Clips, Cans, Class 3 – Stop the Madness


see no evil hear no evil leftism
Clips, Cans, Class 3 – Stop the Madness

USA – -( I’m sitting here in the dark typing on my laptop. The “Blizzard of 2019” is underway and we haven’t had power for several hours.

What I really meant to convey is that my shop and home are on the very end of the line from our small power providing cooperative. Translated loosely, if someone sneezes between our home and the Energy Company, our power goes out. I’m used to it. My wife? Not so much…

We all stay so busy building weapons and customizing in the shop, I rarely have much time to reflect. That hasn’t been the case for quite some time this very early morning. My mind drifted to a bur I occasionally get stuck under my saddle. The firearms industry has too many terminology myths. I ended up counting dozens that topped my list as important, but maybe we could knock off just a few as a start.

Weapon Clips.

Assault Clips
Assault Clips – The GunBan Lobby’s New Demon

This is one of the most commonly misused or misunderstood words in our sphere of interest. I’m not sure if this is a Hollywood thing, whether this was adopted from common use weapons of yesteryear, or whether we just soaked it up via osmosis. Regardless, the term “clip” has managed to permeate our firearms circles and I’ll need your help to halt this aggression. There certainly have been clips that are properly used and correctly named as such for use in various firearms. While most have been used to load a magazine, such as a detachable mag or internal box mag, most all simply hold ammunition in a fashion so they can be used to quickly load a magazine. The term “stripper clip” comes to mind as a very common one. Granted there are a couple of clips that actually load as an assembly, if you will, within a firearm, but 99% of the rest are magazines, misidentified as “clips”. I can assure you there are no such things as “clips” for your Ruger 10/22, your buddy’s Glock 22, or your neighbor’s AK47. They are magazines, or “mags” for short if you prefer.


Advanced Armament Corp Halcyon Modular Silencer Take Down
Advanced Armament Corp Halcyon Modular Suppressor parts breakdown

This little ditty is used incorrectly even by the ATF on their official forms. Instead, a bit of education will benefit us all. First off Silencers and NOT silent!

If there were ever something as nifty as a silencer, you can bet your patootie I’d be buying it. However, unless we figure out a way to negate basic physics, I don’t plan on filling out that form. There are two primary noises we’re concerned with in terms of weapon sound suppression. First, we have the sound of powder rapidly changing state from solid nearly instantly to gas. This is quite a boom, but we manage to tame it a bit with a suppressor. “Cans,” which is the slang term for suppressors, manage to act just like a car muffler. They allow gas to expand and rapidly cool, thus reducing the noise associated with a firing weapon. Unfortunately, when the projectile exits the muzzle and exterior ballistics are applied, the vast majority of projectiles are moving faster than the speed of sound. Just like a jet, breaking the sound barrier comes with a boom. Modern suppressors can tame the blast from a firing weapon, but negating the sonic crack of speedy bullets has yet to be wrangled.

Thus, they silence nothing and aren’t “silencers” in any sense of the word. The film industry would have you thinking otherwise, but suppressors are still quite loud, most of which only tame the decibel level to that of a lawnmower.

Class III

ATF Types of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs)
ATF Types of Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs)

My company, Controlled Chaos Arms holds, a firearms manufacturing license and we have a Special Occupational Tax Stamp, also known as an “SOT” to manufacture and deal with weapons such as silencers. Incorrectly referred to as “Class III” firearms by nearly everyone in America, I’m not going to give in and get used to this.

Class III actually refers to the classification of a FFL’s tax computation on an ATF Form 5630.7. Class III happens to designate a dealer of machine guns or NFA (National Firearm Act) weapons. Controlled Chaos Arms is a class II and falls under the ‘manufacturer’ of NFA items category. We can drop the “Class III” stuff and just refer to those items as “NFA” weapons, as they fall correctly under that entire umbrella National Firearms Act weapons.

We could use some brushing up on this. Thomas Paine wrote: “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”

Thus, it is incumbent on us all to stay sharp and help one another on our subject matter lingo. What gun-related language misues drive you nuts? Let me know and maybe we can execute that one next.

Michael Ware
Michael Ware

About Michael Ware:

Michael is a Christian husband and father to two children. He owns and operates Controlled Chaos Arms, a premier custom weapons shop in the Midwest. He serves as Chairman of the board of Directors at the Iowa Firearms Coalition. The pursuit of truth drives him in research and his writing.

Michael enjoys shooting, hunting, and fishing throughout the Midwest and Rockies. An avid outdoorsman and tireless supporter of all Second Amendment virtues, he can be found in his gun shop, in a tree stand with his kids, or on Capitol Hill lobbying in support of Freedom and Liberty at any given time.

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How about screw them, and say WE WILL NOT COMPLY any UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS,which all of these are.
The Const and Amendments and BOR’s,the Federalist papers, are clear, and NONE more so than the 2nd Amendment.”SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”,I CAN READ AND COMPREHEND VERY WELL WHAT PART OF THAT PART OF THE 2ND DO THESE PRICKS NOT UNDERSTAND?.


Amen, brother.


A term often used by the media that I dislike is “Illegal Guns”. This is a term that is never used correctly. The only “illegal guns” in our country are ones controlled by the National Firearms Act that are not registered under the National Firearms Act. If I cut the barrel of a rifle off to less than 16”, I have created an “illegal gun”. If I submit an ATF Form 1 to BATFE requesting to build a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR), once the form is approved, I can shorten the barrel and it is not illegal. When the term “illegal… Read more »


Even gun owners are usually clueless and the MSM and even politicians (both Sides) use the term Assault weapons/rifles, and have no clue what it TAKES to be a TRUE ASSAULT rifle,MUST BE( FULL auto/Semi Auto capable , and an intermediate powered center fire rifle round used.

