When to Reload
If you ever get in a self-defense situation, you might have to reload to continue the fight. There are two types of reloads—the speed load and the tactical reload.
The speed load is conducted when the gun has been run completely empty, while the tactical reload is when the shooter tops off the handgun at an opportune moment.
Most concealed-carry advocates practice both types of reloads to be prepared in case the situation ever arises. While standing at the range and popping a fresh magazine or speed loader into a gun will help develop speed, it won’t be realistic in an actual situation as it is never advisable to reload unless you’re behind cover, or at least concealment.
There are many ways to practice reloads from cover, such as kneeling behind the shooting bench at your range or setting up barriers to represent cover, but I prefer to practice with dummy rounds around the house. This provides as real a scenario as possible, and helps determine good cover in a location where it might be needed. Training outside, while beneficial, is more difficult as your neighbors might not understand the situation. But this can be remedied by participating in shooting groups such as the International Defensive Pistol Association.
You should also practical reloading on the move, as most fights are not stationary events even though it is best to utilize cover in most situations. Train for every situation, and you will be ready if it ever happens.