Handi-Racker: Help Racking Semi-Auto Slides – Guest ‘Tuber Justin Opinion

by Justin Opinion on October 28, 2013

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By Justin Opinion

$24.95 http://www.handi-racker.com/

A simple push forward slides the rack with Handi-Racker.

A simple push forward slides the rack with Handi-Racker.

Ladies, have you ever been advised to “just use a revolver” because you have trouble racking the slide on a semi-automatic handgun? Men, ever feel frustrated that you can’t grip the slide as firmly as you once did? Ladies in particular have often been advised away from the semi-auto handgun because they have trouble gripping and racking the slide. But before you men snicker too much – I personally know some gentlemen that have lost hand strength in their golden years and have difficulty with semi-autos. Many men also lose grip strength due to illness or injury.  I know young athletic men that have experienced an injury that temporarily leaves them unable to rack a semi-auto.

Luckily for us all, there is a pretty slick little product available that addresses this problem for everyone – the Handi-Racker. Handi-Racker is a simply made and simple to use product, about the size of a deck of playing cards.  Made of a polymer/plastic material, the Hand-Racker is lightweight and should not harm the finish on even your most valuable gun.  It is small enough to carry in a pocket or purse, and certainly an easy fit for the range bag.How it works is simple. The plastic block has a channel cut into one side that is tapered drastically at about the halfway point. The front end of the gun’s slide fits into the wide end, and is stopped by the taper.   To operate, simply hold the Handi-Racker in place with a couple of fingers atop the device (taking care to keep your fingers behind the muzzle),  place the end of Handi-Racker against any firm straight surface (table top, door jamb, wall, refrigerator) and push the frame of the gun forward.  The smaller end of the channel allows the barrel of the pistol a place to go as the slide is forced back.

The Handi-Racker comes in three sizes to fit most handguns, from micro pocket pistols to full sized 1911’s.

The Handi-Racker comes in three sizes to fit most handguns, from micro pocket pistols to full sized 1911’s.

Available in three sizes, there is a Handi-Racker to fit most handguns, from micro pocket pistols to full sized 1911’s.  But I must qualify “most”, because I found a few guns in my own collection that Handi-Racker (large) would not fit, and they are not rare or modified handguns –  Glock 21 and Smith & Wesson M&P 45, to name two.  In both cases, the Handi-Racker was just a wee bit too narrow to accept the slide.  I suppose one could modify it to fit – if one were skilled with a small grinding tool.  There is certainly room to add an extra-large size to the choices for the Handi-Racker.

Before trusting the device to any of my favorite handguns, I first used it on a couple of range rats – like my Glock 34 and 17.  Once I was convinced that it would not mar the finish, I got brave and used it on others like a 1911, a Sig Sauer P226.  Handi-Racker is gentle on your gun’s finish and won’t hurt it a bit.  However, I would recommend that you inspect it before using to be sure no dirt has found a home in it, because that could cause scratches.

I was skeptical and cautious about using any device that might place my fingers in close proximity to the muzzle.  But used as directed, the Handi-Racker is safe and keeps your fingers well behind the hole where the bullet comes out.  That said, I would strongly recommend supervision and coaching for inexperienced people before letting them use it with live ammo.  But it is very easy to use, even for those who need it most.   Rather than relying on hand, arm or even upper body strength, the user simply pushes the gun forward using their regular grip.  You can even use your body weight to assist.  It truly does make racking the slide, even with a heavy recoil spring, a simple task.

Handi-Racker in medium and large has long holes cut through the top to accommodate the front sight of your gun.  The small model has a groove for the sight, but is not an opening – the logic being that the micro and pocket pistols generally have much smaller sights.  I found these sight holes and channels to be adequate for all the guns tested – including a Glock 34 with an after-market (Truglo) sight that is about 1” long.

I think that Handi-Racker is a great little product, and even if you are not “racking impaired”, there is a place for it in your range bag.  During my testing of the Handi-Racker, I brought it along with me to the range.  While shooting, I experienced a malfunction that could send one in search of an armorer or gunsmith.  My video shows the real-life use of Handi-Racker to easily and safely clear the malfunction and get on with shooting!  Reason enough to keep at least one of these tools on hand.

Rather than relying on hand, arm or even upper body strength, the user simply pushes the gun forward using their regular grip.  You can even use your body weight to assist.

Rather than relying on hand, arm or even upper body strength, the user simply pushes the gun forward using their regular grip. You can even use your body weight to assist.

I give two thumbs up to Handi-Racker, even though there is still some room for improvement.  First, make an extra-large.  My Glock 21 was too big for the large size, and it is a pretty common pistol.  Second, add some checkering or serrations to the rear half of the top of Handi-Racker to give the user a little better purchase on it.  It’s not too bad as-is, but could be better with less slip.  Lastly, $25 each is a fair enough price (I think ingenuity should be rewarded) but consider offering all three sizes (or hopefully four in the future) at a value price.  In summary, Handi-Racker is a great example of the American tradition of seeing a problem and solving it.  The weak may or may not inherit the Earth… but at least now they can rack the slide on their pistol!

