AR-15 magazine speed loaders are one of those things you probably don’t think about when you’re a new shooter, but once you start doing big range days and upping the round count on your rifle, you’ll quickly want to have one on hand.
With the number of rounds we send down the barrel every year, having speed loaders on hand just makes sense (both on the personal and professional side of things) so this is an area we’ve got quite a bit of experience with.
Also Read: The Best Reloading Presses
Let’s talk about which AR-15 speed loaders we’ve found to be worth the money, and which ones we wish we’d left alone.
- Work with AR15, PSA AKV and more
- Can load up to 10 rounds
- High build quality
- Quickly load & unloads your magazines
- Good for fingers
- Designed to save your feedlips
- Able to load a 30-round magazine in 10 seconds
- Allows you to flip an ammo box upside down
- Quickly and easily load rounds
- Can easily load 90 rounds in just over a minute
- Impact-resistant polymer
Butler Creek ASAP
- Loads 15 mags in four minutes
- Bulk Loading
1. ETS C.A.M Mag Loader – Best Overall Magazine Loader
First up we have our top overall pick, the ETS C.A.M Mag Loader. This one is pretty special because it works with a variety of calibers, and can ever work with some non-AR rifles and carbines.
It is confirmed to work with AR15, PSA AKV, AK47, AK74, G36, Steyr Aug, MP5, CZ Scorpion EVO, Colt SMG, UZI, and AR-10 magazines. That’s…basically every mag that I have in my safe right now, and I don’t know about you, but having one mag loader that can do it all is a great thing to me.
According to the packaging, it works with 5.56×45 /.223, .300BLK, 7.62×39, 5.45×39, 9mm, and .308 calibers, and while I haven’t tested the 5.45×39, I can confirm that it does work for the rest. It can load up to 10 rounds at a time and is so dead simple to use that anyone can do it.
It’s also very affordable and compact, so you can comfortably take it to the range without worrying about it getting beaten up, lost, or stolen, and it will fit nicely in any range bag. Build quality is also high, and we’ve never seen an issue in thousands of rounds.
ETS C.A.M Mag Loader
The price of ETS C.A.M Mag Loader varies, so check the latest price at
2. Maglula LULA Rifle Magazine Speed Loader – Best Compact AR-15 Loader
Next is the classic Maglula LULA Loader. This is a great option if you’re looking to speed up the process of loading your mags a little bit and save your fingers, without spending a lot of money or getting something that’s too bulky to live in a range bag.
This loader is basically just a simple housing for a lever that fits over the top of your magazine. Pushing the lever holds the rounds in the mag down, allowing you to very easily slide a new round in and continue to top off the magazine.
You can also use the LULA to quickly unload your magazines as well, and best of all, it will not only save your thumbs but also your magazine feed lips. Where some loaders can be a bit hard on feedlips, the LULA loader will actually prolong their lifespan.
Overall, it’s a great option that is inexpensive, durable, and it cuts down loading time by about 50%.
Maglula LULA Rifle Magazine Speed Loader
The price of Maglula LULA Rifle Magazine Speed Loader varies, so check the latest price at
3. Maglula StripLULA Gen II – Best for Stripper Clips
If your ammo comes on stripper clips, then my number one recommendation is going to be another Maglula product, the StripLULA. This loader is designed to be used with standard 5.56/.223 stripper clips that you find bulk ammo loaded in.
This one is specifically designed to save your feedlips as well, so you don’t have to worry about excess wear on polymer or metal feedlips. It will also do a great job of saving your fingers. The easy-to-use plunger is comfortable, and won’t tear up your fingers.
It’s also incredibly fast. I can load a 30-round magazine from stripper clips in under 10 seconds with this thing. You can also load rounds individually into the loader and then load the full 10 all at once, which still saves time and fingers.
All in all, this is the way to go if you buy bulk ammo that comes in stripper clips, it’s light enough to tuck in a range bag, cheap enough that you can buy spares, and it works with single rounds too. What’s not to love?
