Magazine vs Clip – What’s the Difference and Why is it Important?

magazine vs clip

English: Marv Lynchard [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For the newbies out there, and for people who just don’t know much about guns, there is a difference in the whole magazine vs clip thing. You’ve probably noticed that some people go bonkers when someone mixes up the two.

Thanks to media and the movies, the two terms are used interchangeably by actors, laypersons and also politicians who don’t know the difference. One ponders whether a person who knows absolutely nothing about something should be allowed to suggest or introduce legislation about it, but that’s a discussion for another time.

So, let’s go ahead and get into the difference between a magazine and a clip. We aren’t going to get into the technical details of specific makes and models of firearms, though we will mention a few along the way as illustrative examples.

First, what are clips? A clip is basically a bracket that holds a few rounds together. There are no parts; it’s literally a piece of metal that’s stamped or machined to hold a few cartridges together. Insert rounds into the clip and the clip holds them there, ready to be inserted into the gun.

Clip vs Magazine – These are cargridges in a stripper clip. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

But what is a magazine? A magazine is a container of cartridges with a spring and a follower (which pushes the cartridges out) that feeds them to the receiver of the gun. The most common are tubular magazines (lever-action rifles, most shotguns) and box magazines, found on most rifles and semi-automatic pistols.

Stones River National Battlefield Tennessee, US NPS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tubular magazines are just what they sound like; a tube of cartridges or shot shells. A spring at the front of the tube and a plug is compressed as the tube is loaded.

A shotgun with a tubular magazine under the barrel (JWT for TTAG)

The tension pushes the next round into the receiver and cycling the action (with a lever, pump or semi-automatic mechanism) puts the next round into the chamber of a firearm.

Photo Courtesy of PEO Soldier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A box magazine is literally that…a box that holds cartridges. It can be an internal magazine (inside the gun itself, such as  on most bolt-action rifles) or external. It can be fixed or detachable.

There’s a follower (that green thing, above), that the cartridges sit on, and a spring underneath the follower. As the rounds are inserted into the magazine, the spring gets compressed. As rounds are fired and cycled out of the firearm, pressure from the spring pushes the next round up until it’s empty.

There are some additional magazine designs such as rotary magazines (Ruger 10/22, Savage 99) drum magazines (Thompson SMG) and pan magazines, but we’ll save that for another time.

A clip, on the other hand, is literally just a bracket that holds cartridges together. Some guns actually have both a magazine AND use clips, which we’ll get to.

Clips come in three distinct varieties.

Moon clips for use with revolvers. Krd [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The one you’re most likely to run across these days are moon clips, which are circular clips with cutouts. These hold rimless rounds for revolvers. If the cylinder has been machined to use them, you insert either a “whole moon” clip (all six) or half-moon clips (three) into the cylinder. There are two-round moon clips too, but they’re very rare.

These have two primary benefits. First, since revolvers require rimmed cartridges (meaning the base is larger than the case) moon clips allow use of rimless ammunition usually used in semi-automatic pistols. Ergo, you can shoot .45 ACP in a revolver that would ordinarily only shoot .45 Colt. (I don’t want to hear a word about AutoRim; you can’t find it anywhere and it’s stupid expensive when you do, so don’t even start.) Second, moon clips also aid in ejection.

Clips vs. Magazines – En Bloc clip on the left, stripper clip on the right. By AmenhtpOwn work, Public Domain, Link

Another common type of clip is the en bloc clip. An en bloc clip is inserted into the action of the firearm itself and is either ejected or has to be extracted after the ammunition is depleted. Guns designed for en bloc clips do not work without them.

M1 Garand on top (which uses clips) and an M1 Carbine (which uses magazines) on bottom. Fab-pe at Portuguese Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The most famous example is that of the M1 Garand, the American service rifle of the mid-20th century chambered in the finest round ever known to man, .30-06. (Yeah, I said it; leave a nasty note in the comments and see if I care, ha!)

The M1 Garand (pronounced “gare-und” like “errand” and not “guh-rand“) accepts the 8-round en bloc clip, basically a metal strap that holds 8 rounds of ammunition. The M1 Garand semi-automatic rifles eject the en bloc clip as soon as the last round is fired.

Stripper clips, also known as charger clips or speedloader clips, are basically a strip of metal with lips. You push rounds into the stripper clip, which holds the rounds in place. Use is fairly simple.

The receiver of a rifle that takes them has a channel machined into it. You put the stripper clip into the stripper clip notch and push the rounds down into the magazine. You then toss the clip away (or put it in a pocket) and close the bolt, chambering the first round.

Basically, it’s a speedloader for a rifle. In fact, some detachable rifle magazines have channels for using a stripper clip to load them. The big difference between a stripper clip and an en bloc clip, however, is that a rifle that takes en bloc clips can ONLY be loaded using one. A rifle that allows use of stripper clips, however, can be loaded one round at a time.

Examples of firearms that take stripper clips include Mauser 98 and Lee Enfield rifles, and early semi-auto pistols such as the “Broomhandle” Mauser C96.

So…why do people confuse them?