Check them out at: http://www.handi-racker.com

 

Justin Opinion is a life-long shooter and firearms enthusiast.  NRA Life Member, and member of IDPA and GSSF, among others.  Whether it’s a competition, target shooting and plinking, reloading, or just tinkering at the workbench, Justin stays immersed in the gun world.  Son of a master gunsmith, but making no claims to that expertise himself, he enjoys sharing what he knows and learns with other firearms enthusiasts.  Reviewing shooting products, demonstrating a skill, promoting safety and responsibility, and showing how fun it is – these are how we usher in the new generation of American gun owners. To see more of what Justin Opinion is up to, visit The Justin Opinion Channel on YouTube

 

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger October 28, 2013 at 3:49 pm

They should make an extra large, I agree. But I find the Glock 21 easy to rack in part because it’s already so big.

Roger

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Paul October 29, 2013 at 10:12 am

My head hurts from having seen this.

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Michael Murray October 29, 2013 at 10:33 am

Wow! We have taught many people how to rack a slide and all but a very few can do it with the proper technique. Will the tool and a vertical surface always be available for clearing malfunctions and mag changes?

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bob October 29, 2013 at 10:39 am

Just freaking man up. Maybe for an old person but wow.

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poppajoe49 October 30, 2013 at 7:31 am

Yea bob, how about those of us with carpal tunnel? Man up is easy enough to say, but when you start getting older, or your body starts having pains because you actually do hard manual labor for a living like I do (construction) something like this might be appreciated. Also, women will find your comment to “man up” a little offensive.

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Lisa October 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

I am an FFL and a Firearms Instructor, and I frequently have customers who struggle with racking the slide on the semi-autos. I applaud you for your innovation on this, but I am a little hesitant to recommend it for one primary reason… What are they supposed to do if they get into a self defense shooting situation and need to rack the slide? They can’t tell the bad guy to wait while they pull out their Handi-Racker? I fear their dependence on this little tool could get them killed! PLEASE, if I am wrong, help me understand. I would love to show this to my students if I thought it would be a good all-around tool.

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poppajoe49 October 30, 2013 at 7:37 am

Lisa, you’re not wrong, I had that exact thought when I started reading this. My only solution for that would be to carry “locked and loaded” then you could rack the weapon before leaving the house. I know it’s not the optimal safety carry mode, but it would solve the problem. I know with my .380, which has an exposed hammer, it would be simple enough to lower the hammer and set the safety, so I could carry more safely.

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Bobo October 31, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Papa,
If you AREN’T carrying with one in the chamber you aren’t ready for a defensive shooting.
One in the pipe IS the optimal safe carry mode.

As for this device, it’s a nice idea for use on a range, but I agree with Lisa, if you have a malfunction and need to (re)rack the slide in a defensive situation you aren’t going to have the time to pull this device out and use it.

Not all semi-auto’s have equally “difficult” to rack slides, you need to find one that works for you (in operation, reliability and accuracy in your hand) if you choose not to carry a revolver.

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Methadras October 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

I think that most semi’s should come with an attachment point or even with a small handle slide rack extension. I know you can buy them or even make them yourself, but at least provide an attachment point.

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EdNope October 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I think this is a great idea! My wife can’t rack my XD45, but she loves to shoot it. We tried the XD40, but she couldn’t rack that either. Walking past the Glock case at a local gun store, we stopped and tried out a few Glocks – the Glock 23 .40, is easy enough to rack, even for my wife, so she is now a proud Glock owner (I’ll stick with my XD, but hey, we should all get what works for each of us).
If we couldn’t find a an auto she could rack, we’d buy this tool. I still love my revolvers and my wife wants a .357 for her purse.

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Mark Johnson October 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Thank you for that report. Your wife’s .357 will experience a lot fewer “failure to..” (feed, eject, rack) events, and the first shot will count for a lot. Yes I am partial to the simpler weapons where there is less to go wrong.

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Rocky October 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Since one might not always have their ‘Handy-racker’ available, in an emergency, One could always use the old stand-by, of using any solid flat edged surface as a stop for the front sight and push downward to rack the weapon.
I first learned this trick after being introduced to one of the lessor known attributes of a military M1911A1 holster, while in the Military Police, in the Army, ie; a small piece of wood strategically placed, with-in the .45′s holster. Turning the pistol 90 degrees (butt outward), while still partway in the holster, and then pushing downwards briskly, will allow the front sight to catch upon this ‘ledge’ and cause the weapon to ‘rack’ a round into the chamber.
note; it is important to Keep your Finger OFF of the Trigger, during this application (with the holster), as I met one man who was ‘playing’ fast draw, with another MP and accidentally blew a through and through .45 cal. hole in his thigh. It left a Huge Scar !

