Origins of the phrase "Lock and Load"

James Rogers
20 Jun 2002 09:33:21 -0700

On Thu, 2002-06-20 at 07:49, Gary Lawrence Murphy wrote:
> I wonder if it's possible the first of your sources might have had it
> reversed, whereas Duke was drawing on field experience?  Any other
> ex-military out there who can comment on their experience of this?

"Lock and load" is correct.

For semi-automatic and automatic weapons, you lock the bolt back before
you load the magazine/clip/belt.  This way when the bolt is released
there is a round in the chamber ready to fire.

If you don't lock the bolt back before loading the ammo, you typically
have to cycle the bolt manually before the weapon is ready to fire. 
"Lock and load" is a military mnemonic intended to make sure morons
don't go into a firefight wondering why their weapon isn't firing
because they don't have a round in the chamber even though the weapon is
nominally loaded.

ObHollywoodStupidity:  Why are people in film and TV always racking the
slides of their pistols every time they pull it out?  It is even
stupider because you never see them clear the action when they put them
away.  I want to see a chambered round fly out of the action when they
do that stupid racking bit.  (Credit where credit is due: in the movie
"Heat", the guys actually do chamber "press checks".)

-James Rogers