If you are a revolver fan like I am, sometimes you can feel a bit left out when it comes to firearms accessories. Everything is about semi-automatic pistols these days, so much so that you almost feel like you have to apologize when a fellow permit holder (or in my case, a cop) asks you what your firearm of choice is.
In my case, I am cut a bit of slack because of my age, but you younger shooters do not have that going for you. I taught the advanced defensive revolver class at the USCCA Expo this year to help bring the students’ skills up to the same level as those who carry autoloaders. As I prepared for class, I wanted to upgrade my gear a bit. I soon found how hard it is to find decent support gear — especially gear made of leather — for revolvers designed for concealment. (“Support gear” mostly means spare ammunition carriers, especially cylindrical speedloader pouches.)
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of speedloader pouches available on the market from a wide variety of quality manufacturers, but most of them are not ideal for many users. Most of the speedloader pouches on the market today have the same basic design that I wore on my revolver duty belt from 1980–1991. The standard pouch held two speedloaders side by side on my Sam Browne Duty Belt. Those types of pouches were designed not for concealment but rather to be worn openly, with easy access while in uniform.
Most of the speedloader pouches intended for the concealed carry market are built the same way as the duty pouches of old. They have a separate slot on the rear of the pouch for a belt to be run through, which is fine for use with a uniform. However, this design, when used on pouches designed for concealment, pushes the entire loader farther away from the body, creating an additional unsightly bulge much larger than any magazine pouch would under covering attire.
Another variation of the current crop of speedloader pouches can also cause additional problems with mounting onto the belt. This type has belt slots on either side of the pouches themselves rather than on the back. These loaders take up almost twice as much room on the belt as the type with the rear belt slot. Because of this additional room taken up on the belt, I have been unable to mount these dual loader pouches on the same side as my holster. There simply is not room. They would work fine in a single pouch configuration, but positioning the belt slots on the sides still takes up more room than necessary, and they still bulge away from the body just as much as those with the rear belt slot.
Speedloader pouches should be worn on the same side of the body as the gun. This is because the shooting hand inserts the rounds into the revolver while it is being held by the support hand. Reloading goes much faster and more smoothly if the pouch is worn on the shooting-hand side of the body.
I wanted to find a speedloader pouch more conducive to concealed carry — one that takes up less room on the belt, leaving plenty of room for my holster — as well as one that would not protrude away from the body excessively. This narrowed the choices down to a single loader pouch.
For the class, I originally wanted a Bianchi Agent Slim speedloader pouch in black. These single pouches were designed for detectives to wear with their six-guns back in pre-autoloader days. The Bianchi pouches held the loader close to the body because the covering flap doubled as the attachment system. Instead of having a separate belt loop in the rear or at the sides, the flap is threaded up and over the wearer’s standard-sized belt. Snapping the flap over the loader keeps the loader and pouch in place. I searched the net and found that this pouch is no longer in production. I did find one or two for sale, but they were in brown. Even if I could find one, there would be no sense in recommending a particular pouch that was no longer in production. After a lot of time searching the internet, I found Wild Bill’s Concealment.
Wild Bill’s Concealment is a family-owned and -operated business in Garner, North Carolina. Bill, the company’s founder, has 30 years of experience in leatherwork. Perhaps just as important is his 15 years of law enforcement experience, 13 years of experience as a police firearms instructor and his experience with the U.S. Army’s 11th Special Forces. The fact that Bill knows what does and does not work with carrying and using firearms shows in his clientele. According to his website, his holsters are carried by various military, law enforcement and government agencies. Good enough for me.
I found the Speed Loader Carrier under the Wild Bill’s “Concealed Carry Accessories” section, and it was exactly what I was looking for. Available in black and mahogany, Wild Bill’s Carrier is very effective and simple to use. Like the older Bianchi design, the carrier flap runs underneath the gun belt with the speedloader mounted in the interior loop. Split the rounds by putting two of the cartridges over the gun belt before snapping the flap in place. This locks the loader on the belt. While this carrier is designed for HKS speedloaders, it works just fine with my Five Star aluminum loaders (www.5starfirearms.com). Wild Bill’s keeps carriers in stock for five-shot Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Taurus revolvers. Carriers for K-, L- and N-frame revolvers can be made to order.
The sides of the Wild Bill’s Carrier are open, so this is not a “hide in plain sight pouch,” which is fine. Even with closed-in sides, a revolver speedloader pouch would stick out like a sore thumb, so it is best worn under a cover garment. The Wild Bill’s Speed Loader Carrier keeps the loader tucked in close to the wearer’s side. With this single pouch, there is plenty of room for my OWB holster and Smith & Wesson M&P .38 Special revolver. Wild Bill’s carrier is 1¾ inches deep, which really reduces the print potential.
Wild Bill’s Speed Loader Carrier works great. It gives immediate access to another five rounds of ammo for the J-frame version and is a much quicker option than carrying a loader in the pocket. It is reasonably priced at $29.99. To check out all of Wild Bill’s equipment, visit his website at www.wildbillsconcealment.com.