Oleg Volk discusses the subject of fire discipline in a world where standard magazine capacities are larger than they were historically (6 round revolver vs. 17 round Glock) but ammunition carried by shooters at any one time remains limited.
When magazine rifles became preeminent in military use at the end of 19th century, mechanical magazine cutoffs were all the rage. You can see it in the photo above, a metal wedge designed to allow single loading into the chamber while keeping a full magazine in reserve. You can’t blame the armies for wanting those devices, as they were designed to reduce several problems at once:
An individual soldier seldom carried more than 60 rounds of ammunition and resupply was often uncertain
Rifle magazines held five to eight rounds and had to be reloaded with loose cartridges.
Other than in the UK, most soldiers were draftees with only moderate training
Black powder smoke made rapid fire relatively ineffective in short order
By the end of the 1890s, most major armies adopted smokeless ammunition and clip loading for box magazines. But the supply issue had not changed, and the magazine cutoffs remained until World War One production simplifications and combat experience relegated them to the dust bin of history.
Read the full article here.