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.


Posted on November 15, 2013, in Firearms. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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