Maglula StripLULA Gen II
The price of Maglula StripLULA Gen II varies, so check the latest price at
4. Caldwell Shooting Supplies Mag Charger – Best Benchtop
If you do a lot of shooting and loading at the range, then a benchtop loader like the Caldwell AR-15 Mag Charger is a great option. This loader allows you to flip an ammo box upside down, load it into the mag charger, and then quickly and easily load those rounds into any size AR mag.
This is actually the loader that I use the most, and it’s what goes with me to the range when I bring multiple boxes of ammo out to shoot all day. I can load 5 mags in just a few minutes, and it keeps the feedlips of my mags from getting beat up.
It also does a great job of loading larger “beta” style mags, or Magpul D-60s, or any other 60+ round mag. If you like rocking those beefy Surefire 100-round mags, this is a great way to get those loaded up quickly and easily.
Build quality is pretty solid, especially for the price. Basically, everything but the spring is an impact-resistant polycarbonate that can take some abuse, but I’d still say don’t be too rough with it or drop it off a table onto concrete or something like that.
It’s not as delicate as grandma’s fine china, but I wouldn’t want to put too much stress on the polycarb body either.
All in all, it’s a great mag loader that has served me well, and I feel confident it will work well for anyone looking to load mags in bulk at the range.
Caldwell Shooting Supplies Mag Charger
The price of Caldwell Shooting Supplies Mag Charger varies, so check the latest price at
5. Magpump Hopper-Fed Magazine Loader – Best For Enthusiasts
If you want to be able to bulk-load magazines quickly, look no further than the Magpump Hopper-Fed Magazine Loader. This loader uses a triangular hopper and auto-sorting lever system to allow you to simply fill the top up with 90 rounds, and then work the lever to load.
With this system, you can easily load 90 rounds in just over a minute, and it takes very little hand strength to do. If you have arthritis or other hand-strength/dexterity issues, it really doesn’t get much easier than this. You can also get your little ones to help you by having them work the crank.
The whole thing is made of an impact-resistant polymer, with metal internals, and it’s specifically designed to keep your feed lips safely unbent as the rounds are inserted. No worrying about rounds spilling out or not feeding because your mag got mangled.
It definitely costs a little more than our previous options, but it also does more and simplifies loading to a greater degree than any option we’ve discussed so far.
If you’re a regular shooter or someone with decreased manual dexterity and hand strength, this is a phenomenal option to help you load mags quickly and easily. Even if you’re a pro arm wrestler who rock climbs on the weekends though, your fingers will definitely thank you for this one.
And you’ll get to spend more of your hobby time shooting than loading, which is never a bad thing.
Magpump Hopper-Fed Magazine Loader
The price of Magpump Hopper-Fed Magazine Loader varies, so check the latest price at
6. Butler Creek ASAP Electronic AR15/M16 Magazine Loader – Best For Professionals
Full disclosure, the Bulter Creek ASAP Electronic AR magazine loader is my favorite offering on this list.
We freely admit that this is way beyond overkill for most people, but if you’re a serious shooter, competitor, or prepper, it’s a nice thing to have on hand. In our testing, this thing loaded 15 mags in about four minutes with two people running it.
All you have to do is fill the hopper with loose rounds, punch the button for the number of rounds you want to load, insert the mag, and press the load button. The ASAP Electronic loader sorts and orients the rounds automatically and loads up to 40 rounds in seconds.
If you’re loading mags a lot, and want to be able to load in bulk, this is a great option to have and it’s not prohibitively expensive in terms of what you’re likely already spending on ammo or reloading equipment.
Is it a lot for the average shooter who goes to rip through a hundred rounds every other weekend? Yeah, probably. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a nice little bit of kit to have, but it especially shines in situations where you’re loading a lot of magazines in bulk.
Butler Creek ASAP Electronic AR15/M16 Magazine Loader
The price of Butler Creek ASAP Electronic AR15/M16 Magazine Loader varies, so check the latest price at
Magazine Loader Buying Guide: Choosing the Right Tool for the Job
Now, all of these magazine loaders are great, and we’ve used each of them to great effect at the range or in the field, but they each occupy a different niche and might be more or less suited to certain uses or be a better fit for certain shooters than others.
