By Michelle Cerino, Women’s Outdoor News
I’m a fan of cool kitchen gadgets that make life a little easier when you’re cooking. My kitchen drawer contains a cherry pitter, citrus zester, apple wedger and crinkle cutter. My theory is, if it saves me a little time, and helps get the job done without a struggle, bring it on! Work smarter, not harder. Right?
My love of gadgets and tools extends from my kitchen, all the way to the shooting range. If you take a peek in my range bag, you’ll find a loading aid for the type of gun I am shooting that day. Even when I am carrying my revolver concealed, I’ll have at least 1 loading aid with me, whether it’s a speed strip, speed loader or both. Here is a list of my favorite handgun loading aids.
1. The UpLULA
When I first started shooting, I had a difficult time trying to get rounds 8 to 16 into my magazine, let alone the 17th, to top it off. The process became a frustrating struggle when I had to fill 4 magazines, quickly, all day long. By the end of the day, sore thumbs and ruined fingernails did not make me happy. My love of loading aids began the day a friend gave me a pink UpLULA. Not only did the tool save my thumbs, but it also allowed me to load and unload magazines much faster. The UpLULA loads 9mm to .45-caliber magazines.
The UpLULA is available in pink or black. MSRP: $38.95
I shoot a lot of .22 Long Rifle (LR) guns. For those times, I bring along my BabyUpLula. Just like the original UpLULA, the BabyUpLULA makes loading and unloading easier and faster. I never have to press or push with my thumb, the rounds just drop in. The BabyUpLULA is for use with .22LR magazines that don’t have the slider button on the side. It also works on small caliber centerfire magazines up to .380 caliber.
The BabyUpLULA is available pink or black. MSRP: $38.95
3. The X10-LULA and V10-LULA
When the .22LR that I am shooting has a side-slide button, I use my V10 or X10-LULA. Once again, no finger pinching or thumb pain, because it works the side-slide button for me. Easy, fast loading and unloading.
X10-LULA and V10-LULA come as a set, and is available in black. MSRP: $24.95
4. The HKS Speed Loader
My everyday concealed carry gun is a revolver. With only 5 rounds in the gun, it’s important to carry extra ammunition. Rather than having the rounds loosely clinking around in my purse or jacket pocket, I keep them in my HKS Speed Loader. I can load 5 rounds at a time by dropping them into the wheel, simultaneously, and releasing them with a slight twist of the knob. Being able to do so is not just time saving and easy, but also a potentially life saving advantage.
HKS Speed Loader MSRP: $6 to $11
5. Bianchi Speed Strips
Another easy-to-use loading and storage aid for revolvers is the Bianchi Speed Strip. With this simple rubber strip, my rounds stay organized, no matter where I store them. I can load 2 rounds at a time, without fumbling for more. Multiple caliber choices are available, including .22 revolver!
Bianchi Speed Strips MSRP: $9
6. M-16/AR-15 LULA – 5.56/.223
If you are shooting an AR-15, you’d be silly not to have a LULA. With it, you can easily load and unload AR magazines by placing the device over the top of the magazine and moving the lever back and forth, while inserting ammunition.
M-16/AR-15 LULA is available in black. MSRP: $29.95
7. M-16/AR-15 StripLULA — 5.56/.223
If you have ever bought large amounts of .223 ammunition, you may have received it in stripper clips that hold 10 rounds in a row. Rather than removing the ammunition from the clip to load 1 at a time, I use my Strip Lula. It doesn’t get any easier! Simply slip the strip in and press down. It can also be used with loose rounds, pushing 10 rounds into the magazine in 1 movement.
M-16/AR-15 StripLULA — 5.56/.223 is available in black. MSRP: $30.95
As you can see, there many gadgets or tools out there that can make your life on the range a little easier. Sure, when I start using my loading aid, I get the usual scoffs. However, after a few hundred rounds, fellow shooters start noticing how easy and fast I reload my magazines. Sometimes I even let them borrow it (after I make them beg a little). I would suggest writing your name on yours, or attach it to a lanyard, so you can keep track of it. Once others try it, it’s likely to end up in their range bags.
Michelle Cerino is the president of Chris Cerino Training Group LLC and is sponsored by Vertx. Check out Vertx – click here.