How To Load a Semi-Auto Handgun Magazine

Loading a semi-auto handgun is completely different from loading a revolver. You load a revolver by inserting bullets into the chambers of the handgun’s cylinder. A semi-auto handgun on the other hand has a single chamber. Bullets are contained in a magazine that is inserted in the hand grip of the gun.

Before you can load a magazine into a semi-auto handgun, you have to learn how to load the magazine itself with rounds (bullets) first. You need a bit more hand and muscle power to properly load a magazine.

The magazine has an internal spring that provides resistance as you insert each round. You might find it easy to insert the first two rounds but the succeeding rounds can prove difficult. You need to use more force and dexterity from your fingers as you continue to insert the rounds because you are literally pushing on the rounds that you have already inserted to make space for the remaining rounds. The more rounds a magazine holds, the more difficult it will be to load the last few rounds. Be careful also not to get any part of your hand caught between the bullet and the chamber as you push and insert each round because it will surely hurt.

You can use a speedloader to facilitate the loading. This is an accessory that is not included when you purchase a semi-auto handgun though.

And after a lot of pushing, hopefully with no bruised or torn fingers, you are now ready to load the magazine into the semi-auto handgun.

  1. Eject the empty magazine from the handgun by pressing the magazine release button.
  2. Hold the handgun in your dominant hand, the handgrip laying flat on your palm.
  3. Hold the loaded magazine with your other hand. One side of the magazine is grooved while the other side is flat. The flat side of the magazine should align with the back side of the magazine well. Push the magazine into the well with the palm of your hand until you hear a click.
  4. If there is another round left in the handgun you must chamber that round. You do this by releasing the slide to push the round into the barrel. The handgun is now ready to be fired.

If you are not ready to use the firearm and you just want to remove the round that is already in the chamber, all you have to do is release the magazine. Next, pull the slide back to the rear. If there is a round in the barrel, it will be released. Lock the slide. Visually check the chamber to see that there is no round left inside. Do a physical check by sticking your finger inside the barrel to feel for a lodged round. Observe safety precautions at all times when handling firearms. It will not hurt to do a triple or even a quadruple check every time.


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