On mine I found it easier to come down from above the slide with thumb and first finger and pushing the latch down while pulling the slide back slightly. For me it was to hard to pull the take down latch down far enough from underneath.
First, I'd like to thank everyone that wrote me suggestions and ideas. After posting on another thread, credit goes to a member here by the handle @CJS3, my take down lever issue has been resolved...well sort of.
It was suggested that the lever might be off center. Though hard to tell by the naked eye, I noticed that the lever seemed pinned to the side closer to the trigger. I took a flat head screwdriver and inserted it in between the trigger and the take down lever. I was then able to move the lever forward ever so slightly centering it. At that point, I was able to lower the lever. That's the good news.
The bad news however, even with the take down lever down, was that I noticed the slide would not move forward. After researching, my issue is due to the insanely tight tolerance of the barrel and the tabs it's supposed to lock in to. To get around this situation, I needed to hit the back of the slide forward with quite a bit of force while keeping the take down lever lowered to move the slide forward. Only then can I remove the slide.
On reassembly, once I put the slide back on, the take down lever stays in the down position. To fix this issue, I needed to lock the slide back and push back on the barrel. Only then will the lever click up into place. The exact problem can be seen here:
Any one else have/had this issue? Will the tolerance between the barrel and the tabs decrease once the shoot the gun?
@jkv45: The video was for reference only. Not my gun but yes the one in the video does look dry. I've oiled my gun but I still have to hit the back of the slide to disassemble and push the barrel back until it's seated properly on assembly.