Loading & Unloading (R)


The Rifle Drills course is an on-line curricula consists of 15 short instructional modules with quizzes.

The predecessor to the Rifle Drills Course is the Handgun Drills course which we encourage everyone to start with. By building on the foundation of the Handgun Drills course you will more quickly learn what works for you should you be afforded the luxury of enough time to retrieve your long gun.

In this Rifle Drills course, we will provide you with the study materials needed to begin mastering stress resistant gun handling techniques for the rifle. This course will introduce you to drills that you should practice at home (dry) and on the range (live).

The drill modules should be completed in order, after which the student can revisit any module at any time to refresh their memory. Students who complete all 15 modules and pass the quizzes will be awarded a certificate that can be posted to their profile page.

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the video, read the narrative, review the still photos then take the quiz at the bottom. When done move on to the next module indicated at the bottom.

DURATION: 30 Minutes

 

RIFLE DRILLS - 09 LOADING What we are going to cover next is loading your rifle. While this may sound like a mundane subject, it's important to note that all extreme speed for your advanced firearms-handling begins here with the proper loading and unloading techniques.

Why do we say that your extreme speed comes from a simple loading procedure?

Because we have purposefully built a system of simple and repetitive motions into your curricula in order to give you rock-solid skills with the shortest amount of training time (input) required on your part - if you properly practice and habituate what we are about to share with you.

With this foundational level of basic weapons manipulation, you have an opportunity to ingrain a skill that will impact a wide range of secondary skills which in turn will sprout from these basic movements.

This, in turn, will help you to cut out a lot of superfluous and unnecessary techniques. Ignore this base level skill now and you will find that you will only be half as fast with your weapons manipulations as you could be in half the time. Additionally, you will drag out your learning curve to months and years, and will in all likelihood have to unlearn poor habits that could have been nipped in the bud, right from the get-go (right now).

Again, just like the foundational skills in the magazine index, ignoring this advice will be detrimental to your long-term goals of good, solid, and fast firearms-handling.

Also be fully aware that you should only practice these skills in a safe environment because from this point forward in the Drill Manual, you will most often end up with a fully loaded (therefore potentially lethal) firearm in your hands at the end of the drill.

Read the disclaimer and the attached Dry Practice Guidelines. If, for whatever reason you don't have both, contact us immediately and we will get you a complimentary copy so you can safely practice these skills without becoming a danger to yourself or others.

DISCLAIMER you assume all liability for your actions, and by reading further in this manual you agree that by participating in any form of practice (live fire, dry practice or non-lethal training aids) you are accepting full respirability for your actions, regardless of the content in these manuals. Furthermore; you acknowledge that while those risks which are associated with any form of firearms practice can be minimized by proper use of the herein contained guidelines and the prudent use of common sense, it is impossible to eliminate all risks involved with firearms training. You further acknowledge that inherent risks associated with the use of firearms and firearm training aids (such as airsoft or other non-lethal training aids) cannot be completely eliminated without jeopardizing the essential qualities and benefits that proper firearms training, dry practice, and practice with firearms training aids can provide. By reading this Drill Manual and participating in any form of practice (live or dry) you hereby voluntarily release, forever discharge, and agree to indemnify and hold harmless Pulse O2DA, Inc., Pulse O2DA Inc. management, and its instructors, affiliates, associates, partners, and all staff from any and all claims, demands, or causes of action, which are in any way connected with your participation in said training, including any such claims which allege negligent acts or even omissions of Pulse O2DA, Inc., its designated managers, instructors, affiliates, associates, partners, and all staff. No live ammunition is to be used in your dry practice area. Only use live ammunition on a live-fire range where permissible.

Now let's begin: To start the loading sequence, face a safe direction in a designated safe training area (as stipulated in the dry practice guideline).

Start with a rifle in the field ready position as described in the chapter describing the various ready positions (chapter 05), and your magazines and magazine pouches filled as described in the chapter dedicated to the proper wearing of your equipment (chapter 02).

01 Start - Begin at the field ready.

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Next, present your rifle out to the ready position as if your life depends on it (as one day very well may - so start to ingrain the proper habits now).

