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Speedloaders: which brand is best?


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: Safariland and HKS. (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, and the Australian "Jet" loaders are close enough to the Safariland Comp III that we'll consider them the same.)

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, 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. 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 10 years now, and I've never had a single round released 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. I've had more than one HKS let go while in the speedloader pouch, let alone 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 a decade, 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.

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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