Know The Difference Between A Clip vs A Magazine

Feature | Know The Difference Between A Clip vs A Magazine

Are you someone who uses the terms clip and magazine interchangeably as if they're the same thing? Well, they're not, and it's time to learn what makes clip vs magazine different from each other here!

Clip vs Magazine: What's the Difference?

There is no shortage of politicians, journalists, and gun control advocates that have little to no experience with guns firsthand. Despite their limited exposure to and understanding of firearms, they are still very happy to suggest ways to limit access to them.

For gun enthusiasts, firearms dealers, collectors, and other knowledgeable gun owners, it can be so frustrating to hear and read opinions on a subject for which the person does not even know the proper terminology to use. This is often the case with a clip vs. magazine.

For many people, the terms “clip” and “magazine” are interchangeable, although they are NOT the same thing. For anyone with an interest in firearms on any level, we recommend familiarizing yourself with how various firearms work, what parts they are made up of, and the correct terminology to use when discussing them.

So what is the real difference between a clip vs magazine?

The Basics

Man Reloading A Handgun | Know The Difference Between A Clip vs A Magazine

On the absolute most basic level:

  • A clip is a piece of metal that holds a few rounds together.
  • A magazine feeds cartridges into the gun; it has a spring and a follower.

To get into things just a bit more:

  • Not all guns use clips, typically they are only used to make loading a magazine easier.
  • All guns, with the exception of revolvers and single-shot firearms, have magazines.
  • As you insert cartridges into the magazine, they will put pressure onto the follower and the spring beneath it. When you fire the gun, the spring will push the next round into the chamber.

A Few More Details


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If you are interested in learning more about the inner workings of firearms, we encourage you to do more extensive research. For those just learning the basics, here is a bit more on clips vs magazines.

There are three types of clips:

  1. Moon clips are inserted into revolvers.
  2. En bloc clips are inserted into the gun itself, and guns that use them will not work without them.
  3. Stripper clips are speedloaders for a rifle.

Magazines can be either removable or fixed to a repeating firearm. The most common types are tubular magazines and box magazines. These names refer to their shapes. When “high capacity magazines” are referred to, the person is indicating a magazine that holds more than 10-15 rounds.

Why You Should Know the Difference

Much of the legislation pushed through Washington in regard to gun control seeks to limit an individual’s ability to fire more than 5-10 bullets out of their firearm. Perhaps, this would be sufficient in a perfect situation involving a home invasion, but we all know that is not the only plausible situation Americans face in which they may need a firearm.

Politicians will spout off terrifying, inaccurate, “facts” about how many bullets one madman can fire off in a matter of seconds using a semi-automatic rifle. Questions like “Can an AR-15 fire 150 rounds in 15 seconds?” are actually asked. The public that relies only on the news for their firearms education is at a great disadvantage in understanding guns.

The fact is that knowledge is power. Politicians do not want the average American to know the truth about firearms because it would derail their gun control agenda.

But when basic terms like “clip” and “magazine” are used interchangeably, their utter lack of knowledge shows clearly. They are encouraging society to live in blind fear instead of to learn about and understand the workings of firearms.

Keep learning about firearms, and be sure to use the proper terminology when discussing them.

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