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Old August 6, 2005, 07:27 PM   #1
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Lock & Load?

I have heard this term many times, and it always seems to me as if it were reversed... shouldn't it be "load and lock" (thinking from a "1911" mentallity)?

I am not sure if this is the correct forum or not, but any input from the historians always welcome.
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Old August 6, 2005, 08:23 PM   #2
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Errr, no, the term is correct as it stands. In the old days (When I was a wee lad.) the receiver of a, 'firelock' was known as the, 'lock'. The original expression, 'lock and load' literally meant, 'Check the lock, first, then load!'

This was a necessary precaution for a grenadier to employ - Especially before attempting to pour a fresh powder charge down the barrel of either a fire or a flintlock which might have a smoldering fuse or spark cooking in the pan. The other problem that had to be avoided was to prevent a grenadier from, first, charging the barrel of a flint or precussion lock before discovering something wrong with the action! On this type of early firearm repairs were always best made when the barrel was empty. (This is, still, a good rule to follow with antique weapons - today!)

During the Second World War the term, 'lock and load' came back into vogue and was applied to the manual of arms for the Garand rifle. Here the correct expression would have been, (As you suspect) 'load and lock'; but popular alliteration changed the sequence to the reverse order.

Today, in the colloquial, this term simply means, 'Get ready for action!'
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Old August 6, 2005, 10:33 PM   #3
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Lock, Stock and Barrel

Could never figure if this related to the firearm, as he got the whole firearm, lock, stock, and barrel,

or if it came from the farm, meaning he got the lock (keys to the farm, the stock, and all the other goods kept in barrels.
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Old August 7, 2005, 09:20 AM   #4
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Grenadier ?? That's someone who used a grenade which originally used a fuse . The grenadiers ,300 years ago, were the special troops of the british army.They were the best, tall and trained to be the shock troops like the modern rangers.They carried a match case to light the grenades.They also carried a short musket and short sword.
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Old August 7, 2005, 10:26 AM   #5
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Yes and no! The term refers to elite infantry who may or may not use grenades. Keep reading; here's some internet comments on the subject:

Modern interpretation fails to distinguish between the terms, 'fusileer' and, 'grenadier'. Either noun may be used to describe, 'someone in the general infantry who throws a bomb or shoots a projectile'.

(I know this for fact because I've spent a lot of time reading historical battle documents.)
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Old August 7, 2005, 10:47 AM   #6
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Lock, Stock, and Barrel

This phrase, meaning completely or thoroughly, is another phrase referring to firearms. In this case, it refers to the three major parts of a musket, the firing mechanism or lock, the stock which rests against the shoulder, and the barrel. Like lock and load, the phrase was originally reversed, first appearing in an 1817 work by Sir Walter Scott as stock, lock, and barrel. The current sequence dates to 1842.

This sense of lock first appears in 1547 in the combination form firelock. The term probably derives from the resemblance to a lock on a door. German has similar usage for the term, the word schloss referring to both a door lock and the firing mechanism of a gun.

The word stock has several senses referring to blocks of wood used for various purposes. In 1346 the word was used to refer to the wooden cross bar of a ship's anchor. In 1474 it was used to refer to the block of wood from which a bell is hung. And in 1541 it was first used in the firearm's sense.

This sense of barrel relates to the cylindrical nature of the part. The word was first used in 1648 to refer to the metal tube of a gun.
Lock and Load

This imperative phrase originally referred to the operation of the M1 Garand Rifle, the standard U.S. Army rifle of WWII. Its meaning is more general now, referring to preparation for any imminent event.

The original phrase was actually reversed, load and lock. The phrase refers to inserting a clip of ammunition into the rifle, loading the clip and locking the bolt forward, thereby forcing a round into the chamber. The phrase first appears in Gach's 1941-42 In the Army Now. It was immortalized by John Wayne (who else?) in 1949's Sands of Iwo Jima, where the Duke reversed the phrase to the current lock and load.
The term lock in this phrase is a different use of the word than in references to the firing mechanism of a weapon, as in flintlock.
Word Origins
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Old August 7, 2005, 10:57 AM   #7
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We learned the term on the M1 as kids and it still makes sense to me. On "lock and load" you drew back the bolt until it locked open(if it wasnt already there), set the safety - "lock", then inserted a clip and let the bolt go home - "load". See, it still works as called.
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Old August 8, 2005, 11:33 AM   #8
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Never did know the exact meanining; I figured it went like this:

"Lock in a mag & Load the chamber."
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Old August 17, 2005, 12:39 PM   #9
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None of the above is quite accurate.

In modern military rifle parlance, the term "lock" means to apply the safety. In the days of the Model 1903 Springfield, shooters preparing to fire timed and rapid fired were ordered to "load and lock". With the bolt open, they inserted a clip, stripped the rounds into the magazine, closed the bolt and set the safety to ON to make the rifle safe. There was a possibility of accidental discharge while closing the bolt, but the bolt could not be operated with the safety on.

When the M1 rifle was introduced, it became apparent that it could be loaded with the safety on, and that that procedure was safer, so the command was changed to "lock and load". The shooter, with the rifle bolt to the rear, set the safety to ON, then loaded an "en bloc" clip and closed the bolt in complete safety.

The term "lock, stock, and barrel" really does refer to a firearm of the percussion or flintlock type. Since the lock, the stock, and the barrel were the main parts of that type of firearm, the phrase meant "the whole thing."

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Old August 17, 2005, 05:14 PM   #10
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The term has been around, Lock the magazine in, load a round, as mentioned above by a quicker poster.
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Old August 17, 2005, 07:01 PM   #11
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But back in the days John Wayne was making sands of Iwo Jima and made those words famous, the standard infrantry weapon was the garand. No mag to lock in place, just a clip (since it's internal, I think "clip" applies even though it's not a stripper clip per se) that was slapped in place. Then the weapon was loaded by releasing the bolt. And of course the safety was left on, because you don't want a bunch of edgy marines about to hit the beach with their weapons off safety earlier than they had to.

That's the way I understand it, anyway.

I guess what the duke should have said was: "OK men, those of you with Garands or Springfields, load and lock. Those with carbines, grease guns or Thompsons, lock and load. If I'm missing anybody, figure it out for yourself ... PILGRIM!"

I have no idea what the true history is. I like the first answer and all the variations on it the best, but irregardless of how the feat is carried out it will always be "lock and load" to me.

And in my head I'll be hearing the Duke's voice.
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