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
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)