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Difference Between Gun Magazine vs Clip: Don’t Be a Noob

Quickly find out the difference between clip and magazine for guns. Also, some historic examples and why does anybody really care?

One of the most often misused terms are gun magazines versus clips. It boils down to what feeds what.

Magazine vs Clip

magazine feeds the gun, while a clip feeds the magazine.

Magazine and Clips

Clips make loading multiple rounds into a magazine easier. And sometimes you have to use the clip for a gun to work.

One example is the “en bloc” clip for the M1 Garand, where you leave in the clip. It gives it the characteristic “ping” that you might have seen in movies such as Saving Private Ryan.

While for some other old school guns such as the Mosin Nagant or SKS you can use a stripper clip to feed the internal magazine.

Rarely, a rifle will make the process interesting by throwing you a curve ball… enter, the Hakim.

Egyptian Hakim (8)
Stupid lay it flat and rock it down stripper clips…

For regular modern guns with removeable magazines, there are still stripper clips and some fancier alternatives like the StripLULA for AR magazines.


Here’s a great video from Hickok45 which shows you a ton of different examples.

Who Really Cares?

Personally, I believe everyone who knows the difference also know what you’re talking about if you confuse one with the other. 

But there’s still plenty of people out there (especially online) that will try to bite your head off if you say it wrong.

If that describes yourself… maybe try not being like that.

Batman Clip vs Magazine

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6 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    "Who really cares?"

    People who like to distinguish between completely different things by their proper names care.

    A magazine is not a clip. Many mistake the two, but that doesn't make the matter petty.

    The people who jump on those who make the clip/magazine mistake are tired of others chiming in without doing the least bit of research.

    When someone doesn't know the difference between a clip and a magazine, how seriously can you take the rest of their message? It points to intellectual laziness and lack of appreciation for... words? Concepts? Facts?

    An apple is not an orange is not a banana. If 50,000,000 nerds on the net call apples "oranges" it means they're morons. If they get corrected - politely, harshly, whatever - it's because they screwed up.

    So, *I* care. I don't flip out when I see The Mistake, but I do feel a bit of sadness over the acceptance (even defense) of ignorance.

    If you're the kind of person who doesn't care... try to be less like that. You'll be less disliked by the firearms geeks who do their homework. It takes about 3 seconds to learn the difference.

    September 15, 2022 11:24 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    It’s like when people call a “rifle” a “gun.” It’s mildly annoying because that’s not the correct term for that piece of equipment - especially if you are a former Marine 0311. I will only say something (in the teaching voice) if the person is new to shooting and wants to learn. Otherwise, life is too short to sweat the small stuff. I guess it also lets you know that person is not yet a member of the gun culture. Teach and don’t be a dick. Be safe. S/F. 4Mike12

    June 15, 2021 3:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Christian Griggs

    "If that describes yourself… maybe try not being like that."


    June 15, 2021 12:12 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Even easier to distinguish: a magazine has a spring; a clip does not have a spring.

    The same is true of a "follower." A magazine has a follower but a clip does not. But most non-gun people know what a spring is, though probably don't know what a follower is.

    February 16, 2020 1:14 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dennis Evans

    Do you know if Thordsen makes the stock for the AR10 or just for the 15's. Changing the stock to a standard on the AR10 still leaves the pistol grip which California doesn't allow.

    December 10, 2016 9:40 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I believe there's a stock adapter but it might only work for DPMS profile AR-10's. Let me know what you find out.

      December 10, 2016 1:19 pm
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