I’m willing to bet that at least some of the reading audience did not know that firearms have generated several turns-of-phrase that still of relative common use in today’s lexicon. We’re going to go over a couple of the ones you might have heard, and what their origins are.
One phrase I’m guessing everyone has heard, especially if you watch war movies is “lock and load”; which has graduated to the general lexicon. It’s current usage means “get or be ready” for whatever action may happen. With the M1 Garand, we wouldn’t have this handy phrase for overzealous business majors to use in class. The phrase was originally “load and lock”, which referred to inserting a clip (I don’t get to say that much…clip clip clip clip) into the M1 Garand, and locking the bolt forward. An alternate interpretation suggest that the phrase was originally “lock and load” and referred to locking the bolt in the rearward position prior to inserting the clip into the rifle.
No matter the origin, the phrase was immortalized by John Wayne in the movie The Sands of Iwo Jima; and was also uses later in both Platoon, and one of the Star Trek movies.
The next phrase is “flash in the pan”, which is currently used to describe bands, actors, or artists that have one hit and then disappear. Its usage is similar to “shooting star”, and “one hit wonder”.
This phrase has its genesis in the days of flintlock weapons. Back then, loose powder was carried in “the pan” of your weapon; which would in theory ignite the main powder charge. However, as flinters were and are notoriously unreliable, a “flash in the pan” would sometimes occur, where the powder in the pan would burn but not ignite the main charge. The result would be a pretty lightshow, and a very unhappy soldier.
That concludes today’s “gun induced grammar” lesson; feel free to add your own in the comments section!