02 Present Briskly - Present briskly to the ready position with your trigger finger straight and off the trigger.

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Why do we go through the trouble of doing everything correctly from a definitive starting point? Two reasons really:

1. Because every opportunity for practice is an opportunity for proper practice, and every time you practice properly, it practice brings you that much closer to perfection all the quicker. Instill excellence in all that you do, every time that you do it.

2. By beginning and ending a sequence in a specific manner every time you build what we call a trained response - an ingrained pattern if you will - and by ingraining this trained response you will be less likely to forget or skip the vitally important steps that are required to keep both you and those around you safe.

Why the ready position? Because it is a viable tactical position that you can use to challenge from if you need to as well as a suitable position to begin administrative acts from.

Now bring the rifle back into your personal workspace as we described in Chapter 03 on Chamber and Magazine Checks. If you will remember, this is an area where you have a lot of power and control, which also affords you the ability to work with your rifle in your field of vision, affording you the ability to continue to scan your environment, rather than having to look down at it thereby taking your eyes off of your surroundings.

03 Personal Workspace - Trigger finger straight and on its tactical reference point, rifle into your personal workspace.

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At this point you are going to start the administrative loading procedure (something you would do in the safety of your home, not during a gunfight) with a chamber check and magazine well check.

As I described previously, we conduct a proper chamber check and magazine well check in order to ensure that we know the condition of our firearms prior to manipulating them.

Is this a redundant administrative step? Yes, absolutely it is. But it builds good habits and lays the groundwork for safe firearms-handling skills if you are fully engaged and apply this step every time. Additionally, doing this gains you more proper repetitions in proper gun handling, which is a very good thing.

Allow me to be very clear on this point: I do mean every time you are administrative loading or unloading your firearm you should begin and end the process with a chamber check and magazine well check so you know beyond a shadow of a doubt the condition of your firearm.

Is the chamber check magazine well check something we would do in the middle of a fight or tactical situation? Certainly not, but it is both appropriate and a good habit to build during training as it allows you the luxury of knowing the condition of your firearm. Never skip this procedure in an administrative setting - it really is that important.

Note: The shooter in the following photos will be changing directions in order to show you the details of what it is he is doing. You should stay facing in the position you started, keeping your muzzle oriented into the safe downrange area that you selected as your safe downrange practice area (see the Dry Practice Guidelines).

Once the rifle is up into your personal workspace, and in your field of view, with your trigger finger straight and on its tactile reference point, the first thing we will do is conduct a chamber check.

Next, break your support hands grip on the handguard, and with your palm down, reach back to the charging handle and pinch the charging handle latch between your thumb and forefinger (alternately, with oversized latches you can face your palm towards you and use the meaty portion of your palm - below he pinky finger to achieve this).

Simultaneously, place your trigger finger under the B.A.D. lever (arrow pointing at the device in the inset) and lift upwards on the bad lever, towards the top of the receiver.

04 Pinch charging handle - Use your support hand trigger finger and thumb to pinch the charging handle latch.

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Once you have the charging handle latch firmly depressed between your support side trigger finger and thumb with your firing side trigger finger pre-staged on the B.A.D., pull the charging handle straight back towards the end of the stock until it comes to a complete stop.

If you are pressing into the B.A.D. as instructed, the bolt will now be in a position to lock in place. Ease the bolt forward (let the springs do the work via the charging handle until you feel it catch.

05 Lock - While lifting up on the B.A.D., pull the charging handle all the way to the rear, lock the bolt in place by easing it forward until you feel it catch, release B.A.D.

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Once the bolt has been locked, return the charging handle to its forward position and lock it in place (see the inset photo, which has been taken from above the rifle)

Now rotate the rifle in counter-clockwise manner, placing the ejection port upwards, so that you can see inside of it.

Try not to get into the habit of craning your neck over the ejection port to see inside. Instead, lift the rifle exposing the ejection port so that you can see it easily.

