How To Speedload A Revolver

Virgil Caldwell

Moon clipped revolvers are much faster and more sure in a fast loading operation.

The revolver it seems will never die. Of course not! The double action swing out cylinder revolver is a useful handgun for many missions. I carry a modern self loader most of the time. When hiking camping or just wondering around I carry a revolver. My backup is always some type of revolver. I even carry two revolvers from time to time. While it is best to finish the fight with the load in the handgun it is best to practice speed loads with whichever handgun you carry. I wont kid you a revolver is always slower to load than a self loader no matter how much practice you put into it. If the revolver is your primary handgun you must practice loading the revolver quickly. Most shooters get it wrong.

A percentage of students in every class use a revolver. The revolver is not immune to malfunctions, and a good quality revolver is as reliable as a machine can be. The subject of revolver speed loads comes up often, and most of the time the speed load is done half right or incorrectly. What follows is the proper drill.

Cartridge loops worn on the belt and drop pouches have been outdated for fifty years or so. If you don’t practice with the speedloader they have some utility as the speedloader is easily goofed up if you have not practice. Speed strips and the like are a poor second to a modern speedloader. The device is of a mix of hard plastic and aluminum with a locking knob that keeps the cartridges in place. Load the speedloader with the knob in the release notch then turn the knob to lock the cartridges into place. Some loaders such as the Speed Beez allow simply pressing the cartridges in place. The HKS, Safariland, Speed Beez and Lyman are common speedloaders.         

First- after the revolver is fired empty the revolver is quickly opened by manipulation the cylinder release. The revolver muzzle is held straight up as the revolver is transferred to the left hand. The thumb strikes the ejector rod emptying the chambers. The  weak hand palm rides over the trigger guard and the fingers press the cylinder open, while the thumb strikes the ejector rod to repeat the proper technique. Next the strong side hand draws a speed loader from the strong side carrier as the weak hand orients the muzzle of the revolver downward. The speedloader is moved to the cylinder, the cartridges inserted, the device twisted, and as the cartridges fall into the cylinder, the speedloader is dropped. The thumb of the support hand presses the cylinder shut as the strong-side hand grasps the handle, and you are ready to fire again. It is important that you do not grasp the knob or body of the speedloader casually. The fingers lead the bullets into the chamber as follows.

  1. Grasp the speedloader as if you were palming it.
  2. Extend the fingers to the end of the cartridges.
  3. Guide them into the cylinder (I guarantee you the speedloader will be dropped if you are in a critical incident and attempt to hold it with two shaking fingers).
  4. Grasp the speedloader with the fingers controlling the cartridges.
  5. Press with the whole hand.
  6. Twist the knob after the cartridges are well into the cylinder.
  7. Keep the muzzle of the revolver oriented toward the ground. The speedloader will fall away as the cylinder is closed.
  8. Do not practice being gentle with the speedloader or it will slow you down in the real world.

Moon clipped revolvers- the factory Smith & Wesson Pro type revolvers cut for a moon clip or the T & K Custom jobs are the fastest revolvers to load. A moon clip holds the cartridges together including the empties as they are ejected. It is less vital to have the muzzle up when ejecting a gun load and there is no chance a cartridge will become hung under the ejector star. If you rely primary on a revolver you should study this option!