Tactical Revolver Reloads: The Speed Strip

Tactical Revolver Reloads: The Speed Strip

The use of a speed strip is an excellent way to expedite tactical revolver reloads, but they require some skill to properly use.

This is an excerpt from Grant Cunningham's new book, Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, 2nd Edition.

The SpeedStrip, Tuffstrip and other similar products are rubber strips that hold rounds by their rims. (SpeedStrip, like “Kleenex,” is a brand name that's come to be used to refer to any such devices. It's a registered trademark of Bianchi International.) Generically referred to as speed strips, these loaders hold the rounds in a row, so they're flat and convenient to carry. 

Since speed strips are only used to insert two rounds simultaneously, they're much slower and more dependent on fine motor skills than speedloaders. To help compensate for their shortcomings, I have a specific way of configuring and using them.


First, carry only four rounds in your strips. Start at the tab end and load two rounds, leave one blank space, and load two more rounds leaving a leftover space at the other end. This setup provides a handling tab at each end and one in the middle. 


No matter how you wind up grabbing the strip, you'll have a way to hang onto it and sufficient space to get your fingers in to manipulate the rounds as they go into the cylinder. This makes a big difference when peeling the strip off the rounds after inserting the cartridges into the chambers.


Retrieve the strip (I prefer carrying them in a back pocket or the watch pocket of a pair of jeans) and insert two rounds into adjacent chambers. Again, proprioception is your friend: bring the ammo toward the palm of the hand holding the cylinder, wiggle slightly to get the bullet noses started into the chambers and push the rounds in. Then ‘peel' the strip off the case heads, allowing them to drop the rest of the way into the cylinder. 


If time permits, do the same with the other two rounds. I don't shift the strip in my hand; I simply use the heel of my palm to push them into the chambers and then peel off the strip.

Now drop the strip and close the cylinder. You're back in business.

Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt of Defensive Revolver Fundamentals, 2nd Edition.

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Grant Cunningham is a world-renowned revolversmith and certified Combat Focus Shooting instructor, with experience teaching general self defense with handguns and revolver-specific courses. His articles and photographs have been published in Concealed Carry magazine, the Personal Defense Network project, and on his popular website, grantcunningham.com. He is the author of <i><a href="https://www.gundigeststore.com/handgun-training-practice-drills-for-defensive-shooting?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=gd-cgb-nl-151117-Bio">Handgun Training: Practical Drills for Defensive Shooting</a>, <a href="https://www.gundigeststore.com/gun-digest-book-of-the-revolver?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=gd-cgb-nl-151117-Bio">Gun Digest Book of the Revolver</a>, <a href="https://www.gundigeststore.com/gun-digest-shooters-guide-to-handguns?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=gd-cgb-nl-151117-Bio">Gun Digest Shooter's Guide to Handguns</a>, <a href="https://www.gundigeststore.com/defensive-pistol-fundamentals?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=gd-cgb-nl-151117-Bio">Defensive Pistol Fundamentals</a></i>, and <i><a href="https://www.gundigeststore.com/grant-cunninghams-12-essentials-of-concealed-carry-ebook-t0411?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=gd-cgb-nl-151117-Bio">Grant Cunningham's 12 Essentials of Concealed Carry.</i></a>


  1. I’ve carried strips but never as primary reload but haven’t done so in years I have some in 44mag which is a nice flat way to carry handy reloads while hunting reloads. If you 1 or 2 shots it’s easy to reload those chambers. Sometimes I use them for a single shot .410.

  2. Pictures show a slow and cumbersome reload.
    Smoother version:
    Revolver trigger guard placed in support hand while strong thumb actuated cylinder latch.
    Fingers of support hand rotate cylinder out and support thumb strokes ejector rod. (Muzzle elevated)
    Simultaneous strong hand grasps reload carried on strong side of body.
    Reload with muzzle depressed.
    Support hand swings cylinder shut while control hand grips revolver and gets back in fight.
    Silly to only load 4 in a strip, if you drop one out of the six you are still one round ahead of 4. Why play reverse Russian Roulette?


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