Zeta6 K-PAK-2 and SafeSnap

Longtime RevolverGuy readers will be familiar with the Zeta6 brand, based on our prior reviews of their revolver loaders (which can be found here, here, and here), but if you’re not familiar with the brand, you’ll definitely want to give their innovative designs a look, starting with these new products.

The K-PAK-2

The Zeta6 K-PAK-2 is an update on the popular K-PAK design, which is a strip-style loader that allows you to charge half of a K-Frame cylinder’s chambers simultaneously.

In the original K-PAK design, the loader arranged the six rounds in two opposing semicircular arcs. In practice, one of the cartridge arcs would be inserted into the cylinder, and the loader would be peeled off, leaving those three chambers loaded. The shooter would then advance the cylinder, flip the loader upside down, and reinsert the loader into the remaining chambers, to load the other half of the cylinder in a similar fashion.

The original K-PAK loader.

The original K-PAK worked pretty well, but I had some criticisms of it. First, the loader had a narrow rim, and there wasn’t a lot of real estate to hang onto as you positioned it for the first half of loading. I thought this made it a little harder to manipulate and position the loader.

A second concern I had was the requirement to flip the loader before you could load the second half. It added a little bit of time to the process, but that really didn’t bother me. Instead, I was more concerned about fumbling or dropping the loader when you flipped it around. A well-practiced user could certainly do this efficiently and smoothly, but I would have preferred to avoid the flip.

The new K-PAK-2 design solved both of these issues for me, by adding a seventh charge hole in the middle of the loader.  This charge hole can be used to configure the loader with two opposing arcs, as in the original K-PAK arrangement, or it can be left empty to configure the loader with two same-direction arcs for loading.

The K-PAK-2 has a seventh cell that can be used to configure the loader one of two ways. Here, the loader is set up like the original K-PAK, with two opposing arcs. The empty cell on the end creates a useful tab.
Here, the K-PAK-2 is set up with two same-direction arcs of cartridges. The empty cell in the center creates a good hold point.

It’s this latter configuration that appeals the most to me.  With two same-direction arcs, the loader doesn’t need to be flipped around to finish loading.  Instead, the loader can be held in the same orientation to load both halves of the cylinder. Load the first half, advance the cylinder, then load the second half, without having to flip the loader.

Additionally, having an empty chamber in the middle of the loader creates a great place to hold it. I found it was easy to pinch the K-PAK-2 in the middle, between my thumb and index finger, when this middle chamber was left empty. This gave me superior control of the K-PAK-2, in comparison to the earlier K-PAK design.

Even if you prefer to set up the K-PAK-2 with opposing arcs, like the old K-PAK, the empty cell on the end creates a useful tab for gripping and controlling the loader. I think this makes the K-PAK-2 a better design, no matter how you load it.

I should note that it’s still possible to grip the K-PAK-2 “upside down,” in a way that the arc of the cartridges won’t match the arc of the empty chambers. If you’re a right hander, and the empty gun is resting in your left hand, you’ll want to hold the loader in a way that the long, straight edge of the K-PAK-2 is facing the frame of the gun—this will ensure the arc of the cartridges matches the arc of the cylinder’s outboard chambers.  If you hold it the other way, with the beveled edge facing the frame, the arcs won’t match, and you’ll have to flip the loader around for it to line up.

It’s possible to hold the K-PAK-2 “upside down” and not have the cartridge alignment match the outboard chambers of the cylinder. You might still be able to load the inboard chambers, if the grips provide sufficient access—the beveled edge of the K-PAK-2 will help, here. But you might just have to flip the loader over. Take note of the field of raised bumps on the back of the loader, on the left—these act as a physical index for the loader. If you are left-handed and feel the bumps underneath your thumb, then the loader is properly oriented to match the chamber alignment. If you are right-handed, you will want to feel the smooth end, on the opposite side of the loader, underneath your thumb. It’s a clever arrangement that can assist you in orienting the loader when you first establish your grip in the pocket, so you’ll avoid presenting it “upside down” to the gun!

A SYM-STRIP Modification

That’s one advantage of the inline strip loaders—they’re indifferent to orientation, especially on a design like the Zeta6 SYM-STRIP, which is built with two symmetrical ends (see what they did there?) that match each other.

On the SYM-STRIP, each end has a tab to get a purchase on the loader, followed by two cells that are spaced to match adjoining chambers in the cylinder.  In the very middle of the strip, there’s an extended space with a single cartridge in the center.

In concept, the SYM-STRIP allows you to load a pair of rounds, flip the loader to the other end, and load another pair of rounds, then decide if you have time to load the center single.1 Having a tab on either end facilitates this flip, and also makes the loader indifferent to how it’s removed from the pocket—no matter which end you grab, the loader will act the same.

