Safariland Speedloaders

19 Sep

Safariland Speedloaders- L-R: Comp I, Comp II, Comp IIIIf a double action revolver is your main firearm for shooting or carry, you probably know what a speedloader is. For those of you who don’t, a speedloader is a cylindrical unit that holds between 5 to 8 (but mainly six) revolver cartridges that facilitates the reloading of a double action revolver. The speedloader has a hold/release mechanism unique to its design by manufacturer. One of the best speedloader lines manufactured is by Safariland . Safariland is one of the largest police and shooter supply companies in the world. The speedloaders they manufacture are under three models: the comp I, comp II, and comp III. In the picture above, the comp I, comp II, and comp III are shown left to right. As the number of the model increases, so does the size of the speedloader. The Comp I and Comp II models are direct-release gravity assisted loaders, while the racy Comp III is a spring propulsion loader. The Comp I is extremely low profile. The one I have pictured is for a J-frame Smith and Wesson or Ruger SP101. Comp I Safarilands are fast loaders, but have a reputation for fragility that I will explain later. The Comp II is the duty model. This model was the bread and butter speedloader for law enforcement back in the 1980’s through the early 1990’s. This was the model speedloader that competed head to head with the HKS and Dade speedloaders of the previously mentioned time for law enforcement contracts. The Comp II is a very fine speedloader, with a perfect balance of speed and size along with rugged durability. The Comp III speedloader is probably Safariland’s most popular model. The Comp III is actually a larger version of an Austrian speedloader called the Jet Loader. Jet Loader
The Safariland design covers the main spring as seen on the Jet Loader. This model is very large; it kind of looks like the old German “potato masher” grenade when loaded. This is Safariland’s fastest speedloader. This loader is spring propelled, lauching the cartridges into a revolver cylinder from any angle, even upside down.
Of the three models, the Comp I suffers from a weaker design, and will, over time, “lose rounds”, in other words, when you pick it up to use it at that critical moment, it will dump some, or all its cartridges. I had conversation with Rick Devoid of Tarnhelm Supply (www.tarnhelm.com) , several years ago about the Comp I. Rick said that the Comp I also would eventually “stick”, in other words, fail to release its rounds when you need it to. I personally do not use the Comp I’s for anything but training or competition. The Comp II and III are stone reliable. Of the two, I have owned one Comp III that failed. I bought it used and it had a damaged release mechanism. I used it for 7 years until it finally came apart in IDPA competition. It came apart sort of like a jack in the box exploding. Interestingly, it released all its rounds and reloaded my revolver even though it came apart. Much has been said about the speed of these speedloaders. This is achieved by a star shaped disc that is located in between the rounds in the center of the speedloader. When the cartridges are lined up with the revolver cylinder holes (when reloading), all you have to do is push forward. The disk impacts the rear of the revolver cylinder and releases the rounds. The Comp III the uses same principal, but has a round plunger instead of a disc. When this plunger is depressed against the back of the revolver’s cylinder, the rounds are spring propelled into the revolver.
Safariland speedloaders are charged up as follows: 1)place the rounds in the speedloader 2) hold rounds in speedloader by depressing against your palm or a hard surface, like a table 3)Pressing down on the speedloader body (on the Comp III, the long handle) turn the button clockwise until you hear a click 4)To release without reloading, press the center disk/plunger.
I personally use only the Comp II and Comp III for carry and competition in IDPA. I would not carry the Comp I, but would use it for range and competition.

 

Here is an example of a Comp II reload:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOgu4yJAWoI&feature=g-vrec

One minor correction I would make to this otherwise fine video, the Comp II’s are not spring propelled, that would be the Comp III.

The Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum

18 Sep

S&W M19

The Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum was introduced in 1955. Its introduction ushered in a wave of enthusiasm surrounding this new creation and the .357 magnum cartridge it fired. Law enforcement agencies accepted the new revolver with open arms, given its roots from the fertile mind of none other than Bill Jordan, who was a border patrolman and revolver shooting legend. (1) What the Combat Magnum offered was the power of the .357 Magnum cartridge in the smaller, and lighter K-frame (or medium/.38 frame). Previously, the .357 Magnum was only offered by S&W in the much larger Registered Magnum, and the Highway Patrolman ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%26W_Highway_Patrolman ). This was a huge boost in ammunition performance over the .38 Special K -frame S&W revolvers. Almost overnight, Smith and Wesson became the 800 pound gorilla of revolver sales.
The Smith and Wesson Combat Magnum became the model 19 in 1957, and was offered in 2 1/2″,4″,and 6″ barrel lengths throughout its production. Manufacturing finishes for the model 19 consisted of bright blue steel and nickel. The model 19 went through 9 variations (19 through 19-8) until its discontinuation in 1999. (2)
My first introduction to the model 19 was my father’s 2 1/2″ 19-3. This revolver was extremely compact for its time (in the mid-1960’s), and had a round butt frame with “peanut” grips. I got a chance to shoot this revolver in 1986. I started out with .38 Special ammo (since, like all .357 magnums, the model 19 can also shoot the .38 Special loads). The .38 Special loads were pleasant to shoot and almost forgettable. The .357 Magnum rounds were another story. I can remember to this day, the .357 loads my Father owned were CCI 158 gr. JHP. CCI had a grey aluminum case, sort of a “budget” load for shooters. I am guessing that these loads were the industry standard for that time: roughly 1300 feet per second at the muzzle. Firing these loads produced “the nasty” recoil and an ear-splitting crack that I was sure, slowed down time and caused temporary dementia. I soon learned the proper way to shoot this revolver (modified Chapman Hold), and to wear eye and ear protection. I now personally own 2 model 19 S&W’s; both are 4″ Model 19-3’s. One of the two is featured above, flanked by a Bianchi X-15 holster, Safariland Comp 2 speedloader, and a Bianchi Speed-strip. The grips are Pachmayer’s excellent Professional Gripper, one piece grips. I consider these revolvers among the best for carry, home defense, and competition; they are generally “all-around” revolvers, designed to be carried a whole lot and enjoyed. If you are interested in finding a used model 19 S&W, find an FFL dealer, and see if you can locate (with your dealer’s help) this fine revolver on one of the online sites, like http://www.gunbroker.com . Millions of K-frame S&W revolvers were made, so the model 19 can still be found.

1) Standard Catolog of Smith and Wesson- Second Edition, Supica, Jim and Nahas, Richard, Krause Publications, 2001, p.98

2) Ibid, pp.138-139

Ready to launch!

18 Sep

I would like to thank my recent visitors for stopping by. This blog is dedicated to provide information surrounding the use, lawful training, implementation, and history of the revolver, (otherwise known as the six-shooter of old and the wheel gun of late). The latest news and updates in manufacturing and development will also be reported.