The iconic revolver is loved by shooters around the world. But it does have some negative qualities. One of the biggest problems people have with revolvers is their slower reload times. To combat this, speed loaders were invented.
There are three main types of speed loaders currently on the market: the basic speed loader; full-moon and half-moon clips; and speed. Each type has its own pros and cons, and often it is more the preference of the user than one choice being hands-down better than the other two . Here is a quick review of the different types of revolver speed loaders.
Basic Speed Loader
These loaders are designed for specific revolvers, so there are plenty to choose from. They are made to quickly reload the full cylinder at once. When you only have 5-6 shots before a reload, these all-out, all-in loaders can significantly cut the time it takes you to reload. These loaders are considered to be magazine loaders due to the way they fully stock the firearm much like a magazine does a pistol. The fast and reliable capabilities of these loaders do have their downsides, though. Due to their size, they take up considerable room in your pockets. There are speed loader carries, but if you are trying to carry concealed, this is yet another thing you need to keep hidden. Likely the most apparent downside is that the loaders are not universal. If you are using two different calibers and types of revolvers, you will need to own a different speed loader for each.
Full-Moon Clips and Half-Moon Clips
These loaders are thin discs that can hold six (for the full moon) and three (for the half-moon) rounds to be easily loaded. These clips can fit in a closed cylinder with the ammunition, so to reload your revolver gun you only have to eject your spent cartridges and cycle in a fresh clip. The half-moon clip applies the same concept, only it removes and adds three rounds at a time. Compared to the other loaders, these clips tend to have the fastest load times of the bunch. There are some drawbacks, though. First, not all revolvers accept moon clips. Additionally, if your firearm does take a moon clip, you need to be sure that the clip can hold the caliber bullet for your firearm. For half-moon clips, a degree of accuracy is needed when loading to make sure your first three rounds begin at the start of your clip; if you fail to load the cylinder in this manner, you may eject several rounds prematurely. It is important to note that moon clips are more comfortable for carrying in your pocket than traditional speed loaders.
Somewhat resembling an open magazine, speed strips are clips that can feed revolvers one to two bullets at a time. These strips can be easily carried in your pocket. More importantly, they are generally universal. That is to say, if your revolver uses a .45 caliber, then the speed strip needs to hold that type of ammunition and will be compatible with any revolver that takes those rounds as you are not placing anything other than the rounds inside the firearm. Furthermore, since speed strips only load one to two bullets at a time, you do not run the risk of wasting any rounds by discharging unspent rounds prematurely, as with half-moon clips. One of the biggest downsides to using a speed strip is it requires more practice to become quick at reloading your firearm. Your fingers must move in a succinct and dexterous fashion to accurately and efficiently load your firearm. However, practice with your revolver is how you get better with it – both for shooting and loading.
Each of these options has its benefits and its drawbacks. Practice with your revolver, try out each speed loader in the place you will carry it, and think about the situations in which you will find yourself needing to quickly and accurately reload. All of the above options are viable; it is up to you to find the speed loader that is best for you and your revolver.