The Best Shotgun Shell Caddy for 3 Gun
When it comes to 3-gun competition, having the right shotgun shell caddies can be the difference between a smooth reload and a massive dumpster fire on the clock. Having extensive experience in the latter and recently forcing the catastrophic failure of my original Taccom 8up Quaload after going prone, it’s due time for me to reconfigure my belt wth an appropriate setup.
Don’t get me wrong, the Taccom 8ups are/were phenomenal, and I’d be buying them in a heartbeat if they weren’t discontinued (I am plenty happy with 5 years of hard use on the set I had). Let’s delve into a comparative analysis of what I consider to be the top 5 shotgun shell caddy contenders for your belt. Keep in mind, while I’ll weave in some general pros and cons, the devil is often in the details tailored to individual preferences and styles.
Taccom Sport Series 8S4
Let me preface this one with how big of a fan I’ve been of Taccom over the years. Tim has been a longstanding supporter of 3-gun, and before that the Tactical Shotgun Championships. His company is no stranger to the game of innovation from when we first broke through to dual loading off of a pair of broom handle clips to now – where we’ve got several options from clip, spring & magnet retention methods.
With that said, I am sad to have found out my favorite 8ups appear to be no longer available (not even an option on the website), and the traditional Q4s I have on the workbench have been replaced by the split-style quads on my belt in the action photo above. When looking at in-stock options, the Sport Series is pretty much it – so we’re going to cover those.
The Taccom Sport Series 8S4 shell caddy is engineered for the shooter who demands both secure shell retention and smooth release. Succeeding the company’s esteemed “Deuce” line, this holder is designed to be immediately user-friendly, requiring no assembly other than attachment to the preferred belt. It accommodates ambidextrous use and promotes an intuitive ‘snatch’ draw, aligning shells horizontally for a natural, ergonomic motion that positions them perfectly for quick loading. Its lightweight yet strong construction is geared for high performance, and Taccom touts it as the most ergonomic shell holder available.
The biggest win with this line though, is the price. At around $35 for a complete setup that gets you 8 shells on the belt (sans belt mount), you wont find anything more economical than this if you’re just starting out.
The clip retention method is not without it’s faults, however. They rely on friction and having enough pressure on the shell to retain it properly, with no positive stop for the shells shifting out of a compact stack. You also need to be careful not to have shells retained in them for too long, as it can cause deformities in some of the hulls with weaker wall material and prove problematic while loading.
With practice, loading from them is a breeze. They do require a bit of initial force to break the retention, but it’s a technique easily mastered.
- The machined Delrin design provides a simple and durable option with zero adjustment required.
- It’s gentle on the wallet, which can be a major plus for shooters who are looking to stretch their gear budget.
- Clip tension is the method of retention, which may not hold up to the vigorous activity of some competitors.
- Delrin, while solid, can become brittle and break with too much force.
Invictus Practical 8ight Plate Series
Another company that’s been supporting 3-gun for as long as I can remember, Invictus Practical is next up on the list of caddies to review. My personal experience with this caddy to date is minimal – I’ve only ever seen them in use by other competitors, but they appeared frequently enough that I figure there must be something to them worth checking out.
Out of the box, they are pretty much assembled and ready to go. The set I ordered came with a coupling bar, but found myself not needing it as the safariland els fork stands off with enough clearance and rotational capability for my mounting preference. Still a nice option to have depending on how you want to load your belt.
The 8ight Plate is intended for both right and left handed loading, you just need to flip it for the clip to ramp in the proper direction.
Something unique with this caddy is that it’ll accommodate both 12 and 20ga shells thanks to the unique staggering of the clip system. This can be beneficial for Junior shooters starting out on a 20ga and not having to swap as much of their belt gear out when moving into a 12ga.
The shells are stacked tight for a compact fit across your belt. There is no spacing between each set of 4 shells, allowing for you to adapt between loading twins or quads depending on your stage plan.
- Built with aircraft-grade aluminum, it’s a fortress for shells, ready for any competition stress test.
- Offers adjustable orientation, catering to personal preferences and ensuring comfort and quick access.
- Similar to Taccom, it relies on clip tension for retention, which may leave those who prefer magnets a bit wanting.
- The ambiguity regarding its IPSC legality could pose a problem for competitors who play strictly by the book.
