It’s tricky to find adequate gear for a round gun in a flat gun world. With a click of a mouse, you have access to tons of holsters, aftermarket magazines and magazine pouches for all sorts of auto pistols, but finding quality revolver gear doesn’t come easy. Demand dictates supply, and since there are fewer people carrying revolvers, the lack of industry support for the revolver isn’t surprising. That doesn’t make it any less frustrating.
Editor’s Note: While we all like fancy gear, sometimes it’s the simple and creative workarounds that really get the job done. We’re glad to welcome RevolverGuy Kevin McPherson back with his story about a clever solution to a vexing speedloader problem he had. If you missed it before, make sure to go back and read his story on Dwayne Worley Grips.
A common malady we all share is the lack of available speedloaders for any given revolver. Smith & Wesson’s J-Frames are likely the most popular carry revolvers on the market, but there’s only a handful of loaders available for them–maybe a half-dozen or so. Unfortunately, we lack suitable pouches for even this small selection of loaders. Making dedicated pouches to carry speedloaders isn’t high on most manufacturer’s priority lists.
The Austrian Problem
Austria’s JetLoader is the only spring-assisted loader currently available for a J-Frame. It’s an excellent design that works very well with the small revolver.
Unfortunately, there are very few options in a dedicated pouch to carry one, especially for concealment. The pouches that are designed for HKS or Safariland loaders with snapping flaps will not work because of the length of the handle on the JetLoader. (Editor’s note: We successfully modified a prototype pouch from DeSantis when we were working with them on their FLETC 2.0 design, and understood this feature would be incorporated into production. A larger window cut on the flap allowed it to clear the longer JetLoader handle when lifted. You might be able to modify your own pouch in a similar fashion.)
An open top pouch that keeps a loader vertical and accessible is preferable. Jox Loader Pouches are the best game in town, and Nick Jacques from Jox now catalogs an IWB pouch like the one he made for Justin, but as of early-December 2020, Jox has placed their production on hold because of outside vendor issues. We hope they’ll be up and running in the new year, but you’ll have to be patient for now, if you want one of these fine pouches.
The JetLoader doesn’t lend itself to front trouser pocket carry as it’s pretty big when loaded. It’s much easier to carry in a cargo pocket if your britches are so equipped. If they’re not, your JetLoader becomes a brisk weather accessory because you need a vest or jacket with pockets to tote it.
A belt pouch is a better option than just sticking a JetLoader in a pocket. An IWB version will conceal the big loader better than an OWB belt pouch like the Comp-Tac or Wilderness for year-round carry. I have an IWB pouch made for a 5-Star loader by Black Rhino. I use it when carrying a Ruger LCR. It’s specific to the 5-Star loader, and it works pretty well with it. The downside is the loader tends to sink down into the pouch with shorter .38 Special rounds and you have to grasp it by the release knob to retrieve it. I’ve dumped the loader’s payload prematurely by inadvertently turning the knob while yanking the speedloader out by the knob, trying to reload rapidly.
Ready for Murphy
Statistics tell us that most gunfights will be non-reloading events. I’m hesitant to gamble on that (I have this nagging fear that Murphy is waiting for me to carry a 5-shot revolver without a speedloader to spring his ultimate ambush). I needed a way to daily carry that JetLoader if I was going to carry a 640 as a primary. I’ve spent a good amount of the COVID 19 vacation pondering a solution.
Tossing and turning several nights ago, I had one of those lightbulb moments. I trudged to the garage and pulled my hunting survival kit off of a shelf. A plastic 35mm film canister was retrieved and emptied of the wooden matches that were stored there. I suspect that most people reading this are familiar with 35mm film, the canisters it came in, and the myriad of uses the canisters had. They are a warm reminder of my analog youth and I never thought that I would have to explain their purpose to my children.
“What are the chances?” I thought while heading back into the house. I placed the charged JetLoader in the canister and it fit PERFECTLY. The JetLoader has little plastic nubs on its face that protrude between the loaded cartridges. They snugged the loader on the mouth of the canister like it was custom fit for it.
