Occasionally, we see a shooter on the range who is unfamiliar with semi-auto pistols and how they operate. They insert a loaded magazine into the pistol, aim at the target and try to press the trigger. Nothing happens. Most of them realize that they should also “run” or “rack” the slide to strip the first round off the magazine and load it into the chamber. This procedure also cocks the hammer or internal striker, ready to be released when the trigger is pressed. However, many shooters don’t realize that to do this efficiently and successfully, they need to mimic the way the pistol operates during the actual firing, ejection and loading sequence. If they ease the slide forward slowly, it often results in a failure to feed the cartridge into the chamber properly (a jam). I describe the correct procedure as being like a bow and arrow: With the gun pointed downrange, finger off the trigger, pull the slide all the way to the rear with the support hand (left hand for a right-handed shooter) and let it go. This should correctly strip the top cartridge off the magazine and load it into the chamber at the rear end of the barrel. With the manual safety in the “off” position, the pistol will now fire when the trigger is pressed.