Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders – 2020 Ultimate Review

Loading magazines quickly is almost every shooter's need - or at least is their 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.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Maglula Ltd. - AR-15/M-16 Mag Loader

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

  • Lightweight
  • Quality Construction
  • Quick, Precise and Effortless
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Maglula Range Benchloader Magazine Loader

  • Does Not Require Dexterity, Training or Bare Hands to Operate
  • Works With Practically Any .223/5.56 AR15/M4 Compatible Mags
  • Industrial-Grade Construction is Designed for Heavy Daily Use Without Fail
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Caldwell AR-15 Mag Charger

  • Includes a Tray to Help You Orient Rounds for Loading
  • Unique Design Has Won the NRA Golden Bullseye Award
  • Makes it Easy to Load Mags From Common Fifty-Round Trays
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Butler Creek Asap Magazine Loader Universal AR15 / M16

  • Light and Compact, Easy to Carry Around in Your Ammo Bag
  • Loading Arm Makes Loading Ten Rounds at Once Extra Smooth
  • Offers Three Ways to Load Your Modern Sporting Rifle Magazines
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Black Dog Machine AR-15 .22LR Mag Loader

  • Simple push-operation
  • Small & Convenient for bringing to the range or field
  • Durable and light polymer construction
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Command Arms ACC Rifle Magazine Loader

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

  • Reduced Loading Time By 50%
  • No Need for Pre-Staging Rounds
  • Super-quick Loading Mechanism
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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 hand-loading, 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 three-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 fairly common ones are field loaders bench loaders, stripper loaders and hopper feeds.  Some magazine loaders are also referred to by the term LULA which stands for “loading and unloading accessory”.

LULA Loaders

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.

Bench Loaders

The other type is 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 bench loader. 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.

Stripper Loaders

Another type of loader is 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.

Hopper Feed Loader

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.

Hopper 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 - Best 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. Maglula Range Benchloader Magazine Loader

Review of the Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders

Now we know what a mag loader does and the different types available on the market. You probably have decided by now which model you are will prefer 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

What Recent Buyers Report

New buyers were quite happy with the durability of the mag loader. They were impressed with the polymer construction and knew right away that it was going to be a mag loader that is built to last. At the same time, they were satisfied with how lightweight it remained, even with a full amount of bullets.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mag loader is indestructible and lightweight. Just because it is lightweight, that doesn’t mean it’s weak by any stretch of the imagination. Polymer is one of the strongest materials that any manufacturer can use,, especially when you want something that won’t damage easily. At the end of the day, it’s a mag loader that will preserve the life of your AR-15 magazines.

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 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. It features quality construction and is quite resistant to wear and tear on hunting trips.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great mag loader for someone who might be getting a little tired of loading magazines manually. If you want something that will reduce a lot of time, pain, and possible frustration that stems from loading your AR-15 magazine regularly, you might want to give this mag loader a try.

Bottom Line

The Maglula AR-15/M16 Mag Loader is light in weight, strong in durability, and reliable when it comes to loading as many magazines as possible. If you need a good amount of magazines on-hand for any purpose, you’ll want a mag loader that will get the job done. This Maglula loader might stand out as a possible option.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Reasonably priced
  • Quality construction
  • Quick, precise, and effortless
  • Works extremely fast with pre-loaded stripper clips

Cons

  • None that we could find!

What Recent Buyers Report

Right off the bat, new users were quite happy with the mag loader. They were able to load their magazines within a minute or less. One user said he loads his magazines for competition purposes. He says he could easily load about ten extra magazines in just a few minutes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This speed loader is solid, durable, and can load magazines fairly quickly. On top of that, it’s one of the best speed loaders for either a right-handed or left-handed shooters. If you’re a lefty, you’ll find this a lot easier to use than any other speed loader you’ve ever used. Plus, it’s a lot better than struggling with other speed loaders or dealing with the pain of manual magazine reloading.

The Striplula is an amazing product from Maglula Ltd. This strip loader, when combined with stripper clips, can load a 30 round magazine in less than ten 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 strain on your fingers. It is compatible with .223 and .224 calibers. The loader is priced reasonably and there are not really any drawbacks. It’s perfect for hunting, self-defense, tactical, and target practice.

Who Will Use This Most

This will most likely be the go-to mag speed loader for left-handed shooters. Application-wise, it will also be a great speed loader for those who are competitive shooters. If you use an AR-15 that will allow you to use as many magazines as possible, this speed loader might work to your advantage. Since it’s durable and lightweight, it will last you quite a while.

