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Best Pistol Magazine Speed Loaders [Hands-On Tested]

Want to save your thumbs AND your time loading magazines? We hands-on test four of the most popular magazine speed loaders out there and crown our winner.

Maybe you have soft thumbs, maybe you load dozens or hundreds of magazines a month, or you just want to save some time.


No matter the reason, many of us have found that magazine loaders are a really handy thing to keep in your range bag.

But with so many on the market, you might want to know what ones are really worth the cash. We tested some of the most popular loaders on the market and have the full run-down for you!

We even made a video on them if that’s your thing!

If that helped, please subscribe to our YouTube channel since we’re adding new videos every week!

Best Pistol Magazine Speed Loaders

1. Maglula Uplula

Simple, easy to use, and fairly cheap.

While this speed loader isn’t the coolest looking one we tried, it is one of the best.

And is, in fact, my personal favorite.

You should know though that this is actually our second Uplula, the first one we ran until it died after loading more than 20,000 rounds. In our opinion, that is one respectable service life.

maglula uplula
Maglula Uplula

The design and use is simple, just place it over the magazine, squeeze the handle, and push down.

maglula uplula (2)

This depresses the follower or last round in the magazine and lets you drop a new one on top. Release the lever and pull up to reset the loader for the next round.

It’s intuitive and provides a lot of force even for really sticky magazines. Best of all, it works with zero adjustments for a huge range of magazine types and calibers.

Maglula Pistol Magazine Loader
Maglula Pistol Magazine Loader

We’ve used the same loader for .380 up to .45 ACP, from Glock to Beretta to Wilson Combat 1911 magazines – the same loader worked for all of them with equally successful results.

Editor's Pick
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

I would also recommend this loader for anyone that has pain in the wrists or hands since it requires minimum force to use and is easy to gain leverage on.

This doesn’t have anything to do with the function of the Uplula, but we wanted to share it with you anyways – the…mascot? of the Maglula Uplula is a weird…thumb…person…thing…

maglula uplula creepy

It’s not that you needed to know that, but we saw it and thought we’d share the mental scarring.

disgust gif
The face we made when we first saw it.

What’s your take on the Maglula?

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (1060)

Your Rating?

2. Caldwell Universal Pistol Magazine Loader

The amount of engineering that went into the Caldwell Magazine Loader is nothing short of impressive.

Caldwell Universal Pistol Magazine Loader (2)
Caldwell Universal Pistol Magazine Loader

Caldwell is known for making great gear and their magazine loader keeps that tradition alive. It isn’t as intuitive as the Uplula, but once you see how the bits work it is easy to use.

Set the spacer for your magazine (instructions are provided with the loader), insert the magazine, tighten the set screw, and simply load each round into the window before using the staple-gun like handle to load the round into the magazine.

Caldwell Universal Pistol Magazine Loader (4)

This is really handy if you have limited space, such as at a training class, a busy range, or a competition event. Since the Caldwell loader doesn’t require the use of a table or bench to brace yourself on, this is easy to use just standing and loading.

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

The handle is also large enough that it provides a ton of leverage making the squeeze much easier than one might expect.

3. ETS CAM Universal Speed Loader

Loading one round at a time can be a fairly speedy process once you get used to it, but it is limited by the fact that it is still only one round at a time.

Enter the ETS CAM Speed Loader.

Able to load a full magazine at a time the ETS combines the use of your ammo boxes with your loader to make the process a LOT faster.

Use the tray to slide over the cartridges while they are sitting in your ammo box to pre-load them and set them inplace over your magazine.

ETS CAM Universal Speed Loader (3)

Use the provided T-Handle to then push and guide the rounds down into your magzine.

ETS CAM Universal Speed Loader

This takes more force than other loaders and it’s a bit hard to get the right leverage when using a table. We actually found that employing a seppuku-esq style of bracing the magazine against the sternum and pulling the T-Handle to the body actually worked better than trying to brace it all on the table.

ETS CAM Universal Speed Loader (2)

While not a very comfortable way of using the ETS CAM, it was effective.

Besides, bruises are good for you.

And if you’re cool enough to wear a plate carrier while loading your magazines, you wouldn’t feel a thing!

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

If you really want speed or you’re trying to load large capacity magazines, the ETS CAM really does save a lot of time over some of the other methods.

4. MagPump

We only had one problem with the MagPump – it broke the first time we tried to use it

After watching the 5.56 version of the MagPump in action at competition events and media range days, we can say first hand that it can work very well. But sadly, the 9mm version we tried to test broke the first time we tried pumping the handle.

One pump and SNAP, the MagPump was dead.

It is unlikely that this was user error and not a lot of force was used when pumping the lever. This was likely a defect in the manufacturing that manifested itself when we tried to use the lever.

If we get our hands on a new one, we’ll give it another test. But based on this result so far – we can’t really recommend it for anything.

That said if you’d like to try out the 5.56 version of the MagPump…

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Parting Shots

There are a lot of other magazine loaders on the market and we’ll be testing more eventually, but of the ones we’ve tested – the winner was clearly the Maglula Uplula. Simple, easy to use, and minimal moving parts that might break down.

Editor's Pick
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What magazine loader do you use? Let us know in the comments! And if you want more awesome pistol goodness, take a look at our Editor’s Picks!

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23 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Tim Taylor

    I bought the Maglula a year ago or so, so much easier than fighting those last couple rounds especially after spending part of a day at the range. I highly recommend this loader.

