Often when shooters think about and drill for a tactical reload they’re focusing on a quick, smooth movement that drops the old clip and seats a new one as fast as possible. A tactical reload is more than just the muscle memory behind the action, though. It’s a series of steps that helps you to be an effective combatant, reloading your weapon while consolidating gear and scanning for additional targets. Travis Haley, founder and CEO of Magpul’s training division Magpul Dynamics, walks us through the drill and breaks down the elements of a properly executed tactical reload in this exceptionally education video. Travis mentions a few excellent points that are worth exploring in-depth and expanding on.
Magazine Management Getting set up for a tactical reload drill gives you an excellent chance to take a moment and think about the way you store and manage your extra clips. While you’re at the range, with plenty of space to spread out, it can be easy to set your loaded mags off to one side and grab one as needed. In a firefight, though, you’re going to be carrying all of your gear, and if you have four spare magazines and one in the weapon you’ll need to think about where and how you’ll be carrying them all. It’s just as important to drill for which magazine to grab as it is to drill for speed and accuracy during the loading process.
Target Acquisition Tunnel vision effects every shooter, and to a certain extent it’s a necessary evil. In order to draw a bead on a target you need to be able to focus, but if you never learn to break that focus and scan your surroundings then you won’t be effective in combat. A tactical reload drill executed the way that Mr. Haley demonstrates is a great tool for pulling yourself out of the tunnel and really driving home the fact that you need to be constantly aware of your surroundings, especially when you’ve just finished emptying your weapon at a threat.
Tactical Reload vs Combat Reload One thing this video does extremely well is highlight the differences between a tactical reload and a combat reload. Anyone who has ever taken part in a stage shooting sport might be able to list the differences between the two, but a lot of shooters assume that they’re the same thing. When you drill for a combat reload, like Travis hints at in the video, you’re mainly drilling for speed and muscle memory. His tactical reload drill really drives home the point that, when you have the time and space for a tactical reload, you should be smart and do it in such a way that you make it easier on yourself later on, in the heat of the moment, by consolidating your gear and leaving a clip at your hip.