Because clips AND detachable magazines both insert rounds into a firearm. Since these are two objects that perform the same task, some folks will use the terms interchangeably…especially people who don’t know the difference. Complicating things even more, some people used rounds on stripper clips to load box magazines (such as the AR-15 or M16).

It rankles firearms enthusiasts just like it would rankle a car guy if you confused their Ford Mustang with a Chevy Camaro, or if you called a paring knife a filet blade in front of Gordon Ramsay. (IT’S RAW!) While a person can make the occasional slip of the cigar…I mean tongue…confusing the two is usually a sign that someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Any other gun terms that people get wrong that irritate you? Seriously want an M1 Garand now that I’ve mentioned them? Jealous of people who own rifles in .30-06? (You should be.) Sound off in the comments!

comments

  1. avatar Hannibal says:

    It mostly matters because it’s a dead giveaway that someone is talking about something they don’t understand when they talk about how we need to ban ‘large capacity glock clips.’

    It also is giveaway when someone is itching to call someone out on the use of ‘clip’ but didn’t actually listen\read and see that the person’s firearm actually takes clips (i.e. Garand).

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Not the Ford/Chevy analogy

      The power producer in a REAL car/truck (burns petroleum distillate) is an ENGINE. If it has a motor it is some POS prog coal powered gimcrack.

      1. avatar Ransom says:

        Must be regional. We grew up saying “motor”

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Motors run on electricity, engines run on gasoline.

        2. avatar Rattlerjake says:

          Gov. William J Le Petomane, that SHOULD be correct, but MOTORcycles aren’t electric, yet MOTOR-scooters are. It’s really a shame how the English language has been so bastardized.

          Homosexual is a person who humps the same sex, Gay is a person that is happy, not a rump-Ranger!

        3. avatar No one of consequence says:

          An engine is something that causes a change or makes something happen … devices which convert any form of energy to bring about mechanical effects.. An example would be a bomb, as in “engine of destruction.”

          Motors are things that move the rest of the device, the “prime mover.”

          This article does a decent job of explaining the difference in origins, and also one take on how they are usually used today.

          http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/industrial/difference-between-engine-and-motor/

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Yes, engines are motors, ergo Ford Motor Company, etc., but to understand the Iowa dialect, motors generically refer to electric motors and gas/diesel powerplants are referred to as ‘engines’.

          Not to be confused with ‘Injuns’ which are only found in a place called ‘Meskwaki’ (not Kawasaki).

        5. avatar Ransom says:

          Motor Oil, Motorcycle, Motorcar, Motorboat, Motor speedway, Ford Motor company, Bavarian Motor works, then there’s that little ditty: Get your Motor running, head out in your Tesla, Looking for adventure……
          For common usage they’re interchangeable.

    2. avatar JW says:

      Large capacity glock clips might as well be banned… don’t think I’ve ever seen one 🙂

      1. avatar Charles Meredith says:

        If it has a SPRING in it it is a MAGAZINE! No spring, a clip.
        Get smart people.

  2. avatar Michael says:

    I’d rather have the US Navy conversion or a genuine Beretta in .308. Of course the drop in chamber reducer remains an option, if I can find one. The 30/06 is the greatest rifle cartridge of the last era. The 7.62X51 NATO or .308 Winchester is the greatest cartridge of this era, with 7.62X39 running a close second. -30-

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Eh, 30-06 won a world war (well, the Western Front). What did 7.62 do?

      1. avatar Elmer says:

        Well, just one example, since you seem to think certain cartridges win wars, would be the 7.62 kicking America out of Vietnam.

        1. avatar Phil in TX says:

          No, the 7.62X39 did NOT kick us out of Vietnam, any more than it kicked us out of Grenada, Iraq or Afghanistan. Our own congress kicked us out of ‘Nam by hamstringing everything the military tried to do to kick Uncle Ho’s minions out of there. You can’t bomb sections of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that are in Laos or Cambodia. You can’t pursue the Viet Cong or the NVA across the border. We can’t mine the harbor at Haiphong, ad nauseum. When you decide to go to war with someone it is no holds barred (exception for the Geneva Convention) and absolutely no quarter until victory is complete. Period.
          Phil in TX

        2. avatar Clark Kent says:

          The NVA and Viet Cong kicked the USA out of Vietnam, period, end of story. We should have never been involved with supporting the extremely corrupt and incompetent South Vietnamese government to begin with.

      2. avatar Marty says:

        It provided me with 1000’s of inexpensive rounds and many more 1000’s of the brass to reload for the rest of my life. I love the 7.62X51. Don’t use it much for hunting, although I have. My hunting rounds are either the 270 or the 300 WSM. The 7.62 feeds my M1A a steady diet and I’m forever thankful for that.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Had a chance to buy both. Several times. Especially wanted the Beretta to go along with my BM-62. Guy just wanted too much. Met a guy that does M-1 rifles better than anyone I ever knew. Had one done in 7.62 NATO. Never had a malfunction. Chambers the same round as my HK, scout rifle and primary hunting rifle. Logistics.

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Yea, I once owned an HK-91. Was a superb rifle, except it left really deep grooves in the cases, which lowered the life span of the brass.

