This is the second in a series, and today I'll talk about a topic that has gained and lost me friends. I'm talking about the difference between a clip and a mag. Why is this important? Well, for starters, they're 2 different things.
A clip simply holds rounds (bullets, ammunition) in a static position. There's no feed mechanism in a clip. In fact, many clips are used to load magazines. The M1 Garand is a fine example of how a clip is fed into a magazine. When the last round is fired from the magazine, the clip is ejected with a distinctive "zing."
A magazine has a mechanism (usually a spring and follower) that pushes rounds up in the magazine so that the next round is ready to be fed into the firearm's chamber. Wikipedia has a pretty good write-up on magazines:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magazine_(firearms)
With the exception of revolvers, virtually all handguns use a magazine. I'm not sure I could cite an instance of a handgun "clip." Edit: Moon clips for revolvers are a clear oversight on my part. Good example of a clip.
The image I've attached to this post illustrates some popular magazines (mags) and clips. I realize it's splitting hairs for some people, but it's important that we know what the parts of a firearm are, and what they do. When I hear someone on the news refer to a "high-capacity clip," I know right away that they probably don't know what they're talking about. If they had bothered to educate themselves, they wouldn't use that terminology.
Next time, I'll talk about magazine capacity, and provide some real-life examples of why the "high-cap" mag is a media-perpetuated myth.