Caldwell Mag Charger - Universal Pistol Loader

By Dr. Jim and Mary Clary

If you only have one pistol and do not shoot a lot, this useful tool is probably not for you. However, if you own autoloading pistols and like to burn a lot of powder, as we do, then you should consider a Caldwell Mag Charger, brought to you by the clever folks at Battenfeld Technologies (

Depending on the caliber, make of your gun and strength of the magazine spring, loading rounds into the magazine can be hazardous to the thumbs, hard on the fingers and downright frustrating. Especially with high capacity mags, as the spring is compressed.

A lot of semi-automatic pistols come with polymer magazine loaders, but they are rudimentary tools at best. We never seemed to have them with us at the range and even then, rarely used them. It always seemed more efficient to jam the cartridges into the mags and accept the fact that our thumbs were going to hurt.

Apparently, the folks at Caldwell experienced similar problems and after several years of development they came up with the universal mag loader. Simply put, it is easy to use, very efficient and something you should consider if you shoot more than one caliber or pistol.

The mag loader works with single-stack and double-stack magazines and functions flawlessly with 9x19mm, 10mm Auto, .357 Sig, .40 S&W and .45 ACP calibers. It will also work with most .380 ACP magazines, but not all.

The mag loader has what Caldwell calls "adjustable side shims" to properly align magazines in the loader. These are adjustment bars that turn to provide a snug fit before tightening the knob to lock the magazine in place. The shims are numbered, which we found to be unnecessary after a bit of use.

However, for the first-time user, Caldwell included a table in the manual advising which setting to use for which magazine. Thoughtful, but really not necessary for most folks, once you understand how the tool works.

The Mag Loader could not be any more simple to use:

  • Adjust the shims for your magazine
  • Tighten the knob to securely lock the magazine in place
  • Drop in a cartridge
  • Squeeze the handle
  • Repeat until the magazine is full
  • Release tension on knob and remove magazine
Caldwell Mag Loader
Illustration courtesy of Caldwell Shooting Supplies.

Once the magazine to be loaded is in place, you simply insert a cartridge into the loader and squeeze the handle to load the cartridge into the magazine; note the illustration. The Loader's handle provides plenty of leverage to do the job. Because the Mag Charger must be adjusted for a specific magazine and caliber before use, each shooter in a group should have his or her own Mag Charger.

The loader is made from a polycarbonate material, while the handle is aluminum to ensure there is no flex. The tool should provide many years of service. Before anyone wonders why the loader is not constructed entirely out of metal, we doubt it could be sold for the current price of $47.99 if it were.

The Caldwell Mag Charger (item #110002) is a tough tool and should stand up to a lot of use. However, as with all polycarbonate products (including many magazines), do not abuse it.

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Copyright 2017 by Jim and Mary Clary and/or All rights reserved.