  3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    All my guns have 6 chamber clipazines.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Are those non-binary? Do they come in colors? lol

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Blue or stainless. They’re also rotating (non binary?) 6 chamber clipazines, btw.

    2. avatar Patrick says:

      I clicked the link for this article, Ctrl + F, and entered “clipazine”.
      Yep, just wanted to make sure they were also referenced in this article.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Well as governor of this territory, I hereby declare an executive order in which from now on revolver cylinders will be called ‘6 chamber clipazines’. Harrumph!

        1. avatar Bill B says:

          Harrumph!
          Harrumph!

          Hey, I didn’t hear a Harrumph! from that guy….

    3. avatar Tom T says:

      Yes, multiple chambers are needed because caliber us a spectrum.

      Just remember, before chambering a round ask permission to put it in or you are contributing to rape culture.

  4. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    30-06…my fave! Still use it every hunting season (Sako Finnlight + Vortex 2.5 – 10 x 32mm FFP)…have not seen the “advantage” of going to 300 Win Mag, 300 WSM, any Weatherby cartridge, etc…sure simplifies my logistics.

    Disclaimer: I do own two rifles chambered in 30-06 “short” (7.62 x 51 NATO) that I drag to the range a couple of times a year.

  5. avatar Cea says:

    Not again!!!
    Talk to ANY VET from Vietnam and before, and they will call magazines for their 1911 pistol a “clip”. Colt issued them with “clips”. Remington sold 22 rifles with “clips”
    It’s not a matter of not knowing, or not understanding, or anything else. It just doesn’t matter is all. Anyone into “guns” in general, will always know what is meant when someone says “clip” referring to a magazine. If the military, the manufacturers and most importantly, the guys that used them, call them “clips”….way more than good enough for me.
    Give it a rest already! This crap has been going on for only the last 20-30 years. People who used them way before that, in life and death scenarios, not just recent high speed competitions and the ever present “Operators”, knew what to call them. So everybody needs to get on board with the “IT DOESN’T MATTER” train of thought.

    1. avatar Ransom says:

      I posted before reading your comment. Great explanation. Thanks

    2. avatar Kenneth says:

      Until you can post a copy of a military manual calling a 1911 magazine a “clip” you are just somebody on the ‘net who doesn’t know any better but wants to hide that fact.
      NOTE: an official source! Movies, ebay, and amazon don’t count. Even your DI doesn’t count. Besides the fact that you could have misheard him, DI’s aren’t armorers by MOS. They don’t know the difference any more than the rest of the sheep do.
      But at the range, if you ask me for a clip for your AR you’ll get one of these:
      https://www.cleanammocans.com/100-pack-AR15-10rd-USGI-Stripper-Clips.html
      and NOT a magazine. And don’t get mad over it, because the mistake was your’s not mine.

      1. avatar Ransom says:

        Show me where it says “Hog” in the Harley manual. No? Then tell any bikers you see that they’re saying it wrong. I’ll go with Cea on this one. If the guys who have killed people in combat want to say “clip” then I have their back over an armchair warriors.

        1. avatar Kenneth says:

          Right up until you ask for a clip and get exactly what you asked for, and not a magazine. Then I supposes it’ll be my fault you died over your own failure to correct a mistake you made.
          Seems pretty obtuse to me, but there’s no accounting for taste. At least I know you’ll never be in a unit of mine. Because if you are, you will be required to call things by their correct name, or else ride a desk.

        2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          My 95 year old WWII veteran neighbor always says clip. I asked him why. He said “who cares, we all said it that way”.

        3. avatar Kenneth says:

          Victoria brings up a good point. In WW2 the word “clip” was correct. The confusion here, by many raw recruits who never saw a repeating rifle before, but just assumed that “clip” means ammo, could very well be the beginnings of the incorrect usage that we still suffer from today.
          In the Garand rifle, the magazine is a non-detachable part of the rifle, and it is loaded with what is known as an en bloc CLIP(not magazine), which is without a spring, as I said earlier. This type of clip does not require manually “stripping” the rounds out of the clip like stripper clips do.
          En bloc clips are inserted into the gun whole, rounds and all, and then the rifle ejects the clip, once it’s been emptied. There is a picture of one of these in the article above. Garand’s used a double feeding stack of 8, but without the rounds in the enbloc clip, the gun was useless. Without a clip, the rifle became a hand fed single shot.
          By Vietnam, the old time grunts, not knowing the difference between clips and magazines(unless they happened to be an armorer), probably just passed the error on to the next generation. But if people insist on steadfastly defending their error, as many here have done, then it can never be corrected, and the current confusion will just continue. Forever.
          The other point hidden in her post is; like all terminology, whatever is agreed upon by the group will work. If your platoon decides to call an AR15 mag a “whizagig” or whatever, that will work. Everybody in THAT platoon will know what you mean. But you’ll run into severe problems when you need to speak to anyone else, who will have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.
          Also, this is in an area of a worst-case scenario, for two reasons. Because it involves the reloading of weapons, which is an extremely important issue in combat. It’s very important for everyone to understand your meaning as easily and clearly as possible. Improper terminology could cause enough confusion and delay to get people killed.
          And the other thing is, both clips and magazines exist as different items. It is more than just a nickname, like “hog” for Harley. At my range table, I will have both AR15 magazines, AND AR 15 clips. If one asks me for one or the other, that one will get the one they asked for. Which, due to an error that I didn’t make, might not be the one they wanted. I refuse to give both simply because lazy people cannot be bothered to learn the proper name for the things that they use.
          This is kind of like if a biker gang ran a pig ranch. If they are all around both real hogs, and Harley “hogs” all day long, they will soon learn about the need to all agree on what to call what. The resulting confusion will quickly make the need obvious.

