Talk:lock and load
There is no history of the command to cock, lock and load with the M-16, the m1 Garand or the M-16, there are references to the command lock and load as early as the Krag- Jorgenson for infantry rifles. The term was anecdotally in use on the USS Philipean sea in 1945 and in marine corp training (San Diego) during WWII on the rifle ranges; the term is much older however.
During the age of sail, muzzle loading cannon could not be used reliably in rainy or damp weathers using the matchlock system. In 1785-1795 there was a movement in the US and Royal Navy to move to flint locks despite a resistance of senior officials to change. This meant that flintlock weapons with cock or swan neck hammers grudgingly gained acceptance. Moisture was a still a problem, since moisture on the frizzen or damp powder would prevent the weapon from firing.
In hostile waters commanders would order their cannon loaded (charge and shot) but did not want the locks with priming powder to be mounted and left for extended periods of time lest the priming powder also become damp. They would have tampons installed on the gun muzzles to keep the moisture out.
Should action become likely the commanders would order that locks be installed on the cannon (locked and loaded). If action became imminent the commander or master may order guns to be cocked, locked and loaded. This means a powder charge and shot would be rammed down the barrel, the lock installed and primed, and the cock or hammer pulled to the rear. Cocked, locked and loaded was the informal term for the highest level of readiness in the navy (something like defcon one or weapons free in the modern navy).
Disputed that the order was ever used in the US military?
It is indisputable that this order was given as late as at least 2006. I received the order to "lock and load" on a daily basis. US troops leaving the wire (a protected area, such as a forward operating base) would be ordered to "lock and load" their primary weapon just inside the outermost gate. Upon entering, they received the order to "clear" all weapons. Source: any solder or marine who has served in the last ten years. 220.127.116.11 13:45, 26 July 2013 (UTC)