Accessories, Ammunition

The Difference between a Magazine and a Clip

There is a common misconception that the term magazine and clip can be used interchangeably, but it’s just simply not true. A magazine and clip are two different things. A clip is a device that holds individual rounds of ammunition collectively to make it a single unit and can be fed into a magazine or into the chamber of a firearm. A magazine, on the other hand, is a detachable device that supplies the required ammo to a gun’s firing chamber, typically using a spring-load action. 

Different Types of Clips

Clips are usually made of a stamped sheet metal and are often considered an optional item when it comes to modern firearms. Clips are quick and simple to use and can speed up the process of loading and reloading ammo into magazines. Some of the most common types of clips are stripper clips, en bloc clips, and half-moon/full moon clips.

  • Stripper clips are the most popular type of clip among the three. Stripper clips are typically used in internal box-type magazines, but can also be suited to use in detachable magazines in some cases. A stripper clip holds several cartridges of ammo using a strip of metal, which is then used to push the ammo into the magazine in a single motion.
  • En bloc clips are more commonly used alongside rifles that have an integral magazine to feed the rounds into the chamber. An En bloc clip is inserted fully into the magazine and when the last round is fired the clips are then ejected.
  • Half-moon and full moon clips are a type of ring-shaped or semi-circular clip that holds up to 3 to 6 rounds of ammo for easy loading into a revolver. These clips can also allow faster unloading of empty shell casings from the firearm.

Different Types of Magazines

There are a variety of different types of magazines that work in different ways for different firearms. While some rifles, such as the bolt-action rifles, use integral magazines, most of the modern guns and firearms feature a detachable magazine for quick unloading and reloading. Because of this, magazines can generally be classified under several categories such as box-type magazines and tubular magazines.

  • Box-type magazines are the most common type of magazine, especially for those used in rifles. These can be further classified as integral box magazines and detachable box magazines, with both working in the same manner as they are loaded and carried differently depending upon the rifle type.
  • STANAG magazines are a type of box-type magazine that is specially designed for rifles that shoot 5.56mm rounds. STANAG magazines can be seen in use alongside various firearms today such as the AR, M-16, and M4 rifles.
  • Tubular magazines are fixed to a firearm and feed the rounds directly into the firing chamber through a spring action. These types of magazines are more commonly found in lever-action rifles and shotguns.

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