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Authors, take a peek. - /var/log/srakkt
Authors, take a peek.
Clips are not magazines, and magazines are not clips.

  • Wait, what?
    With only a few exceptions, modern firearms are loaded using a detachable magazine. That object into which one inserts ammunition and then slides into the weapon? That's usually a magazine. One also inserts ammunition into a clip, which is then inserted into the weapon. So what's the difference?

  • What's the difference?
    A magazine typically is an important part of the operation of the mechanism. It usually consists of three parts: the housing, which is like a box to hold ammunition, the follower, which is a little inert seat upon which the ammunition can sit, and a spring, which advances the stack of ammunition as each round is removed and fired.

    A clip, on the other hand has no moving parts unto itself. It holds ammunition in a useful configuration that is used to either load the non-removable magazine of the weapon in question - as is the case with the M1 Garand - or is used to seat the ammunition in the cylinder of a revolver. There are other kinds of clips, technically, such as those which join two adjacent rounds into a belt, which are usually called 'links'.

  • So what? Why does this matter? When I say 'clip', my readers know what I mean.
    Yes, your readers know what you mean. Also, they know that you don't care about the details. Your readers generally encompass a wide range of people. Many of them won't know the difference. Many of them will. There are more grave technical innaccuracies to commit to paper, certainly, but this is a small one that many people will notice.

Folks are savvy. You know when you go see a thriller and the computer-use scenes involve ridiculous inaccuracies it makes for silliness. It hampers suspension of disbelief.

This is not unique to firearms, or to computers; making believable scenes in film or print, of anything involving technical knowledge requires attention to detail.

Maybe I'm just nitpicking. But in that, I'm not unique. You can bet that someone out there who reads your work or sees your film will similarly nitpick.

Tags: ,

17 comments or Leave a comment
bombardiette From: bombardiette Date: April 22nd, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
A2D. It shows that you care.
navrins From: navrins Date: April 22nd, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I never knew.
srakkt From: srakkt Date: April 22nd, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are issues of a character's own diction, of course, which I've left aside. I remembered reading the Harry Dresden novels and rolling my eyes every time Jim Butcher made this mistake.
thespian From: thespian Date: April 22nd, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
is there a reason this is locked? unlocking it seems safe, content-wise, and then authors who do this can be linked to it.
srakkt From: srakkt Date: April 22nd, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Only that my whole journal is. It's the default. Though really, I guess this may be useful to folks who are not on my flist.

It would make me happy if Jim Butcher read this.
(Deleted comment)
srakkt From: srakkt Date: April 28th, 2008 03:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not qualified to talk about journalism *at all* ;)
(Deleted comment)
srakkt From: srakkt Date: April 23rd, 2008 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)
This was mostly meant as a dig at Jim Butcher. Detective fiction in particular - which he writes, whether he wants to be lumped in there or not - by its very nature requires a lot of attention to detail.

A clip isn't usually a piece of a magazine, but it might be used to *load* a magazine, as with the M1 garand, or with the M16/STANAG magazines. In the former case, the clip is actually retained inside the magazine, while in the latter, it's simply used to speed reloading times and is then discarded.
ferromancer From: ferromancer Date: May 27th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry to be intruding on an old topic - and a stranger to boot - but I've personally used the .30-06 with the kind of "stripper clip" that you're talking about. The kind where the clip is pressed into the magazine mounted in the rifle, and the clip is later ejected. I entirely understand what you mean and where you're going with that. Point well made.

Though, aren't you being a little hard on the guy? :) I've heard alot of ppl make the mistake between clips and mags, and I doubt that it's one that ppl will suddenly come to a breakthrough on.


