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What does "lock and load" actually mean?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by TheOtherOne, Aug 7, 2004.

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  1. TheOtherOne

    TheOtherOne Member

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    You hear it in movies all the time, but what does it mean? Put the gun on safety and chamber a round? Most guns won't let you load with the safety on so if that's what it means, shouldn't everyone be saying "load and lock"?
     
  2. Das Pferd

    Das Pferd Member

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    This phrase refers to the actions required to prepare a gun for firing.

    "Lock" is an archaic term for what is now called the "action" or the "receiver". It was originally called the "lock" because the mechanism locked the hammer back in the cocked position. The trigger releases the lock to fire the weapon.

    "Load" is to load the cartridge into the firearm, or the charge and ball in a muzzle loaded musket.

    It simply means get ready.
     
  3. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Lock'n'Load

    Lock a magazine into the weapon and chamber a round.

    Line of Departure! Lock and Load! Ain't no turnin' back now fellas...We're in Injun Country! Get ready to hit the ground shootin'!

    hoorah
     
  4. Texian Pistolero

    Texian Pistolero member

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    LOCK.. one thirty round magazine into the weapon.


    LOAD... hit bolt hold back button and LOAD one 5.56mm X 45 mm NATO round into the chamber.

    mutter "come to Jesus",

    and let the fun begin...
     
  5. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The order means, "Put your weapons on safe and load."

    "Lock" refers to the safety lock. For the Springfield, raise and lower the bolt, set the safety to the mid position, then open the bolt and load.

    For the Garand and M14, drawing the bolt to the rear and latching it allows you to set the safety. When the clip or magazine is inserted, the bolt goes forward.

    For the M16, retract and release the charging handle, apply the safety, and insert a magazine.
     
  6. Monkeyleg

    Monkeyleg Member

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    Vern, to "load," wouldn't you want to insert the magazine before releasing the charging handle?

    This subject was covered a year or two ago, either on THR or TFL. IIRC, the term goes back to the days of the musket.
     
  7. roy berkeley

    roy berkeley Member

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    "Lock and Load"

    AFAIK, the phrase was born in the early days of WWII, in connection with the M-1 Garand rifle. The M-1 has a safety located in the front of the trigger guard that controls only the trigger. When the operator pulls the safety back into the front of the trigger guard, the trigger is immobilized, rendering the gun "safe". The gun is loaded by pulling the cocking lever back, at which point the action is held open by the follower in the magazine. Then an 8-round clip (yes -- a clip -- this is the proper use of the word) is pushed down into the magazine with the thumb and the cocking lever is released, allowing the bolt to move forward into battery, preferably without mashing the operator's thumb in the process. The gun is now loaded and safety engaged. To fire the gun, the operator just pushes the safety forward, out of the trigger guard. The Garand was a very safe-to-handle gun, mostly because it was possible to load it with the safety engaged. The practise was to carry the gun unloaded with the bolt forward (and it was a real test of one's skill to push down on the follower in the empty magazine and let the bolt move forward into the closed position *without* getting one's thumb caught and mashed ("M-1 Thumb")
    When a unit entered a combat situation the order was given to lock and load. AFAIK, these words were heard in a *bunch* of WWII movies, popularizing the phrase...
    FWIW
     
  8. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Vern, to "load," wouldn't you want to insert the magazine before releasing the charging handle?
    --------------------------------------------------

    Since normally the command is given when you have plenty of time, you can do it both ways -- either letting the bolt go forward before locking and then retracting it again after the magazine is inserted, or latching the bolt back. I always considered the first way best -- less chance of a fumble while loading.

    Quote:
    -----------------------------------------------------
    When the operator pulls the safety back into the front of the trigger guard, the trigger is immobilized, rendering the gun "safe". The gun is loaded by pulling the cocking lever back
    ------------------------------------------------------

    You can't lock the M1 or the M14 if the rifle is not cocked. You must retract the bolt.

