The Cornered Cat

These instructions assume you are right-handed. If you are left-handed, you’ll have to look elsewhere for instructions for now.

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To Unload

You will need to open the cylinder and swing it out from the side of the gun.

Step One: thumb the cylinder release latch

Step One: thumb the
cylinder release latch

To open the cylinder, use the latch on the left-hand side of the gun. Some models need the latch pushed forward, others require the latch to be pulled to the rear. Use your right thumb to move the latch, and cup your left hand around the gun at the same time.

Step Two: slip two fingers through the frame

Step Two: slip two fingers
through the frame

As the cylinder release allows the cylinder to swing out, slip the middle two fingers of your left hand through the frame. This assures a really secure hold on the gun, and guarantees that the cylinder is open completely for the next step.

Step Three: invert the gun, and eject cases

Step Three: invert the gun,
and eject cases

Turn the gun muzzle-up. This is perfectly safe because your fingers have replaced critical firing parts of the gun. The gun could never fire with the cylinder out.

Gravity is your friend here. It is important that the gun is straight up and down. You want gravity to help drop the cases completely free of the gun. You don’t want to have to “sweep” the cases away with your other hand, or worse, tediously pick them out one by one. So let gravity help you.

As you invert the gun, close your left thumb and fingers around the cylinder to keep it from twisting.

Using the base of your palm, strike the ejector rod. Hit it once, sharply, all the way down. Do not use your thumb, because if there’s a stuck case your thumb may not be strong enough (or ouchless enough!) to do the job. Use the solid outer portion of your palm.

Do not hit the ejector rod more than once. Don’t jiggle it around or hit it halfway down repeatedly. Doing so can cause the star (that star-shaped piece of flat metal at the back of the cylinder) to get caught underneath a case rim. Freeing a case stuck underneath the star is a royal pain in the backside, and more importantly, takes time you may not have to spare.

If you are done with the firearm for the day, check to be certain it is unloaded, and lock it away.

To Check That The Revolver Is Unloaded

With the cylinder open, check to be certain the revolver is unloaded before you put the gun away.

Step One: LOOK.

Step One: LOOK.

The next step is to look again.

Step Two: LOOK again.

Step Two: LOOK again.
Count the holes.
Are the holes all there?

Visual illustration of how an 'unloaded' revolver can still be loaded. Always, always, always double check by counting the holes.

Step Three: Use the tip of your finger to count the holes. Eyeballs can lie!

Position your mouse pointer over the image
to double-check.

When you are certain the gun really is unloaded, put it away safely.

To reload

Step One: Anchor
Step One: Anchor

Step One: Anchor

With the cylinder open, anchor the butt of your revolver against the center of your belt. Anchoring provides a felt index, so that with enough practice, you will be able to reload in the dark if necessary. More importantly, having a felt index will allow you to keep your eyes on the threat instead of intensively focused on what you are doing.

Remember gravity is your friend, so the muzzle should point straight toward the ground while the new rounds are being dropped into place.

Your left thumb should encircle the cylinder, so that it will not move or twist during the next steps.

At the same time as you anchor the revolver, your right hand should grab your speedloader and bring it to your midline, ready to load the revolver.

Step Two: Guide two rounds into the chambers

Step Two: Guide two rounds
into the chambers

As you grab the speedloader, place your index and middle fingers in alignment with two of the rounds. This will help you guide the entire speedloader into the correct position.

Hold the speedloader loosely, by its largest part. Do not jam the rounds into place. Just let them find their own way in while you wiggle the speedloader gently downwards.

Step Three: twist

Step Three: Twist

As the rounds find their way home, allow your hand to slide up to the top knob on your speedloader and give it a twist, releasing the rounds.

Step Four: Let it fall

Step Four: Let it fall

As soon as the release has been twisted, let the speedloader fall. Don’t throw it down, and don’t set it down somewhere. Just let it fall out of your hands as you complete the reloading process.

Why not set it carefully somewhere? Research has shown that, under stress, people generally do things the same way they did them in practice — even if they meant to do otherwise. So you want to practice doing your reloads with a minimum of wasted motion. Looking for a place to set your speedloader is definitely wasted motion!

Step Five: close the cylinder

Step Five: close the cylinder

Swing the cylinder closed with your left hand, while moving your right hand to get a firing grip on the gun.

To avoid straining delicate parts of the gun, do not “flip” or “slap” the cylinder closed. Simply close it with your hand.

Step Six: give the cylinder a wiggle to make sure it is seated properly

Step Six: wiggle
the cylinder

Just before moving your left hand into firing position, give the cylinder a little wiggle to make sure it is properly aligned with the barrel. This assures that the revolver is ready to fire immediately.

Step Seven: firing grip

Step Seven: firing grip

As soon as you have completed your reload, bring your hands back into your regular firing position.

Note: Keep your finger off the trigger until you have made the decision to shoot.