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Before a Kel Tec slide stop can be used as a slide release, it must be adjusted. Since it is designed to stop or hold back the slide, and not to release the slide with thumb pressure, it takes a little work that the factory chooses not to do, mostly for cost reasons. However, the KT setup works perfectly as a release also.

Line Parallel Diagram


The reason to adjust the slide stop to release with thumb pressure is simple: someday, you may need to use it this way.

The more reliable "Retract the slide (letting the slide stop drop out of the way) and release the slide" method of closing the slide is preferred for many reasons.

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However, if you have ever tried one-handed drills, simulating that your weak hand is injured or otherwise occupied and unavailable to grasp the slide to initiate closing it, you will know that anything you can do to make your gun work with one hand instead of two is a good thing for personal defense. There are other ways to initiate slide closing, such as dragging your rear sight across the edge of the heel of a shoe, but a functional slide release is the easiest. There is really no downside. Making a stop release in no way that I know of causes the part(s) to fail any sooner.

On some Kel-Tecs the slide stop is very hard to release when the slide is locked back. Besides being inconvenient this could pose problems for a fast emergency reload. This happens because the two mating surfaces have too much friction between them.

The simplest way to overcome the problem is not to use the slide stop lever to release the slide, but rather drop the empty mag (which stops upward pressure on the slide stop) and release the slide by pulling back on it with the weak hand, then let it go. The slide stop will drop out of the way because of its return spring and the slide will close properly.

Of course, you can perform the same pull back maneuver if you have just inserted a fresh magazine and the slide will close properly. Some combat schools teach this as the preferred method for a speed reload because it is almost fool proof, especially compared to working with a hard to operate slide stop.

However, there is nothing wrong with having a slide stop that works with just downward pressure from your thumb. To accomplish this on a KT, you can adjust the slide stop lever and/or notch on the slide. The slide is easier, so let's look at this first.

Unload and field strip the gun. With the barrel and recoil springs out of the slide, identify the notch on the slide that engages the slide stop. Examine it under magnification. You may see a little cut or indentation there, caused by the upper edge of the stamped slide stop.

Otherwise, the area may just be rough or have too vertical an angle for an easy release.
Take a small, fine flat file and smooth this area, perhaps changing the angle slightly from being so vertical. Do not remove a lot of metal. Then polish this area with some 600 grit wet/dry sandpaper, or a Dremel if you have one. Degrease, re-blue with cold blue.

Lubricate with a thin film of grease.

Assemble the gun and check the slide stop function. If it is still too difficult to operate with just your thumb, you will need to work next on the slide stop. If the slide releases fine now, but the slide stop still has the sharp edge on it, it will eventually put another corresponding notch in the slide, and you will be back where you started.

If you are really, really careful, you can work on the slide stop while it is still in the grip, but it is a lot easier and more effective to remove it from the grip. This requires removing the frame from the grip.

With the slide stop out, examine it closely under magnification. It is a stamped part that likely has a sharp edge at the top of the portion that engages the slide. This bites into the slide, sometimes creating a mating indentation in the slide. This causes so much friction that on some guns it takes a gorilla and a six-pack of bananas to release the slide from the stop.

Reducing this sharp edge to a gently rounded one, and polishing the whole mating surface, will produce a slide stop that should release easily with just thumb pressure.

Re-blue, lubricate, and reassemble.

Check for correct functioning, especially when you slam a full mag into the mag well with the slide locked back. Does the slide close without you touching the stop? If so, you have probably gone too far. Adjust by putting a bit of an edge back on the top of the slide stop.
Now you are totally in control of your slide release.

Note: This article was retrieved from the former KTOG.org Tec Werks section
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