How to Make a Pistol Slide Easier | Tips For Hassle-Free Racking

Gun owners often wonder how to make a pistol slide easier. If you are one of them, do not worry as this article will explain in detail what you need to do.

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Many people happen to have weak hands hence lack the strength to rack the slide. This is common with females and older people. New shooters too have a problem with racking the slide and are afraid of slide bite. There are drills to shoot your pistol better, too, which can hugely improve your shooting skills.

The good news is, there is a solution to this common issue: "pistol slide hard to pull back". Keep reading to learn more.

Our Recommendation

Taurus G3 9mm pistol
  • A manual safety and slide release lever are optimally positioned above the thumb for easy manipulation
  • A short reset promotes quick, controlled follow-up shots
  • Generous stippling patches across the grip for maximum control

How to Make a Pistol Slide Easier

Making your pistol slide easier is not an impossible task. There are many tricks and tips to help you achieve this such as

Ensure that your pistol slide and its rails are clean

Lubricate the slide if your pistol is new and you are having problems racking it

 Exercise the recoil spring so the slide can loosen and many more

In order to load a pistol, you are required to rack its slide hence this is an important movement that you need to learn.

Secondly, if you will be having difficulties racking a gun, you are likely to get a slide bite, accidentally shoot someone while struggling with your slide, or even injure yourself.

I would recommend making your pistol slide easier with a safe one - using an unloaded gun. In this way, you will not be able to injure yourself or anyone around you.

Having weak hands

No need to go to the gym to rack the slide because you have weak hands. It is all about the technique, overhand grip method, and overhand grip procedure, not muscle. There are many people with muscles but do it wrong and end up having a slide bite.

 Learn how to make a pistol slide easier and you will never have a problem operating your weapon.

man shooting with a gun

How to loosen the Slide on a Pistol?

In order to operate your pistol effectively, its slide needs to be loose. There is no way you can load, unload, and clear malfunctions with a tight slide. It needs to move back and forth on its guide rails with minimal effort.

The stiffness of a slide can be caused by many factors such as friction, obstruction, variations in metal, just to name a few.


To loosen the slide on a pistol, first, check if it is well lubricated. If the slide feels stiff when racking it, apply a lubricant and you will be sorted.

Cleaning Properly

Want to know how to make gun slide smoother? Well, you can loosen a slide by properly cleaning it. Dirt can obstruct the slide and make its movement difficult. Cleaning your slide is super easy. Lay down a towel to soak up any spilled solvents.

Place your pistol on it and strip it. Before disassembling it, make sure it does not have any ammo. You can use a dry brush to remove dirt, carbon, and grim. You can use a microfiber towel and spray some cleaner on it to wipe down the remaining dirt. And if you need a more thorough explanation on how to clean a handgun, read this guide.

 Common Problems with Difficult Slides

 Difficult slides can be caused by two common problems:

The slide is stiff due to obstruction. This can be solved by either cleaning or lubrication

New pistols can have some obstructions on the slide and this can limit its movement

The slide spring can be stiff. This is common with new pistols. To solve this problem, exercise the slide spring until it is loose and the pistol slide can move back and forth with no problems.

Decreasing Friction on the Slide with Lubricant

One of the main ways of loosening a tight slide is by properly lubricating it. This will decrease friction and can now operate your pistol efficiently

Today’s lubricants are superior and will certainly help reduce friction on the parts such as the slide and the frame. 

Read the Owner’s Manual

gun lubricant

Step 1

Some pistols require a specific way of lubricating while others do not.  First of all, read the owner’s manual to check if there are specific instructions to follow to lubricate the slide.

Step 2

Take your gun partially apart

Step 3

Before disassembling your weapon, make sure that it is not loaded. When unloading your weapon, always remember the rules of gun safety. Assume it is loaded, point it in a safe direction, and keep your finger off the trigger.

Step 4

Disassemble your gun. Take it down to the slide and frame. The next step is grabbing the best lube to lubricate your gun.

Step 5

Lubricate the metal rail contact points. Make sure you put 1 or 2 drops on all the 4 contact points of the metal rail. Also, lubricate the 2 slide rails and the hood.  

Reduce Friction Using a Cleaning or Polishing Agent

Did you know that cleaning your pistol reduces the risks of accidental shooting?  Having a safe firearm means owning a weapon that can fire with no problems. Here is how to clean a firearm to reduce friction.

