Empty Gun Reload (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 - 15 EMPTY GUN RELOAD The next thing we will talk about is what you can do when your rifle goes empyt and you need to preform an Empty Gun Reload.

As mentioned before, each of the three types of reloads available to you have their own proper application. These techniques we are giving you require your use of thought in applying the correct technique for the appropriate situation.

The upside to an empty gun reload is two-fold, it takes less time than a tactical reload, and is both easier and faster to perform.

The downside is that you have allowed your rifle to run dry, any seeing as how you are shooting when you find out that you have run your rifle dry, you may find that you are forced into this empty gun re-load at a very inconvenient time - in the middle of the flight. So it is best to be proactive and perform the tactical reload or a speed reload when, and if, the situation permits.

Because this reload is going to put you at a distinct disadvantage for a short period of time (you will be empty for a second), you have to make a conscious and proper decision as to when you want to risk it. You would typically end up with the empty gun reload because of two reasons, you did not train properly to ingrain the necessity for tactical reloads or speed reloads, or you are involved in a gunfight that is hot, heavy, and prolonged.

How about round counting to prepare for the right reload at just the right time? To be perfectly frank, I don't believe I have yet met a person who has claimed that they can accurately count rounds in the middle of a gunfight. If the professionals that I have had the opportunity to work with don't even bother, I suggest you do the same.

To set your rifle up for the empty gun reload, begin with an empty firearm (unload if you need to). Next, download (remove the rounds from) a magazine. Face downrange, and then safely insert the empty magazine into the magazine well. With the support palm down like you have been practicing all along, rack that bolt to the rear via the charging handle. You will find that on an empty magazine, the bolt locks to the rear, just as the rifle was designed to do. Another way is to simply start with an unloaded rifle, lock the bolt to the rear, and then you can simply insert an empty magazine into the magazine well. Once you have the rifle setup, point your rifle down range and make sure the trigger is pressed so you can properly simulate what the symptom of an empty gun reload will feel like.

The first thing you will typically notice while you press the trigger is... nothing. You will feel a dead trigger, with little or no movement in it at all, just like in your type-2 and type-3 malfunctions.

If you are in the middle of a fight for life and your gun suddenly stops functioning, you will probably try the immediate action malfunction clearance, followed by the remedial action malfunction clearance.

If, however, you are in the middle of the fight and you know in the back of your mind that you are about to run dry because the fighting has been hard and heavy, and then, sure enough you feel the bolt lock, you may want to simply perform the below steps. If you are unsure, malfunction clearances are in order.

You could further facilitate the proper action by simply raising your muzzle slightly to see if there is brass in the chamber area or not, if you do see brass, you have a malfunction, if the bolt is to the rear and you don't see any brass, you need an empty gun reload.

Again, the look to see technique will only work for you if you have trained for it under realistic circumstances, so you must have a sufficient amount of RBT, or you probably will not see what it is.

CAUTION! At the end of this drill you will end up with a loaded firearm (if you are using live ammunition) so ensure that you do NOT press the trigger, and that you ARE practicing in a secure and safe area like a range or an area that has been approved for safe dry practice according to the enclosed Dry Practice Guidelines.

With that in mind, let's cover the empty gun reload:

In real life you would have been in the middle of engaging a target when you run into this reload. So to stat the drill, you should be pointing in at your target, with your finger on a dead trigger, and the bolt locked back on an empty chamber.

01 Pointed In - You will have been shooting the next thing you will notice is a dead trigger.

RDM16 1144

The first thing that you need to do once you feel the dead trigger, is to make your trigger finger go strait back to it's reference point. It is here that the rubber meets the road. Either you were expecting the reload, or you weren't. If you were, you could simply move into the empty gun re-load. If you weren't expecting it, you may want to go with the simple malfunction clearance.

If you end up going with the malfunction clearance, it's not a huge deal, because what will happen then is that you will conduct your immediate action, then either realize that the bolt is not moving, and then begin your remedial action, which will indeed get you back up and running (although slower than simply skipping straight to the empty gun reload).

