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Where did the saying "lock & Load" come from?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by RDCL, Apr 23, 2012.

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  1. RDCL

    RDCL Member

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    I don't ever recall hearing it as a kid in the 1970's......matter of fact, I don't recall hearing it in the 1980's either.

    Internet speak? Movies? Video games......genuine military term perhaps?

    Just thinking out loud today:)



    Russ
     
  2. bbuddtec

    bbuddtec Member

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    lock magazine and load chamber.

    M1 days it was load n lock

    range orders
     
  3. buck460XVR

    buck460XVR Member

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    I've heard several different versions.One is it comes from a training film covering the M1 Garand Rifle. As in lock the bolt back and then load the clip into the magazine. According to the manual, loading the clip without first locking the bolt back could result in a AD. Another theory is it comes from the use of Flintlock rifles which require the hammer to be locked in the half-cock position before priming the pan. The other theories have to do with artillery and the Browning 50 cal. They all mean the same thing, get prepared to shoot!
     
  4. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    Nope -- it was lock and load. I trained on the M1 in '62.

    All US rifles from the Krag onward had bolts that could be opened while the safety was locked -- including the M1. The command means to lock the safety, then load.
     
  5. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Lock magazine into the magazine well and load a round into the chambre is what it had become by 1976 in the USMC. Speaking only from memory and experience. Appertained to both the Colt M16A1 and the Springfield 1911A1 both being detachable-magazine fed.

    The range commands would have been --

    - Ready on the firing line!

    - All ready on the right!

    - All ready on the left!

    - With a magazine and 5 rounds, lock and load!

    - Commence firing!

    In the classes leading up to rifle range and/or pistol range day, the instructors explained it involved locking a magazine into place and loading a round into the chamber, and not doing so until commanded to do so.

    Note that you can lock and load a .45ACP or an M-16A1 whether or not the bolt has been locked open or not. Thus by the 1970s lock and load had come to mean getting a cartridge into the chamber and ready for firing with a detachable-magazine fed weapon.

    Buck460 is probably correct about the history. The M-1 does need to be locked-open before the clip can feed cartridges into the box-magazine well for loading. I have shot that rifle and I know how it works.

    Not sure about a flintlock though. A blackpower shooter will need to tell us more about that issue.

    We are probably going to need someone like F. Lee Ermy to settle this one for us. And even he is going to need to look it up, since Ermy is only from Nam daze, not from WW2 or earlier.

    Russ, my friend, I take it you also never had to deal with --

    - From now on you maggots will only speak when spoken to,

    - And the first and last words out of your mouths will be Sir,

    - Do you maggots understand that???

    :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2012
  6. 303tom

    303tom member

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    muzzle loaders.................
     
  7. mac66

    mac66 Member

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    The hammer mechanism on a flintlock musket is called the Lock, as in "lock, stock and barrel," the main components of long gun. I believe the term "lock and load" originally derives from setting the "lock" in half cock and then loading the barrel.
     
  8. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    I heard John Wayne say it in Sand of Iwo Jima, going into a bar, IIRC...
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    It was used in the Army in 1964 when I went through basic training.

    I assume it was used WAY before that.

    rc
     
  10. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    What kind of rifles did you train with in 1964 RC?

    The M-14 is my guess?
     
  11. 303tom

    303tom member

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    What I said, had to go look & make sure....

    Lock and load

    Meaning: Get ready.
    Example: Lock and load, we need to go.
    Origin: 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.
     
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, 1911, BAR, .30 Browning MG, and 105mm RR in the national guard, and then M14, M79, M60, and 106mm RR in the regular Army later.
    Then the M16 when it came along.
    Then AMU and the National Match M14, and Model 70, Model 700 and M14 Sniper rifles.

    It was lock & load on the ranges formally and informally with all of them over a 6 year span of Guard and Regular Army from 64 - 70.

    rc
     
  13. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    The term was used long before the US had any detatchable magazine firarms.

    The "lock" in "lock and load" is the safety lock.
    or

    - Lock! With 8-round clip, load!
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Boy, has this gone off into the wild blue. Vern is correct; the term "lock" applies to the safety, not to the bolt, the hammer of a Model 1861 rifle-musket, or the cock of a Model 1812 musket. Not even to the slow match that was used by you real old timers.

    And the Army did not change its manual of arms because of a John Wayne movie.

    As I said, in the M1903/M1917 days, it was "load and lock"; the shooter loaded five rounds from a clip, chambered the first round ("load") and then set the safety ("lock"). On the command "commence firing" the shooter took off the safety catch and fired the first shot.