Step 1

Before you clean your weapon, do not forget the gun safety rules. Make sure it is not loaded.

Step 2

 Choose a clean area with plenty of space to place your disassembled weapon. Make sure it is safe and well lit

Step 3

Lay a mat to absorb any cleaning or polishing agent that might spill

Step 4

 Consult the manual of the gun if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can Google it online.

Step 5

Make sure you have a cleaning brush, a cleaning or polishing agent, cleaning patches, cotton swabs, etc. You can also buy a caliber specific cleaning kit from online stores, it comes with everything

Step 6

Dry brush the chamber, slide, metal rail contact points, the hood, and metal rail.  This will remove all the dirt, grim, and carbon.

Step 7

Dip a cleaning patch in a solvent and clean all the parts of a slide.

Step 8

Use a clean cloth to dry the parts

Step 9

Spray a lubricant to the clean parts such as slide assembly, frame, etc.

Our Recommendation

Taurus G3 9mm pistol
  • A manual safety and slide release lever are optimally positioned above the thumb for easy manipulation
  • A short reset promotes quick, controlled follow-up shots
  • Generous stippling patches across the grip for maximum control

How to Make a Pistol Slide Smoother by Deburring

If your pistol is still stiff despite cleaning and lubricating it, try deburring. Many guns have machine flaws; burrs on the slide.

These are unwanted metal pieces or ridges that can hinder a slide from moving back and forth. To solve this problem, do the following;

Step 1

Point your weapon in a safe direction in order to unload it

Step 2

Make sure there is no ammunition before disassembling it

Step 3

Place your weapon in a clean and well-lit area

Step 4

Buy a deburring tool

Step 5

 If you are good with guns, you will be able to notice the ridges that are obstructing your slide from moving freely. Grind the slide to get a smooth cycle.

Step 6

Make sure that you have not overdone anything otherwise you can damage your slide

Step 7

Clean your  slide to remove any metal splinters that may have fallen on it

Step 8

Apply some lubricant then assemble it

Loosening the Slide on Your Gun

Have you tried all the above methods but still have a problem racking the slide of your own gun? You could have weak hand strength or the spring of the pistol is too stiff. I know many males and females who are too gentle with their weapons because they are afraid of slide bite.

Others have medical conditions like arthritis which makes it hard to aggressively rack the slide as they should.

man with the gun

Practice makes perfect

 Rome was not built in a day. In order to be a pro at racking a gun slide with weaker hands, practice until you are perfect. No more passing your weapon off to your sister, granddaughter, or husband to rack the slide for you.

Also, you do not need a man’s hands or hit the gym in order to operate your weapon.  It just needs little muscle and practicing up to handle a gun like a pro in no time.

Focus, persevere, and learn the technique of making your pistol slide easier.  

 Techniques for Racking a Gun



Use your dominant hand to hold and push the gun forward.

Make sure it is not loaded unless you are ready to fire in a safe direction.  

Keep your finger off the trigger.



Wrap the 4 fingers of your non-dominant hand or support hand over the slide. While holding the slide firmly with your support hand, use your dominant hand to punch the gun forward. This will pull the slide back.



The movement should be strong, fast, and forceful.  Do not cover the ejection port or otherwise you will have a slide bite. The slide will reach its rearmost position. You can now let it go and its spring will do its job.

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Other techniques of loosening the slide on your gun include racking it repeatedly to break in the spring.

Lock the Slide Back

Another method that can make your pistol slide easier is by constantly compress and decompresses the recoil spring.  Try this method and see if it will help to break in your pistol.

Rack the Slide Repeatedly

Racking the slide repeatedly can make a pistol slide easier. If you just unboxed your new gun, you will need to break it in order to shoot effectively.  

The slide and frame of these guns may look smooth and machined but when looked at a microscopic level, they have rails and grooves that make it hard for a slide to move freely.

You need to rack the slide repeatedly – like 200 to 300 times. By firing the gun many times, you will not experience any malfunction.

How to Rack the slide repeatedly

The goal of this process is to wear enough off tight-fit surfaces in order to achieve a decent shooting.

The number of times needed to fire a pistol in order to make its slide rack easier depends on several factors such as its type, manufacturer, type of finish, and its springs.

