Practice this important aspect of safe gun handling with an unloaded pistol until you can perform each of the steps described below with skill and confidence. But before you do anything with the pistol, first read completely through this manual.
1. Be certain the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction. (See "The Basic Rules of Safe Firearms Handling," page 35.)
2. Move either the right- or left-hand safety lever fully downward to its "safe" position so that the white dot is fully exposed. (See Figures 2 and 3 on page 11.)
3. Press the magazine latch inward from the left side and remove the magazine from the frame. NOTE: The magazine is designed to fall free of the frame of its own weight when unloaded, the slide is locked open and the pistol is held in the normal firing position, but you should always prevent possible damage to the magazine by not letting it drop to the ground unless rapid reloading is absolutely necessary.
4. Place eight (8) or fewer .45 Auto cartridges into the magazine from the top.
5. Insert the magazine into the frame, taking care that the magazine is locked in place by the magazine latch. Slamming the magazine into the frame forcibly is not necessary.
6. Hold the pistol firmly in the shooting hand but do not touch the trigger. Keep the pistol pointed in a safe direction and the safety "on." With the thumb and forefinger of the other hand grasp the rear of the slide and pull the slide to the rear as far as it will go (see Figure 5, below and "Slide Retraction Warning", p. 20). When released, the slide will fly forward to strip the top cartridge from the magazine and chamber it. The safety mechanism drops the hammer automatically as the slide moves forward while simultaneously blocking the firing pin.
The trigger is inoperable when the safety is fully engaged in its "safe" position (lever fully down and white dot exposed; see Figure 2 on page 11). WARNING: The pistol is ready for instant use in the single-action mode once the slide moves forward if the safety is in the "fire" position. Be careful!
7. If the pistol is not to be fired immediately, the safety should remain in its "safe" position (see Figure 2, p. 11).
8. If the pistol is to be fired immediately, the manual safety can be rotated upward to its "fire" position (see Figure 3, p. 11). The firing pin is still blocked at all times by the internal firing pin block unless the trigger is pulled all the way to the rear.
9. The pistol is ready for instant use once the safety is disengaged. When the pistol is in the "uncocked" mode (hammer forward), the first shot can be fired double-action by pulling the trigger all the way to the rear, which cocks the hammer and then fires the pistol. Subsequent shots are fired single-action until the magazine is empty, the hammer being cocked by the slide as it recoils from each shot. Note that the trigger pull is much lighter for these subsequent shots.
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