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When you get right down to it, there’s not a lot to a speedloader. They all really work the same way. Drop the cartridges in, turn the knob to secure, and you’re good to go. When you need to reload, eject your empties, slip the loader in — pointy ends first — and turn the knob the other way to release. Presto.



What differentiates one loader from another are the details. Pachmayr’s new-for-2018 Competition Aluminum Speed Loader (from Lyman Products) has three features that are worth noting.



First, there’s the general feel of a quality-built product. This isn’t a flimsy plastic speedloader body. Pachmayr’s anodized, USA-made loader is CNC-machined from a hunk of solid aluminum which keeps it light. The release knob is large and nicely knurled for a firm, sure grip. It features a simple twist knob cartridge release.



Second, unlike most other loaders on the market. the Competition Speed Loader isn’t round. Pachmayr’s given it a polygonal shape. The polygon shape (very slightly) cuts down on weight, and allows for the smallest possible outside dimensions, but more important, it makes loading that much easier. Shaving the sides keeps the body of the loader out of the way of your revolver’s grip when you’re sliding the rounds into the chambers on the fly.



If your revolver has a slim wood grip or something similar, that’s not such a big deal. But if you’ve installed an aftermarket combat grip or other larger stock on your handgun to accommodate bigger hands, you’ll notice the difference.



Finally, this aluminum competition speedloader’s lockup is sure and solid. There’s an o-ring in the base that holds the cartridges firmly in place, keeping them vertical for quick loading while preventing rattling when you move around.



That last part may not seem important until you’ve tried some other brands that sound like you’re walking around with a pocket full of marbles.



I tested the Pachmayr speedloader for the Smith & Wesson J-frame, but they make models for dozens of wheelgun models, including: 

S&W J frame revolvers

S&W Model 36, 37, 38, 40, 42, 49, 60, 340, 360, Ruger LCR, Ruger SP101, Charter Arms, Taurus 85, 605, 651, 851, Rossi 68

S&W K frame revolvers

S&W Model 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 64, 65, 66, 67, Taurus 606, 65, 66, 80, 82, Rossi 971, 951, 851, 351, Dan Wesson, Charter Arms, Colt Cobra

• S&W L frame revolvers

S&W Model 586, 686, 581, 681, Ruger GP100, Colt Python

• S&W N frame revolvers

Dan Wesson, Ruger Redhawk, Super Redhawk, Colt Anaconda, Taurus .44, 444 Raging Bull

Not very long story short, the Pachmayr aluminum competition speedloader works. It’s built and designed with enough thought to do its job better than you’d expect. And even though it has “competition” in the name, you don’t have to be Jerry Miculek to carry one.



Specifications: Pachmayr Competition Aluminum Speed Loader

Material: Aluminum

Capacity: Five rounds

Weight: Less than 2 oz empty

MSRP: $19.99 (about $16 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Build Quality: * * * * *

Precision CNC’d anodized aluminum. This is one of the best-made loaders you’ll get your hands on. It’s built to last.

Ease of use: * * * * 

A little stiff right out of the package, but it smoothed out with a little use. The large knurled knob and polygonal design (to easily fit compact revolvers) make reloading faster and easier.

Overall * * * * *

Simple, solid, fast and quiet. It’s hard to see how this could have been made any better.


More from The Truth About Guns:

Self-Defense Revolvers: Speed Strips vs. Speedloaders (Bianchi’s Speed Strips, the HKS Speedloaders and Safariland Comp loaders)

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  1. Dan,

    Not much of a revolver guy? Safariland speed loaders do not require you to turn a knob. They don’t all work the same…

    • Have tried a few of them, and they’ve all been the knob turning style. Haven’t tried the Safariland loader yet.

      • Haven’t tried one YET? Not in a big hurry I guess. I used them in the 80’s when we were still issued revolvers.

        • Gotta check the creed of reviewers. Good catch with the Safariland. Conjuring up opinions is easy. Basing opinions on experience requires the wisdom to know ones own intellectual limits about a product. And being honest about it.

