Sunday, September 7, 2008

Clip vs. Magazine: A Lesson in Firearm Terminology

Many new shooters do not realize this, but there is a difference between a "clip" and a "magazine".

I am not uptight over the issue, but I respect the need to use correct terms. Most professionals and weapons experts know the true definitions, so here's my shot at helping to educate new shooters.

You can see the differences between clips and magazines in this picture (Click on picture to enlarge). I own this picture. Please feel free to use and share this picture as long as you state where you got it from with a link.
From left to right: AR15 magazine, .223/5.56 stripper clip, Glock 22 magazine, SKS stripper clip, Ruger 10/22 "banana" magazine, M1 Garand en bloc clip.


A magazine is what is used to feed the weapon itself, whereas a clip is used to feed the magazine. Clips make loading of magazines much easier and faster, and in some cases, a clip is required in order for the magazine to work (e.g. M1 Garand).

Some magazines are removable (like in the case of all of the magazines pictured above), and depending on the design of the gun, it can have a fixed magazine. Most SKS's, bolt actions, shotguns, and Garands have fixed magazines.


In the case of "stripper clips", you simply "strip" the rounds off of the clip and into the magazine. In the case of the "en bloc" clip used by the M1 Garand, you simply place the clip into the fixed magazine and the clip stays in the mag as the weapon fires.

It is speculated that the confusion and misuse of the terms came about in the world of guns when troops who used the M1 Garand in the US Military started using other firearms and continued to used the term "clip" when referring to what was actually a magazine.

Whatever the reason for the incorrect use of the term, it's there and it is often misused by many new shooters, the media and also anti-gunners.

Another term that is often misused is the term "bullet". Many people use that term to refer to the complete round/cartridge.

The bullet is simply the projectile that is fired from the weapon, and only 1 of 4 parts that a round of ammunition truly consists of (which includes the case, powder, and the primer).

Hopefully you found this information useful. People who misuse these terms come off as not having a very good understanding of firearms, how they work, and often times part are the anti-gun crowd.



full metal jacket boat-tail (FMJBT) bullets, copper jacket, cannelure, lead core.

4 comments:

  1. Great article. It is a pet peeve of mine when I hear people use the word clip when they are actually describing a magazine.

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  2. My friend was trying to explain this to me, your post made it very clear.

    Thanks.

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  3. Was watching a video by an anti-gun politician and the video referenced his terminology (among other things.)

    Since I'm not a shooter I looked it up. Your page came up (first) and you did a very nice, simple, clear explanation.

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete