The Maglula – Save Them Thumbs

For years the most help I ever used for loading magazines is the combination of a stripper clip and a speed loader that came with 5.56 bandoleers of ammo for my M16A4. That was back in my Marine Corps days. Since then I’ve always just done it by hand. To be honest I knew all about mag loaders but never seriously considered them until I got my Colt SMG AR clone. Holy hell are Colt SMG magazines a pain in the thumb. It was after that I ended up purchasing a simple Maglula from Uplula. After I found how easy it was to use for my Colt SMG I went ahead and purchased another for my AK and standard AR based firearms. AK and AR metal mags aren’t as bad as Colt magazines, but I was shooting a lot at the time.

My loader lineup

How the Maglula Works

Its pretty simple. The Maglula loaders attach to magazines similarly to how they’d lock into a magazine well. The AK model, for example, has a slot in the rear of the device that locks the magazine in at the tab. The Colt SMG and AR loader attach at the same point where the magazine catch would engage the mag.

Engaging the tab

This keeps it placed on securely and allows to load the magazine very quickly. Next, you pull the lever at the top forward and this depresses the follower. From here you drop a round in the left-hand side and then push the lever rearwards. To continue loading, drop a round in the right-hand side and pull the lever forward again. Repeat these steps until the magazine is fully loaded.

Just work the levers

It’s stupid simple and takes no effort to do so. Just push the lever forward and rearward. Even when you get to the final few rounds it’s very simple to push them downwards and finish loading the magazine. The Maglula can even unload magazines, just hold it face down and work the lever. The magazines will unload very quickly and its quite convenient.


Colt SMG magazines have very little variance between different manufacturers. Colt SMG mags are pretty homogeneous, so fitment isn’t an issue here. AR 15 magazines are typically the same. I can confirm that the AR model will fit Pmags, aluminum mags, ETS magazines, Mission First tactical Mags, FN SCAR magazines, CAA mags, and Troy magazines.

To hell with these pain-inducing Feed Lips

With AK magazines this is an entirely different situation. AK mags have massively different variances and I have a variety of different magazines myself. For science, I decided to attach the Maglula AK loader to several different magazines. I have some Tapcos, Pmags, Bulgarian steel, Korean steel, a polymer 47 round magazine from who knows where, and even a retro Chinese steel mag.

On that AK madness

The Maglula fit all of them with varying levels of tightness. It was most tight on the Bulgarian steel and somewhat lose on the thin 47 round polymer model. However, it loads every magazine without any issues. The Maglula for the AK seems to have a little slack to allow it to fit any mag you can toss at it.

Modern Problems Require Modern Solutions

Long Term Use

The Colt SMG loader has seen much more action than the AK and AR mag loader and its held up for well over a thousand rounds. I’ve yet to see any signs of wear or tear. The device still moves as easily as it always has. Both loaders have remained functional with a wide variety of ammo, including Steel, Aluminum, brass, and whatever else I can load into a 9mm magazine. It’s yet to find a round it doesn’t like.

I will also advise you to purchase Maglulas with caution. Apparently, there were a number of different frauds out there using Maglulas name and they weren’t exactly high-quality items. Order from a trusted brand and retailer, not Wish or Ebay.

Loading Up

These little devices are the best 25 bucks you can spend if you shoot a lot and have certain magazines that are rough on your thumbs. They offer outstanding value and are small, reliable, and easy to use. Toss them in your range bag and go.

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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