Caldwell Mag Charger – Universal Pistol Loader Review

Jim Clary reviews the Caldwell Mag Charger as another way to speedily load you handgun magazines.

Caldwell Mag Charger
Caldwell Mag Charger
Jim Clary
Jim Clary

USA -( If you only have one pistol and do not shoot a lot, this useful tool is probably not for you. However, if you have more than one pistol and like to burn a lot of powder, like we do, then you should consider it.

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 the new high capacity mags as the spring is compressed.

A lot of sem-automatic pistols come with polymer magazine loaders, but they are not exactly the best tools to have around. We never seemed to have them with us on 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 hands were going to hurt.

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

Caldwell Mag Charger

The mag loader works with single-stack and double-stack magazines and functions flawlessly with 9mm, 10mm, .357, .40 and .45 ACP calibers. It will not work with all models of .380 ACP, but then they are easier to load and most folks don’t shoot them as much as the other calibers.

The mag loader has what Caldwell calls “adjustable side shims” to properly align magazines in the loader. We just call them 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.

Caldwell Mag Charger
Caldwell Mag Charger

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

The loader is made from a polycarbonate material, while the handle is aluminum to ensure that 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 that it could be sold for the current price of $47.99 if it was.

This 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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while i have not used this reloader yet i question the comments saying uplula is better and cheeper than this item
amazon has this item for about $23 while UpLula is listed for $37ish.

Billy Shuman

having trouble with 1911 9mm getting past the first round. any suggettion????

RJ Hubbard

Mine is brand new, but it won’t get past 5 cartridges and the 5th one wo t seat. 10mm only, worked well on others.


Agree uplula is the best, this Cadwell product could be an alternative for someone who has trouble
pushing down on the uplula.

I also like the McFadden ClipLoader and lightnin’ grip loader for .22lr ammo.

Dr. Strangelove

My Uplula still works great after years of use. Why do I need to spend $50 on this product?


You don’t. We don’t. Yet another product being foisted on the gun community that is both more complicated and expensive than the UpLULA. Thanks, Jim, but no thanks.

Robert Hartwig

The Up Lua (sp) mag loader is faster and easier to use. It does not use or need shims ( which are easy to lose ). You do not need to tighten a knob. It does work best if you use it on a bench but this is not a requirement, just easier. I have used one for just about every gun I have. There is a separate loader for .22 lr. and several rifles also.

Dale Toney

I lost the use of one hand due to a stroke, ten years ago. This tool is perfect for me. I bought mine from Midway for $34.99 plus shipping.

Robert Hartwig Jr.

I can see that this could work for you where the Uplula might be a challenge. I assume you lay the bullet in the loading tray then pick up and squeeze. I applaud your efforts to over come your disability and continue shooting a GOOD JOB