In the end, you are going to have to make an adult decision for yourself, to attempt a empty gun reload (which will not necessarily clear a type-3 malfunction) or move forward with an immediate action malfunction clearance.

02 The Solution - Break firing grip while indexing fresh magazine and pre-staging thumb, just like in the speed reload.

RDM16 11146

Just like before, we generally do not want to eject that depleted magazine until you have a fresh magazine in your hand ready to fill the now empty slot left by your depleted magazine.

The primary reason for this is because we want to keep all of our techniques as simple and identical whenever possible. The secondary reason is that it is useless to broadcast your state of affairs by an empty magazine hitting the floor when you don't have something ready to replace it immediately. Again, while only a very slight tactical advantage, you should take every advantage you can get. Understand also, by ejecting early, you are not gaining any time, nor are you gaining any tactical advantage - you are only training yourself in a different way to reload while you are broadcasting that you have ejected a magazine. Is it possible that after a lot of shooing someone could hear your ejected magazine hitting the deck? Certainly. Is it probable? I can't say for sure, but I have heard it both in training as well as in real life, and I am a firm believer in stacking the odds wherever and whenever you can.

My advice to you is to keep all of your gun handling the same, and don't eject that magazine until you have another magazine in your hands ready to swap out.

As you quickly extract the properly indexed magazine out of the pouch and quickly bring up to the rifle, you should simultaneously pressing the magazine release button firmly (just like you learned in the speed re-load) and hold be button firmly down until the magazine is fully clear of your rifle. When this drill is executed correctly, the two magazines should pass one another in mid air.

03 Passing in Mid-air - When executed properly, the two magazines will pass each other in mid-air.

RDM13 4105

Just like during the speed reload, bring the magazine out of the magazine pouch quickly. Bring that magazine quickly up to the magazine well, and put on the breaks to assure everything is aligned properly.

Once things area aligned and you are inserted about an inch, firmly insert the magazine to ensure it is seated.

04 Insert - Move quickly to get to the magazine well, then slow down for the actual alignment, then firmly insert the magazine to ensure it is properly seated.

RDM16 13149

There should be no surprise here, just as previously in your loading procedure, once you have firmly inserted the magazine into the magazine well and you believe that it is seated, tug firmly on the magazine to ensure that it is seated properly. If it is not correctly seated and comes out in your hand, lesson learned... Once again align and insert even more firmly the next go around.

05 Tug - Pull firmly on the bottom of the magazine to ensure it is seated properly.

RDM16 14150

Once you have competed the tugging on the magazine and you know it's seated, you need to get the bolt forward.

To do this, if you have a B.A.D. use it by pressing down on it, if you don't have a B.A.D. use the heel of the hand to slap the large paddle like surface of the bolt catch as you have been shown earlier in this manual.

Finally, reestablish your support side hand's grip on the handguard, and reassume pointing in.

06 Finish - Back on target, back on trigger.

RDM16 16152

CAUTION!!! At the end of this drill you will end up with a LOADED firearm (if you conducted the drill correctly), and while you do need to finish this drill with your finger on the trigger and ready to shoot (just as with the empty gun reload you will shortly learn), we strongly advise you NOT to make shooting after clearing a malfunction a reflexive habit.

Again this is because shooting after a reload or malfunction clearance should never be reflexive, because in the time it takes to clear a malfunction or conduct a reload the situation could have changed sufficiently to warrant NOT shooting. Is it likely that you will still need to shoot? Certainly, but the point here is that you MUST make a cognizant decision to do so, not build in a reflex of automatically shooting. It is conceivable (it has happened in the past) that the situation could have changed sufficiently that lethal force is no longer needed. And, under such a scenario you will end up reflexively launching a round either into someone who has quit fighting, or is no longer there to shoot at, or who has been replaced by an innocent person.

As mentioned previously, the solution for this is to train to sometimes make the cognizant decision to (while on a range) shoot, and sometimes to make the cognizant decision NOT to shoot. Again the decision to shoot should always be a conscious and purposeful decision on your part.