The canister could be turned upside down and the loader stayed in it. I went back to the garage and started rummaging through holsters looking for a suitable belt loop option to affix to the cannister. I found an old suede-out magazine pouch that was designed for inside-the-pants carry. It had a conventional belt clip that was easily removable; a suitable donor for the pouch. As I began to plan my drilled and riveted feat of engineering, a little voice in my head counseled not to overthink this project. I pulled a roll of electrical tape from a drawer and went back inside.
I tore off a few pieces of the electrical tape and affixed the belt clip to the canister. I ran four or five layers to prevent the canister from twisting or pulling off of the clip. Probably overkill, but it ended up pretty secure. A little caution was required to secure it without putting too much pressure on the canister and mashing it.
I geared up with my 640 in a Galco Tuck & Go 2.0 holster, carried in the AIWB position at about 2 o’clock. The homemade pouch was placed in the void created by the front of the Galco holster. The handle of the JetLoader hides well here, as it hugs my mid-section snugly. The long handle also makes it fast and sure to access from there for reloads. It was a little difficult to get the loader fully seated back in the pouch after deploying it. Maybe it’s not the best choice for an all-day shooting class or a competition, but for carrying and using in emergencies, it seemed like it would work. I wore it for a few days with favorable results. The loader stayed put in the pouch, and the pouch stayed put on my belt. I haven’t seen any degradation of the tape job or shifting of the cannister on the clip. So far, so good.
The pouch can also be reversed and worn on the outside of a belt. It obviously won’t hide as well this way and it’s not as secure as when the handle is tucked up to your mid-section. It would definitely work for range carry that way. It’ll also work to keep a JetLoader staged in a vehicle, clipped onto a door storage cubby.
I tried it with other J-Frame loaders, and was pleasantly surprised to find it will adequately carry a Safariland Comp I as well. The loaded rounds snug up on the inside of the cannister and provide enough tension to hold well. It won’t work with an HKS or a 5-Star; they just rest on top of the cannister rim with no tension and easily fall out.
Worth a try
Obviously, this isn’t a high-end piece of kit, built to last a lifetime. But it’s inexpensive and works pretty well with the 2 speedloaders I carry most with a J-Frame Smith. It’s easy to replace (you can easily purchase 35mm film canisters online from a variety of sources, and suitable belt clips are also available from many makers) and certainly worth a try if you haven’t been able to find something that works for your own JetLoader or Comp I.
If you give it a try, make sure to let me know in the comments below how it worked for you!
20 thoughts on “DIY J-Frame JetLoader Pouch”
I am a dedicated revolver guy. I carry a 9mm LCR in my right front pocket. With a piece of foam in the bottom those 35 mm film cans with snap off lids are perfect for a loaded moon clip in another pocket. Or for more reloads with my second LCR9 in a fanny pack.
Great idea, Dave. I’ve seen that used, and it’s quite effective. RevolverGuy Dean Caputo has also had good luck using some pill bottles in a similar fashion. With just a little creativity, you can solve all kinds of equipment issues!
There is a product called ReloadWrap that can be set up in a very similar manner. The clip is set from manufacture for deep pocket carry, but it can be rotated 180 degrees and reassembled for a shallower carry depth apropos of IWB and OWB carry. Works very well for IWB carry in the appendix position and can even work OWB for IDPA matches.
John, thank you very much for the point out to ReloadWrap. That’s a very interesting looking product! We’ll reach out to them.
That’s a great idea! I have avoided carrying small revolvers with moon clips because I was always worried about the moon clips getting damaged and compromising an emergency reload. It hadn’t occurred to me that a film container could work as armor for a moon clip in a pocket, too. Thanks for sharing it!
Great thinking! I have made a carrier some years back out of some plastic drink lids, cardboard tubing, and gaffer’s tape… it was meant to protect a speedloader in the pocket, and it did, but was too slow to deploy. I never thought of adding a belt loop, I might try again sometime. Thanks for bringing this idea to us.
