The slide stop actually performs five functions if we don’t count the takedown feature.
If all it’s meant to do is act as a slide stop, then why go to the trouble of machining it to protrude from the frame and then go to even more trouble to cut a non-skid surface on it? If all it’s supposed to do is stop the slide, it would have been faster, simpler, and cheaper to just machine it flat.
Remember that it was originally a military contract pistol. As with all contracts, time is money. Machine work is money. Machinists are money. Mostly, time is time. Contracts not only have to be filled within budget, they have to be filled on time. Any unnecessary work eats time and money.
The functions of the slidestop:
1. The slidestop is a slidestop. It keeps the slide from running off the frame when the gun goes to battery.
2. It’s a slide lock. It keeps the slide to the rear when the magazine is empty.
3. It’s a camming surface that works with the lower barrel lug to get the barrel into the slide.
4. It’s an anchor for the link to get the barrel out of the slide.
5. It’s a slide release.
And for those who insist that, because releasing the slide with the slidestop shortens the runup and isn’t as reliable in chambering the cartridge and putting the slide in battery…I’d suggest that if your gun won’t reliably go to battery using the stop to the release the slide, your gun needs a bit of tweakin’ because it ain’t right.
I also don’t think it boils down to the gross vs fine skills. Reloading the pistol via slide release is considered that the fastest, most fumble-free method of releasing the slide is with the left thumb just as the magazine is slammed home as the pistol is rotated back into firing position. That is a gross motor function. There is a reason the vast majority of people who shoot for a living use this very method. I can’t figure out why people have never noticed that the slidestop is right there under their thumb when they slap the magazine in and roll the pistol back to vertical. I mean…it’s RIGHT THERE. You’d have to try to keep your thumb off of it.
There’s also the question of using the slingshot or overhand opposition method on a pistol with a slide mounted safety…like the Beretta 92 FS/M9/M92…and inadvertently placing the gun on safe
should the shooter ever have to switch platforms without the luxury of time to learn a new manual of arms. Under stress, we tend to do what we’ve done
I’ve always felt that the slidelock feature is more of a “You’re screwed” indicator than anything else. It’s a stoppage. That it’s an engineered stoppage is irrelevant. It’s still a stoppage no matter how you cut it. When at all possible, it’s better to decide when to reload instead of letting the gun decide for you, but when that time comes the slide release is many’s preferred method of reload. If you choose not to use it, that is fine but don’t tell others it should not be used. You have the option, train, and decide for yourself which method you prefer.