The New York Reload

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There are many, many ways to carry a readily available handgun for personal protection. There are just as many ways today to carry extra ammunition including speedstrips and speedloaders for revolvers and spare magazines for your EDC semi-auto. However, this has not always been the case and that fact led to the rise of a tactic known as the New York Reload.

What is it?

To put it country-simple, the New York Reload is a second (or third, or fourth) loaded handgun, ready to fire as soon as it is presented. If the first handgun is empty, jammed, or stripped away, the second one can be rotated forward like a shark's teeth and brought into action. It's not for everyone, but it's a solid tactic with a solid history.

Origins of the NYR

Gunslingers, soldiers, law officers, and those who just wanted to make it home alive have long carried multiple weapons and trained to transition back and forth between them. Back in the 1970s, the hardest hitting unit on the streets of New York was the New York Police Department's Street Crime Unit. Better known as SCU, the 60 or so members of the unit used advanced tactics for the first time including disguised officers trolling for muggers, and plainclothes intelligence units covertly shadowing suspects. The officers of this unit made as many as 8,000 arrests per year in some of the most dangerous circumstances imaginable.

The New York Reload - christophereger - scu-812.jpg

The standard issue firearm of the day was the Smith & Wesson Model 10 for uniformed officers and J-frame snubbies for detectives. With modern revolver speedloaders not being common issue until the end of the decade, most officers carried their reloads in loops or dump pouches. This made reloading a revolver in a high stress situation a very slow, dicey, and by no means guaranteed proposition. If the officer was in plain clothes and carrying loose rounds in their pocket, the prospect of a reload was even more daunting.

The simple answer of course was just carry to multiple revolvers. A second handgun cold be produced and fired from a holster in 2-seconds or less by a trained shooter. This was much faster than kicking open the cylinder of a Smith K-frame, ejecting six spent rounds, and reloading six fresh ones from your pocket or belt one at a time. Hence, the New York Reload was born

The New York Reload - christophereger - two-snub-nosed-revolvers-814.jpg

The NYR Today

This tactic sprang from a bad set of circumstances that have since abated. Today CCW holders, LEOS and everyone in between can inexpensively obtain spare magazines and speedloaders that can cut the reload time dramatically. Larger magazine capacities also make it less likely that reloads absolutely have to be carried. However, the New York Reload is still very, very fast, simple to pull off, and devastatingly effective. Carrying a second handgun, commonly referred to as a BUG (Back-Up Gun), gives a redundant layer of security that can save your life if your main gun is lost, destroyed, or out of action. It can be used with either revolvers or semi-autos. Of course, two handguns of the same caliber makes for a good interchangeability and two of the same type make for great muscle memory.

In short, it's not 1971 out there, but the New York Reload still works rather well.

Just can it with the Serpico remarks if you do, will ya?

The New York Reload - christophereger - 800px-serpico-sw36c-813.jpg

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October 14, 2012  •  11:02 AM
I thought this was going to be about how NYPD actually were trained to reload their revolvers. New York's Finest carried their authorized small frame off-duty revolvers (eventually a small frame S&W or Ruger) as back-up guns in the worst precinct houses for decades...

Dump pouches were the state-of-the-art for revolver-wearing uniformed officer's kit requirement. Reloaders were being tested in the field but were never loved. Six-round leather dump pouches were stuffed with seven rounds of .38 Special +P semi-wadcutter. This maintained noise discipline.

The reload process itself was to hold the Model 10 (a heavy-barreled blue S&W K-Frame with fixed sights) in their left hand keeping two fingers through the frame, after ejecting the spent cases with their left thumb, to keep the cylinder open. Next, they'd massage two of the seven rounds dumped into their right hand (hence "dump pouches" that drop their ammo down when opened) between the thumb and two adjacent fingers, and push them, two at a time, next to each other into the cylinder. Three times, six-rounds later, you're good to go!

Oh, that seventh round? They were told they'd drop one in the heat of a shootout...