With a tab on either end, I found the SYM-STRIP was a little long for my pockets, and defaulted to using shorter loaders from other makers, but Zeta Industries’ Michael Lyle recently suggested I could just cut one or both of the tabs off, like he regularly does, to create a shorter loader.

Well, duh. Why didn’t I think of that?

The SYM-STRIP, top, shown in comparison to a six-cell Swift Strip from DeSantis, bottom. The symmetrical tabs make the SYM-STRIP longer, and a tough fit for some smaller pockets.
Clipping just one tab off the SYM-STRIP makes it shorter than the six-cell strip, however. An easy fix, if space is a premium.

Armed with a razor, I did a little minor surgery on some SYM-STRIPS and discovered they were much more useful when I clipped a tab or two off of them. They worked nicely in my Simply Rugged Vertical Strip Pouch with one end clipped off, and when I clipped both tabs off, they were now a good fit for the coin pocket of my jeans.

You guys probably figured that out already, on your own, but I’m slow sometimes.

The SafeSnap

The guy who isn’t slow, is Zeta’s Michael Lyle. He’s always on the go, cooking up something new.

Up to this point, Zeta6 has been focused on creating innovative loading devices, but Michael sent me some prototypes of a new product that I was really excited to see.

The Zeta6 SafeSnap is a dry-fire training aid that promotes safe dry-fire practice. It looks a bit like the hard plastic discs that some manufacturers ship with their new guns, to show that the chambers are empty, but the Zeta6 SafeSnap is much more durable. Unlike those hard plastic shipping discs, the SafeSnap won’t crack when you pull the trigger! It will last for thousands of dry-fires (Zeta6 advertises 5,000, but I suspect you’ll get more).

The SafeSnap is highly visible, even with the cylinder closed.

The SafeSnap has nubs on the back that fit the chambers of the cylinder and hold the SafeSnap in place. You can’t install a SafeSnap if the chambers are loaded, so it’s useful as another means of verifying a gun is safe for dry-fire.  You can see the high-visibility yellow disc even when the cylinder is closed (but that still doesn’t relieve you of the requirement to physically and visually verify the chambers are unloaded—don’t get lazy!).

Michael has developed SafeSnap discs that fit the five-shot, .38 Special / .357 Magnum / 9mm chambers of S&W J-frames and Ruger LCR revolvers (two different SKUs, because of chamber dimension differences), and the six-shot .38 Special / .357 Magnum / 9mm chambers of S&W K-frames.

The J-frame and LCR discs will work nicely in many other five-shot revolvers (the Ruger SP101 and Taurus 85-series come to mind), and the K-frame discs will work in six-shot revolvers from other makers, as well (Taurus 856 and 65-series, and possibly the new 2017 Colt Cobra and 2019 Colt King Cobra, too).

The K-frame-sized SafeSnap was an excellent fit in this Taurus 856 Executive.

Unfortunately, the SafeSnap won’t fit cylinders with recessed chambers, so your older S&W K-frames with that feature (like my Combat Magnum) won’t accept the SafeSnap.  Nor will the new Kimber K6s-series revolvers. I suppose you could try and trim down a SafeSnap with a razor to make it fit inside the recesses, but it won’t fit the cylinder straight from the package.

On revolvers with recessed chambers, like this Combat Magnum, there’s insufficient clearance for the SafeSnap to clear the cylinder lug . . .
. . . and the recoil shield.

I think the SafeSnap is a useful training aid, and I know mine will get used each time I dry-fire my revolvers.

More to come!

I’ve already talked to Michael about a rimfire version of the SafeSnap, and he’s busy working on some prototypes as we speak. A rimfire-compatible SafeSnap would do a great job of cushioning the firing pin, and make it possible to safely dry-fire these guns without damage. The 8-shot Ruger LCR pattern seems like a good place to start, but I’d personally like to see a 10-shot S&W 617 pattern SafeSnap someday, too. If you’ve got a favorite rimfire revolver that you’d like to see a SafeSnap for, let us know in the comments, because Michael is interested in seeing where the demand is.

I’m sure Michael is also working on some other creative loader designs in his workshop. It seems that Zeta6 is always improving their existing products and looking for unique niches to fill in the marketplace.  We’ll be keeping an eye on them, for sure!



  1. Some 5-shot revolver users of the SYM-STRIP just don’t load the center cell at all, and simply plan on using the SYM-STRIP to load two quick pairs, without trying to fill the fifth chamber. They believe it’s better to get the gun back into action sooner, with four rounds, than to drag out the reload to get that extra fifth round into the gun, so they skip the center cell and gain an extra point to grip the loader, in the process.

