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Which speed loaders are best?

Whether you are a competition shooter or an avid hunter, speed is always of the essence. If you can’t get your rifle or pistol aimed fast enough, you could miss the only real shot that you had to bag the big one.

To save you some time in fumbling with ammunition boxes or extra magazines, you’re going to need a speed loader. These small and lightweight devices can reload your weapon in seconds. A good choice for pistols is the MakerShot magazine speed loader.

What to know before you buy a speed loader

The caliber of your weapon

Not all speed loaders are made the same. Just as you get different kinds of loaders, so too do you get loaders for different calibers. While a speed loader works the same way for a 9 mm and a .308 pistol, you must use the corresponding loader. It’s important that you know the caliber of your weapon, and whether a particular loader will be compatible. Remember to always store your weapons and accessories in a lockable gun safe.

Different kinds of speed loaders

Depending on the weapon you have, there are several types of speed loaders available. If you have a revolver, the loader will house all the rounds in a rubber ring. For magazine-fed weapons, there are magazine loaders that deposit live rounds into the firearm’s magazine in seconds.

Easy on the fingers and prevents jamming

A speed loader doesn’t only help you reload ammunition quickly, but it can also take the strain off your fingers. Ammunition is rather hard, and prolonged reloading can start to take its toll. By using a device to help with speed, your fingers will thank you. The speed loader also prevents the weapon from jamming, as each round will be inserted into the magazine with accuracy.

What to look for in a quality speed loader

Universal speed loader

While it is important that you know the rifle or pistol’s caliber, that can be made a lot easier with a universal speed loader. These loaders have been specially designed to load a variety of calibers quickly. Whether it is high-powered rifle ammunition or blank pistol rounds, a quality speed loader can work with all types of ammunition.

The loading mechanism is easy to use

The primary function of a speed loader is to make it as easy and fast as possible to refill your revolver or pistol’s magazine. But it also needs to be easy to insert rounds into the speed loader. A quality speed loader will have a wide enough opening at the top that rounds can be inserted with minimal effort. 

Sturdy construction materials

The worst thing that can happen while speed loading is a piece of the loader breaking off and entering the magazine. For that reason, a quality speed loader is made from durable materials and won’t easily chip or become damaged from prolonged use. It also must be resistant to external forces as well as weather.

How much you can expect to spend on a speed loader

The average price of a speed loader will depend on the manufacturer and the caliber weapon it is made for. Affordable speed loaders retail for between $8-$10, while more complex loaders can retail for around $20 or $30.

Speed loader FAQ

Is there a downside to using a speed loader?

A. The loader makes the entire process faster, but it does add an extra step when reloading. You also need to carry the speed loader with you when hunting, which can add bulk or weight to your kit.

What’s the highest caliber rifle that can use a speed loader?

A. Speed loaders work best with smaller handguns like pistols or revolvers. But that doesn’t mean rifles can’t benefit from them as well. There are speed loaders for 5.56 mm and 7.65 mm caliber rounds, but the caliber speed loader that you get supports up to 12.7 mm (.50 cal) rounds.

What are the best speed loaders to buy?

Top speed loader

MakerShot magazine speed loader

MakerShot magazine speed loader

What you need to know: Fast and effective, it will save time and your thumbs.

What you’ll love: Available for a wide range of calibers, this speed loader will insert ammunition into your handgun in seconds. The loader allows you to drop rounds into each magazine without having to press down each round with your thumb. It is made from a high-quality polymer that should last for a long time. The loader can also be used with one hand or assisted with a table.

What you should consider: It is not a universal loader, as you need to buy one specific to your weapon.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top speed loader for the money

HKS 10-A revolver speed loader for S & W

HKS 10-A revolver speed loader for S & W

What you need to know: The perfect speed loader for revolvers.

What you’ll love: Made to quickly reload your revolver, this speed loader can carry up to six rounds at once. It holds the ammunition securely until the release button is pressed. It is compatible with most .38 or 357 caliber guns, as well as with Smith & Wesson and Taurus handguns.

What you should consider: Some users have indicated that the rounds can become unseated.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

IJW Loaders magazine speed loader

IJW Loaders magazine speed loader

What you need to know: The best speed loader to use for double-stack pistols.

What you’ll love: Compatible with a huge variety of handgun magazines, this speed loader is made from injection-molded plastic in the U.S. It doesn’t hold any ammunition but makes the reloading of the magazine much easier. It has a wide opening that fits over the magazine, taking the strain off your thumbs from punching the rounds down.

What you should consider: This speed loader won’t work with double-stack Glock magazines, and you’ll need to buy the LL2 loader.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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