Review: ETS Speedloaders for Pistol and Rifle Magazines

   10.02.17

Large-capacity magazines are useful and fun. Loading them, less so. Loading double-stack, single-feed magazines is even less fun than working with double-feed patterns like the Uzi or the MPX. Guess which pattern the most common 9mm pistol magazine is? That’s right, Glock uses that design which is functional but so annoying to load. Can a mechanized loader be devised? ETS, the maker of excellent transparent polymer pistol and rifle magazines, thought they could.

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The ETS C.A.M. Loader for 9mm & 40 S&W handguns ($29.99) fits ten rounds at a time. The simplest way to load ammo into the loader is to scoop up a row of cartridges from the box into the U-shaped notch of the loading guide. From there, the process is simple (if a little awkward). Place the opening over the magazine, slide it until it locks in. There’s no click, so you have to do it by feel. Place the pusher on top of the ammo guide and push down.

The loader depresses the follower and then pushes the cartridges into the magazine for you. There’s only one catch: it takes a lot of force to push the ammo in, especially on magazines which hold more than 17 rounds. Loading a 33-rounder takes considerable hand strength. Loading several of them takes endurance.

The effort required was so considerable that I ended up having to watch reviews posted by others to verify that I understood the slightly-vague instructions correctly. I didn’t want to break the loader by accident. The problem with the design is that the surfaces on which the user acts are relatively narrow, and also the push is linear against the spring. There’s no mechanical advantage created. So the loader works, but it doesn’t work well enough to warrant using it.

By contrast, ETS’s newer loader for rifle magazines ($29.99) works well — it’s an improved, more convenient iteration of the old stamped-metal stripper clip and guide. Being able to scoop up ten rounds from a box and push them into a rifle magazines does speed up the loading process and saves some wear on the fingers.

According to the website, this loader works with “AR15, AK47, AK74, G36, Steyr Aug, MP5, Scorpion EVO, Colt SMG, UZI, AR10, and more” with the following cartridges: “5.56×45 /.223, .300BLK, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 9mm, .308 and more.”

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Once your extended magazines are loaded by whichever means you pick, your friends will be more than happy to help you empty them. Ah, the smiles that produces are well worth the effort.

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