due to a low power round, or a dirty/cold weapon.
- The spent casing was not extracted due to a broken extractor, ejector, and/or casing rim.