      2. avatar Theguywiththegun says:

        Sometimes I use the wrong terms on purpose just to see if the nomenclature purist will lose their shit or stroke out. Life is too long to be that uptight.

        1. avatar bluecow says:

          AMEN

      3. avatar Cea says:

        Ken=ASS!
        Don’t get mad. I’ve posted pics here before from manufacturers, calling magazine clips. You, can do the research. I already did. It shouldn’t take you that long to find the info.
        Oh, and don’t get mad….hahahahaha…lol

        1. avatar Cea says:

          Alright, alright, here is but one example. Now get over yourself.
          Remember (I know it is difficult for you Kenny) this is ONE example. I decided to help you here. You can find the others…many others!

          http://tinypic.com/m/kco49h/4

      4. avatar strych9 says:

        Kenneth has a pretty rational explanation for something that can be summed up as “language matters”.

        The same people saying “clip” vs “mag” doesn’t matter are often the same people complaining about how “assault weapons” don’t really exist.

        There are two forms of existence: As a mental construct and in the real world. An inventor creates an object in his mind before he brings it into being in the real world.

        Language is part of how we create mental constructs. As such if you allow people to control the meaning of words they control the language and therefore have a very, very significant impact on the way people see the world. If you allow other people to control the language then they get to argue “It is because I say it is” and, no matter how much you might be technically correct about the “old” definition, you’ve still lost because they simply changed that definition to meet their goals.

        You can see this in NZ right now. What’s an MSSA? It’s whatever the government says it is because they get to make the definition. It’s probably going to get banned. You can whine all you want that a [insert firearm here] isn’t an MSSA but if that gun meets the “new definition” then it’s still banned and your “I’m technically correct” argument holds no weight when they lock your ass up over a difference of opinion about a definition.

        The most powerful weapon in the world, whether we want to admit it or not, is control over the dictionary because if the vast majority of people say “it doesn’t matter” or define things incorrectly, it’s all going to go to shit.

        1. avatar Longhaired Redneck says:

          A thousand gajillion upvotes for this strych9!! Yes, language matters.

      5. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        This was taken right from the NRA

        The term magazine and clip are interchangeable and have been as far back as 1911. The original U.S. Army training manuals for the 1911 named the 7 round feeding device as a “clip” not a magazine. In modern times magazine means a fixed device like a tubular magazine found on a shotgun or rimfire rifle. Clip on the other hand means a detachable device as found in assault rifles or high capacity 9mm pistols. I once worked in a gun store and 99 per cent of people who came in asked for a 30 round clip not a 30 round magazine and when challenged on the nomenclature they had a blank look on there face as if to say “what in the hell is a magazine” I want a 30 round clip.

      6. avatar Ransom says:

        @Kenneth. My point is that while I do and always have used the correct terminology I’m not about to snivel and point out textbook definitions to an actual combat vet. Are you a Combat vet? Think carefully before answering. People love doxxing those who were stuck with KP duty yet claim combat…. ….can anyone say Nathan Phillips?
        When I talk to a combat vet I ask for their best story then thank them…. …I don’t call them idiots for not saying magazine.

        1. avatar Kenneth says:

          You won’t ever see me calling anybody names here, unless they do it first. Once someone else turns to childish insults, I can do it too. It’s easy for a grown-up, because all adults were kids once. I can still remember the playground days. I can easily revert back. But for today’s dwellers in their parent’s basements, not so much. Not having ever grown up in the first place, they are mostly incapable of acting like an adult, because they haven’t the slightest idea of what being grown is all about.
          It’s kind of like the original “Star Trek” episode(dating myself here) called “Mirror Mirror”. The one where Spock had the beard. It’s easy enough for a civil man to act like a barbarian, but not so easy the other way around. The barbarian has no way to know what being civil is all about, but once civilized, one can always act barbaric. And the intelligent don’t want to go back, but sometimes the circumstances force one to.

    3. avatar jug says:

      You are so right, it doesn’t matter!

      I am 82 and it’s been a clip way longer than it’s been a magazine! Magazines are read, and I very seldom read a clip unless I am looking for the makers name!

      Now let’s argue about read, red and read again!