06 Return and Look Inside - Rotate the rife so you can see into the chamber area to ensure there are no rounds there.

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Could you use a different technique to check the chamber? Yes, however, we encourage you to use the same basic movements with all of your firearms-handling techniques in order to build solid and consistent firearms-handling skills, because doing so will gain you greater skills in faster than trying many different techniques. As you will soon see all of our firearms-handling skills revolve around the same basic techniques. By adopting them as your own, you will be able to fight in all conditions (gloved, wounded or not) and by keeping the techniques the same, you speed yourself along the learning path.

Once you can see into the chamber area, you will know if your rifle has a round in the chamber or not, to complete this portion of the drill simply check the magazine well. To achieve this, simply roll the rifle clockwise back to its starting position in your personal workspace, and insert a couple of fingers into the magazine well.

07 Mag Check - Roll the rifle clockwise back to the starting position in your personal workspace, insert a couple of fingers into the magazine well.

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At this point, we know we are dealing with an unloaded rifle, so at this stage, we can load.

To begin this process, keep the rifle in your personal workspace, and with the support hand, reach down and properly index the magazine in your magazine pouch, which is a skill that we shared with you in the previous chapter (08).

08 Index Magazine - Index the magazine correctly, it will come in handy the more you manipulate your rifle.

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With your appropriately indexed magazine, bring it up into your field of view so you can take note of the position of the top round in the magazine. In this case, you will note that the top round is on the right side of the magazine.

09 Check Position - Note where the top round is.

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Next, insert the magazine into the magazine well. Because the bolt is still to the rear (due to your chamber check) it does not require a lot of pressure to seat the magazine, so don't shove the magazine up into the magazine well with a great deal of force.

10 Insert Magazine - Because the bolt is to the rear, this will not take a lot of force to seat the magazine.

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Once believe that you have either felt or heard the magazine seat into the magazine well, give the magazine a firm tug down and away from the magazine well to ensure that the magazine is indeed seated.

Don't skip this step, as it is vital to ensure that the magazine is indeed seated, and it is the same motion you will use for your immediate action drills, which you will use shortly.

11 Tug Magazine - Give the magazine a firm tug to ensure that it is properly seated.

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If the magazine comes out, no worries, insert again and seat a little more firmly.

Do you have to start at the open bolt? No, you don't, but if you do start with a closed bolt, make sure you download your magazines to 27-28 rounds so that you can more easily seat the magazine (otherwise you are fighting the spring tension). Regardless, downloading to 27-28 rounds per magazine is a good idea for your reloads as well.

Once you know your magazine is correctly seated in the magazine well, simply place your trigger finger on the top of the B.A.D., and press downwards in order to release the bolt.

The bolt should slam home, stripping, and feeding the top round into the chamber in the process.

12 Depress B.A.D. - Depress the B.A.D. to let the bolt do its job - chamber the round.

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If you start with a closed bolt, you would use your support hand to rack the charging handle all the way to the rear, and then you would release the charging handle, allowing the rifle to chamber a round. Do not ease the charging handle forward - release it.

At this stage we have a filled magazine inserted a have let the bolt go home. Yet while we believe that we are loaded and ready to fight, we can't be sure without finishing up with a chamber check and magazine check.

We can hasten this process by simply conducting a proper magazine well check as follows:

Use your support side hand to grasp the magazine, while the firing side trigger finger indexes the magazine release button.

13 Depress Grasp the magazine with the support hand and depress the magazine release button.

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Once the magazine release button is firmly depressed, extract the magazine from your rifle.

14 Extract - Extract the magazine from the rifle's magazine well.

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Now take a look at the top round? Is the round on the top of the magazine in the same place? If the top round is on different sides, you can be sure that the rifle has fed the round into the chamber, and that your magazine is functional because the round on top is on the opposite side. If the magazine were non-functioning, the rounds would be wiggling around in the magazine, waiting to fall out.

15 Look - Look at the top round in the magazine, is it on the opposite side as the round that originally went into the magazine well?

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This technique chamber via magazine check also works for removable double stacked rifle magazines such as AK's, M1A's, as well.

To finish the loading procedure, simply reinsert the magazine into the magazine well, with a firm push and pull.