Nice job! Though I’m wondering if something like X-Treme Self Fusing silicone tape would work better than electrical tape. The electrical tape over time, will ooze out the glue especially with your body heat and make a bit of a mess. The X-Treme stuff has no adhesive (it aheres to itself not the surface you apply it to), when done you simply cut it off and the surface of what you wrap it around is clean. I keep some around to temporarily attach flashlights on my rifles (to name one use) as it doesn’t harm the finish.
The X-Treme Self Fusing silicone tape does not have those issues and it’s good up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s used like electrical tape for wiring, etc ….. but can also be used to repair radiator hoses, plumbing pipes, garden hoses, etc. I think you can find it at Home Depot, etc.
Thanks again for your write-up and pictures, good stuff!
ps … I have no affiliation with X-Treme self fusing silicone tape.
Thank you, Mike (nMW) for your kindness and for the suggestion. I was not familiar with the X-Treme tape, but I’m going to score some and try it out. Sounds like it would work great!
I discovered the “compatibility” between 35mm films and speed loaders by another way: old photographer’s vest that has specific pockets for films, two each side.
A friend improved your idea with a PVC pipe and a hot air blower. He is specialized on bow making with this technique.
The opposite extreme of PVC tube was flattened and bent to form a belt hook, allowing both IWB and OWB carry.
Erick, that sounds excellent! Was the entire pouch made from pvc pipe? Any chance you could send a picture? I’m trying to come up with something that will work for a smaller diameter speedloader, too.
Thank you, Sir.
Yes, 100% PVC-pipe. No other assembled pieces.
Here in my country (Brazil), some leather speed loader pouches are factory-lined with a PVC tube insert to keep the form and avoid snagging. It´s not beautiful and appears a homemade improvement. But works.
I´m waiting the next meeting with my friend to take some pictures.
Anyone here try out the Reload Wrap for speedloaders? Does it work well?
Mike, are you still using the film canisters to carry your Jetloaders? Any issues or modifications ?
Shane, thanks for the reminder about Reload Wrap. I haven’t heard back from them and need to follow up.
I’ll ask Kevin to respond about his film canister Jetloader pouch. Thanks for reading!
Hey Shane, I haven’t been carrying my J frame near as often as I have 6 shot small guns of late. My homemade film canister/speedloader case is weathering well, and I do use it when I carry my 640. I think I’m going to build another one with an Ulti-clip and X-treme silicone tape (Thanks MnMW) and see how that works.
I scored a Reload Wrap on John Van Swearingen’s recommendation- I don’t know if the clip mounts differently on the one I have, but I was unable to reverse it for ride height. It sits a little deep in my pants for IWB carry. It works better with .38’s than .32’s for me too. I have taken to using it for a spare magazine in pocket when I (seldomly!) carry a semi auto.
Kevin, that’s valuable feedback on the Reload Wrap. I went back to the website and took a closer look at the product, and realized he designed it for deep pocket carry . . . that’s OK, but I’d prefer a higher ride height so I could use it IWB. Maybe I need to get my own ulticlip and film canister!
Thanks Kevin for the update. This is a great idea you had about using these film canisters. I just got some of those canisters and clips in and am going to give it a try. I do notice that when I put the loader in it will back back out just a bit. Perhaps it won’t be an issue or maybe I will need to try a different brand canister. Thanks again for the info.
You bet, Shane- Thank you! I have not had problems with either loader backing out of the canister with normal activity. They seem to stay put pretty well with the canisters that I have- I think mine were standard issued equipment with Kodak 35mm roles purchased in the 1990’s! Black canister, gray lid. I have noticed that if I remove the loader while the carrier is IWB, it’s easier to get it fully seated back in the carrier by removing the carrier from my belt. I hope you find one that works reliably for you!
Shane, I spoke too soon. I drug my 640 out of the safe tonight and was doing some dry firing & loading practice. I noticed my Jetloader started backing out of the canister when I would put the loader back in it. Closer inspection revealed the film canister had developed a 1″ long vertical crack running down the center of where it was secured to the metal belt clip. it gives no tension on the loader with the crack and is now unserviceable. It gave 14 months of service, so not bad for what I have in it. It worked well enough I plan on making another one tomorrow.