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The short explanation is that a magazine is spring loaded and encases the all of the entire rounds save the top one, which is partially exposed. As the gun fires and cylces, the magazine spring brings the next unfired round to the loading position.

A clip is not spring loaded, generally does not cover the entire round, and thus only holds the round at the base. In the case of the M1 Garand, the clip feeds rounds into an internal magazine (actually a spring-loaded follower) incorporated into the rifle. In other cases, clips are used to facilitate rapid reload of an external magazine before insertion into the weapon, such as with reloading the rotary magazine on a Thompson submachine gun.
 

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A quick clip (heh) showing the difference that's only mildly haughty:
 

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We hear this debated, sometimes at great length, and lots of newcomers will ask the question. Both Universal Exports and MLB have nice offerings (above) that readily explains it -- and don't miss MGMike's offering below, either: In short, an instant Sticky for future reference for one and all.

Feel free to add on to the discussion, of course.
 

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Between the two, the FUNCTIONAL distinction is that a MAGAZINE contains an integral mechanism (usually a spring or a spring-driven device) that individually presents each cartridge in succession for feeding, each time the firearm's action is cycled.

A CLIP merely holds cartridges together ("clipped together") in a package so they can be conveniently loaded into the firearm or into a detachable magazine. It does not contain any mechanism to individually present the cartridges for feeding.

There are basically two types of clips: en bloc and stripper. An en bloc clip is inserted into the gun and remains there to hold the cartridges until the ammunition is expended. A stripper clip is emptied as the gun is loaded (cartridges are "stripped out") and then can be discarded; it does not go inside the gun.

M
 

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Wonderful! Also, thanks to MGMike for further information. I'm glad to be the newbie to inspire MLB's wonderful sticky. hehe :p

All the best!
-Luke
 

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Maybe someday I'll find out who actually created the thing. I don't recall where I scarfed it from.
 

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Very odd, but back in the mid-60s Uncle Sammie described the 7 shot "container" that the 1911A1 used to contain and feed ammo into the pistol as a "clip". And if you watch many old WW2 movies you will frequently hear someone say "I am out of clips", and they will be referring to a weapon that uses magazines. The Navy calls the place where they store ammo for their guns on the ships as "magazines". And I don't think they use spring-loaded devices to load those big guns.
Also, Uncle Sammie would get all bajiggity about calling your riflle a "gun". If you watch the movie Full Metal Jacket and see those guys marching around chanting "This is my rifle and this is my gun, this is for fighting and this is for fun", we really DID do that (and I was in the Army). But only if we accidently called a rifle a "gun". Supposedly guns meant smoothbore weapons like a shotgun. But that theory goes out the window because artillerymen called their howitzers guns and they WERE and are rifled.

I don't know when people got all anally retentive about differentiating between a magazine and a clip. To me it seems to be much ado about nothing. If I say my SIG P226 uses a 15 shot clip, does anyone think I am referring to a pre-loaded strip of cartridges like an M1 Garand uses? I doubt it. And to be honest. I like using the term clip for all my handguns. Why? Two reasons...
1. Because that's the way I was taught
2. It always seems to piss off the anally retentive definition Nazi who insists that people use HIS description over any other. Just call me a rebel. :D



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I'd never presume to doubt a man who's been there, but Uncle Sammy's own manual refers to it as a magazine. It's an interesting read if nothing else:

http://www.sightm1911.com/manual/manual.htm

I certainly don't care to enforce any terminology, but everything has a proper name I guess, and it's good to know the difference. It's a sticking point with some. You've got to try harder than gunslang to agitate this anal retentive though ;)

There's a big difference between assisting fellow gun enthusiasts in learning about firearms, and simply being pedantic. No one learns much by being pounced on for fine points.
 

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I'd never presume to doubt a man who's been there, but Uncle Sammy's own manual refers to it as a magazine. It's an interesting read if nothing else:

http://www.sightm1911.com/manual/manual.htm

I certainly don't care to enforce any terminology, but everything has a proper name I guess, and it's good to know the difference. It's a sticking point with some. You've got to try harder than gunslang to agitate this anal retentive though ;)

There's a big difference between assisting fellow gun enthusiasts in learning about firearms, and simply being pedantic. No one learns much by being pounced on for fine points.
I guess I should have been more specific. My DIs that were employed by Uncle Sammie called it a clip. They were all combat vets wearing CIBs and none of us green trainees were about to argue the point with a guy that actually fired the 1911A1 in combat. ;)
If they called it a thingamajig or a whatchamacallit we would use that same terminology. You just don't argue with someone who has "been there and done that". :)



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You just don't argue with someone who has "been there and done that". :)
But in your own mind you know he is wrong.

I like to see words used properly. It is part of my English upbringing. I still think that cool is something between cold and slightly warm. But even here in France they have adopted the modern usage, c'est cool. I even hear old French guys ( I mean men) saying that. And kids (I mean children) speak a totally different language to me. Times they are a changing.

I found a clip (and I mean clip) full of 30-06 Spr cartridges (or should I say bullets) in one of my outbuildings that you "guys" left after the last big event over here. I unloaded them all and cleaned some of them into their original condition. But all of my rifles and pistols take magazines.

