In the bottom picture, it appears the shooter is holding the gun incorrectly. His left thumb is over his right, meaning it is pointed at the slide. I had my thumb almost taken off this way when the slide hit my left thumb. Always, always right over left, which ensures the thumb points away from the slide.During my time ('70s and '80s) our issue sidearms were Colt 1911s which were referred too simply as forty-fives since it was the most common .45 caliber handgun in existence. Of course, they were WWI and WWII vintage. I heard horror stories about the M9.
The Army's small arm training has changed over the years. Like you, I was trained to load on a closed slide by racking the slide. Unlike you, I was trained to depress the slide stop to get back into the fight after a reload.
Copied from FM 23-25:
• 12. METHOD OF OPERATION.—a. A loaded magazine is placed in the receiver and the slide drawn fully back and released, thus bringing the first cartridge into the chamber. (If the slide is open push down the slide stop to let the slide go for ward.) The hammer is thus cocked and the pistol is ready for firing.
h. To release the slide from the open position, it is only necessary to press upon the thumbpiece of the slide stop, then the slide will go forward to its closed position, carrying a cartridge from the previously inserted magazine into the barrel and making the pistol ready for firing again.
Who is that handsome devil with the poor trigger discipline?
Annual forty-five qualification at Graf.