The Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

It has been quite some time since I’ve written about a new speedloader. I thought I’d just about covered everything that’s out there on the market. Turns out there are a couple of new products popping up. Today I’m going to talk about the new Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader.

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

Pachmayr introduced these loaders at the 2018 SHOT Show. At first glance they don’t really offer anything new – they seem to be just a nice looking “twistie” speedloader. Turns out there’s a little more to the story than that, however. The Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader is nicely constructed of machined aluminum.

The Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader has three features that differentiate it from anything currently on the market. The first is the large, knurled knob. The HKS knob is knurled, but in my opinion, its size isn’t ideal for use under extreme stress. The Pachmayr loader’s knob is substantially larger, both in diameter and length. Though this might make it slightly more difficult to conceal, I believe this is a good trade-off.

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

The second interesting feature of the Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader is the unique shape of its body. Rather than being round like most loaders, the Pachmayr loader body has conspicuous flats This is because this creates the smallest possible diameter. This aids in concealment and more importantly (in my opinion), in getting the loader around a gun’s grips.

The third interesting feature about this loader is the rubber O-ring in the top of the loader body. When cartridges are inserted and secured, the cartridge heads are forced tightly into this ring. This prevents the annoying jangling of cartridges. It also aids in loading by making sure the cartridges are held rigidly in place. I am not a fan of “drooping” cartridges in a speedloader, though they may be helpful if the loader can’t address the cylinder in a perfectly straight line (due to grip interference, for instance). The O-ring neatly solves this issue.

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

Using the Pachmayr Speedloader

There’s no magic here, folks. Invert the aluminum body of the loader. Drop in the appropriate number of cartridges. While ensure that the cartridges are fully seated, rotate the knob firm in a clockwise direction. They will lock into place, and your loader is ready to go.

Reloading your revolver from the Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speeloader is equally straightforward. Align the cartridges with the chambers. Allow the cartridges to seat as fully as possible. While maintaining control of the cylinder, turn the knob counterclockwise and allow the cartridges to fall free.

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

For this evaluation, Pachmayr sent me one 6-shot, L-Frame sample and one 5-shot, J-Frame sample. I used both, both at home with snap caps and on the range with live ammunition. Overall they work pretty well. However, the release knob requires a substantial amount of force to actuate. I believe this to be mostly due to the O-ring as it places a good deal of tension on the cartridges. On my 686 this is a complete surmountable issue – just twist harder.

With the J-Frame variant, “twist harder” is easier said than done. Because there is precious little space between the loader’s knob and the grip, I found it incredibly difficult to twist the knob and release the cartridges.

Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader

The Bottom Line

I’ll be honest – I want to like this loader. I like to support revolver-related products because wheelguns are the overlooked stepchild in the firearms aftermarket. However, I don’t think I’ll be buying any of these anytime soon. First, they don’t fit a huge assortment of guns; currently three models are available and are sized to fit S&W J, K, and L-Frame revolvers. That’s cool, since these are the most popular on the market, but that also excludes a lot of revolver shooters.

Next, the Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader is a “twistie” loader. I am not a fan of such loaders because they require two discrete motions in two discrete directions: inline to seat the cartridges, then a second, circular motion to release them. The difficulty in actuating the knob was the deal-breaker for me. However…

If you’re in the market for a high-quality, well-made speedloader of this style, you could do a heck of a lot worse. At around $20 apiece they aren’t quite as expensive as a JetLoader, and thanks to their polygonal body, they’re a little more compact. At the risk of repeating myself, these aren’t for me, but you might chalk that up to my personal bias because they certainly aren’t a bad loader.

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Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

20 thoughts on “The Pachmayr Aluminum Competition Speedloader”

  1. I am considering a Kimber loader for my K6S, so I look forward to these reviews. Though this one would not work for me, I do have other guns where it would.

    For now, however, I practice with speed strips.

  2. I bought a Pachmyr K frame speedloader out of curiosity. I have a Kimber K6S and just laid may hands on a Colt Night Cobra. Both revolvers have VZ grips. The Pachmyr K frame speedloader works with both. I don’t like twist knobs either, but that won’t stop me from buying a revolver. By the way, if you buy a Colt New Cobra, put some thread sealant on the front sight set screw. Otherwise, your nice tritium front sight will launch. Ask me how I *^%#! know……

    1. Excellent feedback on the Cobra, Curtis. Thanks! Good to hear the Pach/K is compatible with VZs on the K6s. My experimemtation continues on that platform. Next attempt will probably involve Altamont stocks.

  3. The K frame one kinda works with the Kimber, but more importantly the J frame version is the best fit I can find for my Ruger LCRX. They both loosen up a little with use. I wish they twisted the same way as the HKS items, but then again I wish I could get some Safariland comp 2s for these weapons.

    1. Riley, that’s good info about the LCR compatibility. Thanks!

      Yes, Comps for the LCR and K6s would be welcomed. I recently got as far as the VP level at Safariland, asking them to break out the old molds for the Detective Special-sized Comps (which would fit the K6s and the new Cobra), but they’re not interested. They told me they tried the K-frame loaders and they worked, but upon further questioning, admitted that the loaders were used with the grips removed from the test gun!


    1. Mike, I understand completely, but I started using 5-Star products when Ruger came out with their GP-100 in .44 Special. That led to using them for the S&W model 58 and now the K6S. I’m done with HKS, bless their heart.

