By: Dr Jim and Mary Clary
If you only have one pistol and do not shoot a lot, this useful tool is probably not for you. However, if you have more than one pistol and like to burn a lot of powder, like we do, then you should consider it.
Depending on the caliber, make of your gun and strength of the magazine spring, loading rounds into the magazine can be hazardous to the thumbs, hard on the fingers and downright frustrating. Especially with the new high capacity mags as the spring is compressed.
The Mag Loader could not be any more simple to use:
Adjust the shims for your magazine
Tighten the knob to securely lock the magazine in place
Drop in a cartridge
Squeeze the handle
Repeat until the magazine is full
Release tension on knob and remove magazine
The loader is made from a polycarbonate material, while the handle is aluminum to ensure that there is no flex. The tool should provide many years of service. Before anyone wonders why the loader is not constructed entirely out of metal .. we doubt that it could be sold for the current price of $47.99 if it was.
This is a tough tool and should stand up to a lot of use.... however, as with all polycarbonate products (including many magazines), do not abuse it.
A lot of sem-automatic pistols come with polymer magazine loaders, but they are not exactly the best tools to have around. We never seemed to have them with us on the range and even then, rarely used them. It always seemed more efficient to jam the cartridges into the mags and accept the fact that our hands were going to hurt.
Apparently the folks at Caldwell experienced similar problems and after several years in development they came up with the universal mag loader. Simply put.... it is easy to use, very efficient and something that you should consider if you shoot more than one caliber or pistol.
The mag loader works with single-stack and double-stack magazines and functions flawlessly with 9mm, 10mm, .357, .40 and .45 ACP calibers. It will not work with all models of .380 ACP, but then they are easier to load and most folks don't shoot them as much as the other calibers.
The mag loader has what Caldwell calls "adjustable side shims" to properly align magazines in the loader. We just call them adjustment bars that turn to provide a snug fit before tightening the knob to lock the magazine in place. The "shims" are numbered, which we found to be unnecessary after a bit of use. However, for the first-time user, Caldwell included a table in the manual advising which setting to use for which magazine. Thoughtful, but really not necessary for most folks, once you understand how the tool works.