The firm push into the magazine well will ensure that the magazine seats properly, and the pull will confirm to you that the magazine is indeed properly seated in the magazine well.

16 Push and Pull - Reinsert the magazine with a firm push and pull (inset).

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At this point, you can be confident your rifle is loaded and ready to function for you when you need it to. If you choose to do so, you can close the dust cover at this time in order to keep the elements out of your upper receiver.

Next, we will cover the loading procedure without the B.A.D.

For those without the B.A.D., the process is as follows:

With your firing side hand, obtain a firm gasp high on the pistol grip, with your trigger finger straight and on it's tactile reference point, and your support side hand on the handguard, present the rifle out briskly, like you intend to fight, to what we call the ready position, keeping the muzzle oriented in a safe direction (your designated safe dry practice area (as outlined in the Dry Practice Guide).

17 Present Briskly Pointing in a safe direction, present to the ready position, finger off the trigger.

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Now drop the stock below your shoulder and under your armpit while elevating the muzzle upwards

As you can see in the below photo, the barrel is slightly elevated. The degree of elevation is not important, what is important is that your trigger finger is off the trigger.

18 Into Workspace - Keeping the trigger finger straight, bring the rifle just below your personal workspace.

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Note: In the following photos, the shooter will be changing directions to expose better views to the camera. You should keep yourself facing a safe direction.

Next, break your support hands grip on the handguard, and reach back to the bolt catch on the left side of the rifle just above the back side of the magazine release button (see inset). You will take note that the bolt catch consists of a large flat area above a short arm that has a cotter pin punched through it in order to allow the bolt catch to be levered at your choosing. Now take your support side thumb and press in on the lower thin lever arm (not the fat paddle top) maintaining a firm and constant pressure into the receiver.

Now break your firing side hands grasp around the pistol grip, and using your trigger finger and middle finger palm down, rest a finger on each side of the charging handle, depressing the charging handle latch with your trigger finger.

19 Press Bolt Lock - Use your support hand thumb to press bolt catch, and firing side hands trigger and index fingers to press the charging handle latch.

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Once you have the charging handle latch firmly depressed, pull the charging handle straight back towards the end of the stock until it comes to a complete stop (see inset).

If you are pressing into the bolt catch as instructed, the bolt will now be in a position to lock in place. Ease the bolt forward (let the springs do the work via the charging handle) until you feel the bolt catch.

20 Lock - While pressing on the charging handle latch, pull the charging handle all the way to the rear, lock the bolt in place by holding the bolt catch in firmly.

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Once the bolt is caught (you will feel all the spring tension that is pulling the charging handle forward suddenly stop) use your thumb to return the charging handle all the way forward and locking it in place (inset).

21 Return - Once the bolt is locked, return the charging handle to its foremost position and lock it in place by using your thumb pressing forward.

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Re-establish your firing grip, and rotate the rifle in counter-clockwise manner, placing the ejection port upwards, so that you can see inside of it.

Try not to get into the habit of craning your neck over the ejection port to see inside. Instead, lift the rifle exposing the ejection port so that you can see it easily.

22 Look Inside - Rotate the rife so you can see into the chamber area to ensure there are no rounds there.

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Once you can see into the chamber area, you will know if your rifle has a round in the chamber or not, yet this doesn't mean that the rifle is unloaded, so the next thing you will want to check is the magazine well. To achieve this, simply roll the rifle clockwise back to its starting position in your personal workspace, and insert a couple of fingers into the magazine well.

23 Mag Check - Roll the rifle clockwise back to the starting position in your personal workspace, insert a couple of fingers into the magazine well.

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At this point, we know we are dealing with an unloaded rifle, so at this stage, we can load.

To begin this process, keep the rifle in your personal workspace, and with the support hand, reach down and properly index the magazine in your magazine pouch, which is a skill that we shared with you in the previous chapter (08).

24 Index Magazine - Index the magazine correctly, it will come in handy the more you manipulate your rifle.

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With your appropriately indexed magazine, bring it up into your field of view so you can take note of the position of the top round in the magazine. In this case, you will note that the top round is on the right side of the magazine.

