Monday, August 8, 2016

Stripper Clips and Speed Loaders

Stripper clips are a handy way of loading your magazines. Often people without stripper clip experience will say they are a waste of time just load your magazines. I do keep magazines loaded, but what happens after those rounds are shot? A stripper clip is very handy to re load those magazines quickly. When would you ever need this type of speed? Probably never. But preparation is not about “probably”, it’s about being ready. If you are under fire you will find that your motor skills will suffer. Grabbing a stripper clip with 10 rounds and slamming it into a mag is much easier than loading 10 rounds individually.
Pre-loaded magazines are fine, but pre-loaded stripper clips will ensure that your mags stay fully loaded.
Magazines are expensive and stripper clips are cheap. In the military all your 5.56 ammo comes in boxes loaded in stripper clips and a bandolier. In the military we threw away thousands of these stripper clips. This is why I have a large collection of them. They also came with a “spoon” which fits on the magazine and lets you load the stripper straight into the mag.
This is how you use it:
.223/5.56 stripper clips hold 10 rounds. For instance, if you have 100 clips that would give you 1,000 rounds. With 5 30 round magazines that would be reloading all your magazines 6 times with some left over.
You can put 10 rounds on a stripper clip.
You can put 10 rounds on a stripper clip and if you have 100 stripper clips you can have 1,000 rounds readily accessible for when you go out shooting. If you have say 5, 30-round magazines, you can reload them 6 times with some left over.
Loading a stripper clip is easy. On each end is a little tab. Bend one tab down and start sliding the rounds into the clip. When the clip is full of 10 rounds bend the tab up so that no rounds will slip off the clip and fall out.
Now take the spoon (or speed loader/charger) and slip the loaded clip into the skinny side of the spoon. The wide end of the spoon will fit right over the edge of the magazine.
Now take your thumb and push your rounds into the magazine. Some people use a table to push the rounds into the mag but if you’re in the field you might not have a table to use so I always practice with my thumb. Use however many stripper clips you need depending on the size of your magazine.
I had someone in a handgun class who’s whole gun experience was with the M4. He had only ever loaded 5.56 in magazines with stripper clips. When I was teaching how to load a 9mm magazine he said “Where are the stripper clips?” He thought all magazines were loaded that way!
There are other guns that have magazines that load with stripper clips. But most magazines are just loaded the old fashioned way one at a time by hand.
Midway has 96 items alone that have to do with speed loading magazines. So there are other speed loader options for more than just an AR or AK.
Speed loading is available for revolvers also.
There are two main brands currently available that have withstood the test of time: Safariland and HKS. Keep in mind that both these models got their baptism by fire via rough law enforcement service. In 35 years of time, I have never seen either brand break or malfunction. I can’t say the same of pistol magazines.
The Safariland charges the cylinders in one motion and it is nearly impossible to unintentionally release the loaded rounds. All three types of Safariland loaders—Comp I, Comp II, and Comp III—utilize a coil spring locking mechanism to hold the rounds in place. To load the Safariland loaders, place the loose rounds in the loader, then place the noses of the bullets against a flat surface and push in while twisting the center knob clockwise until the loader clicks and locks the rounds in place. In the center of the loader is a plastic star that engages the ejector star on the revolver’s cylinder. To load the revolver, hold the loader by the cylindrical portion and align the rounds in the chamber holes and ease the rounds partially in until the loader stops. Pushing further engages the plastic star release, and all rounds will fall freely into the empty cylinder. The Safariland Comp I, II, and III have progressively larger knobs that allow you to grab them easier. The Comp III’s are best reserved for competitive revolver shooting as they are very long. Comp I loaders are the only ones made for five-shot revolvers. The downside of Safariland speedloaders is that caliber selection is limited to .357 Magnum/.38 Special and .44 Magnum/.44 Special.
HKS is probably the most popular cylindrical loader, and has been on the market for the longest time. It is a good loader, but not as fast as a Safariland loader, since two motions are needed to charge the chambers. Live rounds are held in the HKS loader by a ball/detent locking mechanism. To load an HKS speedloader, twist the silver knob to the right until it clicks, then insert the rounds. Once they are inserted, twist the silver knob to the left until it locks. To load the revolver, hold the loader by the black cylinder of the loader—NOT the silver knob—and ease the rounds into the chambers. If you hold the loader by the knob, the insertion won’t be as positive—plus there is a chance of prematurely releasing the rounds. The rounds should seat halfway into the chambers. Turn the silver knob to the right, and the rounds will drop in the chambers.
There are two advantages that HKS loaders have over Safariland loaders. First, they are the brand I most often see available at gun stores. Second, they are available in a much wider variety of calibers and handgun models. Calibers listed are .38/357, .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .44 Magnum/.44 Special, .45 Auto Rim, .45 Colt, .41 Magnum, 9mm, and .32 Magnum. Loaders are available for five-, six-, and six-plus capacity revolvers.
Speed Strips
Bianchi was the originator of the non-mechanical rubberized speed strip. The advantage of any speed strip is its flat profile, which allows a bulge free fit in a pants pocket. The downside is that only a maximum of two rounds can be loaded simultaneously. Bianchi’s speed strips are only available in six-shot configurations in .38/357 and .44 Special/.45 Colt calibers. If you have a five-shot revolver, you should download to only five rounds in the strip to avoid confusion during a reload.
TUFF Products QuickStrips are different. TUFF Products has embraced the speed strip concept, going way beyond what Bianchi envisioned. In fact, there are so many choices available, in five, six and more round count configurations, including 40mm grenade and 12 gauge shotgun strips, that they can’t be listed here.
To load a revolver cylinder with a QuickStrip, simply insert one or two cartridges in the chambers, and pull the loader up against the cartridges. The rounds will clear the rubber strip and slide into the chamber.
Ever see Jerry Miculek shoot? He reloads with what is called a moon clip. This is fast but the gun has to be modified to use one. A speed loader can be used on all guns. Most revolver speed shooters use a moon clip. I think a regular speed loader is fine for my applications. If I was into quick draw or revolver shooting I’d probably use a moon clip.
Speed loading is something that is handy to look into. It’s generally not expensive and it can really enhance your reloading in a time of need. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.
Semper Paratus
Check 6