Clip (firearms)

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Inserting an en bloc clip on the M1 Garand

A clip is a device that is used to store multiple rounds of ammunition together as a unit, ready for insertion into the magazine or cylinder of a firearm. This speeds up the process of loading and reloading the firearm as several rounds can be loaded at once, rather than one round being loaded at a time. Several different types of clips exist, most of which are made of inexpensive metal stampings that are designed to be disposable, though they are often re-used.

The defining difference between clips and magazines is the presence of a feed mechanism in a magazine, typically a spring-loaded follower, which a clip lacks.[1][2][3]



A stripper clip or charger is a speed-loader that holds several cartridges together in a single unit for easier loading of a firearm's magazine. A stripper clip is used only for loading the magazine and is not necessary for the firearm to function. It is called a 'stripper' clip because, after the bolt is opened and the stripper clip is placed in position (generally by placing it in a slot on either the receiver or bolt), the cartridges are pressed down, thereby 'stripping' them off the stripper clip and into the magazine.

En bloc

An M1 Garand en-bloc clip (left) compared to a conventional SKS stripper clip (right)

Several rifle designs utilize an en bloc clip to load the firearm. With this design, both the cartridges and the clip are inserted as a unit into a fixed magazine within the rifle, and the clip is usually ejected or falls from the rifle upon firing or chambering of the last round. The en bloc clip was invented by two firearms inventors working on parallel lines, James Paris Lee for his Lee rifle of 1890, and Ferdinand Mannlicher for use in his M1885 rifle.

Other rifles utilizing en-bloc clips include the German Gewehr 88 (since 1905 replaced by stripper clips), the Mexican Mondragón, the French Berthier Mle 1890 and RSC Mle 1917, the Italian M1870/87 Vetterli-Vitali and M1891 Carcano, the various (Romanian, Dutch, Portuguese) turnbolt Mannlichers, the Austro-Hungarian straight-pull Steyr-Mannlicher M1895, the Hungarian FÉG 35M, and the US M1895 Lee Navy, M1 Garand and Pedersen T1E3. Original Austrian Mannlicher clips were often uni-directional, but already the Gewehr 88 and subsequently the M1891 Carcano used symmetrical clips. John Pedersen at first developed an irreversible clip[4] for his rifle, later he redesigned the clip to be reversible.[5] This design was also utilized for the competing designs by John Garand.[6]

Moon and half-moon

Smith & Wesson 1917 with moon clips and two auto rim cartridges

A moon clip is a ring-shaped or stellate piece of metal designed to hold a full cylinder of ammunition for a revolver (generally six rounds) together as a unit. Therefore, instead of loading or extracting one round at a time, a full cylinder of ammunition or spent cases can be loaded or extracted at once, speeding the loading process. A similar device known as the half-moon clip is semi-circular and designed to hold a half cylinder of ammunition (generally three rounds)—in which case two clips are necessary to fully load the cylinder. Such devices have most often been used to chamber rimless semi-automatic pistol cartridges in a revolver.

See also


  1. "Gun Zone clips vs. magazines". The Gun Zone. Retrieved 2008-06-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Magazine". SAAMI. Retrieved 2008-06-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Cartridge Clip". SAAMI. Retrieved 2008-06-26.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Hogg, Ian V.; Weeks, John S.: (2000) Military Small Arms of the 20th Century, 7th Edition; Krause Publications, ISBN 0-87341-824-7

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