This nation of ours seems to suffer from what I would like to call “Clip Confusion”. I blame Hollywood first, Politicians Second and the Media as a whole last. Now I realize that I do count as part of that last group. Now is my chance to help fix the problem.
When I started my career in the field of arms, nomenclature (the proper names of things) was very important. In fact proper nomenclature could mean the difference between getting to eat or a whole lot of pain and suffering. You see Marine Corps Boot Camp is not tolerant of individuality. You don’t get to call things whatever you want because you think it is cool. You call them by the name the Corps assigned to them or you pay for it. This indoctrination is most likely the source of my ire about the “Clip Confusion”.
I have always found a small source of irritation in a person calling a magazine a “clip”. This came to a head with the attempt from ignorant politicians to ban magazines capable of containing more than ten cartridges. I kept hearing about “high capacity clips” over and over again. Most of the time when I hear the incorrect use of “clip” I could just shrug it off as an un-trained individual not knowing the correct term for what he was talking about. When I hear politicians drone on about it, I realize that they honestly have no idea what they are talking about. This is generally expected in politics. The anti-gun crowd seems to have a distinct aversion to learning about those things they hate.
Lets quickly look at the differences between clips and magazines so you, my dear reader, can help to spread the knowledge and educate your associates on the correct nomenclature. Once upon a time, John C. Garand was blessed with the design for what General George S. Patton would eventually call, “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” This of course, was the M1 Garand. The M1 is a semi-automatic battle rifle chambered in .30-06 Springfield. This is also probably one of the most famous and recognizable “clip fed” rifles in existence. Troops carrying the M1 Garand were issues bandoliers of ammunition. In these bandoliers were En Bloc Clips. En Bloc Clips are spring metal devices that contain eight .30-06 cartridges. When a Marine wanted to load his rifle, the bolt was locked to the rear. A loaded En Bloc Clip was then pushed into the internal magazine of the rifle and the bolt was allowed to close. As the rifle was fired, it stripped cartridges from the clip and chambered them. When the last cartridge was fired, the clip was ejected from the M1 Garand with a very unique “ping” sound. The bolt was locked to the rear ready to accept a fresh “clip”.
I believe the En Bloc Clip can be blamed for much of the Clip/Magazine confusion. It was used alongside such magazine fed weapons as the M1911 Pistol and M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle.
Moving forward to today’s military, clips are still in use. When troops are issued rifle ammunition, it still comes in cloth bandoliers containing clips. These clips are a little different. They are called “stripper clips”. You won’t find them dancing for singles just outside of the main gate. However they are stripped every time you load a magazine. Modern M16 variants cannot feed ammunition from clips. The ammunition has to be loaded into magazines first. The magazine is then inserted into the rifle for normal operation. When a Marine receives his ammunition, he needs to get it into the magazine in the most efficient means possible. Clips aid him in this. Included with the bandoliers is a Stripper Clip Guide. The guide fits on the top of the magazine. Now the Marine simply inserts the Stripper Clip containing ten cartridges into the guide and pushes down. The cartridges slide from the stripper clip into the magazine. It only takes a couple of seconds to load thirty rounds into a magazine with some practice.
Now we begin to see a pattern. With the M1 Garand, clips held cartridges together until they could be pushed into the rifle’s internal magazine. With the M16 family of rifles, clips hold cartridges together until they can be pushed into the rifle’s external magazine.
It is really quite simple to remember. Clips load magazines. Magazines load rifles.
Now go forth and educate the masses!