I'm not as perfectionist, but I am trying! But even now my gin and tonic is fighting my attempts. So if I have made any errors, blame the gin, or the computer.
 

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...

I like to see words used properly. It is part of my English upbringing. I still think that cool is something between cold and slightly warm. ...
Me too. There are some people here on this forum who make their living using words. Choosing precisely the right word is sometimes the difference between comprehension and misunderstanding, or between success and failure, or between a marvelous depiction and a dismal facsimile. It also shows education (not necessarily formal, sometimes self-taught) and discipline, which are always to be encouraged and admired.

On the other hand, as MLB has very appropriately commented: "There's a big difference between assisting fellow gun enthusiasts in learning about firearms, and simply being pedantic. No one learns much by being pounced on for fine points. " That is indeed a very fine point, and an elusive one for some people.

M
 

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Discussion Starter #12
When I posted the explanation that heads this current thread, I believe it was in response to someone who asked the question about the difference between a clip and a magazine.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go magazine my fingernails.
 

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But in your own mind you know he is wrong.

I like to see words used properly. It is part of my English upbringing. I still think that cool is something between cold and slightly warm. But even here in France they have adopted the modern usage, c'est cool. I even hear old French guys ( I mean men) saying that. And kids (I mean children) speak a totally different language to me. Times they are a changing.

I found a clip (and I mean clip) full of 30-06 Spr cartridges (or should I say bullets) in one of my outbuildings that you "guys" left after the last big event over here. I unloaded them all and cleaned some of them into their original condition. But all of my rifles and pistols take magazines.

I'm not as perfectionist, but I am trying! But even now my gin and tonic is fighting my attempts. So if I have made any errors, blame the gin, or the computer.
When I was in the service (1967-70) the accepted terminology was clip for the 7-shot magazine in the 1911A1. The M16 took a magazine. It wasn't until more recently that people got anal about clip and magazine. So no, he wasn't wrong AT THAT TIME. Nomenclature changes over time. We also used to call cars from other countries FOREIGN CARS. Now we call them IMPORTED AUTOMOBILES. We used to call guys that worked on them grease monkeys and mechanics, now we call them REPAIR TECHNICIANS.

If someone today was at the range and said his clip got dented when he dropped it on the ground, and now it doesn't work right, I don't think I would add to his grief by lecturing him about clips vs magazines. Heck, he may be an ex-swabbie and tell me I was full of poop and that magazines were on ships! :p



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I have magazines on my coffee table (where there is no coffee and never has been, nor is it made of coffee, I might add). Some are made of printed paper; the rest are made of plastic & metal.

The metal & plastic ones make for boring reading. The paper ones don't fit in my weapons or in my gun (well, they might fit in the mag well of my .308...I haven't tried that) and they do very little when it comes to holding the cartridges I use in my weapons. I've never tried using cartridges in my gun (that sounds painful) though I've heard people say that they're "shooting blanks" when referring to their gun...

The cartridges I use in my printer, while likely fitting in my .308's magazines, would not fit into the chamber and if they did would not go "bang" when I pulled the trigger. The cartridges I use in my weapons do a poor job when placed in my printer. In fact, my printer won't even recognize that they're there.

If only doctor's offices would put the metal & plastic magazines on the tables in their waiting rooms and allow us to take those home (some doctors offices do allow you to take magazines home, though not many). They wouldn't be good for passing the wait time while you're there, but if they fit one of your weapons at home, they would make for more fun at the range.

That would be the gun, er weapon, range. Not the mountain range, though I suppose you might be able to shoot weapons there, and maybe even your gun...

What's the range to the range? Do you drive to the range, or on the range? Do you drive your car there, or a golf ball? How long does it take to get there if you drive a golf ball? How do you fit inside the golf ball to drive to the range? They're awfully small...oh and what's the effective range of your weapon? What's the effective range of your gun?

This is getting confusing. I think I'm getting a headache. :D
 
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I grew up hearing everyone say the word "clip." I still use it sometimes... I only corrected myself when the forum nazis started in on the misuse of "clip" :) :)

Now, I type magazine, but use magazine and clip interchangably. AT the large houston gun shows - the MAGAZINE vendors :) have a huge sign that says "clips" :)

I personally have no problem with the use of the word "clips."
 

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Jon and Ship...GREAT POSTS!!! :D

I agree with both of them. I can't imagine being in a firefight (I'm too old for that stuff...but with the way things are going in this country, who knows?) and having my neighbor and fellow gun owner yelling at me "Hey Mike, I need some clips for my Beretta", and stopping and lecturing him about the difference between clips and magazines. Folks pretty much know what you are talking about either way. Splitting hairs about it may be something that is done at gun stores or on the internet, but when the poo-poo hits the fan, it really doesn't matter what you call them. Do I call the 8-round en bloc clips for my M1 Garands magazines? Nahhh. I don't think anyone ever called them that. If you watch the war movies, they just call them "ammo". "I need more ammo for my M1". It was common knowledge that they came packed the way they did. No need to give them a fancy name.



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Well, If I'm every in a firefight and someone asks me for a magazine, I'm going to have to stop and ask...paper or plastic? :)
 

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Don't forget the online versions as well.
If they have time to go online during a fire fight then they either aren't pulling their weight or they can go get their own ammo instead of sponging off me! :D
 
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