      • In to agree about the Safariland speed loaders. They are a pain to figure out in the beginning, as far as loading the cartridges into the loader, but loading the firearm is a snap. Just push it in, and the cartridges release automatically. I have a different brand speed loader for my Python, and I much prefer the Safariland.

        The price is reasonable though, I may give it a try.

        • The Speed Beez are the best I’ve ever used by far (have used HK and Safariland). Easy to load; smooth, fast, positive release; high quality construction.

    • I tried many speed loaders in my revolver-carrying LE days. Safari land was far superior by experience over years. Twist knobs require you to hold the cylinder to turn the knob. Some of us hold the cylinder normally when reloading, but being required to do so to use a S-L is not the best design. I’ll take a look at Speed Beez if they are push type.

  2. I like the idea of the sides being clearanced to load, that said push style would have been nice though.

    • That pentagonal shape just sold me on it. The HKS ones I use now just get stuck too easily.
      Yes, I am an optimist – I will occasionally tote a speedloader with my SP101.

      • If you get one would you give your opinion of it (buy it/don’t buy it), I’ve got a LCRx 3″ .38 Special that could use some accessories.

      • The pretty blue color sold me. I use HKS with my Ruger super redhawk in .44 mag. Not the best but I reload as slow as Harry Callahan savoring the moment while I walk towards the threat. Five shots or six? Doesn’t matter with a methodical scene-making speed load.

  3. Another good brand out there is five star. They also make trays to hold multiple loaders .
    Got sets for my CS1 and Rhino(.357);and one for my .500S&W.

  4. Huh? What if my six-shooter holds SIX rounds? And please give us a demo on how to insert any other way than pointy-end first.

    • I had a DGU with a S&W model 10 and 2 speed loaders….fortunately I only needed one…

    • The definition of a realist is someone with a revolver and a speed strip.

    • Just gotta practice with um. May not be as simple as a spare mag, but can’t remember my last type 1, 2, or 3 malfunction i had with my wheelgun.

      • For that matter, I can’t remember the last time I drew my gat in anger, let alone fired 5 or 6 rounds and had a need for more. Can’t remember the last time I was hit by a meteorite either. Guess some things just don’t happen all that often.

  5. Oh no! Looks like another good excuse to get a revolver. Haven’t owned one since 1989.

  6. Does anyone know if this loader will fit/work in a DeSantis second six pouch?.
    DeSantis website site states HKS and similar size.
    Round vs. polygonal.

  7. I find it impressive that the j frame size loader works for both LCR and sp101, I don’t have any speed loaders that will interchange.

  8. As some have mentioned, I think the Safariland Comp Tacs are superior, as you just press them into the cylinder. I carry them with my Model 64 currently, but also used them in my 66 and 686ssr. The only big disadvantage to them is that as far as I’m aware they don’t make them in anything higher than a 6 round capacity. I like them enough that Ive actually held off on getting 7 or 8 shot 357’s because of it.

  9. J-Frame “Competition” Speed Loader . . . that is bad enough right there. Want to “speed load” a J-Frame? Cut it for moon clips . . . . and practice until your hands bleed. Then bandage up your cut up palm and practice some more. Loading a J-Frame fast is not easy. Punching out spent .38 Special cases is not easy to do fast and consistently. If I was silly enough to carry a J-Frame for protection I’d load my own .38 Short Colt brass ammo and use moon clips with it.

    Safariland makes competition speed loaders for duty guns and speed loader required (moon clip prohibited) classes in ICORE. Safariland speed loaders are about as good as speed loaders can get. Only thing better is moon clips.

  10. I use Jet Loaders with a GP100 in IDPA. They work the same as the Safari Comp IIIs. The drawback I see to these new speedloaders is finding a suitable pouch/ carrier.

  11. I bought these for my model 629 and they are absolute crap. At first the cartridges won’t even lock into the loader and then, after a Herculean effort, it locks, you need to use pliers to release the cartridges which is rather ridiculous. My HK’s work just fine and cost half as much.

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