Looking for a light and compact weapon to equip its new Airborne units, the US military adopted the M1A1 Carbine in May of 1942. This was mechanically identical to the existing M1 Carbine but with a wire-frame side folding stock in place of the standard wooden stock. This allowed the M1A1 to fit into a very handy leg bag for paratroops.
Deliveries began in October 1942, with all of the guns being manufactured by the Inland company. A total of 140,591 were made in two batches (71,000 between October 1942 and October 1943 and another 69,000 between April and December 1944). This is a very small fraction of the more than 6 million M1 Carbines made during the war, and the M1A1 has become quite notable and desirable for its association with elite Airborne units. As a result, reproduction and fake stocks abound, and are quite difficult to tell from original ones.
Today we are going to look at some of the specific features that can help you authenticate an M1A1 stock.