Every time I write about my escapades with the revolver I start with the same disclaimer: I am a firm believer in carrying a substantial gun and I carry a double-stack auto at all times possible. The issue is, however, I can’t do that all of the time and when I need deep concealment the revolver works for me. Therefore, I work with the platform to maximize my abilities with it.
We all have the right to change our mind from time to time don’t we? Well, I changed mine again. I have gone back to carrying a speedloader when I carry a revolver. Some time ago I wrote an article for USA Carry proclaiming the practicality of speed strips and the reason I use them exclusively for my revolver reload. You can read it here. Well, speed strips are much easier to carry, there is no denying that. The problem with speed strips, however, is actually trying to load the gun with them in any time frame that is less than laughable.
In the USA Carry article I argue that the strip is far more convenient than the speedloader and as the revolver is a deep concealment option the ease and concealability of the strip trumps the faster speedloader. This remains true and if the bulge of the speedloader in the pocket is not manageable then a strip is the obvious choice. However, a strip is realistically only going to be a reload for after the fact, which I clearly proclaim in the USA Carry article. There is no way that shit is going to work out while under fire. Not that a speedloader reload would either, but at least we are more within the domain of possible, although I still don’t find it probable.
I have tried and tried to make my speed strip reload faster. The best I can seem to do is about six seconds to load 4 rounds into a 5 shooter. That is from a starting point of the strip in my front pocket. The issue here is, as slow as 6 seconds actually is for reloading a gun, that is under the best circumstances! The strip is very fumble prone. It just does not work consistently if doing it fast. The speedloader is much more consistent and obviously a lot faster, about a 4 second proposition for me, but also much more consistent and it gets the gun back up to full capacity.
Despite the more conspicuous bulge in the pocket, I am packing a speedloader again unless dressed in a way that it simply won’t work. I am using the Safariland Comp I for my Ruger SP101, by the way. I find the push-in variety of speedloader superior to anything with a twist nob. Good stuff. Which brings me to my next point:
I used to carry a 5 Star speedloader for my Ruger LCR as none of the push varieties work for that gun. The 5 Star is a nice speedloader, but again, I prefer a push-to-release mechanism over something with a twist nob like the 5 Star or HKS. My change in gun has now contributed to this change in mind concerning speedloaders. The LCR does not lend itself well to speedloaders. The 5 Star speedloader is a nicely made piece, I prefer it to the HKS for a twist knob design. However, I have had it release the load before getting into the cylinder more than once. The large knob that makes it a good speedloader in function also makes it a bit prone to this.
The ability to use the Safariland Comp I with the SP101 has made speedloaders more appealing now. I use the SP101 almost exclusively for my revolver needs so the Comp I is now a permanent companion. I still think that reloading a revolver in mid-fight is a dream, but I will now take that faster dream over the slower speed strip that is pure fantasy for that application. Better yet, carry both. With a speedloader and a speed strip you will have almost as much ammo as a Glock 19 has on board. Of course, you will have two very slow reloads before you get there!