The Five Best Revolver Speed Loaders

Learning to master the six gun is a long journey. For someone like me who has been raised on the automatic handgun, it’s almost a foreign concept. In the last year, I’ve put my time behind a revolver and tested numerous setups, including speed loaders. I have five favorites I’d like to share with you.

I judged these by a few factors. The main one is ease of use and how fast they can get my revolver back into the fight. Speed is important, but we also have to focus on retention. If the rounds become loose and flop out, that’s not great for anyone. Additionally, I looked at the durability of the design and logistics concerns. Cost matters a good bit. So does availability. Some of these options made the list solely because they work pretty well but are available for a wide variety of guns, including options that other speed loaders might not serve. With that in mind, here are my five favorites.

Max Fire Speed Loader

The Max Fire Speed Loaders are very minimalist in design. They lack springs, knobs, and active retention devices. They use a hard rubberized one-piece design that keeps things small, but most importantly, affordable. The system uses a looped handle and not much more. Without a retention system, the rims are held by rubber with a gated end. Instead of twisting a knob or pushing one to load the revolver, the user pulls the Max Fire sideways. 

Maxfire speed loaders
The Max Fire speed loader is a fascinating design. Simple, but effective.

The Max Fire will always be pulled away from the revolver, so the support hand thumb will resist and put pressure onto the cylinder. When the rounds escape the Max Fire into the cylinder, the thumb will close the cylinder seemingly automatically. It takes practice to make it smooth, but even if it doesn’t auto-close, it’s no slower than any other speed loader. The Max Fire system, thanks to its small size, doesn’t get caught on the grips.

The downside is that the Max Fire speed loaders only have one specific orientation that works properly. This can create issues if you grab one in a hurry and put rounds into the cylinder with the speed loader facing the wrong direction. It adds a potential mistake to your loadout. 

Speed Beez 

The Speed Beez speed loader is a traditional speed loader with some quirks. It is a press-to-release speed loader that utilizes a rear knob as the sole control. A spring retains each round until the knob is pressed. Align and insert the speed loader into the cylinder and press downward on the back of the Speed Beez, and the rounds are released. It’s simple and very quick. 

speed beez loader
The Speed Beez works by a small spring holding each round into the loader. When pressing down on the loader the spring will move away and release the rounds into a cylinder. It is a very fast way to reload a revolver in a couple of movements.

These loaders utilize a positive reloading system that doesn’t just rely on gravity to free the rounds. The knob is huge and easy to grab and use to align the speed loader. The Speed Beez ensures you won’t drop the speed loader and makes retrieving it from a pouch easy. These are very well-made aluminum loaders and are made for a variety of guns and calibers from .22LR to .44 Magnum. 

One downside is the price. At close to 40 bucks, these bad boys are expensive. They are also somewhat bulky. For concealment, the bulk is not a huge deal, but its size will often cause the loader to catch on your gun’s grips. Plus, the retention when they hit the ground isn’t great, and rounds often dislodge. 


ZETA6 makes a few different neat speed strip designs, but on the loader front, we have the J-Pack and the K-Pack. These blend the qualities of a speed strip with a speed loader. Like a Speed Strip, they are made from a soft rubber material and have slots that retain the cartridges by their rims. Like speed loaders, they hold five or six rounds at a time. Five is for the J-Pack, and six is for the K-Pack. 

J and K clips
The ZETA6 J and K Clips are a mix of speed loader and speed strip.

The user aligns the rounds into the chambers and drops them in like a speed loader. The shooter then peels the Zeta6 away like a speed strip. This results in a fully loaded cylinder. No twist, no push, just peel. Due to the really minimalist design, these work fine with J-Frames, and the grips never get in the way. They even produce variants for the Ruger LCR. Like the Max Fire, their minimal design equates to a low price.

The downside is speed. It’s not as fast as a speed loader. Additionally, if you aren’t careful, you can accidentally have a round flop out as you peel the J or K-Pak away from the gun. It takes a lot of practice to get right, but it is one of the few reliable J-frame choices. 


HKS needs no introduction. If you have a revolver that can accept a speed loader, then HKS likely makes it. The HKS Speed Loaders are legendary for their quality, simple design, and ease of use. They are also affordable and easy to find for a wide variety of revolver types. HKS Speed Loaders utilize a twist-to-release design. 

Speed loader with bullets
Speed loaders come in twist and push varieties, HKS speed loaders twist to release.

Once you stack the rounds in the loader, you give it a twist. This twist locks the round in the speed loader, and each round has an active retention device. The HKS speed loaders give you outstanding retention, and you can carry these all day and everywhere without issue. The HKS designs are super easy to use. The popularity of the HKS speed loaders makes it easy to find pouches, and you can find HKS options for a ton of calibers and revolver designs. 

Twist-to-release options are a bit slower than push-to-release. The HKS Speed Loaders also won’t work well with compact revolvers. Anything in the J Frame size will be challenging, if not impossible. These are the most common speed loaders out there, are super easy to find, and are very affordable. 

Safariland Comp Series

Safariland, yeah, the holster company, makes arguably the best speed loaders on the market. The Comp series of Safariland loaders are push-to-release designs. This means when the rear of the speed loader is pressed against the cylinder, the rounds are released into the revolver. The Comp series is made up of the Comp I, the Comp II, and Comp III. The smaller the number, the smaller the speed loader. 

Safariland comp speed loader
The Safariland Comp series puts the speed in the speed loader.

The Comp I is perfect for concealed carry and small guns like J-frames. The Comp II is a bit bigger but still compact, and the Comp III is huge and best suited for competition. These speed loaders offer awesome, positive retention, and they can be bounced around or dropped without fear. These put the “speed” in “speed loader,” and make it rapid and easy to get the gun loaded and in action. They are very easy to use and quite well made. 

While they are affordable, Safariland only makes them for a few guns. These aren’t widely made, and you’re stuck with models for .38 Special and .357 Magnum revolvers. They rely entirely on gravity to place the rounds in the cylinder. This isn’t terrible, but you should be aware of it. 

Speed Loading to the Moon and Back 

Learning to reload a revolver isn’t as intuitive as an automatic. You can use all the help that’s offered to you. A speed loader offers a valuable tool to get your six gun back into the fight…or into the match, or just on target. If you like a challenge, take up shooting the revolver and learning to reload it. Getting good takes effort, but a good speed loader helps cut a bit of that effort. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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