The M-1 Carbine. “Oh yeah!” says the modern movie buff, “that’s what the men at Iwo Jima and Omaha beach used in WW2! Big rifle that shoots a .30-06 round.”
*Wink* Yes and no. Yes it’s what many men at Iwo Jima and Omaha beach carried, though it wasn’t a main battle rifle. It was a Personal Defense Weapon for auxiliary units, officers and NCOs that needed something lighter than a M1 Garand or Thompson and something with a bit more firepower than a .45 Automatic 1911. It looks like the M1 Garand and the AK-47 got married and had a little boy and his name was M1 Carbine.
It shoots a .30 Carbine round with a 110 gr. bullet. Significantly less powerful than the .30-06. In the years following WW2 a select fire version designated the M2 Carbine was built which allowed for full automatic fire.
Most gun enthusiasts who do know what this weapon is often downplay it as “just a puny toy” or “something somebody carried when they didn’t really need a weapon.”
But the fact is: these people are looking at it the wrong way. It’s not an assault rifle or a battle rifle and was never meant to be.
The best way I can describe it is this: It is a cross between an assault rifle and a sub-machine gun. And has a lot of advantages too.
It is smaller and more compact than an AK47 or M16 (and even the M4 or AR Carbine) and is more powerful than a sub-machine gun.
Often people will laugh at the M1/M2 Carbine and turn around and talk about how great the Thompson submachine gun is. The M1/M2 Carbines are actually more powerful and have longer range than the Thompson. The .30 Carbine fires a 110 gr. 30 caliber bullet with a velocity of 1900 ft per second, more or less, out of a 16 inch carbine rifle barrel. That’s roughly equal to a .357 Magnum in a rifle.
For myself, the gun makes an excellent vehicle carry gun whether I am in the truck traveling or on the lawn tractor mowing in the woods. Doesn’t have the bulk or weight of an AR or Shotgun. Almost feels like a part of my arm. The recoil isn’t any different than a an AR-15 .223 Remington.
People often view the M1 Carbine as taking a 15 round magazine weapon (not bad capacity really) with two extra 15 round magazine pouch on the butt stock. However, what many people don’t realize is that the M1 Carbine actually has available for it 30 and even 40 round banana magazines (it’s there where you see the AK47 relation.) The .30 round magazine was developed around the time when the select fire M2 Carbine was introduced for added capacity with the full automatic. (As a side note, it’s one of the easiest guns for me to bump fire from the shoulder and still keep a tight pattern. Almost like playing a guitar with your trigger finger. However, this is, more or less, more for fun than anything else.)
The M-1 Carbine I believe is a very serious weapon and definitely has a place among those interested in history as well as those interested in a Personal Defense Weapon for the home, car or woods.
Originals can often be found in sporting goods stores as well as gun shows. New ones, however, are made by Auto Ordinance and can be viewed on their website. They cost around $700, more or less, new and in the box.*
*The Auto Ordinance versions come in the box very basic. They have no bayonet lug, they have no adjustable rear sight. The rear sight is a flip sight that adjust from high or low (and is very easy to get bumped from one way to the other or in between). HOWEVER, adjustable rear sights, bayonet lugs as well as additional magazines can be found at Fulton Armory as well as from sites such as Midway and CheaperthanDirt for very reasonable prices.