Moon clips, which allow empties to be unloaded as a unit and reduce reloading to a two-step operation, significantly speed up revolver operation. Both the Smith & Wesson Performance Center Model 327 TRR8 and 2-inch Performance Center Model 327 came with four moon clips and the cylinders relieved to allow the clips’ use.

Both eight-shot .357 Magnum N-frames functioned fine with loose rounds or conventional speedloaders. And while I was more interested in the accuracy and controllability of the full-powered 5-inch, I wanted to work with moon clips in the 2-inch. S&W clearly designed this model for concealed carry. As such, I wanted to see how quickly it could be unloaded and reloaded.

Moon Clip Malfunction

I previously worked with moon clips for S&W and Ruger five-shot 9mm revolvers. These presented no problems with loading the clips by hand and removing the empties with a pencil. But I ran into major issues with the eight-shot moon clips for the S&W 327s.

I could, somewhat forcibly, load eight rounds of .357 Magnum ammo into the first of what was to be several moon clips at first. However, I was not able to insert the loaded clip into the cylinder. The cases wouldn’t align with the individual chambers. That’s because I had also … somewhat forcibly … bent the clip when I pushed the rounds in. I also was unable to remove the live rounds by hand from the bent clip. That was it for the day.

Unfortunately, the owner’s manual did not contain an explanation of how to load and unload the included moon clips. But a quick internet search led me to an expert in the art of revolver moon clips, George Martin of Revolver Supply Company. Martin diagnosed the problem quickly as not having the right equipment. He sent several tools to maximize efficient loading and unloading.

Moon Clip Tools from Revolver Supply Company

The Revolver Supply Company (RSC) provides simple yet efficient tools. And as promised, they eliminated the frustration I had experienced earlier. Below is a list of tools from RSC to make my Model 327 clip function properly again.

  1. A 10-pack of eight-shot carbon steel nickel-plated moon clips for S&W Model 327s
    Price: $47.15
  2. Moon clip tool with included arbor
    This tool was very solidly engineered and constructed. The arbor is a dome shape that empty moon clips fit over for loading. It must be mated with the moon clips being loading. The moon clip tool clicks the rounds into place with amazingly little effort. It is designed primarily for use at home, loading up scads of clips for competition or a day at the range. But it is small enough to easily pack in a small ammo box. This fascinating tool is, in fact, a lot of fun to use.
    Price: $78
  3. Pocket Moon Clip 2 Tool
    More compact than the original moon clip tool, this tool is for at home, in a range bag or in a large pocket, ready to load more clips while afield.
    Price: $45
  4. Tube Style Unloader
    Since my problems also included being unable to easily unload the clip containing live rounds Martin included this unloader tool. It is simple but extremely effective and consists of a notched metal tube with a rubber handle. The tube fits over the cartridge and moon clip. With a simple and easy twist, the live round or spent cartridge case pops free. Again, major fun and zero aggravation.
    Price: $24
  5. Moon Clip Holder Single Post Tall Belt Holder
    For competitive use, this tool holds two moon clips loaded with .357 Magnum or .38 Special ammo stacked on top of each other for quick range reloads. It is not a self-defense holder.
    Price: $35

Shooting the 327 Revolver After Using the Moon Clip Tools

I received three 50-round boxes of Bang and Clang LLC “Slick McClades” .38 Special Cowboy Match ammunition to test through the S&W Model 327. This low-pressure .38 Special ammo sends a 158-grain round nose, flat-point epoxy-coated bullet downrange at 760 feet per second, which results in 203 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. Its gentle manners proved to be the most accurate load I had fired from the short, ultralight Model 327. Its epoxy coating makes it extremely clean shooting.
Price: $40.00 per box

The items from Revolver Supply Company changed the paradigm for the use of moon clips in these revolvers. I don’t believe you can run moon clips with any practicality without these tools, whether the clips are for five- to eight-shot revolvers. I would love to see Smith & Wesson include the RSC Pocket Moon Clip 2 Loader and Tube Style Unloader with their Model 327s, along with 10 moon clips from Revolver Supply Company. The inclusion of the items would make their revolvers ready to run full speed right out of the box.


Revolver Supply Company:
Bang and Clang Ammo:
Smith & Wesson: