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.
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.
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