The US military declares the M4 an Assault weapon, if it’s not capable of FULL auto fire IT IS NOT an Assault rifle or weapon.

You cant make something what it is NOT.Simply because it fits your narrative.


@B365 – I think that term is used even more broadly now. Bloomberg and his ilk pretty much use it for any firearm not in the possession of the authorities, or themselves (through proxy). So if I owned a 22LR bolt action rifle, in his mind it would be an illegal gun. Perhaps I misunderstand him – and it is only “unregistered” gun which he considers “illegal”. Because I live in a state where there is no registration – my contention still holds, as my hypothetical rifle would still be “illegal”. If I lived in a state requiring registration, perhaps… Read more »


It’s easy to get caught up with the ever-changing, progressive phrases that are used so pervasively that we adopt them without considering their implications. By using them, we ultimately support narratives that we would find objectionable if we recognized the purpose of these new phrases. For example, we no longer refer to “violent acts,” but to “acts of violence.” In doing so, we change the focus from the person’s actions and whether those actions are altruistic, beneficial, damaging, violent, etc. Instead, violence becomes the central focus and we then define the attributes of what constitutes violence, of which actions are… Read more »


For many I’ve spoken with, guns are inseparable from violence. Someone being beaten with a bat would be “gun violence” and breaking clays with a shotgun, or even having a firearm in a safe would also be “gun violence. This perversion of the language is a serious problem and quite an impediment to having a rational discussion with those subscribing to such bias.

Autsin Miller III

Fun article and we certainly have a lot of misused terms but as I understand it silencer isn’t one of them. I read an article on the inventor of the suppressor (his name escapes me) and in the patent application he calls it a silencer. IF I have remembered that correctly and the information is true (granted there are a lot of if’s there) then the correct term for a suppressor is in fact silencer.

Ej harbet

Term coined over 100 years ago archaic and non descriptive. Moderator is a better term as it moderates the problem it was invented to solve. But ill tell you what! Id camp out like a apple weinie waiting on the next i-phone to get my hands on a device that made my 22 or 9mm silent!

Autsin Miller III

I agree, moderator or suppressor better describes the function, it’s just not what the inventor named it so I don’t think one can fairly say that isn’t what it is. Frankly, I don’t get wound up about marginal or misuse of terms like “Clip” etc. so if everyone wants to go with moderator – suits me.
You may not have to wait too long on that silent 22 some of the current brands out do a great job of lowering the decibels, particularly with subsonic ammo. If they keep the sound reduction curve going they will get there!


Yes, Hiram Maxim invented the device and he called it a “silencer”. As I say when I teach, if someone invents something, they can name it whatever they want.

And, yes, silencers don’t actually silence.


If only my M1 Garand used magazines… it sure would make a 10-round volley less messy.

But then that would take the satisfying “ping” out of the experience.

Jay Dee

Actually I would like to ban silencers. You know, those gadgets you screw to the end of a gun barrel and the gun shot becomes whisper quiet. Specifically a device that can reduce the sound of a gun shot to less than 70 db is a silencer. Devices that don’t meet this standard are not silencers and should be removed from NFA control. This would be great fun passing this legislation. Democrats would feel compelled to vote for this legislation. They are the party of gun control. They cannot miss an opportunity to ban something gun related. What else could… Read more »


“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.” Correct! ‘Suppressors’ are an excellent example of a government wrongly, through misinformation, or simple greed, making these firearms attachments practically inaccessible to the ordinary citizen. Our problem, in relieving that NFA restriction on a beneficial item for shooters, hunters, or defenders, is that once an item is ‘taxed,’ removing that tax and restriction is almost an impossibility. The house of representatives passed the SHUSH Act; however, Senator McConnell has done nothing with it in the Senate but use it as a chair warmer.… Read more »

Old Scout

Point blank. Commonly used to denote CLOSE range, but it actually refers to the range at which the projectile crosses the sight line. For example, point blank range of am M16A1 is 25 and 250 meters, hardly what I would call close range.


I believe that “point blank” comes from the distance scale for artillery pieces. The zero elevation point on the scale was black, thus “point blank”.

Ej harbet

How about substituting stamp collector for those of us fortunate to have stamp item/s
Just need to ostracize misusers of “clips” and “magazines”,as well as delete the term silencer from the vocabulary like thee and thou. Sound moderator or just moderator is the proper decription. Cans is good slang. And brings thoughts of other wonder item/s we call cans.


@EH – “other wonder item/s we call cans.” – Are you thinking of going to the can, aka hitting the head? While flush toilets were a wondrous invention, greatly improving hygiene and population health – we no longer consider them a “wonder”. To turn a phrase – familiarity breeds contempt.


As the article suggest, magazine is the correct term, yet the author appears to approve dumbing down the term to mag or mags. We do this in every aspect of our lives – what do we call a Sergeant, (Sarge), or Lieutenant (LT, or butter bar). Hmmmm, reckon that now has to stop. Samantha we call Sam or Allan we call Al, or Daniel we call Dan…..and William, how the Hell did we start calling him Bill?!?!? Damn gotta stop that too huh? Webster’s dictionary refers to clips as mags. Weapons with stationary magazines (yes that which holds ammo) like… Read more »


Great article.