    By the way, for the M1918 BAR the command was, "Cock and lock the automatic rifle." The BAR fires from an open bolt, so it was pulled back to full cock, and the local applied
     
  9. 444

    444 Member

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    Interesting.
    I always assumed the expression came from the M1 where you have to LOCK the bolt to the rear in order to LOAD the rifle.
    I further assumed that from then on, it referred to locking your bolt to the rear, insterting a full magazine and then hitting the bolt release.
     
  10. Mk VII

    Mk VII Member

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    a friend once said it dated back to the Trapdoor Springfield, where you had to cock the lock before you could open the breechblock.
     
  11. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    Data the Android

    Used the term in a Star Trek movie.

    I thought that was funny to apply to a phaser rifle.
     
  12. atk

    atk Member

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    The way I always understood it, the proper phrasing was "load and lock", meaning, "load your garand, and lock the safety". The line "load and lock" was purportedly delivered by John Wayne during a WWII movie as "lock and load", and it stuck since.

    Of course, I can't cite any sources for that :)
     
  13. geekWithA.45

    geekWithA.45 Moderator Emeritus

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    I don't have a lot of confidence in this, but I'll pass it along.

    What I heard was that the 19th century British army would lock their rifles to their belts to prevent their spear and shield technology opponents from easily obtaining up to date firepower.

    The meaning of load, of course, is self evident.
     
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Locked and Loaded

    Interesting...

    Our '16s were always on-safe , regardless of the rifle's condition. When we'd board a Huey or walk past the perimeter, the order was given: "Line of Departure. Lock and Load." Mags were locked in...Bolts were operated to chamber a round... and safeties were left alone until there was reason to touch'em. The procedure was the same for the '14s.
     
  15. sm

    sm member

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  16. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Wow! Some interesting (and wrong) answers.

    "Lock and load" comes from the rifle range, not really from combat.

    To begin with, "lock" has nothing to do with the locking the bolt, or with flintlock muskets. It means to engage the safety, that is to put it in the "ON" position. "Load" means to load a round into the chamber.

    In the days of the Model 1903 Springfield, the command was "Load and lock", since the M1903 could not be made safe with the bolt open (the mid-position of the safety was used only for disassembly). The clip was inserted in the clip slot, the rounds stripped into the magazine, and the bolt closed. Then the shooter engaged the safety.

    The M1 rifle could be loaded with the safety on, so when it was adopted, the command was reversed. "Lock" meant to engage the safety, and "load" meant (usually) to insert an 8-round clip and load the first round into the chamber.

    Note that it is not necessary that "load" mean a full clip or a full magazine. The initial part of the command tells what to load. For example, it can be "With one round, lock and load", or with an M14, "With a 20 round magazine, lock and load." The command would also specify special ammunition if applicable, such as "With eight rounds of tracer ammunition, lock and load."

    Jim
     
  17. jeff-10

    jeff-10 Member

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    FWIW I was always under the impression it meant lock a magazine into the mag well and load a round into the chamber.
     
  18. daniel (australia)

    daniel (australia) Member

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    How confusing!

    FWIW the Aus. Army has a clear series of instructions for each stage of weapon readiness, generally applicable to all small arms:

    "Load": Safety on where applicable (not all weapons can be placed on safe without being cocked), magazine or belt fitted,

    "Action": Chamber a round/cock the action, safety on, sights up/set where applicable.

    "Instant": Safety off, weapon in firing position ready to fire.

    I'd have thought the US forces would have something similar.
     
  19. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Lock and Load

    Gunny was wrong???:what: :D

    We were never given the order to Lock'n'Load on the firing line.
    That specific order was issued as we headed for Harm's Way,
    or the Line of Departure.

    During basic rifle training and during AIT, rifles were issued
    with bolts locked open and safeties engaged. If Gunny caught you with a bolt in battery OR the safety off before he directed you to put the rifle in battery, he would personally see to it that you'd wish you'd never been born.

