Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A tale of two speedloaders

OK, over the last 24 hours, I have, thanks to basic carelessness on my part, had the opportunity to evaluate two of the main types of revolver speedloaders for their ruggedness and ability to undergo abuse.

Test #1: Last night, a bit before midnight, I walked into my gun room with the lights off so that I could watch a large and typically elusive buck feeding on the corn beneath the gun room windows. As I moved to the window, I felt something underfoot just about the time I heard the "crack!" noise.

Investigation revealed a ruined HKS 10A speedloader of the type I once used to charge my Smith and Wesson K-frame .357 Magnums. Not sure why it was on the floor; apparently it got knocked off my workbench somehow, but there it was. The casing had cracked and the knob body in the middle had torqued out of place and the loader would not release three of the rounds that it held. Non-fixable. It's junk.

Test #2: Today on the range,I was demonstrating a shoot-and-move technique to a novice shooter and I'd incorporated a reload into the drill.
I was using one of the S&W's--a Model 19--and reloading from a Safariland Comp 2 speedloader. I fired my first six rounds while moving, and as I went to grab my speedloader for the reload, I found that it had dislodged itself from my belt where I'd just jammed it "Mexican style" (yes, it's legally in the country) to make for a quicker--and showier--reload. I reversed course and began to scan for it, but before I saw it, I stepped on it and ground it into the gravel. Damn! Not again!

However in this case, all was not lost. I picked the Safariland speedloader up and jammed it down onto the open cylinder of the revolver, and with just a bit more pressure than is normally required, it dropped all six round into the chambers. Subsequent inspection revealed no lasting damage other than a few nicks and it still functions perfectly.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I was a convert to Safariland before this impromptu and totally non-scientific test, but this only strengthens my previously-stated opinion that Safariland speedloaders are light-years ahead of the older HKS jobs. HKS may be fine, but when it comes to secure retention of the cartridges, fast and reliable one-hand operation and sheer ruggedness, Safariland takes the prize.

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