How Many Rounds in a loading strip (re-edit)

September 22, 2009

Before reviewing any loading strip reloading method we should stop and consider how many rounds the loading strip should be filled with. There are several schools of thought regarding the number of rounds the loading strip should be filled with. 

Many shooters like to fill the six-hole loading strip with six rounds. Unfortunately filling all six holes makes quick dexterous manipulation of the loading strip difficult.  Filling the loading strip full leaves no convenient area with which to retain control of the strip and little room for applying leverage for peeling rounds off and into the cylinder’s charge holes.  If six rounds in a six round loading strip is less than optimal what is the right quantity?

Nationally known firearms trainer Massad Ayoob prefers to carry a single six-round loading strip down loaded to five rounds to reload his back-up snub. Why five rounds in a six hole loading strip? Massad was the first to note the advantage in loading up the speed strip with only five rounds. Leaving the empty hole on the loading strip end closest to the tab allows for faster, more positive reloading. Massad’s reloading method employs the use of the shooter’s strong hand index finger laid along the back of the speed loader and is predicated on his StressFire methodology. A complete description of his StressFire methods is outlined in his excellent book of the same title. 

Massad’s argument for five rounds is good but I have an alternative philosophy regarding the quantity, ammo count and dispersal of loading strips. I prefer to carry a pair of six-hole loading strips with each filled with four rounds.

I have several reasons for advocating the carrying of two loading strips each filled with four rounds. Most students assume that my number one reason is that carrying eight rounds is preferable to carrying five or six rounds. While true I only count the additional rounds as fourth on a four reason list. Reason one, with two loading strips if I ever drop or loose a loading strip I have a second strip I can reach for rather that hunt on the ground for my lost dropped strip. Reason two, by keeping one strip in my front pocked and a second in my back pocked I have the option of accessing a strips and reloading when in either a face-up or face-down position. Reason three, because I am generally carrying a pair of snub revolvers, one of which I am prepared to pass off to “a trusted other” in an emergency. This includes my wife, a friend or a visiting trainer who may not legally be carrying in my home state. The availability of a second strip gives me the option of handing off spare ammunition to that person along with the snub.

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