We started our small business in 2021 and we've heard the same thing constantly for the last 3 years...
"Why would I use a speed loader when I can just hand load my AR15 magazines?"
We can't stress enough how smooth your brain needs to be in order to make this argument. That's like saying that every special forces soldier should replace their HK416 with a civil war-era musket, since both perform the same function. The difference is one does it more accurately, more reliably, and much quicker.
In this post, we'll explain the benefits of using a speed loader (as well as stripper clips) whether you're a civilian firearms owner, soldier, or law enforcement officer.
Benefit #1: Maximize your training time on the range
Using a speed loader and stripper clips DRAMATICALLY reduces the time you spend filling your rifle magazines in between shooting drills/serials. This means that you can spend more trigger time on your weapon system and become a more proficient marksman as a result. As anyone who served in the military or in law enforcement knows, time is always a constraint when it comes to the range (followed closely by ammo allotment if you're Canadian).
You might be thinking to yourself "I'm a civilian firearms owner, so it doesn't matter how long I spend at the range." There are two reasons why it does:
Consideration for other range members - the less time you spend filling your magazines by hand, the quicker you can finish your drills and make that range bay available to other people.
You can use that saved time to practice on your other weapon systems, such as your pistol or shotgun.
"What if my ammo doesn't come on stripper clips?"
Clipped .223 / 5.56 ammo IS available on the civilian market (such as Winchester WM193CP) but you can also purchase stripper clips seperately. The night before a range day, you can kick back on the couch, have a beer and clip up your rounds. If you're shooting competively (especially in 3-Gun) reloading your mags quicker between serials gives you more time to rest and mentally prepare for the next match. As people who shot competitively at the National level, trust us when we say this makes a huge difference. It's also much easier to count your ammo when it’s on stripper clips; the last thing you want to worry about before a match starts is whether you brought the right amount.
If you're a firearms instructor who teaches training classes, providing your students (or other instructors) with a speed loader allows you to run classes MUCH quicker. This cuts down on your overhead costs by reducing your staff payroll, increases your profit by allowing you to run more classes in the same amount of time, and more importantly creates a more focused training environment for your students.
We recommend polymer stripper clips over the traditional steel US G.I.-style as they are lighter, quieter, and last longer; the steel ones have brass tabs that break after repeated use.
Benefit #2: Increase your operational lethality and survivability
One of the lessons the Russo-Ukrainian war has taught us is that the tempo of modern, peer vs peer combat exceeds the magazine carrying capacity of load bearing vests. Check out the video below of a Ukranian Special Forces soldier hand loading his magazine while assaulting enemy trenches:
Whether you're a soldier, law enforcement officer or civilian, the ability to get yourself back in the fight quickly and reliably is critical to keeping the enemy supressed and winning the firefight. When you run out of magazines, the only way to accomplish this is by using a speed loader and stripper clips. Our MagRipper® lets you load a 30-round magazine in under 10 seconds, so you can have five magazines loaded and be back in the fight in less than a minute. You can also load your magazines on the move and mobility is paramount to combat effectiveness.
Another huge benefit to the MagRipper® is the fact that it can be used while using gloves, as can be seen in our Arctic Mitts demonstration video. This means that you can keep your gun running in any environment, whether you're fighting in the Arctic or in full CBRN gear.
Benefit #3: Mission-essential kit flexibility and weight reduction
Whether you're a MACV-SOG Operator on a long-range patrol deep behind enemy lines in Vietnam or an outdoorsman who likes to get off the beaten path, we all know that weight and space are always the limiting factors when it comes to packing our gear. The uninitiated often don't understand that you need to pack more than just extra ammunition, water, and food in your rucksack or day bag. Some of these items include:
Platoon support weapons and ammo (Carl Gustaf, AT4, etc...)
Squad support weapons (M72, M203, etc...)
Communications equipment (radios, to include auxiliaries and extra batteries)
STANO (Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Night Observation) equipment (night vision, thermals, binos, etc...)
Navigation aids (maps, compasses, GPS, etc…)
Breaching equipment (ladders, hand tools, etc...)
Entrenching tools (shovels, picks, pickets, etc...)
Sleeping gear (sleeping bag, half-shelter, woobie etc...)
Extra clothing for specific environmental requirements
Consumables (glow sticks, marker panels, rope, etc...)
The list is endless. As such, saving weight and space wherever you can is KEY.
Loaded magazines are HEAVY. More importantly, they are an awkward shape and can be difficult to pack in a bag due to space constraints. If you're dismounted, packing extra loaded magazines sometimes isn't viable option, but neither is bringing spare ammo and hand loading. Carrying a speedloader like the MagRipper® in conjunction with clipped ammo allows you to maximize your firepower without worrying about the time it takes to reload your magazines while simultaneously taking up a minimal amount of space in your rucksack.
For those of us who spend our time exclusively on our local range, there's another big reason to use stripper clips and a speed loader rather than a bunch of extra magazines, and that is COST. Most shooters don't have an endless budget, and spending hundreds of dollars on extra PMAGs just isn't an option. Stripper clips provide all the same benefits at a FRACTION of the cost.
Benefit #4: Increased versatility and multifunctionality
There's an old rule in survival training that a piece of gear isn't worth packing unless it has at least three uses. Most speed loaders offer other uses which come in handy for anyone in the firearms community. For example, our MagRipper® includes an unloading tool which lets you strip a 30-round magazine in just a few seconds. Anyone who's had to unload an AR magazine knows that it gets old FAST. This is especially true in cold and/or wet conditions, where unloading a magazine can chew up your fingers in no time. Our MagRipper® also has a takedown pin punch, which allows you to perform rifle maintenance without having to search for a pen or a multitool. As every firearms owner knows, malfunctions (including hard stoppages) are inevitable and having the ability to field strip your rifle on the range or in field is invaluable.
Benefit #5: Accessibility for those with hand injuries and/or disabilities
When we created the MagRipper®, we jumped through many hoops to include a shark- scale texture on our product for those using it in wet conditions such as amphibious operations. We say this to illustrate the fact that ergonomics and the human factor have been very important to us from the beginning. Something we did not anticipate, however, was the fact that a speed loader can help those with hand injuries and disabilities who struggle to hand load their AR magazines.
We recently exhibited at TRIGGRCON 2023. While performing demonstrations at our booth, we had a Vietnam vet with service-related injuries approach us and explain how he has found it difficult to continue shooting recreationally since he struggles while trying to load his magazines. Using our MagRipper®, he was able to easily load not just clipped rounds, but loose rounds as well. We also met several fathers who purchased our MagRipper® with the intent of providing their children with an easier alternative to hand loading. The same applies to older shooters who have limited hand strength and/or dexterity.
We hope that we've illustrated just a few of the many benefits to using a speed loader in conjunction with stripper clips whether you're a recreational shooter or a Delta Force Operator. Organizations such as DARPA are a testament to the fact that innovation and incremental improvement are critical in maintaining fire superiority and that approach should be taken no matter how small a problem may seem. Just like muskets, the process of hand loading our AR magazines should go the way of the Dodo.