I’m one of the old guys. And being an old guy, I carried a wheel gun for 19 of my 20+ years on the job. Ergo, I’m very familiar with speedloaders. In fact, I’ve won a few guns in revolver competitions in NY and Canada using speedloaders. So, when Mike Christoff at Sticky Holsters, Inc. turned me on to these new speedloaders from CK Tactical, I knew I had to get my hands on them.
Time and space won’t allow me to do a full comparison of all the over half dozen brands of speedloaders out there, but most are really great products. I’m only going to compare this relatively new CKT speedloader with the more familiar and wide spread HKS Speedloaders. Two reasons; #1, I’m very familiar with HKS Speedloaders having used them for years. And #2, the aforementioned time/space constrictions.
The CK Tactical Ripcord Speedloader is a one piece flexible plastic unit about ¼” wide with no moving parts. It consists of either a 4.5” or 5” strip of plastic (depending on whether you’re using the 5-shot unit or the 6-shot unit) with spaces for the individual rounds. At the end of the stripper clip is the tab (aka the ripcord) that you pull to release the rounds into the cylinder. To use the loader, you insert the rounds into the spaces nose up and then clasp the two ends together and push to close. At one end of the stripper clip is the “tongue” and the other end is the “groove.” When closed (tongue in groove) you’ve formed the round circular loader. It takes some practice especially when new.
I was given the 5-shot unit for testing. My test unit reportedly works with 5 different J-frame-type revolvers: Charter Arms; Rossi 68; Ruger SP101 and LCR; Smith models 36, 37, 38, 40, 42, 60, 340, and 360; and Taurus 85, 605, 651 and 851. After a lot of practice, I got pretty quick at working the unit. The following is an objective evaluation; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Upside: the cost
The CKT Ripcord speedloaders are sold two in a pack and only cost $10. HKS, Jetloader, 5-Star, etc. normally will run you between $15 and $40 for just one. Plus, CKT speedloaders are very compact and concealable.
One minor downside is the lack of carry pouches. Most speedloaders have compatible pouches. For example, HKS, 5-Star and Safariland make specific pouches for their speedloaders. Gould & Goodrich and Barsony make units for many different popular speedloader brands. To the best of my knowledge, there are no pouches available through CK Tactical for their Ripcord units. The CKT website site states they are working on pouches for the Ripcord. However, the device is so small and light you can carry two or more loaded in your jacket pocket. With .38 round nose ammo, they’re 1-1/2” tall, basically the height of the rounds.
Which brings me to downside #2. In my mind, CKT Ripcords are primarily left handed devices. Think about it. Regardless of whether you’re right or left handed, during a tactical revolver reload, you open the cylinder by pushing in the cylinder release (which is universally located on the left side of the frame) with your right thumb then transfer the gun to your left. Then while tipping the barrel up you use your left thumb to press the ejector rod thereby ejecting the spent casings. Simultaneously, with the gun remaining in the left hand, most shooters will retrieve the speedloader with their right while rotating the muzzle downward, insert the speedloader and close the cylinder. 4 or 5 seconds tops.
However, after inserting the Ripcord Speedloader regardless of which hand you use, you’ll find that the release tab is located on the left side of the frame if you’re pointing the gun downward and downrange. Unless you’re ambidextrous, it’s going to take a lot of practice for right handed shooters to pull the ripcord with their left hand smoothly and forcefully enough to release the rounds. You could turn the gun around 180 degrees and point the barrel downward so the tab is now accessible with the right hand, but all that movement kind of defeats the speed part of speed loading. The instruction package reminds the shooter to pull the speedloader tab “confidently” with your “palm facing downward” making sure to “stop the cylinder from spinning” before closing it. Some folks may find this odd motor skill a deal breaker. But I don’t believe devoted wheel gun users are going let this left-right thingy prevent them from giving this device a try.
CKT Ripcords aren’t much to look it. They’re not as beautiful as the machined aluminum Pachmayr Comps or as sleek & polished as 5-Star’s billet aluminum units, but CKT Ripcords weren’t designed for looks. Like the brochure says; they’re made for “maximum speed & minimal size.” So if you’re looking for pretty, these babies aren’t for you. But if speed and reliability is your thing, give these items a hard look.
Most of today’s street cops are carrying semiautos, so CKT Ripcords are probably going to be attractive devices for those small percentages of officers who still carry wheel guns on duty; or who carry revolvers off-duty and want the added security of spare rounds; or those who are going to engage in revolver competitions. My guess is those troops are going to practice to become very proficient with these compact and inexpensive devices.
Price: $10 for two speedloaders
CK Tactical, 3334 Rochester Rd., Ste. #183, Troy, MI 48083
Veteran owned. American made.