    March 12, 2022 1:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dan in Idaho

    I've used, bought, given, lost, found (in an old bag or back behind the bench) the uplula forever and have never really thought of any alternative. Anyone at the range with me or nearby that hasn't seen one before loves it and asks about it and sometimes I'll give them one (which is when I usually lose my other, then buy another). Right now I think I have 4 of them (maybe 5). It's just there and always works and I never think much about it. If you don't have one yet, get one.

    January 17, 2022 2:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Russell Everett

    I've used all of these, but the MagLula is the one I like the best. I keep one on my workbench at home and one in the range bag. The caldwell is super cool and easy, but doesn't work well for double stack to single stack mags like Sig 365 and Hellcat. The ETS was a little faster when I could get it to work on the first try, but it almost never works on the first try. The Magpump is great in theory, but jams to easily, is too big, and requires power. Thankfully I was able to sell it at a profit to a guy looking at one at a gun store right after the Covid hit.

    June 25, 2021 1:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Charles Garrison

    The ETS cam loader sucks. I have one and it works great.....when it doesn't jam, which happens every other mag! The bullets seem to get hung up on the rail and won't load straight. I know it's not a lube problem either, cuz I practically drowned that thing in lube every time I attempt it. It's time to find a better way I guess...

    March 28, 2021 10:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe Shook

    Is there a preferred rifle magazine loader, specifically for AR 15 5.56/.233? I may have missed it. I have the ETS Tactical for my .40 and it is awesome as long as you lubricate!

    October 19, 2020 4:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Must be freezing inside to be wearing that trendy Atom LT.

    March 18, 2020 3:04 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Richard Hyman

    Had my Maglula for bout a year and I love the thing. Very simple and have had no issues with it. My wife and son both like using it when loading magazines.

    February 13, 2019 8:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bravo Tango


    Mine works great for $7.

    February 13, 2019 1:42 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have an ETS that works great. When it's lubed well. And on double stack mags. Can't get it to load my G43 single stacks. Easy to load 10, then a little harder to add 5 or 3 to my Glock mags. After the first time bruises went away, I learned to brace it with a towel against my body.

    February 13, 2019 10:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Maglula, by far and away. But please note that the "Maglula" loaders being sold on Amazon are Chinese ripoffs - a Chinese company even went so far as to register the name "Maglula" in Chine. Not only is it intellectual property theft, but the Chinese ones are not as well-machined. The actual company is in Israel and their website warns about buying Magula Loaders on Amazon and certain other sites while providing a list of company they do sell to.

    February 13, 2019 9:37 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tim Taylor

      I agree, I've seen those knock-offs....stay away from them. I purchased mine from a local gun dealer for a few dollars less than advertised here. I believe Maglula released a video on how to tell the difference between the real product and china's product.

      March 12, 2022 1:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar


    February 13, 2019 6:45 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Douglas Riding

    I bought the MagLula a while back... It's slow ( individual rounds ) and the 'lock closed' button keeps activating, causing it to quit working until I reset it... Also, no matter how much I lube it, the spring won't force the plunger back out from under the newly inserted round... It hasn't worked that well for me...

    The ETS Cam works like a champ however... It loads those 30 round ETS mags like it was made to do it ! ( Oh - wait, it was ! )

    I also got a chest bruise after trying to find a 'slip proof' place to brace the magazine as well... But I solved the problem with a piece of 'fairly dense' foam ( like a piece of horse trailer mat ) placed on my desk... NO SLIPS NOW !!!

    I love it...

    Nothing beats the simplicity of my 5 round-at-a-time, AR loader though...

    I enjoy your educational articles here... Glad I found you guys !


    February 12, 2019 10:04 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Tim Taylor

      You probably got the chinese knock-off version.

      March 12, 2022 1:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Love my maglula didn’t realize how much I relied on it until I forgot it at a pistol competition thankfully a guy seen me struggling and loaned me his -simple amazing product

    February 12, 2019 8:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Norman Copeland

    I have the Caldwell snagged it at Walmart on the cheap love it

    February 12, 2019 7:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have the Maglula for my pistols and an ETS for my AR. The ETS works so quickly, and you don't even have to load the rounds into the loader itself
    Simply slide the loader across rounds in the box and it slots them into the feed channel - pop it onto the mag and slam down the t-handle. 15 rounds loaded in like 5 seconds. Do it twice and you've got a full magazine. I also use the method of pressing it into my chest to load. I keep all my pmags loaded up so I can just grab a stack and head to the range!

    February 12, 2019 7:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The MagLula is an excellent loader. I do have one question. I own a BULLPUP 9 and the bullets load into the magazine in the reverse as other magazines. Will the Caldwell universal pistol magazine loader work in loading the BULLPUP 9 magazine?

    February 12, 2019 5:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Interesting! I'm not sure since there's that light gray part that helps seat the round and it might be optimized for one direction.

      February 12, 2019 7:15 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Is it a Bond Arms or Boberg bullpup pistol? If so, I don't think it would work well. The Maglula relies on depressing the magazine follower for the first round and as I understand it, the Boberg doesn't have a follower. I'm not sure about the Bond Arms but since it is the same design I assume it doesn't as well.

      It might work once the first round was in, but I think it would be iffy at best.

      February 12, 2019 7:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar


    February 12, 2019 5:51 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John A Bird

    I have used a Maglula for both a 9mm and 22's, both work excellent, take up little space in your range bag and can be used for loading or unloading.

    February 12, 2019 4:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    MagLula is perfect. It takes up little space in the range bag. Plus, Hitchcock45 uses one all the time. I liked it so much that I bought a 2nd one to put in the safe. I’ve used it for 380, 9mm, and 45 with no issues. A genius device.

    February 12, 2019 3:57 pm
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