What is a Speedloader? | Gunpowder Girls

What is a Speedloader?

How long does it take you to reload your pistol? When you're at enjoying target practice at the shooting range, it really doesn't matter how long it takes to reload. But if you are ever attacked, those critical seconds can mean the difference between life and death, which is why it's important for gun owners to reload in a timely manner. Thankfully, there's a device designed specifically for this reason.

Known as a “speedloader,” this device is used to reduce the work and time required to reload a firearm. They are available for both revolver-style pistols, as well as semi-automatic. While the design and mechanism varies depending on the type of firearm for which it is designed, all speedloaders have the same basic purpose: to allow faster, easier reloading via an external device.

Circular Speedloaders

Among the most common type of speedloaders is the circular speedloader, which lives up to its namesake by featuring the shape of a circle. Circular speedloaders are intended for use with revolvers, holding a full cylinder of cartridges in the appropriate configuration as per the gun's specifications. This “full-moon” design allows shooters to quickly reload, simply by dropping the cartridges into the pistol's revolving chamber. Assuming the circular speedloader matches your pistol's specifications, it should line up perfectly, allowing you to drop fresh cartridges into the chamber and continue shooting.

Before speedloaders were invented, shooters were forced to reload their revolvers manually, which was a time-consuming and tedious process. Speedloading has simplified this process, however, allowing shooters to reload in a fraction of the time it would normally take.

Magazine Speedloaders

On the other side of the fence is the magazine speedloader. If you currently own or have ever owned a semi-automatic pistol, you are probably well aware of just how tiresome it is to reload a magazine. The high-pressure spring is constantly pushing upwards, meaning you'll have to push each cartridge down to get it in place. For low-capacity magazines, this isn't a problem. But when you're trying to reload a 15 or 20-round capacity magazine, it can be a nuisance to say the least.

Also known as a stripper clip, magazine speedloaders are simplify the process of reloading a magazine. Depending on its configuration, a typical magazine speedloader may depress the top cartridge in the magazine so you can partially insert a new cartridge on top without the forceful pressure pushing against you.

Another type of magazine speedloader is the “thumb saver.” This is a unique speedloader in the sense that it's used more for easing the discomfort of reloading a magazine than it is for reducing the time required for reloading. 

If you are interested in using a speedloader, make sure it's compatible with your pistol. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all speedloader. Some are designed for use with 6-round revolvers, whereas are others are designed for magazines of semi-automatic pistols.

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