Magazines or Clips?

I talk to a lot of people who firmly believe in wrong information about guns. Some believe it so firmly, they correct me! I’m starting this new feature call Gun Myths & Misconceptions to help combat this a little. If knowledge is power, consider this your daily vitamins!

Today we’re going to tackle a big pet peeve; Magazines versus Clips. Both are real terms, the trick is, they mean different things. Using the wrong one is a bit like saying chopper instead of moped.

Let’s start with a magazine. A magazine is typically a tube, box, or drum. It can be attached permanently to the gun or be detachable. It has a spring which compresses when ammunition is inserted and serves to force the ammunition to the top of the magazine to load into the chamber of the gun. In most cases, detachable magazines can be removed quickly and replaced with another fully loaded magazine.

A clip, on the other hand, holds the ammunition so that it may be installed into a magazine. It’s typically little more than spring steel but in addition to holding the ammunition also is required to make the action of the gun function. Without the clip, the gun would not be able to function even if the ammunition was present.

Another item, similar to the clip, is called a charger or stripper clip. It holds the ammunition but serves no function for the gun other than that. In some cases they are used only to load ammunition into a magazine and are then removed. In the case of a stripper clip, the ammunition can be loaded into the gun or magazine without it. The charger, therefore, is a convenience.

Hopefully, this clears up some of the confusion about the two words. Now, the next time you here a news anchor show an image of a magazine while using the word clip, you can shake your head just like I do.