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        …or…lead, led, L.E.D., and back to lead…

      2. avatar Kenneth says:

        I beg to differ. The term “magazine” has been around since the Volcanic of 1848,
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_Repeating_Arms
        and calling magazines “clips” only started around WW2(1941-1945). In WW1 almost all rifles had non-detachable mags fed with stripper clips, and proper terminology was essential. That is, at most, 60 years of misuse. Before that (1848-1941), my math says was 93 years. Quite a bit longer than 60. And that’s being generous, because in WW2 “clip” was correct. The introduction of the M14 was when it became incorrect.
        But the real issue here isn’t time, it is that both items, clips and magazines, still exist and are in common use today. If we all agree to call magazines “clips”, then what are we supposed to call actual clips? Magazines? Whizgegs? EX clips? Hand me that thing that used to be called a clip that has no name now? All because a bunch of people are too lazy or egotistical to correct their language? How infantile is that?

        1. avatar Kenneth says:

          It’s as infantile as cea, sitting in his parent’s basement. That is how infantttiiillle. Heeeee. Wassssss.
          Sometimes the foolish make it soooo easy.
          🙂

        2. avatar Cea says:

          Uh-oh…you got mad….lol
          Well, smarty pants, I done did it. I posted a pic. Now what?
          You’re an ASS…A-whole (hole??) ASS!

        3. avatar PeterZ says:

          To say nothing of the fact that my 1944 K31 Swiss rifle, which remained in service into the late ‘50s, had a detachable box magazine that was loaded using stripper clips. Only one magazine was issued, and it was serialized with the same number as the receiver and the bolt (all three numbers on mine match). Soldiers were required to turn in matching numbers, but the stripper clips were not tracked (I have two).

        4. avatar Kenneth says:

          Exactly so. Prior to WW2, even if the mag was detachable(like the Lee-Enfield) it wasn’t supposed to be detached. They were designed to leave the mag in place(except for when field stripping) and load the mag through the clip guide in the bolt or receiver. The magazines were generally serialized to the gun, but the clips were just throw aways.
          This used to be common knowledge, but now the basement dwellers are out to confuse and destroy everything. Can’t say as I blame them. If I had never had(or made) the chance to get independent of my parents, I’d probably be a hateful little troll too.

        5. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

          The term magazine and clip are interchangeable and have been as far back as 1911. The original U.S. Army training manuals for the 1911 named the 7 round feeding device as a “clip” not a magazine. In modern times magazine means a fixed device like a tubular magazine found on a shotgun or rimfire rifle. Clip on the other hand means a detachable device as found in assault rifles or high capacity 9mm pistols. I once worked in a gun store and 99 per cent of people who came in asked for a 30 round clip not a 30 round magazine and when challenged on the nomenclature they had a blank look on there face as if to say “what in the hell is a magazine” I want a 30 round clip.

    4. avatar Luke says:

      1000 x ^This.

      A clip is a piece of metal that holds bullets together outside of a firearm.
      Removable magazines fit that definition, and are thus clips.
      The only issue with calling a removable magazine a clip, is that there are times when context doesn’t make it blatantly obvious what you’re talking about. In which case, say the extra syllables to avoid confusion. But otherwise? Who gives a flying flaming rodent’s heinie?

      I did my time in the USMC infantry, and earned a pith cover TAD. I never once heard anybody get their knickers in a twist over the distinction. (And I assure you that it might have been the ONLY thing some of the members of the command didn’t have their knickers in a twist about.)
      I’ve spent most of my life around firearms, and the first time I heard somebody having a snit about magazines being called clips was in the late 1990s. (He was rightly told what he could do with himself and his opinion.)

  6. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    Politicization can produce weird inversions of meaning. I’ve noticed that gun controllers use the word “clip” as a way of virtue signalling their allegiance to the larger gun control narrative. Even when they know better, pretending ignorance of basic firearms technology tells other speaker-hearers which side of the argument you are on.

    1. avatar Ransom says:

      I know what you mean. People can usually tell what side I fall on when I use the name Hillary Cunton.

  7. avatar daveinwyo says:

    It does matter depending on the firearm when talking to someone that has no idea which is which. ie a friend has her dads old S&W revolver in .45 acp with moon clips. She could not find the right magazine to fit the gun. When I got her a pack of 1/2 moons she and her hubby were amazed. But to most of us it doesn’t matter. And don’t even try to correct the idiots out there. Do wish she would sell me the gun, though.

  8. avatar Ransom says:

    An hour ago I was at a gun, knife and memorabilia show. One of the vendors’ tables was filled with old magazines but all his signs said “clips” there were tons of luger, 1911 and other mostly military mags. He was an old guy as were most of them and they’re a pretty tight-knit group and knowledgeable. They meet, trade and sit at each other’s tables B.S.ing. How did no one point out his error? It had me questioning the terminology I use. Any Ideas?

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Like “bullet”, hollywood has so destroyed the language that few know how to speak it any more, even gray bearded old vets.
      As a reloader I’ve encountered a great many who’ve incorrectly called cartridges, “bullets”, for so long that they then have to make up their own words for just the projectile part of the cartridge. Tips, fronts, coppers, spinners, I’ve heard them called lots of silly things. It never seems to occur to people to just call the entire assembly of bullet, powder, primer, and case a “cartridge” and all be on the proper page. It’s so much easier that way.
      This is why in technical subjects, the 101 level classes are mostly just all about learning the terminology. Unfortunately, the gun industry has no such classes, so everybody is forced to make up their own terminology, and so now shooters have difficulty understanding each other.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        And “gay” used to only mean “happy”. Don we now, our gay apparel, fa la la la la…… insert musical note here.

