The Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

Loading magazines quickly is almost every shooter's need - or at least desire. That’s especially true for shooters who like to or have to burn a lot of rounds down the range. To help people out with this task, designers came up with magazine speed loaders.

Mag loaders are quick, precise and effortless. They come in a variety of designs and a ton of them are available on the market. Here we'll be discussing a mag loader's capability, different types available and which one will be the best for you. We will also review the best magazine speed loaders on the market to help you make your buying decision.

Quick Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Maglula Ltd. - AR-15/M-16 Mag Loader

  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Easy and Quick Operation
  • Safe for Unloading Mags
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Maglula Ltd. AR-15/M-16 Striplula

  • Quality Construction
  • Lightweight
  • Quick, Precise and Effortless
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Black Dog Machine AR-15 .22LR Mag Loader

  • Extremely affordable solution
  • Does exactly what it is supposed to do
  • Simple, yet effective design
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Command Arms ACC Rifle Magazine Loader

  • Quality Construction
  • Fits snugly on magazine lips
  • Compact and Small in Size
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AR-15 Magpump Hopper Fed Magazine Loader

  • Super-quick Loading Mechanism
  • No Need for Pre-Staging Rounds
  • Reduced Loading Time By 50%
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Is a Loader Really Faster?

There’s a decent amount of argument about whether a loader is worth it. And it comes down to a simple answer: maybe.

Using a magazine speed loader is always faster than hand-loading rounds. But that “maybe” refers to the skill of the loader in some cases. No doubt a mag loader is faster than handloading, but if someone is not that quick with setting up a loader, the resulting difference (5-6 seconds) might not be substantial.

However, using mag loaders does speed up the process and protects you from unnecessary scratches, bruises and cramps in your hands. Some people suffer from problems like hand arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, so loading magazines can be a real pain for them. Mag loaders are inevitably a boon for such people.

Mag loaders are also extremely helpful for people who need to load a lot of magazines at once. Like for 3 gun shooting competitions, target practice, testing or simple plinking. Those small gains on each mag do add up!

Types of Loaders

There are quite a few different designs of mag loaders out there. Some of the very common ones are field loaders bench loaders, stripper loaders and hopper feeds.  Some magazine loaders are also referred with the term LULA which stands for “loading and unloading accessory”.

A simple LULA mag loader just sits over the top of the magazine and can be used to load or unload rounds one-by-one by using a simple lever . Such LULA loaders are simple and compact to carry. Just pull it out of your pocket and begin loading rounds. No bench rest or additional support required.

The other type are the bench loaders. As the name suggests you need to place them on a bench to operate. The magazine is clutched on one end and rounds are placed side by side in the middle cavity of the benchloader. Once full, a latch at the other end of the loader is pushed all the way down to the magazine's head and all the rounds simply slide in. These loaders are good for range shooters who have to load a lot of mags quickly. Bench loaders, however, cannot unload the magazines.

Another type of loaders are stripper loaders. The rounds are fed onto a strip (just like the WWII 303 clips). The loader is then placed on the magazine's head and the strip is slid down, eventually loading the magazine. Stripper loaders can also be used to unload rounds from a magazine.

A less-popular mag loader among AR-15 users is the hopper feed loader. It is primarily a bench feeder but with a different mechanism. It is a simple hopper feed mechanism where rounds are fed into the upper cavity and the hopper is then repeatedly pushed up and down to load the mag.

Hopped feeds have higher capacities (90 rounds can be fed in one go).  These feeders are very useful for quick bulk loading of mags at once. On the contrary, these can not be used for unloading rounds.

How to Choose an AR-15 Speed Loader 

Magazine speed loaders help you do just that—load magazines efficiently and with minimal effort. But there are many designs out there, so keep the following in mind when picking out yours:

How It Operates: There are many different methods of operation, and since the whole point is to keep you from putting in unnecessary effort, make sure you have a full understanding of how it works! After all, if you don’t enjoy using it, what’s the point?

How Fast It Is: Relatedly, the design of a mag loader is really going to decide whether you’re saving time. To an extent, that comes down to how fast you are with it. It’s important to read reviews such as ours to get a sense of just how much it actually increases your speed.

Simultaneous Rounds: Some mag loaders feed only a single round at a time. Others allow you to dump them all in and crank a handle, without even pre-staging them. Most mag loaders will fall somewhere in between.

Your Budget: Of course, your budget is always a concern. But when it comes to a mag loader, you’ll probably want to make sure you’re really getting your money’s worth. While they make life a lot easier, you may prefer to put your extra funds into something like a scope.

The Weight: Mag loaders can actually be fairly bulky and cumbersome if they’re not designed well. Depending on your setup, this could be an issue! Many of us tend to gloss over things like weight when it’s, say, an iron sight, but for larger components, be sure to pay attention!

Quick Take - The AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

These are our recommendations for the best magazine speed loaders for the AR-15:

  1. Maglula Ltd. - AR-15/M-16 Mag Loader
  2. Maglula Ltd. AR-15/M-16 Striplula
  3. Black Dog Machine AR-15 .22LR Mag Loader

Reviews of the Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

Now we know what a mag loader does and what are the different types available on the market. You probably have decided by now as to which model you are going to use. To help you further, we have reviewed the best magazine speed loader of each type on the market.

Pros

  • Quality Construction
  • Safe for Unloading Mags
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Easy and Quick Operation

Cons

  • Loads only one round at a time

This model is a compact, effortless and easy-to-carry magazine loader from the renowned mag loader manufacturer Maglula. The mag loader can load and unload rounds quickly one-by-one with just a push of the lever. It’s great for people with finger arthritis, carpal tunnel or any other problems for that matter.

