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Welcome to the forum.

An empty magazine allows the follower to rise to the point where it can push the slide hold open up when the slide has been racked, or the last cartridge in the magazine has been fired and the slide cycled to eject the empty cartridge case.

Many firearms will then allow the slide hold open control to move up and engage the slide, holding the slide open and ready for you to manually eject the magazine and insert a new full magazine. When you then push the slide hold open control down with your thumb or another finger, it will slap closed under control of the recoil spring and load the top cartridge from the newly inserted magazine.

Do not "ride" the slide by holding it by it's serrations as it closes. If you find it difficult to push the slide hold open control down, grab the slide with your thumb and index finger by the serrations and pull it back until the hold open control disengages, then release the slide to let it slap closed, loading the first cartridge from the new magazine.

Consider taking a NRA Basic Pistol class. Your instructor will go over many things including safety, marksmanship, cleaning and firearm operation of a number of designs. Its a fun and useful class.
 
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