This post may use affiliate links from Amazon and other retailers which may earn a commission for purchases made at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Ever heard politicians or actors use the term ‘clip’ when they are clearly referring to ‘magazines’? Or maybe you’ve done it yourself because it has become the normal thing to say over time? Well, no worries! You’re not alone. The difference between a clip and a magazine may seem trivial to some but for firearms people – the folks who live and breathe this stuff – getting these two confused is a major pet peeve.

No one wants to look like they don’t know what they are talking about, right? We don’t want fellow shooters raising an eyebrow when bringing up gun talk. So, let’s fix this common mistake together!

You’re in for a real treat. We’ll dive deep into the two terms and define what they actually are and how they are used. We’ll also probably make fun of some of those who have publicly butchered these terms while attempting to take away our beloved gun rights.

So grab your gear, it’s time to set the record straight on the difference between a clip and a magazine.

Blog post featured image banner Blog Banner

Understanding the Difference Between A Clip And A Magazine

Let’s cut through the confusion and settle a common pet peeve among gun enthusiasts, weapons experts, and fellow shooters alike. What’s the difference between a clip and a magazine anyway? Well, they’re not interchangeable terms despite how often politicians, television shows and movies get them mixed up.

clip vs magazine

The Role of Clips

A clip is simply a piece of metal (sometimes plastic) that holds cartridges together for easy loading into the firearm’s magazine. It helps to speed up the reloading process. Think of clips as an aid to quickly load a bunch of rounds into the magazine of a firearm in one motion whether the mag is fixed or detached.

The Function of Magazines

In contrast, magazines serve as storage for ammunition within firearms themselves or in detachable mags. Whether detachable or fixed within bolt action rifles or tubular such as in lever actions, magazines hold your ammunition ready to be stripped into the chamber when firing each round.

Oh and don’t forget about those extremely dangerous “30 caliber clips” and “30 magazine clips” that are out there on the streets dispersing 30 bullets within half a second…🤣.

To see what I mean then watch this clip from Buck The System.

Clip from Buck the System

Note: That was sarcasm by the way. Remember I said we’ll make fun of some people like Kevin de Leon here. In all seriousness, all guns except revolvers or single-shot firearms have magazines. Surprisingly though, clips are pretty uncommon in modern firearms.

Exploring Different Types Of Clips: Stripper Clips, En Bloc Clips and Moon Clips

If you’ve ever tinkered with firearms like the Mosin Nagant or SKS, you might be familiar with stripper clips. These metal devices are designed to hold multiple rounds of ammunition together in line. They’re used to quickly load ammo into a firearm’s internal magazine, making reloading much faster.

I remember growing up shooting as a kid and fumbling around with loading loose rounds into my grandfather’s SKS and always messing up the stripper clips. Those were simpler times.

Using Stripper Clips

I later figured out that a stripper clip helps align your bullets as they enter the magazine. With one swift push, all the rounds slide off the clip and into the mag. This was the old-school, yet effective, way for soldiers to get back on target without fumbling around individual cartridges like I found myself doing as a child.

Utilizing En Bloc Clips

Moving onto En Bloc clips now. Unlike their stripper counterparts, these ones go straight into the firearm along with their precious cargo of ammo. The whole thing just clicks in. Classic bolt action rifles such as the M1 Garand utilized this system quite efficiently during World War II.

That being said anyone who’s seen any WWII movies, or played Call of Duty, knows the famous “ping” sound when the M1 Garand runs empty. This is the En Bloc clip ejecting itself from the magazine.

Using Moon Clips

A moon clip is a circular gadget that facilitates the loading of bullets into a revolver. It resembles a gear and has slots where the bullets can be snapped in. The entire clip, with the rounds attached, is then inserted into the chamber all at once.

Similar to en bloc clips, moon clips remain in the gun during use. Although moon clips simplify the process of reloading a revolver, removing spent cartridges can pose some challenges. As a result, speedloaders have become more popular nowadays. 

types of clips

Speedloaders are larger circular devices that hold rounds and allow for quick reloading by simply releasing them into the cylinder with a twist of a knob. Overall, while moon clips can be utilized with modern revolvers, they have largely been replaced by speedloaders for their ease of use and faster reload times.

In general, all these kinds of clips are not really used in any modern firearms anymore and have been replaced my magazines.

Types Of Magazines: Box Magazines and Internal Magazines

Box Magazines

The box magazine is a staple of modern firearms. The box magazine’s design facilitates reloading, making it ideal for fast reload times. As the name suggests, this type of magazine stores rounds in a rectangular container.

You’ll find that most pistols and rifles today utilize a box magazine. The main advantage? They’re detachable. You can have multiple pre-loaded magazines on hand to swap out quickly when one empties like you would on a solid battle belt setup.

Internal Magazines

An internal magazine, however, takes a different approach to ammunition storage. This type isn’t removable – it’s built right into the firearm itself as the name implies.