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John October 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Nice thought…but IMHO very limited in use. Proper racking technique (palm-down, thumb facing chest) enables virtually all shooters, including those of very small stature, to charge their weapon successfully. The question of carry is solved simply by using a weapon that employs a firing pin safety block, as in the case of many SIGs. Charge and de-cock; you’re safe and RTG. And any semi-auto that doesn’t lock the slide to the rear after the last round is fired from the mag should be seriously questioned as a carry. Moreover, it should be considered on an individual basis whether or not someone lacking the strength to charge their weapon possesses the strength to fire multiple controlled rounds in the first place.

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WatchingAmericaDie October 29, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Ok, little boys. I’m impressed with your testosterone and your sage consideration of the issue. Now shut the fuck up, willya? For those who NEED it, ANY alternative is a GOOD alternative, and every one of you smart guys and you tough guys oughta know it.

Questions?

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poppajoe49 October 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

I went to the website to look at how this was presented, and having built websites myself, I was disappointed. The page is so wide that you have to scroll side to side in order to see everything. This is unnecessary, and could be very easily remedied, and well it should, as it can turn off visitors who will tire of the unweildy site.
Just my opinion.

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John November 1, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Press down the CTRL key and tat the – key it will make the video fit your screen.

Press CTRL and + to zoom in or restore.

Just a little trick I learned the hard way.

John

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Dave October 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

Suggestion: Add an optional fixed mount over a plastic bucket. The bucket could be filled with sand to catch an inadvertent discharge. You’d have the perfect load/unload station for a family or small organization at very low cost.

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ZimmerliP October 30, 2013 at 7:55 am

After almost 50 years of whacking a keyboard, my hands have developed arthritis. My wife’s Taurus .380 is hard for me to rack. This seems like a great product. I’m not a weakling – just physically challenged. If this will do the trick for me, GREAT! Thank you WatchingAmericaDie… I might not use the same language, but I appreciate the sentiment.

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Schizy October 30, 2013 at 10:59 am

Good idea. One could be easily constructed of hardwood as a DIY project.

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vishnu October 30, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Absolutely. In fact, I saw a discription of just such a home-made version of this type of accessory described many years ago in a shooting magazine. I believe that the fellow who made it was a bullseye competitor.

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Stu October 30, 2013 at 11:05 am

The idea has merit, but violates every bit of range rules and common sense for muzzle control. Most of us would be cognizant that we are slamming home a live round. How would you like to be the guy on the other side of the lane barrier when the shooter decides to use that bulkhead to rack the slide. I am not one to tempt fate. I have never had an AD. However, I have observed an AD. Hence, I make every effort not to be on the wrong end of the barrel when it happens, and it does. The muzzle belongs down range. Period. Lastly, if you can not safely operate the equipment, as it was designed, then you have no business operating that machine. Baseball players are fitted for bats, bowhunters are fitted for bows and so it should be for firearms. Inability to safely operate within your ability, and the machines ability, is a liability to yourself and those around you, no matter what gizmo or trinket is sold.

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Alan Craft October 31, 2013 at 7:24 pm

In my view,AD does not exist.Only ND (negligent discharge).

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Will October 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Put a belt loop on that and then you can rack it fuss free or with one hand

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Chris October 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm

“Really?”

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Dansan October 30, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Had to be a Glock user to make this pussicaton device… *palm to face*

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Wayne October 30, 2013 at 5:44 pm

I have terrible spine (lumbar and cervical) trouble that drains my arm and hand strength. The only one I really have trouble with is a KEL-TEC P11. I just super glued some rubber to the serrations on the slide and problem solved. Now if I could lighten the trigger I might even keep it. I have others that don’t even come close to being a problem, only the P11.

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Alan Craft October 31, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Hi, this is just my two cents worth.If a person doesn’t have the strength to rack a standard auto,they very well may not have the strength to shoot the firearm. In short,”limp-wristing”.

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Kat November 2, 2013 at 1:36 pm

I have several Beretta 380 Cheetahs 84 and 85 that are just miserable to rack. Sometimes it’s not the strength required to grip and rack the gun, it’s the rough texture/indentations on the slide. I have full strength and control, I just find the sensation most unpleasant.

Hubby bought a piece of PVC pipe, about 3′ long, just the right diameter for the muzzle, but not the front site.
Stand the pipe vertical on the ground, put muzzle in the end and push down.
Complete control and the business end is facing down in the case of an AD. Easy peasy, safe & easy!

Another solution …. I got a Beretta 86 Cheetah 380 with the TIP UP BARREL —> don’t have to rack at all!

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HeavyMetal November 7, 2013 at 11:53 am

I am an FFL dealer and NRA instructor that works with people both M&P with disabilities. I am always looking for some type or rig that will help my clients enjoy the shooting sports safely. This product has helped me in the shop and in the field. I recommend these to anyone who struggles with any kind of disability. I have mounted these on clients holsters for field use and applied velcro to the back for use on tactical vests etc.

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