Bottom Line

The Maglula Striplula Magazine Speed Loader is a competitive shooter’s best friend. Let’s not forget it also will be a left-handed shooter’s best friend as well because of its ambidextrous design. You’ll have a great time using this to reload multiple magazines.

Pros

  • Compatible with almost any .223/5.56 AR15/M4 mags
  • Heavy-duty build-quality is engineered for constant daily use without failure
  • Can be operated in the absence of dexterity or training. Also works while wearing gloves

Cons

  • Not tested with drum mags
  • May not load rounds with irregular bullets

What Recent Buyers Report

This speed loader was quite impressive, according to most new buyers. They reported being able to load a 30-round magazine in as little as 25 seconds. One user said he also had some extra magazines handy for target shooting. He was so impressed with the speed loader that he bought another for a friend that frequents his local range.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This speed loader is the best option for you if you need something that will load high-volume AR-15 magazines in a flash. If you have a 30-round magazine or more, you’ll have more than enough speed to load each high-capacity magazine in less than a minute. On top of that, it’s also really easy to operate. So if you’re new to loading your magazines without the use of your hands, this might be a pretty good speed loader to have on-hand.

This is a newly designed, heavy-duty, .223/5.56 loader for 30-round magazines. It enables you to load a magazine with a single hand stroke. It is designed for daily, high-volume use, such as firing ranges, armories, or similar professional use cases.

Despite being lightweight and compact, this is a very portable industrial-grade loader. Its body and slide are constructed of glass-filled, injection-molded, N12 polymer with UV stabilization. The magazine catch tooth is made of 54HRC hardened steel. It has six rubber feet to keep it stable during loading. Other than the feet, this loader has only three parts and is easy to check for dirt or other problems before loading.

The main benefits of this loader are speed, elimination of pain or injury, and preservation of your magazine's feeding lips. It fits practically all AR-15/M4 compatible 5.56/.223 magazines without any modification. Loading does not require training or dexterity and is easy with gloves on.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be a great speed loader for newbie users. Not only that, it will work just fine for hunters, target shooters, and competitive shooters alike. If you want something that is built to last and useful for many years or even decades, this just might be exactly the kind of mag speed loader you’ll want in your collection of AR-15 accessories. It might be the last speed loader you’ll need for a long time.

Bottom Line

The Maglula Range Benchloader Magazine Loader can come quite in handy if you need to load a lot of your high-capacity AR-15 magazines. So, if you need to ready your magazines for any application at all, this could be the kind of speed loader you’ll need, in even the most urgent of situations.

This is an acclaimed, reliable design. Not only does it have bomb-proof reliability, but it is also light, portable, and easy to use. Although it isn't the cheapest option out there, as they say, "Buy once, cry once". This unit will last a lifetime and greatly eases the loading of 30-round magazines. The broad compatibility with almost all AR mags is a great feature, too.

Pros

  • Comes with a tray to help you correctly orient your cartridges before loading
  • The new patent-pending design is a winner of the NRA Golden Bullseye Award
  • Gives you an easy way to load magazines from standard fifty-round boxes or trays

Cons

  • Could be of a higher quality

What Recent Buyers Report  

New buyers were quite satisfied with this mag charger, in general. They were happy with its ability to hold up to 50 rounds of .223 or 5.56 NATO bullets. Aside from the usual durability that this and many other speed loaders have, new buyers were also quite happy with the auto-advance feature that allowed the loading of five rounds in a single stroke. 

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This contains 50 rounds and is made from a strong polycarbonate construction that ensures the best in durability. On top of that, it’s got quick-loading abilities like nothing else. Even a 30-round magazine can be loaded in a matter of seconds. So if you want something that will allow you to load extra magazines at the snap of a finger, this speed loader could be right up your alley.

The Caldwell AR-15 Mag Charger makes it easy to load modern sporting rifle magazines from common fifty-round ammo manufacturer boxes or from fifty round aftermarket ammo storage trays. All you have to do is align the tips of the bullets with the loader and dump them in. You never even need to touch any of the rounds to load your mags.

Once the rounds are in the loader, seat a standard AR mag as you would on your rifle. Then, simply pump the plunger, loading five rounds per pump until the mag is full. The whole process can take as little as fifteen seconds.

An ammo transfer tray is included to prepare loose rounds for loading or to reverse trays of ammo in which the rounds are oriented backward. This loader is constructed of durable polycarbonate and is the recipient of the NRA's Golden Bullseye Award. This is an innovative and handy loader to have around, especially if, like most of us, you deal with a lot of fifty-round trays.