Let’s talk about how to choose the right magazine loader for your specific needs, whether you’re going with one from our list, or ordering off-menu and going with something else (if you do decide to go with another option, be sure to let us know in the comments which one you went with).
Let’s get into it.
First and foremost, pay attention to the build quality. If something looks too good to be true, it definitely is, especially in the words of gun parts, accessories, and tools like magazine loaders. I’ve seen some Wish.com stuff that is more likely to ruin a magazine than load it.
Of course just because something is more expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it is better. There are plenty of people out there that are happy to take large amounts of money for inferior products.
In general, I’d look for something with higher-quality metal parts for anything that takes the strain of compressing the mag spring and doing the actual loading. This is where you’re more likely to see a failure as you’re packing the last 5 or so rounds into a mag.
Also Read: 10 Best AR-15 Rifles for the Money
What’s the point of a magazine speed loader if it’s not fast, right? Some loaders are definitely faster than others, and while you might pay for that extra speed, if you’re loading up 20 mags for a range day, class, or competition, having the ability to quickly load in bulk can be a huge help.
The other thing to keep in mind is that you just might not need a whole lot of speed. Be realistic about the amount you’re shooting (and your ammo budget) and make sure you’re not spending way more than you need to.
Some of the best speed loaders we’ve tested for the average shooter have been well under $50. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding what you think you really need. Then again, some of the more expensive hopper-fed loaders can load 20 magazines in about 5 minutes.
You get what you pay for.
Going hand-in-hand with speed is the method that the loader actually uses. Some loaders load from a stripper clip-fed system and can load a full magazine in seconds, provided you have your ammo in stripper clips.
If your ammo is stored in bulk, like in loose 50-caliber ammo can, then you will probably want to load with a hopper-style loader to orient the rounds for you.
Don’t discount the single-feed loaders like the Maglula Lula loader though. While they may still take around 30 seconds to load 30 rounds, they will be consistently faster than doing everything by hand and will save your fingers a lot of pain.
Think carefully about how your ammo is stored, and how easy it’s actually going to be to get the rounds lined up for the loader. If you’re unpacking big Lake City ammo drums or something, you’re probably gonna want that hopper.
And if you’re buying ammo by the case, with prices the way they are, you can definitely afford the more expensive loader.
Ease of Use
Something else to think about is that, while these loaders are definitely faster than doing everything manually, speed isn’t the only thing that matters. Saving your fingers and saving some effort is a big part of it too.
Some loaders, while faster, can still be a bit rough on the hands, and still take a good bit of hand strength. If you have less than stellar hand strength or dexterity, we recommend not worrying about getting a fast loader so much as one that will be easy for you to use.
Stripper-style loaders are pretty simple to use, especially if you’ve ever used something like a Garand, and are what we recommend keeping in the bag for when you go shooting with friends since most people are going to be able to use them just fine.
Finally, if you’re going to be transporting your speed loader to the range a lot, especially in something like a range bag, then you may want to skip the larger bench-top models and go with something a little bit smaller that can be used to recharge your mags conveniently.
This is especially important if, for example, you only have a limited number of magazines and plan to top off in the field, whether you’re just out shooting cans on dirt berms, or you’re doing something a little more involved like a rifle class or 3-Gun competition.
Having something a little more portable is also great if you’re looking at a magazine loader as a preparedness tool, rather than just as a convenience for going to the range. Some of these will fit quite nicely in a go-bag just like they will in a range bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most speedloaders do not damage magazines if used properly, but some stripper-clip style systems can wear out feed lips marginally faster than loading manually.
Loading a 30-round AR-15 magazine by hand takes between 30 and 45 seconds depending on your general dexterity. Some magazine speed loaders can do that in just 10 seconds or less.
Also Read: Best AR-15 Accessories and Upgrades in 2022
AR-15 magazine speedloaders are a great tool that can really help cut down on the time you spend preparing to shoot and give you more time to actually shoot. Our top pick is still the ETS C.A.M loader, which is well-made, portable, affordable, and capable of loading a huge variety of mags.
If you’re stuck on which one to buy, pick up a C.A.M loader. You won’t be sorry.