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I am new to this forum and also new to gun ownership. I just picked up my Ruger American pistol and have not had a chance to go to the range. The gentleman that sold me the pistol suggested that I get used to dry firing the handgun without ammo, obviously before I go to the range. I am left handed and it seems that when the slide is pulled all the way back the release on the right side is extremely hard to push to engage the slide and chamber a round. It is much easier from the left side, but that is for right handed use. With the magazine out it becomes easier. I did not know if anyone else has encountered this, or is it just me.

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The cutout on both sides are different. The slide actually catches on the left side. It does get easier after a couple hundred rounds downrange. I am right handed, but have tried it out just for function. Gripping right handed, it is actually easier for me to release the right side slide catch with my right index finger than it is to be gripping left handed and release with left thumb. I think it is the different angle that my index finger is engaging the catch.

When new, it was almost impossible to release the slide holding left handed and with the left thumb.

I usually use the slingshot method anyway.

I also wonder if some who complain of the slide going into battery when slamming home a magazine is not inadvertently hitting the slide catch with their gripping hand. Not that I think that is necessarily a bad thing. No need to slam home the magazine anyway. That has never happened to me, but I don't try to jam the magazine through the ejection port either!

A suggestion I do have for new shooters of the RAP is that no matter how big or small your hands are, try out all the grips. If there is any discomfort on knuckles or the grip angle seems to be throwing off your natural aim or that you have to readjust your grip, put on the small grip and spend a couple sessions using it. The small grip seems to work best and give me the most natural feel and aim with my RAP compact. Everybody is different though.

My preference is usually to have more distance between the backstrap and trigger break and gravitate toward bigger grips to change that distance, but is not a problem with the American. The small grip just seems more ergonomic and I do not have any thumb knuckle issues with her big butt.

Have fun with your new RAP. It is a great pistol, highly underrated.

EDIT: Also, my rear sight was way far left from the factory. It moves really easily for adjustment.
 

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I have a RAP and am also left handed. I never use the right side slide release. I reach underneath the pistol and release the left slide release with my right index finger. Sounds awkward but works for me.
 

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Just got out the RAP and gripped in left hand, used left thumb on right slide release. Still a little tough, but easier than when new. Also, still in the left hand and operating right slide release, used right thumb to release and also used the right index to release. It is workable.

I think the modified sling shot coming over the top with thumb and index towards you to release the slide is the easiest technique to practice and be adaptable to most pistols.

When just closing the slide without chambering a round, best to pull back the slide a little while using the release as suggested above, and guide it to battery. Don't like to slam home the slide with an empty chamber.
 
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