25 Check Position - Note where the top round is.

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Next, insert the magazine into the magazine well. because the bolt is still to the rear (because of your chamber check) it does not require a lot of pressure to seat the magazine, so don't force it up into the magazine well with a great deal of force.

26 Insert Magazine - Because the bolt is to the rear, this will not take a lot of force to seat the magazine.

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Once believe that you have either felt or heard the magazine seat into the magazine well, give the magazine a firm tug down and away from the magazine well to ensure that the magazine is indeed seated.

Don't skip this step, as it is vital to ensure that the magazine is indeed seated, and it is the same motion you will use for your immediate action drills, which you will use shortly.

27 Tug Magazine - Give the magazine a firm tug to ensure that it is properly seated.

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If the magazine comes out, no worries, insert again and seat a little more firmly.

Do you have to start at the open bolt? No, you don't, but if you do start with a closed bolt, make sure you download your magazines to 27-28 rounds so that you can more easily seat the magazine (otherwise you are fighting the spring tension). Regardless, downloading to 27-28 rounds per magazine is a good idea for your reloads as well.

Once you know your magazine is correctly seated in the magazine well, take the meaty portion of the heal of your support side palm, and firmly strike the larger top portion of the bolt catch. This action will be identical to the strike of the bolt catch from your chamber check (chapter 03, photo 05 and inset).

The bolt should slam home, stripping, and feeding the top round into the chamber in the process.

28 Strike Bolt Catch - To get a round in the chamber, strike the large upper part of the bolt catch with the heal of your support hand.

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At this stage we have a filled magazine inserted a have let the bolt go home. Yet while we believe that we are loaded and ready to fight, we can't be sure without finishing up with a chamber check and magazine check.

We can hasten this process by simply conducting a proper magazine well check as follows:

Use your support side hand to grasp the magazine, while the firing side trigger finger indexes the magazine release button.

29 Depress Grasp the magazine with the support hand and depress the magazine release button.

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Once the magazine release button is firmly depressed, extract the magazine from your rifle.

30 Extract - Extract the magazine from the rifle's magazine well.

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Now take a look at the top round? Is the round on the top of the magazine in the same place? If the top round is on different sides, you can be sure that the rifle has fed the round into the chamber, and that your magazine is functional because the round on top is on the opposite side. If the magazine were non-functioning, the rounds would be wiggling around in the magazine, waiting to fall out.

31 Look - Look at the top round in the magazine, is it on the opposite side as the round that originally went into the magazine well?

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This technique chamber via magazine check also works for removable double stacked rifle magazines such as AK's, M1A's, as well.

To finish the loading procedure, simply reinsert the magazine into the magazine well, with a firm push and pull.

The firm push into the magazine well will ensure that the magazine seats properly, and the pull will confirm to you that the magazine is indeed properly seated in the magazine well.

32 Push and Pull - Reinsert the magazine with a firm push and pull (inset).

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At this point, you can be confident your rifle is loaded and ready to function for you when you need it. If you choose to do so, you can close the dust cover at this time in order to keep the elements out of your upper receiver.

Finally, above at steps 13 and 27 (both dealing with having a filled magazine in the magazine well, without a round in the chamber), we walk you through the steps of getting a round in the chamber by allowing the bolt to be released from it's rearmost position (because we locked the bolt to the rear for the chamber check).

If (for whatever reason) the bolt were forward on an empty chamber when you wanted to load at this juncture (after the filled magazine has been inserted with a push and a pull), actually getting a round in the chamber (steps 12 for the bad and 27 without) would be as follows:

Using the support hand (this step applies for both the shooter who has a B.A.D. as well as the shooter without one) palm down and inward facing, and first pinch and then pull the charging handle in the same manner as step 04 and 05 in this chapter... EXCEPT instead of locking the bolt to the rear, pull the charging handle all the way to the rear until it comes to a stop, and then release the charging handle (don't control the charging handle forward, allow the buffer spring to do all the work).

Once the bolt is forward, you would simply continue the process according to your setup (from 13 for the shooters with the B.A.D. or from 28 for those shooters without the B.A.D.).