When you spend years familiarizing yourself with the mechanics of shooting, it’s easy to believe that the techniques you’ve become accustomed to are the only way to travel. In my case, the notion of ignoring a pistol’s slide stop/release in favor of “power-stroking” the slide—gripping the slide and pulling it rearward to disengage it from the release—seemed completely unnecessary. After all, manufacturers have been integrating slide stops in their handguns for over a century. Why would they do that if there was a simpler, more reliable way to release the slide? Moreover, you can operate the slide release and maintain your grip with only one hand. The power stroke technique requires two. But the more I thought about it and practiced with it, the more the power stroke technique began to make better sense.

Power Stroke: Skip the Slide Stop
Though a perfectly functional part of a pistol’s design, the slide release may not serve you as well under pressure as the super-reliable power stroke.

Why not use the slide stop/release?

Not every pistol’s slide stop lever is located in an accessible spot or is easy to use. Particularly in pistols designed for concealed-carry, the lever may be more ergonomic than functional. Though this may only be a slight inconvenience at the range, it could mean a lethal delay in a defense scenario. The power stroke technique gives you more surface area to grip, which, when your adrenaline is pumping and your fine motor skills are diminished, can be life-saving.

Why should I switch to the power stroke?

Even if your pistol’s slide-release lever presents no difficulty to operate, the power stroke has one major advantage: It’s functionally identical to the way in which you clear jammed cases and stovepipes, check your pistol’s action, and charge your gun. Master this one technique, and if your skills are called upon in a crisis, you’ll instinctively react the same way for each operation.
This article is courtesy of Nate Granzow from The Arms Guide.