        1. avatar Some dude says:

          Actually, gay used to mean “licentious”, as in the “Gay 90’s”, the 1890’s that is… called the “Naughty Nineties” in England, it did not specifically refer to, but included, homosexuality.

          li·cen·tious

          /līˈsenSHəs/ adjective

          1. promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters.

          “the ruler’s tyrannical and licentious behavior”

          synonyms: dissolute, dissipated, debauched, degenerate, salacious, immoral, wanton, decadent, depraved, profligate, impure, sinful, wicked, corrupt, indecent, libertine; More

          2. ARCHAIC disregarding accepted rules or conventions, especially in grammar or literary style.

    2. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

      The term magazine and clip are interchangeable and have been as far back as 1911. The original U.S. Army training manuals for the 1911 named the 7 round feeding device as a “clip” not a magazine. In modern times magazine means a fixed device like a tubular magazine found on a shotgun or rimfire rifle. Clip on the other hand means a detachable device as found in assault rifles or high capacity 9mm pistols. I once worked in a gun store and 99 per cent of people who came in asked for a 30 round clip not a 30 round magazine and when challenged on the nomenclature they had a blank look on there face as if to say “what in the hell is a magazine” I want a 30 round clip.

  9. avatar Kenneth says:

    Good basic info for rank newbies. The easist way to tell; clips don’t have springs in them (as a separate part. the springyness of all steels don’t count for this purpose), but magazines do.

    1. avatar Wyantry says:

      Yes, well except most stripper clips have some sort of spring to tension the cartridges in the actual clip.

      Yeah, I know the bastardization of the language by the unknowing or uneducated or uncaring runs rampant. However, common-usage does not mean correct.

      Try stuffing a MAGAZINE in a M1 Garand, see how far that gets you! Or stick a STRIPPER CLIP in the ejector-port of an M16/M4/AR15….

  10. avatar Ed P says:

    Classic Jerry Miculek! Tell it like it is.

    http://tinyurl.com/8wa

    “When Law becomes Tyranny,
    Resistance becomes Duty”
    Anon

  11. avatar Marty says:

    Oh come on. The author wants readers to know the difference between clips and magazines. However he doesn’t seem to know the difference between a bullet and a cartridge?

    1. avatar enuf says:

      Yup, noticed that one too!

    2. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      I just reread the piece after seeing your comment and did not notice a round/bullet error. Hmmm. 🤨

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Better read it again. He called a cartridge a bullet several times.

        1. avatar CarlosT says:

          Just did. Also did a search on “bullet” on the page and there are zero instances of that word in the post. Maybe it was edited between when you and I read it, but what you’re talking about is not there to be seen now.

        2. avatar Marty says:

          In that case you’re right, it was edited, which is a good thing. Now folks reading it won’t think the author was ignorant. Good lesson learned.

  12. avatar ai338 says:

    They’re actually called bloc clips. Which are then loaded, EN bloc.

  13. avatar Alan says:

    People who do not know and or understand the difference between “clips” and “magazines” have absolutely nothing to say bout firearms that is worthy of the least attention, until at the least, they learn the difference, which would include understanding how a firearm actually operates, which by the way, there is nothing secretive bout.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Yeah! Right on! That includes all those stupid WWII veterans, right?

  14. avatar Glynniepoo says:

    In Texas, it is Guh-Rand!

    1. avatar Digital Don says:

      Back in the day, when I was in the Army (Korean era), it didn’t matter what state (or country) you were in – we pronounced them Guh-Rand, as well.

      1. avatar Shallnot BeInfringed says:

        I’m sure you did, but that doesn’t make it correct – you see, a man named John C. Garand (pronounced GARE-und) disagrees with your experiences. He is, after all, the inventor of the rifle.

        One would think he’d know how to pronounce his own name correctly…

  15. avatar EnDangerEd says:

    So long story short…. IF we convince the MORONS in Washington to ban clips then we can all go happily on our way with our 30 rnd magazines? IF they ban “magazines” will it put Publishers Clearinghouse out of business? Curious minds want to know!

  16. avatar Ransom says:

    Can we talk about dummies calling a carbine a “carbīne”?

    1. avatar Ransom says:

      Wait… …If you served it’s a carbine. If you served in an airsoft or Xbox army it’s a carbīne.

    2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      Count me as a dummy. I saw it written before I heard it said. I was taught “if there’s an E at the end, then the I is long”.

    3. avatar Some dude says:

      I’m going with car-bean…

      Forgotten Weapons
      https://youtu.be/Vg2fSD2Vl58

  17. avatar GunnyGene says:

    Another example of Humpty Dumpty sydrome.

  18. avatar B Spencer says:

    And of course, they are not “bullets”, they are cartridges or shells, if we’re going to argue semantics.

  19. avatar Mikial says:

    Nice article. And I agree 100% on the fact that the 30.06 is the best rifle round ever created.