Carbon Arms SSLP8
The Carbon Arms SSLP8 shotshell caddy represents the evolution of quick-load systems in the 3-gun community, arriving as the second generation of the pioneering Twin/Quad load caddies. Esteemed for introducing Twin and Quad loading to the US, this 8 round caddy is proudly injection-molded in the United States, with all its hardware also domestically sourced. Versatile in its design, it allows for four Twin Loads or two Quad Loads—or a mix of both—making it a highly adaptable choice for competitive shooters who value efficiency and homegrown innovation.
- The SSLP8’s Delrin backplate makes it a lightweight contender in the realm of shell caddies, ideal for fast movers.
- Its orientation is adjustable, which is a boon for shooters who like their gear to align with their unique style.
- Utilizes clip tension for shell retention, which may not be everyone’s preference, especially when the action heats up.
- The shell spacing isn’t as tight as I’d prefer for quadloads, though with practice they are definitely achievable at speed.
Magload NEXUS PRO 8
The Magload Nexus PRO 8 is the epitome of innovation in the quadloading market, boasting the title of the lightest self-adjusting loader globally. Crafted from high-grade aerospace aluminum with a hard anodized backplate, it promises durability and minimal maintenance, even in extreme conditions ranging from -50 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This caddy is a versatile, modular system, designed to self-adjust to any shotgun cartridge length used in dynamic shooting, suitable for left or right-handed users, and conforms to IPSC rules while being ideal for 3-Gun and other disciplines. With a plethora of mounting options, including CLIC, Tek Lok, ELS clips, or Velcro, and tool-free self-adjustment features, the Nexus PRO 8 is a set-and-forget system that simplifies the shooter’s experience. It’s an incredibly compact yet fully modular unit, ensuring that when empty, it won’t impede the shooter’s movement, making it an unparalleled accessory for the competitive shooter.
- Aerospace-grade aluminum construction with a hard-anodized finish speaks volumes about its durability and resilience.
- The retention system is a combination of spring tension and magnets, offering a secure embrace for your shells.
- The Nexus PRO 8 is configurable for right or left-handed loading.
- The high-end pricing reflects its quality, potentially placing it out of reach for some budgets.
- While the Magload’s are user-configurable for left or right hand loading, that means it comes as a kit and requires a good bit of assembly.
- May require additional mounting to be IPSC legal, potentially adding to its cost and setup time if that’s your jam.
- Magload is based in the UK, but directly available in the US through dealers like Wicked Fast LLC or Competetive Edge Dynamics
King Competition MSHG6-KING-ASSM8
The King Competition MSHG6-KING-ASSM8 shotgun shell holder is a culmination of world champion experience and advanced engineering, manifested in the 6th generation of their renowned design. This modular system features enhanced shell retention and a smooth release, with upgraded durability due to stronger materials and production processes. It provides uniform shell positioning that is less sensitive to variations in shell size thanks to a new guide system, and it integrates a new adapter system for rigid 360° attachment to TEK-LOK or ELS systems. The design is optimized for minimal belt space and allows for various loading techniques, including mixtures of load-2 and load-4. Shells are securely held and easily released with high-strength magnets, facilitating effortless and rapid reloading. The unit is self-leveling, compatible with typical 12/70 cartridges, and allows for adjustments in spring tension without the need for tools. Its skeleton construction is not only rigid but also ergonomically curved to fit around the waist comfortably, adhering to IPSC regulations when not using an adapter. With a variety of mounting options and a thoughtful design that minimizes weight while maximizing performance, the King Competition MSHG6-KING-ASSM8 sets a high standard for competitive shotgun shell holders.
- The metal skeleton backplate gives this caddy a robust foundation, ready to stand up to the rigors of competitive shooting.
- The retention system is fortified with both magnets and spring tension, a dual approach to security.
- This model comes with a premium price, making it a significant investment in your shooting arsenal.
- Its fixed orientation could be a drawback for those who value adjustability and a personalized setup.
- King Competition is based in the UK, but directly available in the US through dealers such as Hayes Custom Guns.
From the budget-conscious Taccom to the investment-worthy King Competition, each caddy offers a unique set of features. The best shotgun shell caddy ultimately boils down to what matters most to you: cost, retention, adjustability, or the assurance of IPSC compatibility. Whichever you choose, ensure it complements your shooting style and helps to shave off those crucial seconds for a winning performance.