Again, sorry to intrude. :)
srakkt From: srakkt Date: June 4th, 2008 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eh, no worries. :) The guy even said about the Dresden novels that he threw something together in a genre he thought would sell. And he's right! We keep buying it, even if sometimes it makes us grit our teeth.
sparky_n7 From: sparky_n7 Date: July 4th, 2008 12:42 am (UTC) (Link)


This is old sure but some times I'm a little slow picking up details. :)

The clip can actually be defined in four standard ways, and the magazine by two(with many subtypes) But of interest right now is the clip. You have revolver clips, two types, moon clips which adapt rimless cartridges and speedloaders which hold a full load in the proper pattern and drop them in with a squeeze or twist. then stripper clips which come in two formats and can be used for rifles pistols and even revolvers. With rifles and pistols the strip of brass or steel holds the rounds in a stack by the rim or tail, the strip is then placed into a slot in the firearm thus aligning the rounds with the "internal magazine" and also holds the bolt open during reload. Classic examples of this are the mouser c96 assault pistol, see Han Solos pistol, its a little dressed up but its there. This was considered by many a penultimate pistol of the time and extremely popular in europe and Asia. The other is the SKS, semi auto brother of the AK-47, also a ubiquitious example of the type. For a time it was actually more popular with guarillas than the AK if only because it is cheaper. This is also the basis for the ruger Mini series of ranch rifle.

Next and related to the reference of the garand rifle is the bloc clip. In which the metal band that holds the rounds enters the magazine with the rounds in question and is held there until the last round is expended.

What I think is nice about the Bloc set up is the clip poping out tells you you need to reload, thought it also tells the other guy that now is a good time to charge and thats bad. it also means that the entire load out can be put in in one shot, no worries.

The stripper clip or strip type is a little more cumbersome but has some other advantages. You can top off, not so with a bloc type. You can put in an extended magazine well and use two or three clips to fill it.

The sks was originally designed for a 8-10 round capacity, yet 15 20 30 and even 45 round typs were made. They stick out quite a but and one might argue if thats really an internal magazine. but it takes tools to remove so it still fits the definition.

then their are belts wich use links to clip the rounds together and have a mechanical feed and strip set up thus automating the procsess and making it so hopefully one does not have to think about it for 2-300 rounds or so.

Rather handy I'd say. :)

Magazines come in two main types. Internal and external. Internal uses the same principals and external with a couple of defineing features. The internal is non removable, except with tools, can be loaded by hand or with clips if the rifle is outfited for this and uses the bolt and a spring loaded "lip" to retain rounds. (the lip may even be the spring, curved plate for example) while an external magazine is removable usually by pressing a release button then it falls out, most of the time. It holds the rounds with a lip as well, but these are not usually spring like as you have the ability to slide rounds in backwards under the lips in the revers of the loading proscess. this would be not only difucult in an internal model, but if you can figure out how to do it I'm sure some people doing research on matter passing through matter will want to talk to you! Other than that the description at the head of the post pretty much says it all, housing, spring, folower, these are a few of my favorite things. sorry christmas tunes in the background.

So I hope this answers some other questions you may have had. Just think of it like this.

Clips are used by guys in WW2 and before and load from the top. While mags are mostly from WW2 and later and load from underneath. The dates aren't perfect, the thomson sub gun and several pistol models are found much ealier. But if you question it while describing it think under is mag over is clip and you pretty much can't go wrong. Especially since the c96 pistol I quoted ealier later had a variant with a 30 or 40 round magazine. but most models where made for clips.

If you really have an itch check out some light descriptive reading at world.guns.org. I usually use the english site since my russian is spotty.
From: yesihavecookies Date: July 17th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
How goes it, sir?
leslieerin From: leslieerin Date: August 5th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC) (Link)


Can I friend you, since you are stealin' away my booty dancing partner and all?

srakkt From: srakkt Date: August 5th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Yo.

Without a doubt.
kissoflife From: kissoflife Date: March 27th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
This reminds me of the fun I had one afternoon reading the nitpick chatter on the first 'Matrix' movie.
(WT promo chica here)
dietrich From: dietrich Date: April 3rd, 2009 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)
It was awesome of you to write this. Details, details, details.

Friending you. Ha.
vavaverity From: vavaverity Date: May 27th, 2009 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

Completely Unrelated to this post

Hey James!

Was just listening to the Decemberists and thought of you since you're the one who let me know about them. I came to peek and see you're locked up like Fort Knox. I hope everything is ok. I remember when I had to lock up it was because of a lot of crappy drama. It's much better this way.

I hope life is treating you well. I added you as a friend. LEMME IN! :P
17 comments or Leave a comment