  20. avatar Southerner says:

    “…moon clips allow use of rimless ammunition usually used in semi-automatic pistols. Ergo, you can shoot .45 ACP in a revolver that would ordinarily only shoot .45 Colt.”

    Try closing the cylinder of a 45 Colt chambered DA revolver after loading 45 ACP rounds in half or full moon clips.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      This copy n’ paste is from one of the article’s paragraphs “… If the cylinder has been machined to use them…” It appears that Sam (the author) properly covered the use of moon clips as they relate to DA revolvers.

      1. avatar Southerner says:

        Thank you for the reply.

        In regards to the specialty .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .410 2 1/2″ Smith & Wesson Governor, I stand corrected.

        In regard to traditional cylinder facing conversions, no.
        Such a DA revolver conversion would no longer reliably use .45 Colt ammunition – as the author’s sentence structure implied it would.

        1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          Respectfully beg to differ. I have two S&W M25 revolvers in .45 Colt…one was my father’s, the other is a newer manufacture (it has the dreaded(?) Hillary Hole). Both of them shoot very well. A couple of years ago I sent the cylinder of the newer M25 off to be machined for moonclips. It has reliably fired hundreds of .45 ACP (moonclips) and hundreds of .45 Colt with nary a problem…the brass loads normally, shoots normally and resizes normally.

  21. avatar John Eroh says:

    Remember M-1 thumb? I used a M-14 from basic training in 66 till I got a M-16 in Vietnam in 70. But during AIT I was in the firing squad where we used M-1s. They warned us about being too slow removing our thumb when loading the clip into the rifle. A couple of the guys were and had sore thumbs.

    1. avatar Digital Don says:

      I noticed that in the video shown in the article, the guy inserting the clip had a real easy time of it. Either he has extremely powerful thumbs, or the spring in that mag is getting pretty weak, because I was never able to load an M-l with quite that amount of ease (never got M-1 thumb, though).

  22. avatar Tom T says:

    I use a paper CLIP to mark my favorite page in the nudue MAGAZINE.

  23. avatar JD says:

    More nitwit nomenclature is calling a case a casing. A casing is what you use to make sausage! And calling a failure to extract a double feed. As an instructor, I DO believe using the right terminology is important, because you either know what you’re talking about or you don’t.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “As an instructor, I DO believe using the right terminology is important, because you either know what you’re talking about or you don’t.”

      Well, that ruined my perfectly good irony meter. Wrapped the needle clean around the stop-peg 4 times, it did… 😉

      1. avatar JD says:

        Hey! Thanks for contributing, absolutely nothing of value to the thread, as usual!

  24. avatar paul says:

    Let’s all hope that if they ever get around to ban guns with magazines(I live in Ca, so it could happen before the Supreme court got it’s say), they won’t ban fixed mags, so that Garands and SKSs can be used. These can be reloaded just about as fast as loading a mag, with some practice. Stripper clips can be your friend, and they are lighter when packing around 10 round feeding units.

  25. avatar strych9 says:

    It’s always made me laugh that the guys from Cypress Hill know more about the function and parts for firearms, and rap about it, than pretty much anyone I’ve ever seen on the news including “experts”.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      It’s also mildly amusing that under your usage the word is still a noun rather than a verb that functions as one.

  26. avatar Tim Toroian says:

    You might be surprised how quickly a Garand can be reloaded. If it has a pistol grip stock it even be done with the left hand.

    1. avatar Marty says:

      Never seen a Garand with a pistol grip. Don’t know that I want to.

  27. avatar Doughboy says:

    And by the way my Garand operates without the clip…albeit in single shot mode.

  28. avatar Rich says:

    The clip/magazine confusion bugs me. But what really drives me insane is when I’m reading a thriller novel supposedly written by an ex-SAS commando and the author refers to the “thumb safety” on a Glock.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      I remember reading a comment from a guy flipping out about a detective novel where the detective had an ND because he was playing with the safety on his Glock revolver.

      I don’t remember the name of the novel and I can’t say for sure it even really existed but the commentor was pretty heated about it and the idea of a Glock revolver with a safety was worth a chuckle.

      1. avatar Ransom says:

        John McClane: “That punk pulled a Glock 7 on me, you know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn’t show up on your airport metal detectors and probably costs more than what you make in a month.”

  29. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    A clip feeds a magazine,Period.

    1. avatar Ransom Noble says:

      ….or a cylinder.

  30. avatar Val says:

    Honestly who gives a [email protected]#k? Where are any of the delta level, internweb, spec op mall ninja operators every going to be? Or in what situation are you going to be in where the difference between clip and mag is going to matter? Please enlighten me…

    1. avatar Cea says:

      Exactly!

  31. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    The term magazine and clip are interchangeable and have been as far back as 1911. The original U.S. Army training manuals for the 1911 named the 7 round feeding device as a “clip” not a magazine. In modern times magazine means a fixed device like a tubular magazine found on a shotgun or rimfire rifle. Clip on the other hand means a detachable device as found in assault rifles or high capacity 9mm pistols. I once worked in a gun store and 99 per cent of people who came in asked for a 30 round clip not a 30 round magazine and when challenged on the nomenclature they had a blank look on there face as if to say “what in the hell is a magazine” I want a 30 round clip.

