Magpump: The Shooter’s Time Machine

Magpump: The Shooter’s Time Machine
Magpump now makes a model for the AK. How fast can you make your handguards burst into flames?
Magpump 1
Magpump now makes a model for the AK. How fast can you make your handguards burst into flames?

Get a Magpump. Your watch and your thumbs will thank you.

How Does The Magpump Make Magazine Reloading Quicker:

  • Originally in 9mm, it can now be had in 7.62×39 and .223/5.56.
  • Adapters allow you to load different company's 9mm magazines.
  • Hooper indexes the rounds, so you don't have to face all your ammo one way.
  • Can load up to 60 rounds in less than a minute.

Magpump. You’ve no doubt seen it advertised, and maybe you’ve even had the chance to see one in the flesh. If not, here’s the short description: This is a tank-like mechanism for loading magazines.

Over the course of my lifetime, shooting has changed. Back when my dad, brother and I went to the range, the common shooting volume was one box each. Yes, that’s right: a mere 50 rounds. As kids, we’d shoot our 50 rounds of .22 LR and be happy. Later, we’d shoot 50 rounds of centerfire, or a 25-round box of 12 gauge, and that was that. Dad, a WWII European theatre combat vet, could still hit what he aimed at, and he found shooting boring after a bit, so my brother and I would divide up what ammo he left.

This amount of shooting was common, and it was understandable. I recall one instance of being at the range and watching a shooter as he got out of his car. This was the early 1970s, and he was wearing a three-piece suit, carrying a box of ammo in one hand and an S&W box in the other.

He proceeded to shoot his 50 rounds of .44 Magnum ammo (no hearing protection, that I recall) and, somewhat dazed from the experience, headed back to his car to drive home. It was the state range where no brass-picking was allowed, but we did it anyway. Hey, back then, picking up 50 once-fired .44 Magnum empties was like finding a sack of gold. Honestly, 50 rounds was probably more than he should’ve shot that day.

When I began International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) competition, the shooting volume for me got upped, but it was still only 200 rounds or so per range session. When I stepped it up from 200 rounds on a weekend of practice (10,000 rounds a year, max) to 200 rounds 2-3 times a week, I had to also step up from a single-stage press to reloading on a progressive.

And these days? Well, to give you a hint, one of the things that Federal unveiled at the SHOT show was an additional packaging option for their Syntech ammo: a plastic bucket of 500 rounds. It has been common to be able to buy .22 LR in bulk, up to 500 rounds in a box or plastic tub. But now you can get 9mm in such volumes, too.

Expedited Mag Feeding

Enter the Magpump. This is a device simple in concept, and I would have to think it’s fiendishly difficult to design. Simply put: You plug a magazine into it, pour ammo in the hopper and then pump the handle. It loads your magazines.

5.56 Ammo
The AR Magpump takes the drudgery — and the thumb pain — out of loading magazines.

Available originally in 9mm, it can now be had in 7.62×39 and .223/5.56. You can now speed-load magazines for AKs and ARs, and depending on which 9mm adapter you put into it, any of a slew of different brands of 9mm hi-cap pistols. (The AR, AK and 9mm are each separate machines. Only the 9mm can be changed from one pistol to another.)

It’s not available yet for the Browning Hi-Power, which is where I really could have used one some years ago. I was endurance testing a P-35, built by Wayne Novak. I had enough magazines on-hand to start with 200+ rounds loaded, and I would spend the evening before a range session loading those magazines. The next day I’d go to the range, shoot the ammo, load the mags back up, and then shoot them empty again. By then the Browning was too hot to handle, and I would move on to the other testing for the day.

In the course of endurance-testing that Browning, I got thoroughly sick and tired of loading magazines.

Load Up On AR-15 Knowledge:

These days, a practice session for some people means a routine like that. However, they don’t start with a bushel basket full of loaded mags. Instead, they’re loading the same 3-5 magazines over and over again, for a day of 400+ rounds of practice.

And that’s where the Magpump comes in. With the correct insert (I counted 16 different brand/model inserts on the list, with more on the way) in the pump, you simply plug in a magazine, pour a box of ammo into the hopper … and pump. It’s still a good idea to count so you don’t try to jam that 18th round into your Glock 17-round magazine. The magazine won’t appreciate it.

“But, $150 is a lot just to load magazines faster,” you say. OK, fair enough. But how much does range time cost you? Think of this in the terms you think of your progressive reloading press: time saved. If it only saves you a half-hour each range trip, in range time rental costs, how many times do you have to shoot to earn back the investment?

Magpump 2
We’re shooting like never before, and magazine loading has to keep up. The Magpump helps with that. “Honey, I’m going down to the store to pick up a bucket of ammo. You need anything?”

I don’t know what range time costs you, but one range near me charges $14 to $29 an hour, depending on time of day and other factors. If the Magpump only saves you $7 per range trip, that comes to 25 trips to pay off the Magpump, meaning that your weekly range trips get you the Magpump cost back in less than 6 months.

And it saves your thumb. The two hardest parts of the test program (I ended up shooting 23,000+ rounds through that pistol) was the loading — and the picking up of brass. I could spread a tarp to make the brass pickup easier, but back then there was no Magpump.

And now they make it for ARs and AKs. The idea of a Magpump for an AR or AK is a little scary. You can load magazines for them with a Magpump fast enough to crush your wallet or melt your barrel. But hey, restraint is for the timid, right?

What I’m looking forward to in the near future is hauling the AR Magpump to an LE Patrol Rifle class — not just for my magazines, but for anyone else who wants to give it a try. I figure I can grind 10,000 rounds through that Magpump in short order. I’m proud of being able to break anything, but I suspect the Magpump designers have heard me coming.

The article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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