Which brand of revolver speedloader is the best?

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Lots of people ask me about speedloaders – as in “what speedloader should I buy?”

Well, there are really only a couple of choices these days: the push-type (typified by Safariland) and the turn-the-knob style (like the common HKS.) There have been others; the superb SL Variant models are no longer imported, the Maxfires don’t – at least in my mind – qualify for the “speed” part of the name. The “Jet” speedloaders come in and out of popularity, but for our purposes are close enough to the Safariland Comp III that we’ll consider them at the same time.

Personally, unless I’m using a gun for which they don’t have a model, I use only Safariland speedloaders. Here’s why.

First, they’re simply a whole lot faster to use. Not only are they faster to release their payload than any of the turn-type speedloaders, they hold the rounds in a solid, fairly rigid package. That rigidity makes it faster to align the bullets with the chambers than the “floppy” HKS style. This is an important, and often overlooked, advantage.

Second, they’re more secure. Not everyone agrees with me; over the years I’ve listened to people bad-mouth the Safariland speedloaders, with the statement that they release their rounds too easily — when in a pocket or dropped, the story usually goes.

I’ve been carrying Safarilands on my person for about 15 years now, and I’ve never had a single round release when I didn’t want it to. They won’t, unless you forcibly jam an object into the release button which is in the middle of the rounds. In contrast, I’ve had more than one HKS let go while in the speedloader pouch — and more often in my pocket!

Dropping? When this argument comes up I pull out the oldest, most used Comp II that I have. (It’s been used for practice for almost two decades, and I stopped counting when it reached 5,000 reload cycles. I keep it loaded with dummy rounds – regular bullet, case, but no primers- for practice.) I drop it on the floor or ground, then pick it up and throw it on the ground; if there’s a wall nearby, I’ll either kick it or throw it into the wall. I’ve done this little demo hundreds of times, and I’ve never had a round fall out.

However, the only way to get this kind of performance and reliability is to load the things correctly! Safariland doesn’t help their case, as they sell competition “loading blocks” that force you into loading the things improperly. You see, most people will put the rounds into the speedloader then turn it face-down onto a table so that they can push on the button to lock the rounds. This is almost guaranteed to leave a round (or two or three) that isn’t fully seated, and when the speedloader is dropped it/they fall out. No wonder people think they don’t work well!

The key is to hold the speedloader BULLETS UP, and push the button up while simultaneously turning it to the right. You’ll feel the rounds “lock in”, and they won’t come out until you want them to!

UPDATE: I’ve now seen several guns whose cranes (yokes) have been bent apparently due to the side loading forces of Maxfire speedloaders. I strongly recommend that you not use Maxfires!

-=[ Grant ]=- 

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About the Author:

Grant Cunningham is a renowned author and teacher in the fields of self defense, defensive shooting education and personal safety. He’s written several popular books on handguns and defensive shooting, including "The Book of the Revolver", "Shooter’s Guide To Handguns", "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals", "Defensive Pistol Fundamentals", and "Practice Strategies for Defensive Shooting" (Fall 2015.) Grant has also written articles on shooting, self defense, training and teaching for many magazines and shooting websites, including Concealed Carry Magazine, Gun Digest Magazine, the Association of Defensive Shooting Instructors ADSI) and the popular Personal Defense Network training website. He’s produced a DVD in the National Rifle Association’s Personal Firearm Defense series titled "Defensive Revolver Fundamentals" and teaches defensive shooting and personal safety courses all over the United States.
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