Personally, I like having the fifth round available in my loader, to use if required. If I don’t feel I’ve got sufficient time to load it, I can skip it, but I like having the option to fully load the gun. A five-shot gun is thin enough, without voluntarily shorting myself another 20% of the capacity! As a result, I favor using six-cell strip loaders, with one of the cells empty to create a hold, whenever I’ve got the room to carry the longer format.


Author: Mike

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Mike Wood is a bonafide revolver nut, a certified law enforcement instructor in handgun, shotgun, patrol rifle, less-lethal, and diversionary device disciplines, and the author of Newhall Shooting: A Tactical Analysis, the definitive study of the infamous, 1970 California Highway Patrol shootout in Newhall, California. Mike wrote the "Tactical Analysis" column at Police1.com for 8 years, and enjoys teaching both armed citizens and law enforcement officers.

30 thoughts on “Zeta6 K-PAK-2 and SafeSnap”

  1. Thanks for highlighting Zeta6 and the work Michael and his crew are doing, Mike. It’s gratifying to see all the revolver aids he’s producing-and his willingness to listen to feedback and upgrade his products to make them more functional for the end user. Bravo!

  2. It’s nice to see a company making changes to accommodate the feedback of users. I really like the SafeSnap idea. I’ve thought about using the plastic disc you mentioned on a few guns, but the brittleness concerned me. I would love to see a S&W 617 version and would do my dead-level best to wear one out.

    Is the original K-PAK going to continue to be offered, or does the K-PAK-2 obviate the need for that product, now?

    1. The original will still be offered for now, as it’s smaller size might appeal to some users. I suppose it could eventually disappear if sales drop off, but the mold is the expensive part and it’s already made, so I don’t think the original is going away anytime soon.

  3. I wonder if Michael would be interested in offering a K Pack 2 loader for N frames? I would love to see it in .44 Special/Mag and .45 Colt. Having one in .41 Magnum would be great as well but at the cost of molds I don’t think it would be worth the investment. One can always dream! Thanks for another great article on some great revolver products!

  4. It’s worth noting that the K-PAK-2 can be fully filled and still fits nicely in the coin pocket of my jeans. To support a 5-shot revolver, that gives you a full reload (3 then 2) in about the same time a straight strip allows a 2 then 2 reload. It also allows a 2 round “tactical reload” either before or after a full reload (if you retain the reloader).

    In addition to .22 WMR, I’d really like to see the SafeSnap (and their reloading tools too, for that matter) to support the variety of .32 revolvers.

    1. Ryan,

      I see I’m not the only one to notice the K-PAK will load three into an LCR or J frame! Admittedly it’s a little tougher than a K frame. And .32, I’ll second that!

  5. Zeta6 makes some surprisingly good stuff; and I’m saying that as someone who normally dislikes speed strips.

    The J-CLIPs aren’t the fastest, but they work well. However, my favorites are the K-PAK strips. I love those things! Best speed strips I’ve used, they’re quite intuitive!

    I already bought and received a pair of the K-Frame SafeSnaps. Now I can dry fire my Model 10s and Model 12 without having to whip out my snap caps every time.

  6. I’ve been carrying and wearing out the tried and true Bianchi/Safariland speed strips for ages. For my 5-shot snubs, I just leave one slot open for a 3-2 reload. I say wearing out literally, because the downside of an inline strip has always been that revolver cylinder charge holes being in a circle generally don’t talk well with straight lines. Conventional J frame speed loaders (like HKS) are problematic at best, and deploying them against a timer involves lots and lots of practice.

    I’m getting older (and lazier), and the J-PAK solves that straight strip versus round cylinder issue and appears to do so very well. It also allows you closer control of the reload against the cylinder compared to a conventional HKS type loader.

    The Safe Snap is a dry fire junkie’s dream come true. Loading dummy rounds is great for practicing reloads, but for simple dry fire, the Safe Snap is what the doctor ordered. In fact, I just ordered a couple of sets of Safe Snaps for J and K frames, along with a J-Pak . . . amazing, I can read an article, order products on line, and type at the same time without chewing gum !!

  7. The SafeSnap is really appealing in many ways, but I’m not sure it will work for my dry fire practice. I’m trying to incorporate reloads as much as possible, and I don’t see how the SafeSnap would fit into that kind of practice regime. Great concept, though, and I’ll probably have to get one at some point to try out.