Who Will Use This Most 

This will stand out as a speed loader that can be beneficial to competition shooters. If you’re a hunter or a target shooter that depends on additional magazines for those long days out in the field or at the range, this might be a speed loader that will work to your advantage.

Bottom Line

The Caldwell AR-15 Mag Charger might be one of the fastest mag speed loaders on the market thus far. And it might be on par with some of the best ones on this list. If you want to quickly load your magazines in less than a minute each, this mag charger won’t disappoint you.

This loader has a unique design intended specifically for use with the most common trays and boxes in which ammo is sold and stored. The best features are the good design and wide compatibility with AR mags.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Made in U.S.A.
  • Quick operation
  • 3-in-1 Loading Methods
  • Can be used with military -style stripper clips

Cons

  • Compatible with only 5.56 NATO

What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, a lot of new users were quite happy with the magazine loader. They were able to fit a lot of magazines chambered in various calibers without any issue. One user said he uses this to load both his 5.56 NATO and .223 magazines. He was able to load each magazine quickly without any jamming or reliability issues.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a universal magazine loader. Why is it considered universal? It’s because it can accept all kinds of AR-15 ammo. So you need not worry about whether or not your rounds will be able to fit in the loader. As expected, it can load a high-capacity magazine fairly quickly. That makes carrying extra magazines more feasible. Besides, you need to carry extras anyway, in case one of them malfunctions.

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 ten 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 U.S.A., assuring you of 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 make it a good choice for regular shooters.

Who Will Use This Most

This will probably be a great magazine loader for almost any AR-15 user that shoots 5.56 NATO or .223 rounds, among others. So if you want a magazine loader that will be one of the quickest and easiest speed loaders in the business without having to worry about whether or not your rounds are a good fit, this could be the kind of speed loader you need.

Bottom Line

The Butler Creed AR-15 ASAP Universal Magazine Loader will be worth investing your hard-earned money in if you have plenty of rounds and plenty of magazines to load those rounds into. All you have to do is fit a magazine with your favorite caliber rounds and the rest takes care of itself. 

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 push-button 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 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 in one place

What Recent Buyers Report

This magazine loader was a hit with new users. More importantly, they reported the speed loader being really fast and able to load magazines in a matter of minutes. Even one user said he uses his extra magazines for hunting and target shooting. On top of the speed loading ability, new users were also pleased with the super-durable construction.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This mag loader contains 90 rounds in total. So it would be enough to fill up at least four 25-round magazines. Plus, it’s easy to add more rounds if necessary. It also stands out to us because of the overall durability, thanks to the inclusion of some tough polymer. If you have additional rounds handy, you don’t have to make them all nice, neat, and organized. You can simply dump them in the hopper and they’ll be ready to go for loading.

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 into the magazine attached below the hopper. The safety mechanism ensures 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 keep the hopper supplied with rounds. 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.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be used by AR-15 users that want a much quicker and easier to use mag speed loader. Since this also has a hopper, it will make loading a lot better if you’re just starting with using speed loaders like this. If you want something that is newbie-friendly, you’d be crazy to pass up the opportunity to give this speed loader a closer look.

Bottom Line

The MagPump AR-15 Hopper-Fed Magazine Loader will accept all kinds of AR-15 rounds. All you have to do is dump them in, line up your magazines, and load them up quickly. If you need a speed loader that is easy-peasy to use, this bad boy might just be your cup of coffee. It’s also great for beginners who are getting sick and tired of dealing with the pain of manual reloading. Your hands deserve a break. So get a speed loader like this and you're clear for takeoff.

How To Use The Mag Charger

If you don’t know how to use a mag charger, then you don’t need to worry. The following is a brief guide on how you can use one step-by-step. Here’s how you do it:

  • First, place the instant transfer case above the ammo rack. Then flip it over. You should have every round fall in perfectly.

  • Plug your magazine into the mag charger. Then pull back the handle back. Move said handle back and forth until the magazine is fully loaded.

  • If you have extra magazines, repeat the process. If your charger runs out you have the option of loading the last couple of rounds in the magazine. Alternatively, you can keep the load in as-is. 

  • Note: keep the ammo tray in the event if you have more rounds to load in the charger. Alternatively, if you handload your own rounds you can use the tray itself so you can prep it for loading more magazines. 

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 do some research 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. Ultimately, a mag loader will save you time and protect your fingers and magazines from any damage.

1 thought on “Best AR-15 Magazine Speed Loaders – 2020 Ultimate Review”

  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!

    Reply

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