    2. Unfortunately they both rotate the wrong way. ANY rotation release is a deal-breaker for me…

      1. Understood! If only someone . . . (cough) Magpul! . . . would manufacture an SLV-type loader here in America for the popular revolvers in use today!

  4. Purty bleu color on that thar Packmayer thing. Seriously, guys, twisting any direction, especially backwards, is nonsense. At least two generations of wheelgunners have used HKS’s hand hand twist system — ya know, as in the direction you’re going to soon push the cylinder towards. No the geniuses at Packmayr want to go half bass ackwards. It’s like a left handed Webley. One can only wonder whether anyone really thought that project through.

    Perhaps pressure toward Safariland management from Kimber, Colt, Ruger, and others might persuade them to do a compatible Comp II loader for that size range.

    My K-frames: Safariland Comp2 only. (Wife prefers the twisties) J-frames (choke) HKS, mainly because I’ve never been worth a (bleep) with speed strips.

    Scratch Colt from that one…they’re just now trying to relearn how double action revolvers are made ( hint, Colt: bring back the .357 Trooper Mk.V ).

    1. To be honest, I don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” direction. At least two generations of shooters were also taught to shoot one-handed, ignore the sights, and cock the hammer. For that matter, multiple generations of cops came up on S&W and Colt revolvers before the Glock was even written about by Kokalis but we’ve adapted to all of that pretty readily.
      I think the much bigger issues is trying to teach an old dog new tricks. If you’ve got a decade or two of training with the HKS this might be a harder obstacle to surmount. If you’re starting from scratch I don’t think you have much to worry about…except that we can agree that twisting in any direction is nonsense.

  5. The HKS may be hampered by the twistie-style release–I think we’d all prefer a good push-release–but the knob clearance issue you highlighted on the Pachmayr is not a problem with the HKS. There’s a lot more room between the side of the knob and the frame to twist it.

    The concerns about breaking a plastic-body loader are overrated, I think. All the makers of aluminum-body loaders hype durability as a bonus, but in many decades of shooting with plastic-body loaders, I have yet to break one from dropping it. Their light weight helps to prevent them from striking the ground with enough force to cause damage. I’ve stepped on a bunch of them and have only managed to crack one so far. It actually still worked, but I tossed it because it was inexpensive to replace. I can buy two of the plastic loaders for the price of a single aluminum one.

    Not trying to pooh-pooh the current effort, but I see little reason to change from the loaders I’m currently using. Now, if Pachmayr/Lyman wants to give us an aluminum-body push-style loader, I’m all ears . . .

    1. For the life of me I can’t understand why the HKS style persists. There are much better options on the market.

      The cost comparison, I think, is a false one for the following reasons. First, this is a self defense tool. If I told you I’d bought a Glock and half a dozen Mec-Gar magazines (instead of OEM mags, to save a few bucks) I hope you’d tell me why the money is worth spending on quality feeding devices, even if I can only afford a few less of them. Secondly, revolvers aren’t semi-auto guns, and we don’t 10 or more “magazines” for them. A couple of speedloaders (plastic or aluminum) will last a long, long time. Even at twice the price, we only need a few, and we’re talking tens of dollars, not hundreds of dollars.
      Cost arguments aside, I also don’t see the small loading knob on the HKS as a great benefit. It’s small and dainty, and I’ve always had a hard time using under high stress.
      The HKS is certainly not a quantifiable better option than the Pachmayr and vice-versa. They’re just different versions of the same thing. Debating one vs the other is really just debating personal preference.

      1. The way I see it, HKS persists for three main reasons: 1.) Variety. You can get them in the proper size for anything on the market. No need to “make do” with a loader that’s clearly designed for something else, and doesn’t quite fit. I’m guessing that Pachmayr doesn’t make a D-Frame loader, but HKS does; 2.) Cost. Not a significant hurdle for you (and I totally get it), but nonetheless a major factor for the average buyer that we just cannot deny (or Taurus would be out of business); 3.) Advertising. Everybody knows the brand, because they’re the only ones who have been buying ad space in all the magazines for the last 40+ years. Most buyers don’t even know that Safariland makes loaders. Jet-who?

        We both agree there are better loaders out there, but the darn things just work. If you’re going to buy a twistie-style loader, I can’t think of anything on the market–including the new Pachmayr–that offers a measurable advantage. Not my first choice, but if I only had them to use, it wouldn’t upset me one bit. They’ll work just fine for me, like they always have. Frankly, I worry more about my grips than my speedloaders.

  6. I bought one of these a few months back for my LCR. It seemed like an HKS/5 Star hybrid to me. Like the author I couldn’t really come to like it. May try some extended practice with it to see if the knob pressure let’s up some.

    For carrying mine I’ve used j frame sized Jox pouches, both the HKS and Speed Bees styles. The HKS will work but retention is a tad precarious because of the speed loaders shape. With the SB pouch the loader stays in good and straight; it helps that you can adjust the pouch’s tension.

  7. After reading your review of these, I bought one of the J-Frame models to test for myself. Honestly, I like it. The knob is a light tight when cartridges are loaded into it, but releasing them is easier than I thought. I’m going to get some more to complement my 5 Stars.

    1. These speedloaders are well-made and work perfectly on the K and L Frames. The J Frame version works fine too; the problem is that there’s less room to get a good purchase and twist the knob. I’ve seen reviews elsewhere say that the knob is too tight. They are tight, but no, it’s just harder to get a good grip for twisting on the J. Not an issue on the K or L.

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