  8. I must confess that I don’t dry fire. In fact, I first heard of “snap-caps” a few years ago.
    I’ve done “ball and dummy” drills with my revolvers, but probably haven’t dry fired since
    Gun and Shield Day in 1981. I just ordered a set of 5 and 6 shot SafeSnap discs after reading your article. I also wore out my original Bianchi Speed Strips and recently replaced them.
    Any advice or recommendations on the mechanics of dry firing practice? Thanks!
    Sidenote: I noticed the Winchester Ranger ammunition in your photos. Even though I now reside in LaGrange, Georgia, future home of Remington Arms, the only place that stocked that ammo was a company in Sacramento, CA!

    1. Hmm, dry fire advice . . .

      Justin did a whole series of posts on his dry fire experiences/lessons that you can find by typing “dry practice” in the search bar. Lots of useful observations there.

      This article from him on safety practices will be useful: Dry Fire Practice Safety Deep Dive

      You might also be interested in this book review: The Dry Fire Primer

      Lastly, this outfit has some dry fire training cards that might help you script your practice and keep it interesting. I haven’t used them, and don’t know if they are “revolver friendly,” but you could probably modify them, as appropriate: Dry Fire Training Cards

      Hope that helps!

      I’m working off an old stash of Ranger SXT that predates the changes to our ammo laws that require background checks and prevent me from doing mail order. I hope I can make it last until we finally get those laws tossed out. If not, I might need to get the name of that Sacramento company!

    2. The article Mike links on safety is a must read, in my opinion. The other resources are great, too.

      My boring but easy to implement main approach to dry fire has been to set up a Dot Torture target and run through that drill a few times for each dry fire session. That way I get drawing, multiple shots, strong hand only, weak hand only, and reloads, all built into every practice.

  9. Typed out a reply the first day your article, hit the site Mike but looking back guess I failed to hit the send button. Old Folks/Technology, not too compatible. Could be a prime reason we love revolvers.

    I have not had good luck with speed strips of any flavor. You saw the image of the one that crumbled in the package that is not the first time.

    When I attended the academy in 1976 the class I was in was the first bunch to be allowed to use speed loaders (midway through, before Quals day). I did get somewhat proficient in loading from belt loops.

    Now the big request, please talk someone into producing a Safariland style speedloader for the new Lipsey & Smith J frame .32 Magnum. I like and use HKs. They are great just like the Sariland style better.

    I have spent all of my revolver life coon fingering my carry revolver to include dry firing. I feel it is necessary to be very familiar with your carry weapon. Made me understand the importance of carry melts.

    The good news is the much needed means to safely & without damaging .22 revolvers in dry firing. I shoot them DA also and need this product for practice.

    Thanks for another excellent article but more importantly for all this great website does for folks who shoot, carry and those who want to carry Round Guns.

    1. Thanks Tony! I’ve been unsuccessfully lobbying Safariland to reintroduce their Colt D-Frame size Comp loader for many years, and I’m not getting anywhere. I suspect they’ll be even less helpful with making a brand new mold for a .32, even though I’d like to see it, myself. I’ll reach out and ask again.

      I’m proud of all we’ve done to make RevolverGuy what it is today. I’ve enjoyed the ride so far, and appreciate all the wonderful folks it has brought me into contact with, including you! Thanks for your valuable contributions!

  10. I keep looking for the coin pocket everyone talks about, but I keep finding a time piece. I use the jclip for my no dash model 60 Smith and I like it. Being left handed I switch hands for a reload and I keep the jclips in a nylon pouch on my strong side. Works good for me.

    1. Great report, Rick! I don’t know why we call them watch or coin pockets, because the only thing I’ve ever found in mine is spare ammo!

  11. Seeing as you asked about the rimfire SafeSnap, my .22 is the 8 round Charter Arms Pathfinder.

    I’ll also add a vote for the 32 cal reloaders.

  12. Add a vote for the .32 caliber SafeSnap! One of these would be great for the .327 Rugers (and the new S&W .32 J frames they just released).

    Also would love to see the 8-shot .22 version you mentioned.

    Thanks for the great gear reviews!

  13. I received my order of K-PAK 2 strips a couple of weeks ago and really like them. They work well with my 3″ Colt Cobra and Detective Special.

    I find them a bit faster than inline strips and inconspicuous when carried in the stacked configuration in a jacket pocket or front pants / jeans pocket.

  14. I just did a video about the Safe Snap that I will be putting in my YT channel where I tried to fit the Safe Snap into other similar size revolvers to a K frame. It works easily for my ‘66 Colt Agent, a Manhurin MR88, and a Ruger Speed Six. So it’s a pretty versatile piece of gear.

  15. I would like to see the Safe Snap for the 617, but also for the N-Frame 8-shot cylinders.

    Phil K

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *