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Home  >  Topics  >  Off Duty

December 20, 2012
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Lindsey J. Bertomen Police Products
with Lindsey J. Bertomen

Product Review: 5 Star Firearms Speedloaders

I tested 5 Star Firearms Speedloaders for my compact revolvers and I have an announcement: Open your safes and start carrying your five-shot revolvers again.

A 12-15 ounce revolver, discreetly hidden, is an effective law enforcement tool on duty and off. Placed in a pack, it is easily toted while hiking or running. Since several manufacturers make 12-ounce revolvers, its time to take advantage of their tactical advantage.

Quality of 5 Star Firearms Speedloaders is top rate — they are made of machined 6061 aircraft aluminum, and they use high-quality bearings, O-rings, and stainless hardware to ensure smooth operation. These are the type of speed loaders that hold cartridges in the body using a twist knob. Once guided into the cylinder, it’s just “twist and release.”

I put these speed loaders through their paces. They appear to be pretty immune to abuse, including the lint in my pocket, sand on the range floor and repeated practice in front of the television.

There aren’t a lot of reasons to get excited about speed loaders except for a couple of features that make the 5 Star Firearms products unique.

First, since they are made of better materials, 5 Star Firearms Speedloaders are thinner and have a lower profile. I have taken to carrying one in my phone pouch alongside my iPhone. 

They weigh less than the plastic ones.

Since the aluminum is stronger, the product is thinner. They actually clear the short yoke of compact revolvers, allowing officers to use real stocks, like Crimson Trace, instead of the ones that don’t control the recoil properly.

They can use high tech finishes on 6061 aluminum, which explains my Zombie Green speedloaders with Zombie Blood. Yes, they come in boring, er, I mean tactical black also.

They have matching speedloader blocks, like the Bedside Block Kit.

Historically, there has been a lot of debate about the effectiveness of revolver rounds such as the 38 special.

I’m the right guy to shed a little light on this. I generally run with about 50 pounds of ballistic to gelatin in my garage at any given time. I’m the guy whose wife has told him numerous times, “If you mix that stuff in the house one more time…”

I’ve been testing cartridge combinations for at least a couple of decades. Sometimes I randomly fire into ballistic gelatin, sometimes I spend a lot of time chrographing the performance and recording the data. There has clearly been a trend in the last five years.

The cartridges are better, and I can prove it.

For example, the Cor-Bon 38 SP +P DPX cartridge uses an all copper construction. I have had consistent +12” penetration through heavy clothing and non fragmenting after barrier performance in many tests. Despite the high performance, the 110 grain bullet keeps the recoil reasonable. 

Cor-Bon’s published velocity for this cartridge is 1050 fps. My tests through a two-inch barrel agree. I also have punched this through several car doors, although I don’t have anything conclusive about performance through auto steel. In windshield tests, this one is ok-not outstanding-just ok.

Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have wasted my time trying to shoot a .38 (or 9mm) through auto glass.

How does it do on a 25 yard target? In my S&W Model 38 (circa 1970), under 2.5 inches, every day, all day.

If you’re not buying Cor-Bon, what should you use? Two words: Critical Defense.

Hornady has added the polymer tip to their hollow point rounds, which greatly increases the performance over common hollow point cartridges, which can become impacted with clothing fibers and reduce performance. By the way, if it is a duty caliber, use Hornady Critical Duty cartridges.

A lightweight, five-shot revolver is an excellent choice for discreet carry and a reliable, almost foolproof method of Law Enforcement backup. In my opinion, 5 Star Firearms has brought back the compact revolver. Run with it.


About the author

Lindsey Bertomen is a retired police officer and retired military small arms trainer. He teaches criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. He has a BS in Criminal Justice and an MS in Online Teaching and Learning. Lindsey has taught shooting techniques for over a decade. His articles on firearms tactics have appeared in print for over a decade. Lindsey enjoys competing in shooting sports, running, and cycling events.

Contact Lindsey Bertomen

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