Loading AR magazines is a chore but it is one of the most important tasks when using an AR—busting thumbs is just part of the job. Range time is precious, and I don’t want to waste time loading 30-rounders when I can be training, so I have a plan that involves tools that take the work out of recharging AR magazines.
Before I head to the range, I load all of my magazines using a bench top loader such as the Magula AR15/M4 PMAG Range BenchLoader that is designed for serious magazine loading. It works with both metal and polymer magazines of any capacity. The Magula BenchLoader is also small enough, and light enough, that I can take it with me to the range. As long as I have a flat bench top or pickup truck tailgate, I can reload fast.
The Thunder Struck Loader also makes the chore quick and easy. Machined from tough high impact plastic, Thunder Struck Loader loads PMag, HexMag, Troy, Sig Arms, and Lancer magazines, as well as standard metal mil spec magazines. Just insert the magazine—5-, 10-, 20- or 30-round capacity—dump cartridges in the slot, align the cartridges, and push them into the magazine. It is that simple.
The Caldwell Mag Charger Tac30 can load 30 rounds in less than 10 seconds in nearly every type of AR magazine—both mil-spec and polymer types. It works with .223 Rem., 5.56 NATO, and .204 Ruger calibers, and allows a user to transfer cartridges directly from a 20-round box or a stripper clip. The Mag Charger Tac 30 is small and compact made of durable polycarbonate. It can pack in your range bag. The Mag Charger AR-15 is designed to accept 50 rounds directly from 50-round factory boxes or from 50-round aftermarket plastic storage boxes. Just dump a box of ammo into the Mag Charger, insert any AR magazine into the Mag Charger, and work the plunger to load 5 rounds per stroke.
For an even more compact loader, try the Magula M-16/AR-15 LULA Magazine Loader and Unloader. The LULA weighs 2 ounces and takes up very little room in my range bag. It takes about 35 seconds to load a 30-rounder and about 5 seconds to unload a 30-rounder using the LULA. I prefer to unload 30-rounders via the rifle’s trigger, but there are times when it is necessary to unload magazines. The LULA tool makes it easy.
When loading .308 Win./7.62x51mm magazines like those for an AR10, M14, H&K, M1A and others the NCStar 7.62x51mm Magazine Loader works fine for loading 10 rounds at a time. It uses stripper clip so your ammo needs to be loaded into the stripper clip prior to using the reloading. I know that may sound like extra work, but the loading the stripper clip is easier and faster than loading them into a magazine. The plastic body fits over the magazine and you just push the cartridges from the stripper clip into the magazine. It’s fast and increases shooting time. Your thumbs will thank you.