    When the M1 was adopted, it could be loaded with the safety on, so the command was changed to "lock and load"; the shooter pulled the bolt back, engaged the safety ("lock"), then loaded a clip of eight rounds into the magazine which released the bolt to chamber ("load") the first round. On the command "commence firing", the shooter released the safety catch and fired the first round.

    In a period when most men served at least some time in the service, the term became common, so "lock and load" came to mean to get ready to open fire, to prepare for action or, more loosely, to get ready for any kind of trouble. Today, most of us get our ideas about military service from movies and magazines full of nonsense, so the term is not understood.

    Jim
     
  15. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    So for most of us in our military training it was lock and load.

    And for most of us we were locking a detachable magazine into a magazine well.

    Going back as far as 1962 (50 years ago) and the M-14.

    And a couple of us have locked and loaded the M1 Garand as well, in which case there was no detachable magazine, just a bolt that was locked and an internal box magazine which was then loaded with a clip.

    A bunch of pilgrims have seen John Wayne on TV. He was Davy Crockett in The Alamo as I recall.

    Still waiting for anyone with an extensive firearms library to settle this one authoritatively.

    Or GYSGT F. Lee Ermy to weigh in between casting calls, proof you can be ugly as a modern art masterpiece and still have a successful Hollywood career.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  16. bbuddtec

    bbuddtec Member

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    LOL just knew that m1 stuff would slap me, thanks Vern
     
  17. awgrizzly

    awgrizzly Member

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    You guys are wrong, like some here said it came from the flintlock days, and the 'lock' has nothing to do with locking a safety, a door or anything else. The hammer mechanism is called a lock from back in the days when they used a lit fuse to ignite the powder. Lock as in wheel lock, flint lock, and percussion lock. Lock and load was since popularized by Hollywood.
     
  18. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Well there are plenty of manuals of arms from the musket days, and I don't remember any having "lock and load" as part of the drill. The drills were more like this:

    http://www.doublegv.com/ggv/battles/Manual.html

    There is a half cock step before loading, but it's one of many. And in that sense, lock and load would still be several steps before giving fire.

    And in fact I don't ever remember seeing the term "lock" in the sense referred to here. Yes there were locks, but to tell a soldier to "lock" would not have meant much of anything. You could cock the lock, half cock the lock, prime the lock, etc. All sorts of things were done with the lock.

    IN CONTRAST you will find the term "LOCK" being used in Garand drill manuals in combination with "LOAD." Check out para 43-44 and even more to the point para 59-60 here:

    http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm/singleitem/collection/p4013coll9/id/810/rec/1

    You will note the safety catch is called the "LOCK" I suspect Vern is correct, and I'll wager if you could find a Krag manual it would also use the term "lock" in this same way, to refer to the safety:

     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2012
  19. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    I trust the Garand was loaded with en bloc clips rather than stripper clips.
     
  20. MrDig

    MrDig Member

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    The exact origin of the phrase is indeterminate,
    Some say it originated with the advent of Brass Cased Rounds, Some say it originated with the "Lock" mechanism of the old muzzle loading rifles. Still another theory says it originates with the Artillery. The last theory is from the Garand and its introduction to military troops.
    It is considered slang even on the range and when training in the military if I'm not mistaken.
     
  21. jmstevens2

    jmstevens2 Member

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    You mean Dr McCoy didn't make it up for loading a photon torpedo?:rolleyes:

    Whatever the origin, it means "make ready to fire".
    For me that started in 1980 in Ft Benning Before that, ??
     
  22. bobalou

    bobalou Member

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    I thought it came from some old porno flick.
     
  23. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Cosmo the 2nd citation does not work, so maybe you can try cutting and pasting for us please.

    The first citation was rather nostalgic. Very much like the modern manual of arms.

    About face is always a turn to the right now, no longer to the left as an option.

    But these old guys back in the 1700s certainly knew what they were doing as they were figuring out these newfangled fire weapons!
     
  24. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    The link works for me, but if you google this:

    FM 22-5 1939 (OBSOLETE) : Basic field manual, infantry drill regulations.

    You'll come up with the same source. The phrase "lock" is used many times to refer to the action of engaging the safety catch on the Garand in particular.

    Can anyone find a source prior to the Krag where the term "lock" is used in this manner?
     
  25. Woodyard

    Woodyard Member

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    Engage safety.
    Load the weapon.
    As John Wayne said in "Sands of Iwo Jima," "Line of departure. Lock and load."
     
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