MEAN Arms AR-15 Loader: California Compliant

It’s an unfortunate truth that California has laws on the books that prohibit the making, selling, or possessing of firearm magazines with more than 10 rounds. This ban was part of the Roberti-Roos Act of 1989 and was intended to prevent assault weapons from being sold in California, as they have a ban on what they call an “assault weapon.” In free states, we call them AR-15s, and to legally own one in California, it must have a fixed magazine with a maximum capacity of 10 rounds which makes it difficult to load and use an AR-15 for self-defense scenarios. It’s an unfortunate issue that people in areas with overbearing gun restrictions must deal with.

MEAN AR-15 fixed mag loader
The MA Loader by MEAN Arms is a must-have for those who live in states that require fixed magazines.

For those shooters in restricted states who have had to take off the upper receiver to remove the magazine, there is a more efficient way out there when it comes to re-loading. I’m talking about the MEAN Arms MA Loader for AR-15s. This unique tool allows you to load up to 10 rounds through the ejection port in a matter of seconds. While having a fixed magazine is extremely restrictive and less than ideal, this loader is a game changer.

I went to the range with three of these loaders and they were easy to use when running drills. I was also impressed that 10 rounds of 5.56 NATO could be pushed through the ejection port and ready to go at lightning speed.

Who is the MEAN Arms company?

Headquartered in Georgia, MEAN Arms LLC creates customized designs, and they make everything from customized parts to complete firearms. The name “MEAN” are the initials of the company founder, his wife, and their children and they are one of the few companies that makes custom firearms for California gun compliance ownership. As such, they have some truly innovative products that are worth checking out, but today we will be looking at the MA Loader for AR-15s that have fixed magazines. Let’s look at the loader, see how it works, and then see it in action.

MEAN AR-15 Loader
I practiced with the MA Loader by placing snap caps in the loader and then loading them into the rifle. The MA Loader is available for AR-15s and AR-10s.

Laws that are passed in the name of safety often have one significant negative side-effect: they hinder the ability of law-abiding citizens to own firearms that were designed to help them protect their families and homes. It can be a lot harder to load a mag when you can’t remove the magazine from the rifle. With a fixed mag, the upper receiver must be removed to get the mag in and out. It can also make it dangerous for those who don’t want to leave their gun loaded. But the fear of needing it for self-defense and not having the time to load it is a genuine concern. The MA loader has solved this problem and now allows gun owners in restrictive states to quickly reload their empty guns in a pinch.

MA Loader for AR-15 and AR-10

When you first see an MA Loader, it resembles the skeleton of a magazine. The design is based on the function of an actual magazine but without the spring. The cartridges are pushed through a side port instead of the top of the loader, which allows the rounds to pass through the ejection port and into the top of the magazine while it is in the rifle. The follower on the loader has a thumb hole that makes it easy to manipulate when pushing the ammo out of the loader. MEAN Arms sells this loader for AR-15 and AR-10 rifles.

Ammo carrier with the MA-Loader
The MA Loaders are a little smaller than 30-round AR mags, but they fit in mag holders for easy access.

The loader for the AR-15 is thinner than a standard AR-15 mag and just a little shorter than a 30-rounder. The size of the loader is still close enough that AR-15 mag holders can be used to hold them. During the range portion of the testing, I was able to use my tactical vest to carry the MA Loader. Because the ammo is not under any spring pressure, it stayed in the loader just fine until I used it to load the 10-round mag in my rifle. In a state with restrictions on magazines, having several loaders on a vest makes re-loading the rifle very efficient and relatively enjoyable, even.

On the range with the MA Loader

When I took the MA Loader to the range, I wanted to see how fast I could reload while running drills. I practiced loading the rifle with snap caps in the loaders before heading out to the range. This gave me the time to make sure I had the hang of it before I used real ammo. It was easy to load, but I wanted to see how well it did when I was up moving around and loading in between mags. The motion of pulling out a device that feels like a mag, inserting it into the gun, and then dropping it was natural. The biggest difference was inserting the loader into the ejection port instead of placing a new mag in the mag well.

MEAN AR-15 Loader
The MEAN Arms loader is easy to use and makes loading much faster.

When using the loaders on the range, I had to use my right hand to load instead of my left. This took some practice, but it wasn’t too bad.

I had to readjust the mag pouches to accommodate using the other hand, but once I made this change, I could reload the 10-round mag quickly. It only took a few tries to get accustomed to holding the rifle against my shoulder to allow my right hand to let go of the pistol grip and grab a mag loader.

First, you line up the mag holder in the ejection port. Then, you push on the follower with your thumb to insert the cartridges into the magazine.


Using a mag loader with a fixed magazine is not ideal, but for some people, it’s the best choice they have. We would all rather carry loaded mags and change the mags when our gun is empty, but if you live in a state that has such restrictions, the MEAN AR-15 loader is one of the coolest things I have seen to date. It gives shooters the ability to carry multiple loaders within their standard AR-15 mag pouches and they reload faster than before. Plus, the gun stays on target during reloading. If you own a rifle with a fixed magazine, I highly recommend you consider the MA Loader from MEAN Arms.


Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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