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“load and lock” vs. “lock and load”
2014/10/15
8:02am
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EmmettRedd
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This Ngram shows the relative frequency of the two phrases in the topic. The second does not clearly outnumber first until the 1970s and appears to continue exponentially outnumbering it.

The origin of the first phrase seems to obviously come from the late 1800s as instructions on how to operate a projectile weapon (whether gun or rifle and I’ll use ‘gun’ to mean both from now on). While mathematically and logically AND is commutative, when used in instructions, the order is usually important and not commutative. Specifically, in many guns, the cartridge has to be loaded into the firing chamber before the action can be locked (also known as ‘applying the safety’).

I propose that the phrase started to be used by persons unfamiliar with gun operation and that the second phrase sounds better to the ear. So much, in fact, that our favorite, precise android, Data, made a mistake when using the second phrase in ‘Insurrection’.

Any thoughts?

Emmett

2014/10/15
10:30am
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Peano
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EmmettRedd said
Specifically, in many guns, the cartridge has to be loaded into the firing chamber before the action can be locked (also known as ‘applying the safety’).
Any thoughts?

Emmett

I think the “lock” part refers to locking the bolt back so the breech is open for loading. Hence, first lock and then load.

2014/10/15
10:45am
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EmmettRedd
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Peano said

I think the “lock” part refers to locking the bolt back so the breech is open for loading. Hence, first lock and then load.

Not if one reads the 19th century military training manuals that one finds in the links below the Ngram graph.

2014/10/15
12:57pm
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Heimhenge
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My brother is an avid NRA-card-carrying gun fanatic, and he also observed that Data said “lock and load” in that movie. He pointed out that the phrase was really irrelevant, since they were using phaser-type weapons (which don’t need to be “locked” or “loaded”), but was a cool thing for the character to say given the western type of atmosphere in that scene. He also pointed out that, for new weapons, one actually “unlocks (ejecting the spent shell casing), loads, and re-locks” but that in earlier days (as EmmettRedd points out) the expression was indeed “load and lock.” Why that changed to “lock and load” is almost certainly due to the influence of that Star Trek movie, imho.

2014/10/15
1:28pm
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EmmettRedd
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Heimhenge said

…Why that changed to “lock and load” is almost certainly due to the influence of that Star Trek movie, imho.

The big increase in the supremacy of “lock and load” started about 1970. The movie was from 1998. So, I think the movie reflected the more common use of “lock and load”.

2014/10/15
1:54pm
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Peano
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Lock and load is precisely the sequencing used for loading a flintlock. The flintlock is first placed at the half-cock (i.e., at the locked) position, and is then loaded ….

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AFlintlock#Origin_of_.22Lock_and_Load.22

2014/10/15
4:26pm
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Heimhenge
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Reading further into that link than the quote provided above by Peano, it notes there is some disagreement about the origin of the modern usage. It does cite the 1949 movie Sands of Iwo Jima, where “lock and load” is spoken by John Wayne. And if you look at the Ngram cited by EmmettRedd at the start of this post, that’s around the year when the usage begins to climb.

I hereby retract my previous statement about Star Trek Insurrection (1998) being the origin of the phrase’s popularity, but from that Ngram chart, it sure seems to have caused a spike.

2014/10/16
6:48am
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EmmettRedd
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Peano said

Lock and load is precisely the sequencing used for loading a flintlock. The flintlock is first placed at the half-cock (i.e., at the locked) position, and is then loaded ….

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AFlintlock#Origin_of_.22Lock_and_Load.22

Peano,
Thanks for the source. I had wondered if the flintlock was related to the lock part of the phrases. That was the reason for my Ngram search. It is good to see that the source verifies the Ngram results, i.e. there is no evidence that the first phrase was used until the late 19th or early 20th centuries. And the second phrase only appears about 50 years later.
Emmett

2014/10/16
7:07am
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Peano
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A commenter on another forum said the term “lock and load” was used in the Manual of Arms that was issued to soldiers in the Continental Army. The manual was written at George Washington’s behest. Whether that is accurate, I do not know.

2014/11/04
10:48pm
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EmmettRedd
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Heimhenge said

… He also pointed out that, for new weapons, one actually “unlocks (ejecting the spent shell casing), loads, and re-locks” but that in earlier days (as EmmettRedd points out) the expression was indeed “load and lock.”…

The Vietnam War and M-16 may, indeed, be the answer. The timing is right. And, after recently shooting an AR-15, I noticed its safety would be ‘on’ (i.e. locked in the 19th-century meaning) whether loading or unloading the weapon.

Since safety is critically observed at firing ranges, and modern weapons allow it, ‘lock and load’ makes sense. That is, ‘lock’ the safety on before ‘loading’ the round into the chamber. Then, there is no tricky time when the weapon is not locked until ready to fire, contrary to the older weapons which were unlocked after loaded until a required operation locked them. This is a short time for one following proper procedures, but could be a long time if the operator ‘forgot’ to lock the weapon.

2014/11/05
1:01am
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deaconB
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EmmettRedd said 
The origin of the first phrase seems to obviously come from the late 1800s as instructions on how to operate a projectile weapon (whether gun or rifle and I’ll use ‘gun’ to mean both from now on).

I understand that in basic training, drill instructors come down on trainees who refer to their rifle as a gun, teaching them the chant “This is my rifle. This is my gun. This is for fighting, and this is for fun.”  

But while invention of the Pennsylvania Rifle conserved precious lead by using a smaller projectile and higher muzzle velocity, it only was able to maintain accuracy by rifling the barrel to put a spin on it.  So is gun defined as a smooth-bore weapon?  Don’t they rifle the bore of cannons?

Collins attests “guns” from 2006 to mean a woman’s rack, and the Urban Dictionary defines guns as meaning biceps, especially powerful ones, but I can’t find any reference that mentions the male genitalia. The word apparently comes from the woman’s name Gunilda.

mid-14c., gunne “an engine of war that throws rocks, arrows or other missiles,” probably a shortening of woman’s name Gunilda, found in Middle English gonnilde “cannon” and in an Anglo-Latin reference to a specific gun from a 1330 munitions inventory of Windsor Castle ( “…una magna balista de cornu quae Domina Gunilda …”), from Old Norse Gunnhildr, woman’s name, from gunnr + hildr, both meaning “war, battle.” First element from PIE *gwhen- “to strike, kill” (see bane ); for second, cf. Hilda.

I guess “Guns don’t kill people, but women do.”  Women who don’t read this forum, that is; I don’t want anyone stalking me with a weapon in hand.

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