M1 Carbine

An overview of the iconic United States military issue Personal Defense Weapon of World War Two.

by RK Campbell

If there has ever been a tribute to American manufacturing ability it is the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1. Over six and one half million M1 Carbines were manufactured. By and large they are reliable and trouble free. The single most common complaint was poor wound potential, but this occurred when the rifle was pushed beyond its role as a Personal Defense Weapon. It isn’t a 200 yard rifle, it is a PDW, even though the term was not yet coined in 1942 when the Carbine entered service.

The Carbine is a neat little long gun. It is traditional with the exposed barrel and cut down stock of a carbine, as in Krag and Springfield style. However, the carbine uses a low power cartridge rather than the full-powered cartridge of the service rifle. Tank crewmen, truck drivers, ammo bearers, and officers had previously been armed with a handgun and the idea was to give these troops a service weapon superior to the handgun but not as heavy and difficult to manage as the full-powered, full-size M1 Garand service rifle.

Winchester succeeded admirably with the M1 Carbine and it remains popular for personal defense, some forms of competition in special side matches, and for recreation. While normal repairs sometimes center upon a lack of lubrication and a need for cleaning, some shooters will wish to have the rifle accurized. Increasing accuracy potential is possible and the effort is minimal.

Read more in the September 2017 issue.

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