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    "Lock and Load"


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    Guest aviator

    The expression should be Load & Lock but this was corrupted by a Hollywood script writer who thought the reverse sounded better. Wordsmith gives the following

    "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."

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