The proper technique of racking the slide of your pistol is to push, not pull.

Step 1

Make sure you have the following before beginning this process; at least 30 to 50 rounds of ammo

Step 2

Find a comfortable and safe shooting area

Step 3

Grasp your pistol with your dominant hand.  Use your other hand or support hand to grasp the slide

Step 4

 Do not cover the ejection port

Step 5

Point the muzzle in a safe direction

Step 6

Punch the gun forward while holding the slide firmly. The slide will be pulled back. Once it is pulled back to its rearmost position, release it

Step 7

Aim at your target and shoot. Repeat this process several times

Tips and considerations in racking the slide repeatedly

Do not help the slide return to its position with your hand-doing so can cause gun jams, malfunctions, and stoppages. It needs to return on its own recoil spring tension so it can load.

Isolate the spring

Anyone with weak hands, new shooters plus older people can find it difficult to rack the slide. One of the ways of making their pistols slide easier is by isolating the spring. It may seem like a difficult or risky task but it is not.

Isolate the spring but before doing that, consult its user manual. I would also recommend having a professional do this for you to avoid doing it harm than good.

Techniques for Racking the Slide

Knowing the techniques for racking the slide is extremely crucial.

This is because the function is mandatory for operating your pistol.

You cannot load, unload, and even clear malfunctions without racking the slide properly.

Like I mentioned before, this process does not need strength rather using the right techniques. 

The 2 techniques that you can employ to rack your slide effectively include the overhand grip method and overhand grip procedure.

Both techniques will help you load your first round in the chamber of your pistol.

gun slider

Overhand Grip Method

Let me start by discussing gun safety. Both overhand grip method requires you to point the muzzle of your gun in a safe direction. Do not pull the trigger until you are sure of your target and are in a safe environment.

Use your dominant hand to push the gun and support the hand to grasp the slide. 

Step 1

Take the gun with your dominant hand

Step 2

 Point its muzzle in a safe direction

Step 3

Do not place your index finger yet on the trigger until you are ready to aim

Step 4

Wrap the fingers of your non-dominant hand over the slide. That’s why the technique  is referred to as overhand grip method-your support hand is over the top of the slide

Step 5

Use your dominant hand to punch the gun forward.  Punch firmly and quickly. Your support hand should not move

Step 6

This action will pull the slide backward. Once the slide is in its rearmost position, release it and it will return to its original position

Thumb-Forward Grip Method

If the overhand grip method seems difficult to learn, try the thumb-forward grip method.  Ideally, you want a great grip technique that will produce a decent shooting. In that case, this method will offer a great deal of control plus accuracy.

Novice shooters can learn this grip quickly. You can begin by practicing dry firing to get accustomed to it then proceed to use a loaded pistol or a revolver. Here's how to make a pistol slide smoother using thumb-forward grip method:

Step 1

Use your dominant hand to hold the gun

Step 2

Point its muzzle in a safe direction.  Place the thumb of your dominant hand along with the slide. Wrap the other fingers of your dominant hand over the top of the slide

Step 3

Quickly and firmly, punch the gun forward with your dominant hand. The slide will move backward.  Release the slide quickly and it will return to its original position after this action

Step 4

 Do not try to help the slide move back because the gun was designed to work well with its springs


1. How to make a Glock easier to rack?

To make a Glock easier to rack you can put your gun up with the slide locked back, which will gradually weaken the spring and help with racking. You can also install a lighter weight recoil spring assembly.

2. How to make your gun slide easier?

To make your gun slide easier you must make sure that the slide and slide rails are well cleaned and lubricated. You should also stretch the recoil spring, which will facilitate the slide's movement. Finally, you can experiment with different racking strategies to make it easier for people who have weak hands.

3. What pistol has the easiest slide to pull?

A pistol that has the easiest slide to pull is the Walther CCP. It is a blowback-operated 9mm handgun with an 8+1 magazine capacity. The handgun also features great ergonomics and a simple-to-use frames mounted thumb safety.

Our Recommendation

Taurus G3 9mm pistol
  • A manual safety and slide release lever are optimally positioned above the thumb for easy manipulation
  • A short reset promotes quick, controlled follow-up shots
  • Generous stippling patches across the grip for maximum control

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