“An optimist is a guy with a snubby and a pair of speed strips” — James Yeager
The semi-auto pistol is always faster to reload than a revolver (Mauser Broomhandle and Steyr M1912 might be the only notable exceptions). That doesn’t mean that the revolver has to be slow and this is where a speedloader or speedstrip comes in to help speed the process up compared to fishing loose rounds from your pocket.
The HKS and 5 Star loaders are both the twist type, and twist in opposite directions just to give you choices. Both rattle quite a bit, but the 5 Star due to its looseness is the only one that really works correctly with the Ruger LCR series of “J” framed size pistols. Ruger in their infinite wisdom decided to have their charging holes not exactly the same as Smith and Wesson. Neither of these speed loaders would be my first choice for CCW, the HKS is the most prevalent, but not what I would consider the best.
The Dade loader is the smallest of the “push button”, but the one with the least positive hold on the rounds. It is possible to lose a round while bouncing around in your pocket, in a pouch this would not be an issue. The band is a spring which holds the cartridge, by having to push the rim past the spring tension. There is no spring assist in pushing the rounds into the cylinder.
The Jet loader uses a single spring to push rounds into the chambers, and that spring acts with authority, It is the biggest, but it’s very positive handling and has the advantage of still being available on the market, which the next one is currently unavailable in the US and Germany, from what I can tell.
The SL Variant speedloader is absolutely awesome. Each charging hole is individually spring-loaded, the center button that triggers the launch of the rounds can be turned to change the “angle” of the cartridges. Both the Sl Variant and the Jet loader can be handled by their “knob” and makes them very easy to handle and then activate.
The Safariland Comp 1, is a small push to load speed loader, it is the smallest of all the speedloaders and because of that, carry the best for me in a pocket. But no speedloader in the pocket feels great, it’s like carrying a little rock that has the same diameter as your revolvers cylinder.
Michael deBethencourt is the founder of Snub Train, and he does a great job of going over 5 our of the 6 speed loaders (The 5 Star was not around when he made the video).
I do think the profile of the bullet can help. You really are trying to put 5 pegs in 5 holes, so I academically think the Hornady Critical Defense Ammo with its more pointy profile might make it a little easier than the bigger hollow point profile of the Gold Dot or Ranger.
Lastly, we have to talk about speedstrips. They are not speedy, even compared to the slowest of the speedloaders, but they lay flat are easy to carry and can be used to “top off” a revolver, where a speed loader is an all or nothing proposition. Most of us slip a J frame into the pocket because we are lazy, and the speed strip is a pretty lazy way to carry more ammunition, which is better than nothing.