Why use clips when you can use magazines?

Hello. Today you see that I am wearing mid 20th century Swiss Army kit. Which is only appropriate because I’m in Switzerland and I’m talking to you about mid 20th century warfare. Now, I imagine you are asking yourselves: why do they give people all those little clips? You know, … those faffy little clips instead of proper magazines? I’ve seen action movies, me. I’ve seen my favorite action movie heroes and when they fire the gun they go [rifle firing noise] and when they run out of ammunition they press a button and the magazine just drops away into space. Doesn’t give it another look, and then he slams in another magazine works the bolt and he’s away [rifle firing noise]. He’s a proper action hero, and not all this fuddy-duddy old-fashioned fiddling around with clips nonsense. So why didn’t they do that? Well, several reasons. One of them is weight. If you are using a Lee-Enfield you would have this sort of magazine and you can get ten rounds in it. And if you weigh one of these with ten rounds in it, you’ll find that it weighs about one and a half times as much as if you just had the ten rounds. So if you carry everything in magazines, … you are not carrying as many rounds. Because you would have half as many again if you had them all in clips. So, you don’t want to burden your soldiers with more weight than is necessary. So lots of magazines means lots of weight. OK, so that’s one reason. Another one is volume. You see, in this pouch here I’ve got … two clips of [six, not twelve] rounds for the K31, which is this Swiss rifle of the World War 2 era. But in this pouch here, I can only fit one magazine, which is carrying six rounds. So, it’s got half as many rounds in it. So, volume and weight. Those are two excellent reasons. Another one is cost. Because these little clips, you see, … (this is a Mauser clip, that would have five rounds on it and this is a Lee-Enfield clip, again five rounds) these are just a single piece of cheap metal with a few holes put in it to make it lighter. And, yes, you don’t mind leaving one of these on … the on the parade ground or … on the firing range or on the battlefield. You won’t get it to a huge amount of trouble if you don’t come back with your full load of clips at the end of the day. But your Sergeant Major will put you on lots of extra guard duty if you start throwing these around the countryside and leaving them there. These, you see, are expensive.This has been made very precisely so it fitted your weapon and would would feed the … rounds into the gun cleanly and reliably time after time. So they couldn’t be made as … cheap disposable items. They had to be made well. Which of course is one of the reasons that they’re quite heavy. Which then leads to the next problem. Because if it’s expensive, then it’s not disposable. Which means that you have to hang on to it. So, there’s … our chap … holding the Germans at bay from Switzerland. [Click] Go away from Switzerland, you German person. Oh no, I’m out of ammunition. Right. Okay. I shall take out this magazine, which is empty, and I’ll just stick that under the crook of my arm there, I open this and then I take out a new magazine. Great. But first I’ve got to put this one away because I don’t want to get into trouble with the Sergeant Major. Okay, great. So I’ve done that, now I can load in the new magazine. Close the bolt. And now I’m ready for action. So it’s cost me vital seconds …, you see. And what’s more, I’m now carrying around an empty magazine. So that’s more weight and effort and fuss, bother and itch. But what if I run out of ammunition and I just took a clip out instead. Okay, so I take out a clip. Stick that in. And then, yep, this is a disposable item. I’m not going to have to stow that. What I should have done is … admittedly I’ve shown my incompetence here. I’ve only actually used this rifle twice before in my life. So I’m gonna be very forgiving of myself, but there you go, and I’ve even managed to clear the jam. You see, that’s how good I am. Even though I’m incompetent at using this weapon, I can clear a jam. Okay, and then I can fire the weapon and we’re in business again. I didn’t have to stow the magazine. I didn’t have to waste any time. I didn’t have to waste any money. So, that’s why in the World War 2 era soldiers were issued with clips not magazines. But wait a minute, today the equation is a bit different, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve got much cheaper magazines, they’re injection moulded in plastic and so forth. And they’ve got far more rounds in them. So, if people are using ammunition at roughly the same … rate, and I know they’re not, but just imagine for the sake of argument that they are, then the equation is different. So, why didn’t they think of that before? Why didn’t they just give soldiers much bigger magazines? They wouldn’t have to reload so often, and surely a bigger magazine wouldn’t cost all that much more? Well, they did actually. This is the 1888 pattern Swiss rifle. 1889 1889. OK, well done, over there. Have a beige point. … I saw you through the lens. I saw you cringing, well done. This 1889 pattern, and this has got a 12 round magazine. Which as you can see is much longer. It sticks proud at the bottom of the rifle. It’s got a thick rib of steel all the way around the bottom which was needed to keep it strong enough for use in service. Because you know what soldiers are like, soldiers break things. So there you are, at the parapet, and you … It gets in the way. You’re trying to aim. And when you trying to grip this, it’s digging … See where the groove is, where I’m supposed to hold it here? It’s digging into the heel of my hand and if I put it on … the edge of a parapet or sandbag or whatever, It’s … interfering with my aim and it’s just a load of fuss, bother and itch. And they decided, having tried it, they didn’t like it. And they went from the 12 round to the six round. They tried it and they, the experienced people, because you know, … how many times have you gone to war with one of these, eh? The people who actually had to go to war with these they, having tried it, having experienced it, they decided: no, this is … not working. We can go over to a six round magazine. Much better, and that’s what they stuck with for a very long time. So, there you go, listen to the people who actually tried it and knew. Not me, I’m just some bloke off YouTube. But you know, the … historical, actual Swiss. They tried it, didn’t like it. So they went back to the six round magazine, which as you can see, the trigger guard is much below it. Doesn’t get in the way and much better. I’m going now.

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