ammo clip tapping

In Viet Nam, when loading the clip in an M16, why did the soldiers tap the clip against their helmet, or was that just in the movies? If so, why was that in the script?

To align the rounds in the magazine and/or knock loose any accumulated dirt; either can cause misfeeds (“jams”). Also possibly a superstitious “luck” ritual.

Here’s an older thread on the topic.

Just to clarify, you are referring to magazines, not clips.

It knocks all the rounds to the rear of the magazine, like tapping a deck of cards on a table squares them up nicely.

FYI: This is a magazine, and this is a clip…

Yeah, I tapped my mags against my helmet or the stock of my M-16A1. The story was by lining up the bases of the rounds, you’d be less likely to get a misfeed. I didn’t know how true that was, but I didn’t see much harm in doing so. Even though the M-16A1 corrected the problems with the the M-16, well, there’s nothing more superstitious than a GI in combat. So we tapped our mags.

… This is for fighting, this is for grip"?

Yeah, and they’re named Charlene!

I was wondering: Did people also do this in order to “free up” the rounds inside the magazine? After being stored, they might have gotten a bit stuck to the sides or each other and after a tap they would move more smoothly. Ditto the spring mechanism.

Did it make the rounds last longer, too?

Magazines shouldn’t be used for long term storage.