The Universal Revolver Reload – Running the Six Gun

Gun companies seem to really hate standardization. They resist it and typically do their own thing to try and stand out. That’s why we have a dozen different optic footprints. That’s why every company’s handgun uses a different magazine design. It’s why we have the universal revolver reload.

Revolvers like to be different. I don’t just mean differences between single-action cowboy revolvers and modern double-action revolvers. I mean the small differences between Rugers, Smith and Wessons, and Colt revolvers. We also have big differences between the sizes of different revolvers. These differences add up, and the universal revolver reload allows you to reload any modern double-action revolver with ease and efficiency.

Diving Into the Universal Revolver Reload

The Universal Revolver Reload starts with the assumption that you have a speed loader. However, you can adapt it for a speed strip or even lose rounds. The speed loader will be the quickest method to reload and the most intuitive. You’ll need a pouch or means to carry your spare ammo. To practice, I suggest snap caps, or you could just use empty cartridges, as that tends to work fairly well.

Step 1 – Getting Handsy

With an empty revolver, start by moving your support hand forward around the trigger guard and under the barrel. The revolver will rotate inward slightly towards you as you bring it up and in front of your face. Press, push, or pull the cylinder release of your chosen revolver with your thumb. Your left hand will press the cylinder outward, and your left hand will hold it outward and stabilize it.

Step 2 – Lose the Brass

Release your dominant hand and rotate the weapon vertically at the same time. Using your dominant hand, you will press the ejector rod downward and clear the empty cases of your firearm. Use a little force to send those empties tumbling out. Typically, they fall free, but if your cylinder is a little dirty, one just might not release. With the cases ejected, tilt the weapon back downward so the barrel is facing the dirt, but the gun should still be visible and in front of your face.

Step 3 – Reload

Let’s get to the most important step of the universal revolver reload. Use your right hand to retrieve your spare ammunition. You need to ensure you understand how your source of spare ammunition works. Speed loaders come in various configurations, and using speed loaders is different than using speed strips.

Utilizing your chosen source of spare ammunition, line up the ammo with the cylinders and load your weapon. If you need to rotate the cylinder to use speed strips, use your nondominant thumb to rotate the cylinder as necessary. After the cylinder is loaded, release your speed strip or speed loader and let it hit the ground.

Step 4 – Back In Action

The final step of the universal revolver reload is to get the gun back in action. Using your dominant hand, grab the grip of the gun. At the same time, use your support hand to close the cylinder. As soon as the cylinder closes, the left hand should be moving rearward to the grip of the revolver and establish a firing grip.

A Revolving Door

Revolvers are awesome weapons. They have a lot of strengths, but they also tend to have a number of weaknesses. One of them is slow, somewhat complicated reloads and low capacity. If you plan to carry a revolver, it’s smart to know how to reload it. The Universal Revolver Reload is a great skill to have, especially if you shoot more than one revolver.

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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