How to Bomb an IDPA Reload with Retention

IDPAOpens in a new tab. is a Practical Shooting Sport which is modeled after real life scenarios. One of the common actions in this sport is a reload with retention. The objective is to eject a magazine, with ammunition still in it, and stow it on your body. A fresh magazine is then inserted into the gun so that you can get back into the fight.

I don’t like to perform this type of reload. More often than not, I feel as though I can run my gun dry and reload from slide-lock faster than I could perform a reload with retention. Every now and again that choice is taken away from me and this type of reload is mandatory.

During the January New Holland IDPA Match, I stepped up to the line and faced a stage which required not only one, but two reloads with retention. While I have seen a couple of different techniques, the reload itself isn’t very complicated.

When the buzzer sounded, I drew my Glock 17 and got down to business. I was off to a great start and began the reload process in short order. The magazine cleared the gun, just as it should have, and then things went downhill. I wasted over five-seconds completing the reload. Feeling as though I had to make up time, I picked up the pace a bit. The second reload was even worse than the first. All said and done, I spent over 10 seconds performing two reloads that should have been done in half that time.

The issue was that rather than use my cargo pants pocket to stow the ejected magazine, I opted to use my vest. I hadn’t practiced using my vest in this manner and I spent what felt like ages just finding my pocket. Things got so bad that I actually had to take my eyes off the gun and look down to see what was going on. The only way that things could have been worse is if I had dropped the magazine onto the ground, kicked it down range by accident, and been penalized for not being able to retrieve it.

The moral of the story is simple. If you are shooting a standards stage, try not to deviate from what you’ve done in practice. It also wouldn’t hurt to develop a little experience in using various pockets to stow magazines.


Hi There, My name is Walt White and as the name of this blog suggests, I am a Pennsylvania resident. In addition to having numerous hobbies that I discuss on my blog - I’m also the father of three little girls and a pitbull.

Recent Posts