Emptying your loaded magazines by shooting them is fun; loading a bunch of magazines isn’t fun but is a necessity in classes, equipment testing, and organizational qualifications when the shooters aren’t rolling up with their loaded magazines.
How do we get those loaded magazines? In the military, it was easy – have a detail of privates sent to the ammunition point. Or, you do it yourself after detail striping and cleaning your magazines. Both are time or manpower-intensive ways of doing it. But are there other ways of doing it when you can’t get several people to load your magazines for you?
Load By Hand
Yes, most of us use this method. Get your magazines, set your ammunition within arm’s reach, and then start thumbing in one round at a time. This takes time, and your thumbs will hate you. Hopefully, you don’t throw the last couple in backward, and you end up being remembered for recreating that one European firearms company’s catalog cover.
I load pistol magazines this way. It is a common way of doing it, one that is easy to do between relays and each night during a class.
LULA and others like it fall into this category. Attach a device to the feed lips, insert a round at a time, and work the action (lever) to load that round. Repeat as needed until the magazine is at capacity, which usually means counting.
Just five rounds at a time, and it’s fine for a couple of magazines.
For loading a “few” rounds into rifle magazines, I‘ve got an after-market loader that helps. After attaching it to the magazine, you drop five loose rounds in (all facing the same way) and push it closed. Repeat five rounds at a time until the mag is loaded.
Foreign surplus 5.56mm in ten round stripper clips with that country’s guide on the magazine.
These were “it” for the longest time. Each cloth bandoleer of ammunition came with several ten-round stripper clips, a safety pin, and a stripper clip guide. Put the guide onto the rear of the magazine’s feed lips, insert the clip, and push the rounds into the magazine. Remove the clip and repeat.
These days, I can’t find any of my original guides, but I have foreign-made versions of the product.
The Beta Company made a similar product as well. After attaching it and inserting the clip, there is a pusher that forces the rounds into the magazine.
The stripper clip loader from The Beta Company, but you can’t see the pusher in this picture.
Aside from not loading 30 rounds into your magazine at once, what do these have in common? They are going to cause wear and tear to your hands. Right?
If only there were another way, right?
Enter an Angry Stag
A few months back, Angry Stag sent me the EZLoad Electronic Magazine Loader. The EZLoad is an electric AR-15/M4 magazine loader. The simple route – power it up, load rounds in the hopper, insert a magazine, decide how many rounds the magazine gets, and push start.
Ok, is there a longer version? Yes.
The holder is full with eight AA lithium batteries.
The EZLoad runs off a 110v outlet or battery power, in the event you are out on the range. Do use the battery option, you’ll need eight (8) AA lithium batteries. Those batteries go into a holder that is wired into one side of the loader.
The good news about the batteries – I know they’ll work in the 30s. They supplied enough power to load twelve magazines and showed no sign of running low on power.
Once plugged in or running on battery power, the loader will work through a calibration process. To do that, though, the hopper needs to be empty of any ammunition. Once the start-up process and calibration are done, you are closer to using the EZLoad.
A 30-round PMag is inserted in the loader. One of many loaded on the tailgate of my truck using AA battery power out at the range.
Going to the control panel, you set it for the number of rounds you want in the magazine. I used magazines designed to hold 20, 30, and 40 rounds. However, you cannot set it to load more than 45 rounds. That’s only an issue if you are planning on using Magpul’s D60 drum mag.
The magazines I used came from Magpul, Tango Down, and Okay Industries. 20, 30, or 40-rounders were all loaded without issue.
Alright, you have loaded the hopper with up to sixty rounds. As you did that, you saw the interior with cartridge-shaped slots. The rounds will go into those slots before dropping into the chute on the left side (right below the control panel). Then, insert the magazine into its slot. Fortunately, it is set up so that it is oriented correctly. Even I could not screw that part up.
The control panel’s screen and buttons, along with the hopper and the cover for the chute.
Once you hit the start button, the rounds will travel down the chute and be loaded into the magazine via a pusher.
The machine seemed to have a brief break-in, or learning, process. It took a couple of magazines before the trip down the hopper and into the magazine went without a hitch. After those two, there were no more issues in the chute.
If the rounds don’t seat in the magazine, they will drop down to a tray just below the magazine holder. Once the magazine has been loaded to the capacity you specified, it will stop loading.
Up to sixty loose rounds can go into the hopper at a time.
While working with the EZLoad, I used it plugged into the wall and, as I mentioned, running on the batteries. It worked as advertised with both power sources.
What would I use this for? I’m still good with loading a magazine or two by hand, but I’m not going to complain about using this for classes. Anytime I end up working on an AR-pattern rifle for an article or other project, I’ll use the EZLoad. For an agency that is running training or qualification courses, I could see this being useful if your ammunition is coming in boxes or loose rather than in stripper clips.
Rounds going through the chute and into the magazine. One is visible in the center slot.
While the EZLoad is manufactured in Taiwan, it was designed in California.
Angry Stag’s EZLoad