1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Lock and Load

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by deolexrex, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. deolexrex

    deolexrex New Member

    May 2, 2006
    Central, IL
    Lock and Load?

    What does it mean?

    Where does the phrase come from?

    Thanks for your help.
  2. 41magsnub

    41magsnub Participating Member

    Jul 10, 2007
    Missoula Montana
    Lock a magazine into the weapon and chamber (load) a round. Military term.
  3. Bones11b

    Bones11b Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    Coral Springs, FL
    According to answers.com it is from the Marine Corps Dictionary:
    The firing line command to put the weapon's safety to the on position and load the weapon with ammunition and await further orders from the range officer. In combat an informal command to prepare to fight.
    Here's the Wiki definition

    Lastly some neet info from wordorigins.org
    This imperative phrase originally referred to the operation of the M1 Garand Rifle, the standard U.S. Army rifle of WWII. Its meaning is more general now, referring to preparation for any imminent event.

    To load a Garand, the bolt would be locked to the rear and a clip of ammunition loaded into the receiver. The command lock and load was immortalized by John Wayne in the 1949 movie The Sands of Iwo Jima:

    Lock and load, boy, lock and load.

    There are earlier uses of the command reversed, load and lock. This command, primarily used on firing ranges, referred to the loading of a single round into the Garand (or into another weapon). In this case, the lock referred to striking the bolt handle with the heel of the hand to ensure it was fully closed and locked into place. From Gene Gach’s 1942 In The Army Now:

    One round, ball ammunition, load and lock!

    There is even an instance of this usage going back the Spanish-American War; although it’s not certain if this was a phrase current at the time or just a coincidental use of the words. From the Annual Reports of the War Department, 1900, a dispatch from the Philippines, 15 June 1899:

    The line was under strong long-range fire and the order was given to load and lock the pieces; investigation proved that the white objects seen were the marines returning to their ship.

    The term lock in this phrase is a different use of the word than in references to the firing mechanism of a weapon, as in flintlock.
  4. Chuhhuniban

    Chuhhuniban New Member

    Jan 25, 2007
    It comes from the procedure to prepare to fire an M-1 Garand rifle. There's two versions, depending upon who you listen to:

    1) It refers to "locking" bolt in the rearmost position, then loading the rifle's integral magazine with a stripper clip — lock and load.

    2) Alternatively, it is said to refer to locking the weapon's bolt in the forward position — i.e., ready to fire — you are "locking and loading" one round.

    Which is right? Beats me, I was trained with the M-1 when I first went into the Army and heard both versions — it just depended upon which training NCO you had that day...:D
  5. JohnL2

    JohnL2 Active Member

    Oct 31, 2006
    I thought it was older than that. My understanding is that it goes all the way back to the 19th century when the Army had breechloading singleshot carbines.

    It is true that you do lock the bolt to the rear with the M-16 and load a magazine, then slap the bolt release and chamber a round when you are ready to fire. Thus you complete the lock and load procedure.
    Term also applies to machine guns. But they fire in the open-bolt position versus the closed-bolt position.
  6. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    You locked the breech with a powder charge inside, then you loaded the cannon ball into the muzzle.
    The powder charge was usually a bag of some sort with the proper charge preloaded.

    I've seen the term in stories of nautical warfare written way before John Wayne.

    Gotta go way back before the Garand for this one :) I know Wikipedia says so, but .....
  7. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home Of The First Capitol Of The Confederate State
    An old military term, example:

    In qualification with the M-14 we were told by the NCO Rangemaster
    "to lock and load, one 20 round magazine". Then the command, "Ready
    on the Right, Ready On the Left; The Firing Line Is Ready".

    Commence Firing~! ;)
  8. jwr_747

    jwr_747 Member

    Apr 23, 2007
    north Al.
    as most of the answers show,it depends on which weapon you'er talking about.WWII grunt will say M1 Garand,Nam vet,M16.in the future "Bones MaCoy" locked and loaded a Photon Torpedo. jwr
  9. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Elder

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    The command "Lock and Load" means to engage the safety lock and load the weapon.
  10. Kentak

    Kentak Participating Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Were you just guessing at that meaning?

  11. Stretchman

    Stretchman member

    Dec 29, 2006
    Dania Beach, Florida
    Probably not. In Vietnam, when our military advisors were out in the field, they carried their weapons slung, with no magazine inserted, and no rounds chambered. In order to get the order to lock and load, they had to be coming under direct fire, and they needed to radio in and ask permission. When permission was granted, the order to lock and load was given, and they could engage

    Of course, this was in the early days of Vietnam. When there was nothing there but advisors. I am not really sure if the policy ever changed, but when things started heating up, like during Tet, mostly the guys kind of ignored the policy, and did what they needed to. Of course, it might involve having to put down your dope and beer in order to do it.

    What a place. never got the pleasure of going there, but spent a lot of time studying it while in the USAF, and heard from a lot of people who went there. We were tasked with evaluating everything that happened. Basically, it was all about what we would do if ever we found ourselves in that situation.Tactics, weaponry, etc. In other words, how do we win?

    guess we learned a few things. In Afghanistan, we did in 3 months what the russians didn't do in 10 years. But to be fair, they kind of did the same in Vietnam. Took less than 2 years from the treaty until the fall of Saigon.
  12. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Elder

    Dec 30, 2002
    Deep in the Ozarks
    I was there as an Adviser in '66 and there was no such policy.

    But "Lock and Load" means to engage the safety lock and load the weapon. It always has -- going right back to the '03 Springfield.
  13. skidmark

    skidmark Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    The phrase "lock and load" goes waaaay back to the first handcannons.

    The "lock" part refers to the firing mechanism - initially a firelock. One needed to have that slowburning "match" (sort of a cross between a punkstick and a smolkdering length of rope) going before anything else, thus "prepare your [fire]lock." Then one loaded the barrel.

    As handcannons evolved, they started making longer back ends, first by extending the metal, later by adding a slab of wood, so one could prop the handcannon under the armpit. Later, somebody figured out it would be easier to aim if the slab of wood went into the shoulder instead of in the armpit.

    As powder pans were added, and then frizzens with flintlocks, it became more efficient and probably safer to load the barrel first, and then prime the pan. However, by that time military tradition had already set the order of the command as "lock and load." As veterans and active-duty folks will tell you, trying to get an NCO to change how he does something because it was the way his NCO did it, which was the way his NCO ........ etc. ad nauseum back to the beginning of time before when J.C. was a buck private, is impossible.

    In today's world, as has been stated, it means to make the weapon ready for firing, just as it did in the really olden days. It's also used as "shorthand" to mean something like "hang on and buckle your safety belt tightly, we're in for a bumpy ride." (Bonus points for the first one to correctly identify the movie and actor saying that line.)

    stay safe.

  14. sacp81170a

    sacp81170a Senior Member

    Oct 8, 2004
    Farmington, AR
    Hmm. I don't know if there any old CATM troops here, but the command sequence during range qualification when I was in USAF Security Police went something like this:

    "Shooters! With one ten round magazine, load, lock and challenge." This was in preparation for a ten round string of fire from the standing position. The proper sequence of actions was to insert the magazine (load), hit the bolt release, thereby chambering a round (lock), and come to a low ready position with the muzzle of the weapon pointed downrange (challenge).

    "Selector lever to semi. CO-MENCE, Fire!"

    I'm pretty sure it went that way every time I qualified with an M-16 on the range(at least once every six months) the whole time I was in. Other services may have used a different sequent of commands, but I distinctly remember the "load, lock and challenge" portion.

Share This Page