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Don't Call a 'Magazine' a 'Clip': We Spoke With an Ex-SEAL About the Difference and Why It's Important


"If you are going to talk about guns, let's know what we're talking about."

Do you know the difference between this ...


... and this?


One is a clip and one is a magazine. Yes, they are different, non-interchangeable terms. Although, do a quick search of recent news covering the gun control debate and you'll see how often the term "clip" specifically is used incorrectly. Like here, here and here just to point out a few instances.

TheBlaze spoke with Brandon Webb, the president of SOFREP media and a former Navy SEAL, about the difference between these two firearm components and why it's important to be clear with your terminology.

"It's common for people to get the two mixed up," Webb said. "If you hear someone talking about clips ... you know they don't know the difference.

"No one uses clips anymore."

A clip describes cartridges held together with a strip until they are loaded into a firearm.

A magazine on the other hand is is a container that holds the cartridges. Sometimes magazines themselves are loaded with cartridges by clips. On most firearms a magazine is detachable and replaceable.

Or as Jan Libourel for Montgomery Citizens for a Safer Maryland explained in the "Handgunner's Glossary":

A [clip is a] device for holding cartridges together, usually to facilitate loading. Widely used as a synonym for "magazine" (although most firearm authorities consider this substandard usage). Technically, a magazine has a feeding spring, a clip does not.

This video is also very helpful showing off clips vs. magazines (and showing how magazines can be loaded by clips or a firearm directly loaded by a clip:

Even with the subtle differences though, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a clip as "a device to hold cartridges for charging the magazines of some rifles" and  "also : a magazine from which ammunition is fed into the chamber of a firearm."

Still, Webb said it is like comparing apples to oranges. Although most people would know what you're talking about if you use the term interchangeably, as this YouTube user put it,"many will judge you as someone who doesn't know much about firearms if you call them 'clips.'"

As Webb said, "if you are going to talk about guns, let's know what we're talking about."



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