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In 1982, the handgun world was tipped on its head. Austrian thermoplastics engineer Anton Glock, who had no previous experience with firearms design or manufacturing, submitted a prototype hybrid 9mm pistol for the Austrian military service handgun trials. His submission bested all of the other competitors’ designs in reliability and safety testing. Shortly thereafter, his upstart firm was awarded the vaulted contract to produce his firearm, the Glock 17, to supply his nation’s military and police forces.

Today, law enforcement agencies and military forces in 70 nations field Glock hand-guns. Since this initial genesis, several generations of Glock pistols have been developed utilizing various sized frames and slides: (full-size (service), compact, and subcompact, competition, and long slide) to fill every conceivable niche in the evolving handgun market. All of today’s most popular handgun cartridges—.380, 9mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, 10mm, the proprietary .45 GAP, and the .45 ACP—have found a home in a Glock firearm.

It would not be immodest for Mr. Glock to say that his pistols and their many clones — S&W M&Ps, Walthers, SIGs, Rugers, Springfields, Kahrs and CZs — have gone on to become the most prolific semi-automatic pistol designs on the planet.

The original Glock, the Glock 17, was a full-size duty pistol featuring a cutting edge polymer frame topped with a steel slide. Its standard capacity polymer magazine housed 17 round of 9mm Luger ammunition. That initial generation G17 offering has spawned dozens of new models. The fifth generation G17s are arriving at retailers now, along with their latest stablemates, the G17X, the G43X and G48.

As you know, one of the primary advantages that a pistol offers over a traditional revolver is greater magazine capacity. I believe that there are only two times that you can have too many bullets: 1. When you’re on fire or 2. When you’re drowning. Other than on those occasions, the more the merrier! Generically, pistols possess one of two types of detachable magazines: either with a single or a double (staggered) stack arrangement of the cartridges. Lately, extended magazine varieties have been developed for competitive (with the new pistol caliber carbines) and self-defensive roles featuring 30-plus round capacities.

The only real downside of using detachable magazines with higher capacities is the difficulty in loading the darn things. The greater the round capacity, the greater the force required to press consecutive rounds down upon one another into the magazine with only thumb pressure. With every new round, the spring pressure becomes greater and greater. For older shooters, those of smaller stature, or anyone with marginal hand strength, this can be problematic. And when it’s cold outside, the exercise can be an adventure in pure torture. This is where the expression ‘magthumb’ comes from, and this is where the pistol magazine speed loader is worth its weight in gold.

While there are a small number of truly excellent speed loaders on the market today, one loader, in my opinion, trumps all of the rest for economy, speed and ease of use. It is known as the ETS C.A.M. LOADER and it’s manufactured by Elite Tactical Systems (ETS) in Knoxville, Tenn. ETS is best known for their proprietary transparent polymer AR (5.56), H&K MP5, and Glock-compatible magazines.

The ETS pistol mag loader line includes a model specifically designed for the popular diminutive self-defense .380’s, one that accommodates both 9mm Luger and .40 S&W magazines, and one to accommodate bulky .45 ACP magazines. There’s also an excellent multi-caliber rifle mag loader that I’ll outline in my next column. Rifle aficionados be sure to look for that one.

Interestingly, all ETS speed loaders sell for the amazing price of $29.99, carry a lifetime guarantee, and can accommodate both single/double stack magazines, and all will quickly and almost effortlessly load your costly magazines without ever damaging the critical feed lip geometry.

Now rather than bore you with the details of how the speed loaders work, I think that I’ll refer you to their excellent instructional/product videos. Check them out at www.etsgroup.us.

Isn’t it time to put the fun back into shooting your ammo-gulping pistols, pistol caliber carbines, and rifles? Give your thumbs a break and eliminate the least productive time at the range: recharging your magazines. So in order to maximize your training time and fun at the range, I would highly recommend picking up an ETS C.A.M. loader ASAP.

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