Monthly Archives: November 2013

Invalid Arguments (Part 2) “Clips”

Last week I talked about comments from people that immediately make anything they say from that point forwards invalid. The previous post ( talked the evil scary looking Assault Rifley AR-15.  This week we are going to be talking about clips. The media seems to think that every firearm is equipped with the “clips”, everybody has seen the big 30 round “clip” hanging down in front of the trigger guard on the AR-15. When a discussion about weapons involves the incorrect usage of the clip, it is an immediate indication that the debater is ignorant as to what they are talking about. I am here to explain how firearms are fed starting with a  little history.

When firearms were first invented they were loaded through the muzzle (the front part where the bullet comes out). No matter how it went bang, it was still a single shot muzzle loading instrument called the musket. This continued with minor variations, such as the paper cartridge, flint locks, and percussion caps to name a few. Repeating firearms were not available until the self contained cartridge was invented. The first self contained cartridge was designed  in 1808 made out of paper with a copper base that incorporated a mercury fulminate primer. The first metallic cartridge was made in 1845 by the French. The first successful repeating firearms was a tube fed, lever action rifle manufactured by the Volcanic Repeating Arms Company in 1856.

After several corporate restructures, the company became the Winchester Repeating Arms company. The year 1860 produced two popular rifles:

1) The Spencer Rifle manufactured by Winchester

2) The Henry Rifle manufactured by the New Haven Arms Company

These rifles use the Tube Fed Magazine. Simply put, a magazine is where the bullets are stored prior to using them. The Spencer stored the in the butt of the gun and the Henry stored the in the tube under the barrel as you can see above.

James Paris Lee invented the box magazine in 1879. The box magazine is the most commonly used magazine today. It holds rounds of ammunition stored vertically. Lee’s rifle is better known as the Lee model 1879.

Consequently, the rifle also came with a clip that held five rounds.

Wait… What was that again?

Yes, a gun that used the box magazine vertically under the gun used a clip too. That is, there is a difference between a magazine and a clip. The above weapon, as well as the popular M1 Grand from WWII, used what is called an en bloc clip. The clip is loaded with the ammunition prior to going into the weapon.When you are ready to load the weapon you would grab the clip with the cartridges safely tucked inside and insert the whole mechanism into the magazine. When all of the ammunition is spent, the magazine comes out empty and ready to be filled up again.


Another type of clip is called the stripper clip. A stripper clip is also filled with cartridges but when inserted into the magazine, all of the cartridges are pressed down and “stripped” out of the clip leaving you with a fill magazine and an empty clip.

When the media begins spouting about 30 round clips being used and limiting clips to 10 round they are really talking about magazines. The only thing a clip is used for is to load a magazine quicker. If they really want to limit clips to 10 round then people will just have to have 3 clips to load their 30 round magazine.

I know there are a lot of other aspects that I am missing but please keep in mind that this article is only designed to explain the difference between a magazine and a clip.


Invalid Arguments (Part 1) AR-15 “Assault Rifles”

When I get into a discussion regarding gun control I often run into people that have their minds made up that guns are bad. The majority of the time these people are just regurgitating what they have learned from the media which makes them ignorant. I don’t mean that in a negative connotation, I simply mean that they are uneducated about the topic that they are trying to defend. There are several point which, for me, makes anything the say invalid and that is

1) That the AR in AR-15 stands for “Assault Rifle”

2) They use the term “clip” to refer to how many rounds a rifle can hold, and

3) Their definition of “Assault Weapon”

Lets educate some people:

The AR-15 originated in 1948 when the Army designed the Operations Research Office, or the ORO. Their first task was to design better body armor. Until then, not very much research had been put in to exactly how a human was wounded in combat. They were looked into several situations when a person was struck with a projectile. The 3 main areas were:

  • Frequency of hits
  • Distribution of hits
  • The range at which most hits were sustained

They found that most hits were accurate under 300 meters and that most actual hits occurred under 100 meters. The ORO determined that the Army needed a low recoil, high velocity rifle capable of firing in semi-auto and full-auto.. It also needed to be light, only 6 lbs loaded, and capable of holding at least a 20 round magazine. It must also be able to penetrate a standard soldiers helmet at 500 meters

Fast forward to 1957 when the Army asked for bids to produce the rifle. The three main contenders were:

The Winchester .224 Lightweight Military Rifle

The Springfield Armory in .224

The Armalite AR-15 in .223

The Army chose the AR-15 due to several key factors including;

  • Inexpensive to manufacture
  • The inline stock made it easier to control in fully automatic mode
  • Accurate up to 350 yards

Colt bought the rights to the AR-15 in 1959. The Army changed the designation to the M16 and it entered service in 1963. They also eventually changed the standard cartridge to a 5.56×45 which is the standard NATO round. While there are lots of other issues about the M16 and its reliability during the Vietnam War, we will leave that for another discussion.

It seems like a long answer to a simple question. The “AR” in AR-15 stands for Armalite, the original manufacturer. In fact the AR-15 was based off of the design of the AR-10 which is a 7.62×51. Although Armalite designed several different weapons, the AR-10 and the AR-15 remain the most popular.

Stay tuned for the next article where I will explain the difference between a clip and a magazine, and not these kind either:



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