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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:

Page 11

• 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.

Page 14

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.
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.
 

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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.
I once witnessed a woman who obviously had never shot a handgun before cut two bloody lines across her weak thumb when she crossed her weak thumb over her strong hand and directly behind the slide. Luckily for her, her thumb was just high enough to be cut but not high enough for anything worse to happen.

Not sure which of the 11 or 12 guys on the line you're referring to. The top pic below shows the fellow who's gripping his wrist with his weak hand. The bottom pic below shows the grip of the closest man to me on the line. I was actually standing on top of the left range berm when I took the pic.

The wrist grip in the top pic is a concern. It looks like he's grasping his wrist low enough that the slide wouldn't contact his weak thumb. Still, these are all seasoned troops and someone should have corrected his hold in BCT or AIT. He must have been a supply guy.

The other grip is not a concern. The weak thumb is below the slide.

I couldn't see any man other than the wrist grip guy who had his weak thumb crossed over behind the slide.

The pictures are grainy because they are the actual pixels from the scanned 35mm negative.
 

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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.
That's precisely how I hold my Micro 9 by trapping my strong hand thumb under my weak hand thumb so the strong hand thumb doesn't bump the safety on during recoil. As in the picture, the thumb is under the slide far enough to avoid any contact with the slide.
 
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