Marksman Skill: Reloading Drills to Improve Your Conceal and Carry

Often times, defensive shooting is taught in a one-dimensional manner. In this mindset, there is so much emphasis on the shooting part that skills like reloading fall to the way side. While your marksmanship skills are important, it is just as important that you work on other skills.

Active shootings, muggings, robberies and other situations that may require you to pull your gun could involve the need to reload. The last thing you want to do is freeze under pressure while you are changing magazines. We’ve listed a few different drills here that will help you master your reloading and improve your chances of surviving a gunfight.

The Basic Reload Drill

This is one of the easiest drills around, and you can practice it at almost any indoor or outdoor gun range. All it involves is a timer, pistol, two magazines and a magazine holster. First, you will want to set up your target at about three yards out and load two full clips.

You will draw the pistol from your holster and engage the target with the initial shot. After you take the first shot, immediately begin your reloading. Drop the loaded magazine, pull the second one from your holster, insert it and take another shot.

For this drill, it is important to remember that you are not worried about your shot placement; it’s more about the time it takes between your two shots. The time between your first shot and your second shot is called a split time, and you will want on making that time as short as possible. Performing a reload drill regularly will make you much more confident, which will allow you to work well under pressure if you have to draw your pistol in self-defense.

bullets 2110141 640 - Marksman Skill: Reloading Drills to Improve Your Conceal and Carry

You should keep working on reloading skills every time you go to the range. People often ask how fast they need to be, and the best answer is that you are not fast enough. The more you work on it, the smoother your transitions will become, allowing you to decrease overall time. Practice this basic drill every time you target shoot, and you will improve your skills.

Tactical Reload

The tactical reload is needed when you have engaged a threat and are looking for your next target or securing the area. The basis of this reload is to remove your magazine after you have expended some of your ammo and reload a fresh one.

There are a number of advantages to a tactical reload. Not only is it a moment for you to pause and take in your surroundings, but it also allows you to fully stock up on ammo. Remember that you also retain one round in the chamber, so in case of another threat emerging before you load the next magazine, you have a failsafe.

This is a fairly easy drill to practice on your own. Engage a target with a few rounds and then — without expending all of the ammo — initiate your next reload drill by placing the shot magazine in a pocket for later use. While you still have a round in the chamber, insert the new magazine.

One thing that you can work on while you do this, besides your magazine transition, is firing off that one round remaining in the chamber without the support of your nondominant hand. This will allow you to work on shooting from an unstable platform, which will help you improve multi-tasking and targeting a threat while you are reloading.

Also, it will help you to not look at your magazine or your gun while you are reloading, as this should all become muscle memory. You must be able to engage threats as they appear and cannot get caught looking at your weapon and magazine while you reload the gun.

One hand Manipulation Reload

One-hand manipulation reloads may be the most difficult to practice, but they are a skill everyone marksman should have. You never know when your dominant or nondominant hand could be injured, and if you have never tried reloading like this, it is definitely something to practice.

pistol 2948729 1280 300x180 - Marksman Skill: Reloading Drills to Improve Your Conceal and CarryThis will be similar to the other drills, except you will only use one hand. You will want to expend the ammo in your magazine, then holster your pistol, using the same hand to pull the magazine and load it into your gun. Once you have done this, you will pull your pistol from a IWB holster with that same hand and release the slide that will chamber another round.

It may take some time getting used to the dexterity of required in this drill, and you will likely not be very fast at first. Still, it is an important skill to practice. Also, you should work on releasing the slide of the pistol with an inanimate object like a table, your belt or even the heel of the shoe. You never know when you may be required to do this in an emergency situation.


There are several ways you can practice your reloading drills. This is something you can do at home, or you can add to some fun shooting drills to your practice sessions at the range. Marksmanship is a skill that must be practiced regularly to maintain your edge.

Make sure that when you go to the range you are practicing these three drills. The tactical reload is one of the most important and realistic drills to prepare for an active shooter or and self-defense situation that you may occur. Learning how to reload quickly while keeping a round in the chamber will make you a more effective tactical shooter.

Contributed by Benji Menez
Director of Marketing
Concealment Express