Lock Then Load

by
posted on October 15, 2012
20121015964-keefe_lock_load_blog_m.jpg

There is a clear demonstration of what the student was asked to do as part of the Rapid Fire exercise in the 1942 U.S. War Dept. Training Film (T.F. 7 1094) “Rifle Marksmanship with the M1 Rifle –Preparatory Training.” Going from standing to prone, on the command “LOCK, SIMULATE LOAD,” the student retracts the M1’s bolt, depresses the follower to simulate the loading of an en-bloc clip, the bolt travels forward to simulate the loading of a round in the chamber and then the shooter’s right index finger presses the safety rearward to the “on” position. Both acts are done in one smooth motion, but clearly the rifle was loaded before the safety was engaged. The commands “READY ON THE RIGHT, READY ON THE LEFT, READY ON THE FIRING LINE” ring out, at which point the shooter disengages the safety. The range officer then says “TARGETS UP,” and the shooter drops from standing to prone and begins to engage the targets with dry-firing.

The procedure seems consistent through the M1 and into the M14 era. In United States Army Marksmanship Training Unit Service Rifle Instructions And Coaches Guide 1967 Edition, the “LOCK “ is clearly intended as a command to manipulate the safety: “On command LOCK AND LOAD, he engages his safety and loads, making sure that the magazine is latched, a round in the chamber, and the bolt fully seated. On the command READY ON THE FIRING LINE, he unlocks the weapon.” Seems pretty clear, right? In FM No. 23-16 Automatic Rifle Marksmanship 23 June 1965, the commands for a firing exercise include “LOCK, ONE MAGAZINE OF THREE ROUNDS, LOAD.”

Once moving into the detachable box magazine era of the M16/M4 (remember the M14 could be loaded by stripper clips, too), it gets even more complicated. The Dept. of the Army’s FM 3-22.9 Rifle Marksmanship, M16-/M4-Series Weapons, August 2008, gives “LOCK ONE ROUND. LOAD.” and then “LOCK ONE OF THREE SINGLE ROUNDS. LOAD.” With the M16, the term “lock” is used to both direct manipulation of the safety, “LOCK AND CLEAR ALL WEAPONS,” as well as to “locking” of a magazine into the rifle, “FIRERS, LOCK YOUR FIRST 20-ROUND MAGAZINE. LOAD.”

So it appears individual rounds are locked, the safety is locked and the magazine is locked as well. Confused yet?

Latest

Morgan FRF2 Thumb
Morgan FRF2 Thumb

The French FR F2 Sniper Rifle

Conceived during the Cold War and after thirty years of service, the French are beginning to phase out the FR F2 bolt-action sniper rifle, with the surplus rifles available for sale from Navy Arms.

SIG Sauer P210: The Long-Lived Swiss Service Pistol

First designed in 1947, and formerly the official sidearm of the Swiss Army, the SIG Sauer P210 is still in production today, with a few modern upgrades.

The Winchester Model 94: History & Disassembly

Compact, reliable and powerful, Winchester's Model 1894 lever-actions may not have the popularity it once had with Western settlers, prospectors, law enforcement officers, hunters and ranchers, but its legacy remains today and is a fan favorite in Winchester's current product line.

NRA Gun of the Week: Fabarm USA Autumn

On this week’s “Gun of the Week” video preview, American Rifleman examines a first from Fabarm, a side-by-side break-action shotgun called the Autumn.

The Armed Citizen® Sept. 17, 2021

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

EOTech Launches Anti-Counterfeit Measures

EOTech has launched a campaign targeting those who create and sell illegal copies of its military sighting systems.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.