  32. avatar Mr. Hand says:

    Love TTAG. Turn of the 20th century rifle instructions mentioned magazine clips, so there. This is one of those issues where crybaby gun guys get their panties in a wad and can’t wait to wax gun-expert indignant on a term. A clip is a great term, a bullet is a great term. It’s like the Oldsmobile guys busting a gasket when you call their 442 a Cutlass. So many people need a swift dose of get-over-yourself. It’s like a bunch of liberals waiting to get offended at the wrong word. “He said the C-word!!! He must be a loser who knows nothing!! Let us haste to ban him haughtily! Quick, pass me the bipod for my carbine!” Fu$&@ing bipeds and their bipods. Anybody that would bolt a bipod on an AR probably has a fit when someone says clip. Makes me want to insert a proper .327 Federal centerfire cartridge in my magazine and dent it with my hammer fired Glock while aiming it in their direction!!!!

    1. avatar Tail Dragger says:

      “It’s like a bunch of liberals waiting to get offended at the wrong word.”

      It’s like a bunch of liberals waiting to get “off-ended” at the wrong word.

      FIFY

  33. avatar Viktor says:

    I think it just a local confussions. It common in USA. Like everyone here, calling a game, which similar to a rugby: american football, and real football, known for rest of planet, has labeled as soccer) All things a differ for some histirical and social alterations… Been living first part of my life in Europe.. Even total stupid in Russian army, will never call a 30 round’s magazine for AK-47, a “clip”. Same for Makarov, TT pisstols and etc..

  34. avatar Ransom says:

    O.K. @Vlad: STOP posting the same comment over and over again! @ Everyone else: Sam Hoober is laughing his ass off at all y’all!
    As soon as you guy cool off he’ll undoubtedly stir the 9 vs. 45 pot to get everyone roiled again.

  35. avatar Kap says:

    does any one really care if you call a clip a magazine? I can never remember a time when in a firefight the mind numbing request of give me a clip caused such consternation as they didn’t understand what I was talking about! oops guess the DI did but he wasn’t there! Democrat PC cops are here! quick hide the real words

  36. avatar Gern Blanston says:

    anyone who calls magazines “clips” are uneducated lazy MORONS!!! Oh and especially those who call them “30 round caliber clips” those people are absolutely mentally ILL… (kevin de leon and his cronies)…

  37. avatar Old Hawg says:

    When I took my Colt Official Police in for repair one time my departmental armorer went up one side of me and down the other for calling it a “pistol” instead of a ‘revolver”. He not-so-gently informed me that “pistols” were semi-automatics and wheel guns were “reolvers” and not to confuse the nomenclature ever again in his presence. I stored that iin my brain housing group right next to the DI’s unforgettable “This is my rifle, this is my gun; One is or fighting, one is for fun!” incantation.

  38. avatar Jack Sperr says:

    Lose the term “basically”. It’s a non-additive filler.
    Basically, it’s not needed.

    1. avatar Ransom says:

      Good catch. File Basically along with Actually, Literally and Like. They’re all Literally great words when you actually need them… ….which is Like…Basically Never.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Best Chuckle of the Day!

        Thank you.

        1. avatar Tail Dragger says:

          Fer Shur! (Or Fo Shizzle. Sammo sammo).

  39. avatar A. Daniels says:

    There also is the “Mannlicher Clip,” which some argue falls under the category of “en bloc” clip.

  40. avatar Rich Magnani says:

    the way it was explained to me was like this; a clip loads a magazine, a magazine loads a chamber

  41. avatar Dave G. says:

    Long before the advent of repeating firearms a “magazine” was a room where large quantities of gunpowder were stored . There are places in this world where “magazine” is still used in that context.

  42. avatar Ben Dirteater says:

    I can pack more 308 rd’s then you can pack 30-06 and have the same thing

  43. avatar BILL VERNON says:

    o.k.,Mr. Mag/Clip Guy what does .45 ACP stand 4 ???

  44. avatar John Christian says:

    I’ve never understood people hating one caliber or another. Pick what you prefer and that works for you and leave everyone else’s alone. I prefer the calibers of 9mm, 7.62x54mmR, .338 Lapua Magnum, .308 Winchester and 5.56x45mm (or .223 Remington). All calibers have a use and are not for all users.

  45. so the article went into detail about the difference, but never really explained the “why is it important” bit. if the purpose is to inform gun enthusiasts about technical terminology, then the article did a good job.

    but the “why it’s important” part in the headline along with the sentence in the intro about politicians and gun legislation makes it sound like there was going to be more substantial talk about the societal consequences of mixing up the terminology. but other than that one sentence in the intro, there was nothing. just a pedantic “they don’t know the technical terminology of clips vs magazines therefore they can’t be trusted.”

    i already knew the difference between the two and thought the argument was pedantic. i read the whole article looking for a reason why it mattered. but it doesn’t matter apparently. just pedantism.

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