    "You will now lock your magazine into the magazine well, insuring that it is fully seated with the palm of your hand. With your finger off the trigger, you will now load your weapon by by depressing the bolt release button that is located on the left side of the receiver. The range is now hot. You will rotate the safety selector clockwise one quarter of a turn. Should anyone have a malfunction or any kind of problem with your rifle, you will keep the weapon pointed downrange, move the safety lever counter-clockwise one-quarter turn and raise your hand. Ready on the left! Ready on the right! Commence firing!"
     
  20. Atticus

    Atticus Member

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    Repardless of origin ....I would think it applies differently to each gun that comes down the pike e.g., M16 family - lock mag - load chamber. I think you're all correct ...or mostly.
     
  21. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Quote:
    ---------------------------------------
    We were never given the order to Lock'n'Load on the firing line.
    That specific order was issued as we headed for Harm's Way,
    or the Line of Departure.
    ---------------------------------------

    Lock and Load is often used in a modified form on the range ("With Ball Cartridge, One Round -- Lock and Load!)

    But it is also most definitely used in combat. I put a lot of time impressing my NCOs that THEY decide when rifles are to be loaded.
     
  22. Abenaki

    Abenaki Member

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    All this time I thought that it went back to a time before the French and Indian war. To load they would take a paper cartrige and tear it open with their teeth. They would then prime the pan (on the lock)with powder from this cartrige and then load the barrel with the rest of the cartrige.

    Abenaki
     
  23. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Hi, Abenaki,

    Where did they put the 8 round clip in the Charleville? Sorry, but the term is not that old. The actual commands of that period were a lot more extensive than "lock and load".

    In English, not French, but just for fun and enlightenment (and if I haven't forgotten any):

    1. Prepare to load [With the left hand, bring the musket up and across the body. With the right hand, bring the cock to half-cock and push the steel forward to uncover the pan].

    2. Handle Cartridge [With the right hand, draw cartridge from the cartridge box].

    3. Tear cartridge [With the teeth, tear the cartridge paper, being careful not to spill the powder].

    4. Prime [Pour a portion of the cartridge powder into the pan and close the steel].

    5. Charge cartridge [Pour the rest of the powder into the muzzle and push bullet into the muzzle with the thumb].

    6. Draw rammer [Remove the ramrod from the channel under the barrel].

    7. Ram cartridge [With the head of the ramrod (the big end), ram the bullet and powder all the way down into the barrel].

    8. Return rammer.

    9. Cast about [Bring the musket up and turn your body so as to be ready for the next command].

    10. Present your musket [Point the musket at the enemy, and bring the cock to the full cock position].

    11. Fire.

    Then do it all over again. Or, aren't modern inventions wonderful?

    Jim
     
  24. SOT_II

    SOT_II Member

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    Don't forget:

    Lock and Load your first 20 round magazine and WATCH you lane,

    Lock the safety, load the mag, release the bolt...and watch your lane pretty much the way it runs.

    When refering Lock as in the "old version" of lock....that is common for the "lock, stock, and barrel. refering to the three common parts of a "primitive" firearm

    Different types of locks and not to be confused with a trigger lock...
     
  25. joab

    joab Member

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    lock and load

    "The origin of the phrase "lock and load" is not entirely clear, as there are two similar, yet distinct, explanations for its origin. Regardless of its exact origin, the phrase has come to relate to any activity in which preparations have to be made for an immediate action.

    One explanation of the phrase comes from the actions needed to prepare a flint lock rifle for firing. In order to safely load a rifle of this type it was necessary to position the firing mechanism in a locked position, after which the gun powder and ball could be safely loaded into the rifle barrel without any chance of the rifle misfiring.

    The second explanation is that the phrase (as "load and lock") originated during World War II to describe the preparations required to fire an M1 Garand rifle. After an ammunition clip was loaded into the rifle the bolt was pushed forward in order to "lock" a round into the chamber." lock and load origin
     
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