As the 1st recruits can attest, the original issued weapons were known officially as the M1942 .30 semi-automatic, gas operated carbine (This is my weapon, this is my gun). The gas operated short piston, rotating bolt design (similar to Ruger’s Mini series) was simple & easy to maintain. Stoppages were few & far between. The M1 soon became a favorite of troops, especially at 5.5 lbs & 30 rnd box magazine rather than the 9.5 lb, 8 rnd capacity of the Garand. A 10 mile hump can easily prove this out. Even through the diminished stopping power of the 110gr .30 cartridge traveling at 1.950 fps vs. the Garand’s .30 round traveling at 2,800 fps, troops enjoyed the ease of handling, light weight, & fast reload.
The little carbine was a primary weapon from WWII through the early years of Vietnam. Perhaps one of the most prolific shoulder arms next to the Kalashnikov family of weapons. To this day it is still popular in it’s original form as well as the shortened, pistol grip Iver Johnson “Enforcer” model. It is still made in many countries and continues to be issued to military & police around the world as an auxiliary long-arm.
During the heyday of the M1, it was manufactured by such diverse companies such as:
- National Postal Meter
- General Signal (General Motors)
- Saginaw Steering Gear (GM)
- Inland Manufacturing (GM)
- Rock-Ola Juke Box
- Quality HardwareRochester Defense
- Rochester Defense
- Standard Products
By the time the M1 was phased out from U.S. service in the late 60’s, there were several variants:
- M1 .30 Carbine, semi-auto.
- M1A1 .30 Carbine: semi-auto, folding skeleton stock for airborne troops.
- M2 .30 Carbine, select fire by means of a selector, modified sear, hammer & fire control group housing.
- M3/T3 .30 Carbine. Essentially an M2 but fitted with optical attachment points for both standard optics as well As the new light-gathering starlight scope.
Only some 2,100 M3/T3 carbines were produced compared to about 5,123,000 M1s’ & M2s’
Of interesting note is that when Brit troops began seeing the little M1, they demanded a more compact and light primary weapon. The result was the Lee Enfield Mod. 5 with it’s 10 rnd magazine & 18.7” barrel & rubber ecoil pad compared to the Model 4’s 25” barrel along with a weight reduction of 3 lbs.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions. Email me directly or through KGI, I’ll be happy to address any inquires.
Meanwhile, if you suddenly Have an attack of the “gotta haves”, contact or go over to KGI…tell ‘em I sent you…!
Adrian J. Canton
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