What’s the worst part of shooting besides picking up brass? Loading magazines…especially when it’s freezing cold outside, and you’re trying to fight a 9mm round into an *almost* full mag, just to have your thumb slip and then get cut by the magazine feed lips. Ask me how I know…
When you shoot a lot, it inherently means you load magazines a lot – that is a very tedious and time-consuming process, which is annoyingly paramount in the whole shooting experience. Depending on how good at hand-jamming mags you are, you’re likely going to spend about half to three-quarters of your time on the range loading magazines rather than actually shooting.
So your options to help bring that wasted time down include hire a dedicated magazine loader, who is likely to demand $15 per hour…OR pick up some kind of speed loader.
There are several speed loader options available, ranging from completely useless to absolutely amazing.
Maglula, which stands for magazine loading and unloading accessories, is an Israeli company that has designed and manufactured the best speed loaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. They fall under the “amazing” category I just mentioned.
The Maglula UpLULA® is universal from 9mm to .45. It’s small, light, compact, simple, and most importantly, VERY effective at it’s intended task of loading pistol magazines. It is a speed loader that allows super fast and efficient loading of loose rounds one at a time. It works by compressing the magazine spring and follower, which allows you to literally drop a round in the mag, whereas you normally have to fight the spring pressure and magazine feed lips with your thumbs.
The two springs built into the UpLULA® allow you to simply let go of the round after you drop it in the magazine, and it will take care of the rest, immediately popping up into position for you to compress it again and drop another round into it. The slowest part of the whole process is grabbing the loose rounds to feed this beast!
The Maglula UpLULA® solves two significant problems inherent in loading magazines: time and physical pain. The UpLULA® is super easy to use and very fast, which means you spend significantly less time loading magazines and more time actually shooting. The physical pain aspect comes from trying to compress the magazine spring and follower, while simultaneously trying to slide a round under the metal feed lips. Inevitably, you are going to slip at some point, and your thumb is going to slam into those rather sharp feed lips, which is never a good time. The level of pain and discomfort goes up exponentially if it’s really cold outside and your hands are half numb and frozen. Again, ask me how I know.
If you spend a lot of time hand-loading magazines, you’ll eventually get relatively good at it, but you will never beat the speed, comfort, and efficiency of a Maglula UpLULA® speed loader. Not only is this one of the best pistol magazine loaders on the market, but it is also one of the best unloaders, as well.
There is a channel along the back of the UpLULA® and a small raised portion of plastic that pushes against the back of the first round in the mag. The small lip allows you to easily push the round forward and out from under the feed lips, exactly how the magazine is designed to function. Once you get the motion down, you can empty out a fully loaded seventeen round magazine in about three seconds or so.
Yes, you can absolutely do the same type of pushing action with your thumb, but you will be sliding it over the metal feed lips repeatedly. That’s fine in short bursts, but when you unload multiple magazines by hand, your thumb does not feel so great.
I personally use a Maglula UpLULA® 9mm-45 pistol mag loader and a Maglula StripLULA® for my AR mags, loading 10 rounds at a time off standard-issue stripper clips. Maglula also makes AR loaders for loose rounds, but I have not personally tested them yet to be able to speak on their performance. From the videos I’ve seen, and based on how well my other Maglula products work, I feel pretty good about recommending any Maglula loader.
Photo Credit: Maglula.com
Between the two Maglula speed loaders I have, I’ve saved literally hours of time loading magazines, as well as the pain and frustration that can come from loading them. Maglula’s slogan of “No more thumb pain!” is 100% accurate.