The loader securely grasps the magazine lips and prevents its wear and tear. It works perfectly well with polymer as well as metal mags. The magloader is compatible only with 5.56 NATO and is a good choice for competitive shooting, tactical uses and target practice. The loader features quality construction and is quite resistant to wear and tear like on hunting trips.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably Priced
  • Quality Construction
  • Quick, Precise and Effortless
  • Works extremely fast with pre-loaded stripper clips

Cons

  • None that we could find!

The Striplula is an amazing product from Maglula Ltd. This strip loader when combined with stripper clips can load you a 30 round magazine in less than 10 seconds. If you don't have those stripper clips, you can load the rounds individually on the stripper and just slide it down.

This takes a bit longer than using clips, but it still falls below 45 seconds for a 30-round mag.

The Striplula features a quality polymer construction and will save you time and fingers. It is compatible with .223 and .224 calibers. The loader is priced reasonably and there's not really any drawbacks you can find. It’s perfect for hunting, self defense, tactical and target practice.

Pros

  • A Very Affordable Solution
  • Helps Reduce Finger Strain
  • Simple Design is Unobtrusive and Lightweight
  • Made From Reasonably Durable Fiberglass-Reinforced Polymer

Cons

  • Won’t Satisfy Those Looking to Completely Minimize Magazine Loading

If you’re looking for a very affordable magazine loader, the Black Dog Machine AR-15 Magazine Loader has you covered. While it is a single-loader, meaning you will need to load each round individually, it nonetheless does the job very well. Single-loaders are still useful, as they prevent finger strain. All you have to do is simply slide the loader over the magazine, press down, insert the round, and release. Just continue doing this until the magazine is full.

It’s also fairly durable, made from fiberglass-reinforced polymer, which helps protect against both impact and solvents. You’ll be able to use just about any reasonable cleaner on your mag loader and it should withstand use for years. We do need to stress that you need to use it as directed. As long as you don’t force rounds in or try to operate it more quickly than the mechanism can handle, you will be fine.

This fiberglass-reinforced polymer also means it’s very lightweight. Of course, its simple design also has a lot to do with that, but we do appreciate that it doesn’t require a lot of hassle to use. We do think that if it were made from a heavier material, it wouldn’t be as reasonable a compromise. It’s a simple, lightweight, unobtrusive magazine loader that does its job and stays out of the way.

It won’t satisfy those who are looking to eliminate the repetitive task of loading magazines, but it is perfect for anyone who wants a simple solution and affordable way to load magazines, so long as you’re not planning on rapid round-burning.

Bottom Line:

An affordable solution to reducing finger strain, this simple magazine loader from Black Dog Machine, LLC does its job very well.

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Lightweight
  • Quality Construction
  • Compact and Small in Size
  • Fits snugly on magazine lips

Cons

  • Not very fast
  • Does not unload the magazine
  • Feeds only one round at a time

The Command Arms mag loader is a simple pushbutton loader which protects your thumb while loading in rounds. The ACC mag loader attaches securely to your magazine lips and all you have to do is just put in the rounds and pop the lever. The loader lines up the rounds itself so you don't have to meddle much with the mechanism.

The loader is compatible with .22 calibers and is compact enough to carry in your pocket. While there are faster loaders out there in the market, you can’t expect anything more of a magloader at this price point.

Pros

  • Reduced Loading Time By 50%
  • No Need for Pre-Staging Rounds
  • Super-quick Loading Mechanism
  • Available in Polymer and Aluminum

Cons

  • High Price (if you mind).
  • Stays Fixed At One Place

The Magpump mag loader features a hopper-fed mechanism which can be used to load magazines at exceptional speeds. All you need is to dump the rounds at once into the hopper without the need for alignment or 'pre-staging' them.

The user only needs to crank the handle and the rounds get loaded in the magazine attached below the hopper. The safety mechanism ensures that the rounds are not in the wrong direction while being fed in the magazine.

This largely reduces your effort as well as the loading time. Load as fast as you can crank the handle and maintain the hopper supply. The hopper feeder can load .223 REM, 5.56 NATO and .300 Blackout rounds.

It is available in polymer as well as aluminum variants and can be mounted to any platform. The only thing that might concern you is the price, but the features are worth paying for it.

Pros

  • Low Price
  • Made in USA
  • Quick Operation
  • 3-in-One loading methods
  • Can be used with military style stripper clips

Cons

  • Compatible with only 5.56 NATO

This Universal Magazine Loader from Butler Creek is a three-in-one magazine loader. You can either load rounds one by one, use the extendable arm to load 10 rounds at once or use military-style stripper clips with it.

The loader is compatible only with 5.56 NATO/.223 REM cartridges which is fine if you are using it mainly for your AR-15. The loader is made in the USA, assuring you about the quality and proper customer support.

This loader can be used at the shooting range to load rounds quickly. The low price point and multi-functionality makes it a good choice for regular shooters.

Conclusion

Magazine speed loaders are an effective and intelligent way to load your magazines with less effort and within the least possible time. There are many types of mag loaders available in the market, so you must check out and decide what works best for you.

If you like loading mags at the range, go for a compact model. If you like doing your work at home, or need to feed a lot of rounds, go for the striplula or hopper feeders. Eventually, a mag loader will be saving you time and will protect your fingers and magazines from any damage.

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1 thought on “The Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders”

  1. Speed loaders are a complete game changer! I use to avoid them because I’m a penny pincher but boy are they worth every cent. Anyone else reading this that’s on the fence… it’s a must have!

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