There is no need to be gentle. A brisk overhand (right handed*) or "slingshot" (left handed*) without "riding" or "easing" the slide forward is preferred. * This references the practice of "racking" the slide with the right (ejection port) side down, to develop (the so called) muscle memory for stoppages, where having the ejection port "down" allows gravity to assist in clearing FTEs.  Almost all IDPA* shooters use the slide stop (or "release" if you prefer) to drop the slide on "emergency/SLR" reloads, simply because it is faster**. Wear on the slide, or the slide stop/release is not an issue***. Even if it were, the stop/release is generally a softer metal than the slide, so the majority of the wear would be on the stop/release. The stop/release is a pretty inexpensive part, even on a 1911, and really cheap on a Glock. *USPSA/IPSC reloads are almost always "speed" reloads, so the slide is not released. The majority of reloads in IDPA are SLRs. **There isn't much debate about the stop/release being faster. The debate occurs among the (super-cool) "tactical" shooters/instructors where the claim is that: (1) You have to use the overhand/slingshot (and not the stop/release) because (in a fight for your life) your hands will be be covered, and slick, with sweat/blood/other bodily fluids. To which I say, BS. Because, first - if you have ever had your hands covered in blood, you know blood is sticky - and second, even if your hands are "slick" the slide stop is a more "sure" method of slide release. To prove this to myself, I (and a couple of other experienced (IDPA SS/EX) shooters) did an experiment. We used Glock pistols with "extended" slide stops. We put a mixture of dish soap (Dawn) and water on our hands to make them "slick". Each shooter performed a SLR fifteen (15) times using the "overhand" release, and then fifteen (15) times using the slide stop. The "slide stop" method resulted in significantly fewer "errors" and less time than the "overhand" method for ALL shooters. (2) You have to use the overhand/slingshot (and not the stop/release) because (in a fight for your life) because the using the slide stop/release is a "fine motor skill" and the overhand/slingshot is a "gross motor skill"; and under stress your FMS goes to goes to crap, and you will eff-up dropping the slide (using the stop/release). To which I say, BS. Because, first - pulling the trigger is a FMS, so if your FMS's go to crap you are going to eff-up pulling the trigger (which occurs a lot more often than a SLR, more on than in #3). Second, if you have ever SO'ed any action pistol (Steel, USPSA - but particularly IDPA), people just don't eff-up an SLR using the stop/release - ever. I've seen thousands of SLRs, with (guessing) 97%+ using the stop/release - and to be honest, the "overhand/slingshot" shooters don't eff-up the "release" either. What does get effed-up (even among experienced shooters from time to time) is "hitting" the magazine well cleanly - which is, of course, completely independent of the release method. (3) Well, #3 really isn't a claim among the super cool tactical shooters, but rather more of something for your consideration. Although there may have been some occurrences, I can't find a single case of where a non-LE/non-MIL (ie "civilian") had to perform a SLR in a DGU. Being in a DGU event is extremely^3 rare for the "general law abiding citizen", then having to fire a shot in the DGU is rare, less than 1 in 10 for DGUs, then having to perform a SLR during a DGU is virtually non-existent. *** I have a G34 (the one pictured in the avatar) with 70k+ rounds through it, and probably 10's of thousands of slide releases via the stop/release through dry-fire practice, practice and competition - I'm still using the original stop/release and slide with zero issues. (Although I have replaced a locking block and slide lock). Although, I will concede that using the "overhand/slingshot" is the most "universal" method. Different firearms have the stop/release in differing locations, and some are not ambidextrous. So if you are going to use a "pick-up" firearm (as in battle), or you aren't going to practice enough to instinctively "know" where the release is, or if the release isn't particularly conducive to use in stress (like, for me, the S&W Shield), by all means use the overhand/slingshot over the stop/release.