There isn’t anything special about these. They are fixed magazines that are commonly seen in shotguns and lever action rifles. They feed a cartridge one at a time as each shot is fired and reloaded.

Does that answer the difference between a clip and a magazine? Well, let’s keep going deeper.

Historical Significance: Clips and Magazines in Military History

The evolution of firearm technology during World War II was profound. Among the pivotal advancements, one that stands out is the use of En Bloc clips for faster shooting with service rifles like the M1 Garand.

A masterpiece of its time, the M1 Garand stood as a symbol of American military power. This rifle could rapidly fire eight rounds thanks to its innovative design that utilized an En Bloc clip system.

Unlike traditional firearms where individual rounds were loaded into magazines or chambers, soldiers equipped with M1 Garands could quickly reload under stressful combat situations by inserting pre-loaded En Bloc clips. Not unlike what we do today with our standard magazines.

This faster reloading capability offered by the combination of clips and magazines had significant implications for battlefield strategies and tactics. It not only improved soldier efficiency but also played a crucial role in shaping victories during World War II’s critical battles.

A Person Reloading a Rifle the difference between a clip and a magazine

Modern Firearm Designs: The Evolution of Magazines

The transition from fixed to detachable magazines marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of modern firearm designs. Detachable magazines are now the norm among pistols and rifles.

Evolution from Fixed to Detachable Magazines

In earlier times, firearms were typically equipped with fixed magazines. But as technology advanced and needs changed, detachable versions emerged.

The advantages were clear. Shooters and soldiers could preload several mags before heading out on the battlefield where time was crucial. A swift mag change could mean the difference between success and failure or life and death.

This advancement also led to another significant development – polymer body mags like the Magpul PMAGs. These are not only durable but also lightweight making them ideal for today’s shooters.

Don’t let the media and government elite fool you, 30 rounds is a standard-capacity magazine, not a “high-capacity” magazine. This is crucial moving forward. Language is powerful, hence the point of this article.

Common Misconceptions: Clarifying the Difference Between A Clip and A Magazine

Now for the fun part. Let’s clear up the confusion and clarify the difference between a clip and a magazine. First off, using these terms interchangeably is a common mistake that can cause a stir among gun enthusiasts. I know it ticks me off.

Not only that, it makes you look less credible if you use the term “clip” when referring to gun magazines to those who are in the know. 

Correcting Misconceptions about Clips

An ammunition clip helps load rounds into a magazine. It doesn’t feed them to the chamber of the firearm. Clips hold ammo together for easier loading, but they’re not built to feed firearms directly while firing. It might seem like nit-picking, but details matter when you’re dealing with firearms in general.

Clearing up Confusion around Magazines

In contrast, high quality magazines store cartridges and feed them into your firearm’s chamber every time the action is cycled. They may be fixed or detachable depending on the design of your weapon.

FAQs About The Difference Between a Clip and a Magazine

Why is it called a magazine and not a clip?

A magazine is a device that stores and loads ammunition into the chamber of a gun. It is more commonly used with modern firearms than a clip, which only loads bullets into a magazine. 

Why do people call a magazine a clip?

Misunderstanding or lack of firearm knowledge often leads folks to use ‘clip’ and ‘magazine’ interchangeably. But they’re completely different parts with different uses. After World War II, returning veterans mistakenly referred to any device that loaded rounds into a firearm as a “clip” instead of a magazine. This misnomer became ingrained in popular usage, leading many people today to incorrectly use the terms interchangeably.

Does an AR-15 have a clip or magazine?

An AR-15 uses detachable magazines for storing and feeding ammunition into the chamber, not clips. However, stripper clips can be used to aid in loading individual magazines if desired.

Does a pistol hold a clip or magazine?

Pistols do not use clips, they use detachable magazines to house their cartridges.

Final Note

With the way things are going I highly recommend you stock up on high quality magazines and ammo

Special deals:

Wrapping Up The Difference Between A Clip and A Magazine

There you have it, the clear-cut difference between a clip and a magazine. Armed with this knowledge, you will now forever be annoyed by anyone who uses the terms interchangeably. You can use this information to inform others outside the gun community of the difference because it does matter.

You now know that clips hold rounds together and aid in loading a magazine while magazines actually feed them into the chamber of your firearm. Clips are becoming severely outdated but they are not just historical artifacts. They can still be practical tools for loading ammo efficiently.

The transition from fixed to detachable magazines means modern firearms offer much faster reload times but fixed mags are still seen in lever actions and shotguns. This faster reloading evolution has truly revolutionized the battlefield and the range alike.

Don’t forget – getting these terms right isn’t just about sounding smart among your fellow shooters or at the local gun store; it’s also about understanding the mechanics of your firearm better and informing others about the differences between a clip and a magazine.

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you click on an affiliate link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made through my Amazon links as well. The price of the item is the same whether it is an affiliate link or not. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we believe will add value to our readers. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support our website, and we genuinely appreciate your support.

Similar Posts