I’ve long considered extra ammunition an essential part of my personal safety kit, yet many pistoleros simply can’t be bothered. Even if a hi-cap pistol is your favored carry piece, having ready access to additional ammunition makes sense for a lot of reasons.

However, should the revolver be your weapon of choice, carrying a reload or two becomes even more necessary. Most armed confrontations are resolved with few shots being fired, regardless if a pistol or revolver is utilized. But when you consider that the revolver begins the drill with a total capacity of just 5 or 6 rounds, the need to have a fresh supply of ammunition is obvious. Of course, your event may be the exception to the rule—when reloading to continue the fight becomes an absolute necessity.

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2x2x2 pouch from Galco

When carrying a revolver, either as a primary gun or a backup, I utilize three different types of backup ammo carriers to manage my reloads. They include speedloaders, strips, and a 2x2x2 pouch. All provide a means of carrying extra ammunition with little fuss.

Speedloaders offer the fastest possible reload and remain the best choice when time is of the essence. With strips and my 2x2x2 pouch, I can do a complete or tactical reload, depending on the situation. The ability to effectively manage your ammunition inventory with a low-capacity handgun like a revolver takes a little more thought than when using a 16-shot pistol.

A speedloader is best described as a device for loading all the chambers of a revolver simultaneously. Cartridges are spread in a circular configuration to allow them to drop into the cylinder easily.

backup ammo, backup ammunition, revolver, wheelgun, ammunition
HKS Speedloader & Safariland Comp III

Over the years, I have used speedloaders from both HKS and Safariland, with both brands proving entirely satisfactory. With the HKS speedloaders, the user inserts the cartridges into the cylinder and twists a knob to release them. HKS currently markets the widest variety of speedloaders—a big plus if your revolver is something other than a small or medium frame .38 Special/.357 Magnum.

Safariland produces three different styles of speedloaders, including the Comp III for competition and the Comp I and Comp II, which are better suited for discreet carry. With Safariland speedloaders, one simply inserts the cartridges into the cylinder of the revolver and pushes to release.

Some practitioners drop their speedloaders into a pocket, but I prefer a carrier or pouch of some sort. Some favorites include Galco’s Belt Speedload Carrier and Safariland’s 371. The Galco Speedloader Belt Carrier is used along with my small frame .38 Special and features a snap closure to secure the speedloader. Safariland’s 371 is utilized with my medium frame revolvers and essentially allows the speedloader to straddle the belt, making it slightly easier to conceal. Another option is the Safariland CS-6, an epoxy-coated steel carrier that clips onto the bottom of the belt.

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Tuff Products’ QuickStrips

As indicated earlier, flexible strips can be used for either a tactical or total reload. Bianchi Speedstrips have been the standard for years and are available in .38/.357 and .44/.45. A relative newcomer, Tuff Products is now turning out strips suitable for just about all popular revolver cartridges. Quick Strips are made of flexible urethane and can be had in black, yellow, or orange. Bright orange Quick Strips are easy to locate in the grass during revolver practice sessions.

Back when the earth was flat and revolvers ruled, I was introduced to the 2x2x2 pouch and my ancient Bucheimer copy served me well for years. I now utilize a 2x2x2 pouch from Galco to fill that same role. As the name implies, cartridges are held in separate compartments and plucked out and loaded two at a time. A couple of years ago, I attended the Defensive Revolver class at the Gunsite Academy, and a couple hundred tactical reloads later, I was once again thoroughly acquainted with the 2x2x2 pouch.

Three different types of loading devices/carriers give me the flexibility to adapt to a particular situation. If just one or two rounds need to be replaced, I can perform a tactical reload and wait for the cavalry to arrive. Should the need arise to quickly top-off, I have that capability as well. Without spare ammunition, I’m simply out of options, and that’s not a good position to be in.

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