Our Top Three Magazine Loaders for Pistols

If you have ever spent any time at the range, you know the joy of loading magazines. I keep buckets of mags on hand, and typically load them up in front of the television, zoning out while I press in round after round. It never seems to be enough, though, and it can be hell on your thumbs.

That’s why these devices exist. Magazine loaders, I think, are like mousetraps; someone is always trying to build a better one. They all tend to work, but some work better than others. Here are three that we know work well. The video below shows them in action.

The SGM Tactical Glock 9mm/40 S&W Speed Loader

Don’t let the simplicity of the SGM loader deceive you. This is a thumb saver. As spring pressure builds, rounds get harder to load. The last few rounds are always hard to get seated. If you have steel lips on your magazine, you may find that they’re painful, too.

Inside this outer shell is a post that catches the rim of the cartridge and pushes it down, leaving you room to slide in the next round. They’re light, durable, and affordable. Even if you only use them on the last few rounds of a magazine, they’re worth it.

The Maglula UpLula 9mm to .45 ACP Universal Pistol Magazine Loader and Unloader

If you’ve never messed with Maglula’s loaders, you’ll be impressed. The levers they use provide a bit of extra leverage, but they’re the easiest way to load that I’ve ever tried. They make them for rifles, too, and they will take all of the hand strain out of the loading process.

The Maglula products have a long track record and a devoted following. I’ve personally loaded thousands of rounds with Maglulas and they’re a solid investment.

Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) C.A.M. Magazine Loader

The ETS loader is even faster, as it scoops up the rounds off the top of the tray and lets you plunge them in. It requires a bit of force. The first time you use one of these, you may feel like you are going to break it–not becasue they feel fragile, but becasue it takes some muscle. Once you push in a few strings, though, the movement becomes natural.

If you are working from a tray, there’s no faster way to get the rounds in a magazine.

David Higginbotham is a writer and editor who specializes in everyday carry. David is a former backcountry guide in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Boundary Waters Canoe Area who was a college professor for 20 years. He ultimately left behind the academy for a more practical profession in the firearms industry and was (among other editorial positions) the Managing Editor for a nascent Mag Life blog. In that Higginbotham helped establish The Maglife's tone and secure its early success. Though he went on to an even more practical firearms industry profession still, he continues to contribute articles and op-eds as time and life allow.

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