Rob Pincus demonstrates proper malfunction clearance of a red-dot equipped handgun, using a Springfield Armory XD(M)® OSP™ (Optical Sight Pistol), which allows attachment of popular red dot optics directly to the XD(M)® 4.5-inch pistol.
The Wrong Way
During shooting drills, when there is a malfunction, Rob often sees shooters tap the magazine and then blade their hand in front of the optic and use the optic as a leverage point to rack the gun. This works in one instance: if you have an empty chamber. But if you have a different kind of malfunction that requires you to clear the chamber, by using this motion, your hand blocks the ejection port, thereby making the situation worse.
You want to get out of that habit, and if you’re new to optically sighted handguns, make sure you never get into that habit.
The Right Way
Here’s what you should be doing in order to clear the chamber: rip the magazine out, then get a good overhand grip on the slide and around the optic, and use the slide as much as you use the optic. This means you are behind the ejection port when you rack and clear, then get the magazine and reinsert it firmly. Grab the slide, come up and over, again grabbing behind the optic, pull and release. Do not use the optic as a leverage point.
You don’t want to block the ejection port but you also don’t want to touch the front of the optic lens, transferring oil, sweat and other substances from your hand onto the optic, therefore clouding it. Soon the optic will be unusable.
Actually, whether the handgun is equipped with an optic or not, always grab the slide in an overhand manner behind the ejection port so that anything that needs to come out of there can do so easily, cleanly, and as quickly as possible.