A tactical reload is a fundamental component of tactical training, which involves swapping the magazine while it still has ammunition to replace it with a full magazine. In this guide, we’ll explore the best ways to practice tactical reloads. 

A brief introduction to tactical reloading

Tactical training is centered on engaging with and outwitting enemies or opponents. The tactical reload is not the same as an emergency reload. While a tactical reload should be done rapidly, the key difference lies in the fact that the magazine still contains ammunition. Rather than waiting to run dry, the shooter decides to replace the magazine at the best possible time to ensure they have access to more rounds. It is common to perform a tactical reload during short pauses or intervals in firing so that the shooter is ready to release multiple rounds when shooting recommences. It’s often safer to have a full magazine than to enter stages of combat or competition with a half-empty magazine. 

Time is of the essence in scenarios where tactical reloads would come into play and this is why training is crucial. 

The best ways to practice tactical reloads

Tactical reloads are often conducted under pressure and the aim is usually to carry off the move as quickly and efficiently as possible. Even the most experienced marksmen can find it challenging to perform a perfect tactical reload under pressure and time constraints. Training is designed to help individuals to hone their skills, increase speed and learn how to reduce risks. Training is also an effective means of enhancing safety and protecting the shooter. 

  • Solo training

If you are experienced in firearms training, you can practice tactical reloads on your own relatively easily. Replace an opponent with a target and engage a few rounds. When you’re ready to replace the magazine and perform a tactical reload, drop the shot magazine in a pocket and install the new magazine, ready to shoot. Repeat this exercise several times. If you’re practising a tactical reload, it’s also beneficial to use the sessions to develop better multi-tasking skills. You can practice shooting with your non-dominant hand while you reload to improve your balance and get used to firing without looking at the magazine. 

  • Range training

Shooting at a range is a very popular activity. If you visit a range to develop your skills, you can add specific, targeted exercises to work on individual elements or maneuvers, such as the tactical reload. Keep practising until you have the muscle memory and the speed and confidence to complete it effortlessly in a matter of seconds. 

  • Training drills

The tactical reload is a well-known feature of combat shooting and it is a critical skill for marksmen who engage in combat to master. Training drills not only teach shooters how to perform a tactical reload but they do so in situations and conditions that mimic real-life scenarios. Reloading a gun at a range with no pressure and nobody else around is very different to trying to reload when enemies are pressing down on you, shots are being fired and fractions of a second can make the difference between life and death. For those who require the skills to shoot in these situations, training drills that feature all the variables are an effective means of preparing individuals. Shooters who undertake advanced tactical training will learn to reload on the move, how to decide when to reload and how to do it as quickly and safely as possible. 

Why is tactical reload training important?

Training is essential for anyone who handles and uses firearms. Training improves safety and teaches individuals who shoot to respect the firearm and to use it wisely. When it comes to tactical training and exercises designed to develop skills, including performing a tactical reload, the primary aim is to ensure that the shooter can reload the gun rapidly so that they are able to continue to engage in fire. In real-life combat or law enforcement scenarios, individuals may find themselves needing more ammunition to protect themselves, their colleagues or members of the public. Being able to reload swiftly could make all the difference. Reloading can be a challenge but it becomes particularly difficult when there is intense pressure on the shooter to act quickly. Training, exercises and drills help to increase confidence and improve decision-making as well as to hone practical skills. 


A tactical reload involves replacing a shot magazine, which still has some rounds remaining, with a new magazine. The objective is to swap the magazine quickly to facilitate seamless shooting and ensure the marksman has access to sufficient ammunition. Training plays a crucial role in developing skills, preparing individuals for high-pressure scenarios and ensuring safety. 

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