Just a reminder that police are notoriously bad shooters (civilians are seven times more likely to hit their target in similar shooting incidents), and almost all the liberal-appointed white collar brass as well as most of the below-average rank-and-file city officers generally do not want civillians to be allowed to possess firearms.
December 8, 2012  •  04:13 AM
I was assigned to the NYPD Tactical Patrol Force(TPF) and worked a number of times with citywide anti-crime(street crime). We as well as Highway, Aviation, Harbor, Mounted, K9, Emergency Services and Bomb Squad all fell under the command of Special Operations Division(SOD). In the late 60's and early 70's we were required to carry our authorized service revolvers, which were either S&W model 10's and Colt OP, or off duty revolvers, which were Colts DS and Smiths mod 36(Chief). I've never seen off duty Rugers used.

Police did have good firearms training and were required to qualify at Rodman's Neck at City Island when the weather permitted during summer months and at an indoor range in the winter. In addition I was given shotgun training each year and shot full auto as well. I believe police are better shots and are better equipped for shooting incidents. You must remember that we hesitate to use deadly force and are hindered by all kinds of regulations where the bad guy has no rules. This is a disadvantage that cops must deal with, but for the most part police are better shots and have superior knowledge regarding their weapons. I must admit though that there are some police officers who are a disgrace and care nothing about developing the skills needed to properly use their weapons.

As far as civilians possessing weapons police officers in large part support them. I sure damn well do. They have brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, cousins, uncles and friends who also have a right to defend themselves with a gun if necessary, but it's the politician-like upper command types who don't like the civilians having guns. As a matter of fact, they do what they can to restrict ownership of guns by retired police as much as they can.

Our dump pouches only carried 6 and mine couldn't fit a seventh and we were never allowed to use +P's in our service guns, only 158gr semi wad cutters. For a time they did allow us to carry a second gun that wasn't authorized provided we also had our authorized weapon. I chose to carry my Browning HP.

The dept was constantly testing guns and equipment, but was very slow in authorizing any changes. A friend of mine was shot and killed in 1980, while chasing 2 robbery suspects with his partner. They split up and during a running gun battle he knelt down behind a parked vehicle to reload his revolver, but the perp who had a high capacity automatic went behind the vehicle and killed him.

At that time many police officers were begging for automatics, but at the very least pleaded for speed loaders, which still took many years to authorize.
January 5, 2013  •  09:44 PM
IMO, the best argument for the NYR is the case of your primary weapon has a complete number of mags will help, you need another gun.
January 14, 2013  •  07:53 PM
During my 1966-1986 years of street patrol in uniform, my colt J-frame 6 rd 'off duty' was always on my cross draw side. In summer months I had it on the inside of my shirt in my waist. Very uncomfortable but better than being outgunned.
My Service revolver was the S&W .38 4" hvy barrel. GREAT 6 shooter. Still is after all these years.
PD regs required us to have at least a double 'Dump' pouch containing 6 rds in each pouch, of REGULATION .38 158gr LN ammunition. Those Wad Cutters were used at the range and REGULATION 'street ammunition' was issued after each training cycle. I also wore my loop strip of 12 rounds. Those +P rounds were unheard of in my time ,as far as I can remember. Cops lousy shots??? LOUIS are you on kool aid? In fire fights, NYPD cops were usually the winner. 1-2 rds fired at approx 7-10 feet was an average. The NYPD cop walked away~~The perpetrator was carried away in a bodybag. The score card still reads that way today.
NYPD taught an excellent training course at Rodmans Neck. It took NYC a long time to give city cops the semi-autos they have today. It's without a doubt in my mind that some of those Killed LOD would still be around, if they had them much earlier.
As far as cops not wanting the public armed? I think you're wrong on that issue also. It's only the political hack Police Commissioners, appointed by liberal Mayors that make those comments. The average street cop knows they can't get to an emergency situation in 5 seconds. If a bad guy is trying to assault you on the street or coming into your home,a telephone in your hand is not as good as a GLOCK 9mm.