Ken Hackathorn on the M1 Carbine: Reputation vs Reality

The M1 Carbine has long been a bit of an enigma to me, because I have never had really good luck with the design, and yet they were extremely popular with Americna soldiers, German soldiers, Korean soldiers, Vietnamese soldiers, and a great many other countries. So what’s the deal? Is it as simple as just that the Carbine was light and thus popular mostly with people who never had to actually fire them? Or is there something more going on?

Today we are speaking to Ken Hackathorn about this question. He has a lot of experience with M1 Carbines himself, as well as discussing them with many first-hand military and law enforcement folks who used them.


  1. Personally, I quite like the carbine. And as I get older, my estimation grows! It is one of the few guns I have entirely detail stripped down to every little part and reassembled, which increases confidence with it.
    My first was a Winchester-mfr. ex-RoKA gun imported by Blue Sky. Beat-to-death, front sight canted, and all sorts of reliability issues, which were improved when I replaced the springs. I have never had good luck with the M2 double-capacity magazines, so I stick with the 15 rounders.

    Now I have two Inlands. One was used postwar by the Bavarian Forestry Police under the U.S. AMGOT, and later given over to the Austrian landesgendarmerie in Steiermark. It has a red-dot sight set up similar to what Mr. Hackathorn describes. The other is an Italian F.A.Terni rebuild with a postwar 1950s-era Springfield Armory barrel. I have had some vexing reliability issues with it, which has required some tweaking on my part. I also had to replace the extractor.

    Very interesting observations, particularly regarding the “disposability” of the original magazines. U.S. armed forces enjoyed astounding logistics during WWII, hence the old saw about the Liberty Ship, the Jeep, and the M-1 rifle being keys to U.S. success. For a modern-day owner without a lavish logistics train however, this could spell trouble! Similarly to those of us with French MAS Mle. 1936 manually-operated turn-bolt guns: We don’t have a box of the different aperture sights to install to get the things zeroed, for the most part. And then the reputation suffers in civilian shooting communities.

    I would have to agree that the early style L-aperture sights and no bayonet lug guns look better. One of my Inlands has updated sights but no lug, while the F.A.T. has all of the “upgrades.”

  2. Superb weapon, especially when feeding from the 15 round magazine.

    A great Scrub Gun for Australia as there’s nothing worth shooting south of the Tropic of Capricorn that needs a larger cartridge

  3. Great interview.

    If I am not mistaken, the M1 Carbine was popular with the Chicago stake out squad early on. They had a lot of shoot outs with hardened criminals.

  4. My father was from a gun family, but the only rifle I ever heard him speak of fondly was the M1 Carbine he was issued in the Army. I bought him a new-manufacture Iver Johnson in 1984. I don’t know how much he shot it, but when I inherited it decades later the extractor spring was broken.

    I actually bought a bolt assembly jig and replaced that. I then enjoyed many years of shooting that little gun. However, those Eighties Iver Johnson rifles were notorious for the bolt lugs being too soft. They did eventually peen and I reluctantly retired the rifle. I recently bought a new-manufacture Auto Ordnance and am having some minor problems with the flip rear sight. Aside from that it is a joy to shoot.

  5. I knew a Special Forces A team leader who carried an M2 carbine (the selective fire version) early in the war, pre-M16. He filled the magazines with all tracer rounds and would direct unit fire by shooting the target. All troops would concentration fire on where the tracers went. He never mentioned reliability issues and those guys don’t tolerate crappy equipment.

    On a personal note, I have owned two M1 carbines for decades, shot thousands of rounds in each. The only time I had reliability issues was when using cheap crap reloads. As the disclaimer goes, “Individual results may vary.”

    • ““Individual results may vary.””
      WW2-era M1 Carbine should be interesting, if someone want to make study in cooperation, as it was manufactured (or assembled) by many entities, including that without prior experience in fire-arms production, for example IBM (yes that IBM of business machines fame)

  6. Long ago I had a civilian version made by Plainfield which unlike the Universal brand was made to GI specs (the stock was even inletted for the M-2 full auto parts). Anyway, it was a reliable gun, never had a feed issue. One trick was with the 30 rd. mags, where the straight section begins to curve, on the inside front there can be a rough edge of metal. Get in there with a file and smooth it out.

    • “One trick was with the 30 rd. mags, where the straight section begins to curve, on the inside front there can be a rough edge of metal.”
      Does anybody tried to make (aftermarket) straight-30 magazine? .30 Carbine is (slightly) tapered cartridge and 9×19 mm Parabellum being tapered seems to work good enough through straight magazines (like MP 40, MAB 38, Kpist m/45 just to name few)
      San Cristóbal carbine, which also utilize .30 Carbine cartridge, see photos:
      apparently was used with various magazines, M1 Carbine banana-30-like (if not itself) magazine, long straight, long curve, short straight (possibly M1 Carbine straight-15)

  7. “M1 Carbine”
    Indeed story of this weapon is interesting, just note that it was designed by Carbine Williams, when he was in prison and there was ever drama film about:

    Regarding weapon itself I would say it was U.S. equivalent of other nation’s sub-machine guns, especially M2 Carbine. Answer why they decided to do is two-fold, firstly .45 Auto cartridge with its low muzzle velocity (thus rainbow-like trajectory) and big mass of single cartridge is not well suited for sub-machine guns, secondly then (1942) available for U.S. sub-machine guns have shortcomings: Thompson was heavy and optimized to mass production, Reising lacked reliability in adverse conditions.

    • Correction: Carbine Williams, when in prison developed system which he later used in M1 Carbine, not M1 Carbine itself

      • By the way: as far as I know, the soviet AVS-36 and SVT-38 have short stroke gas piston. I wonder, how Williams’s idea spread and arrived to the Soviet Union.

        • Fëdor Tokarev’s gas system bleeds gas from the barrel fairly close to the muzzle. Carbine William’s fairly close to the chamber end. Tokarev’s goes through the typical port into a fixed (well, it is screwed in) pistol that has a little nut to adjust the amount–less in summer, more in winter. In the case of William’s design, there is no adjustment, and the gas is bled into a little chamber with a little tappet that is allowed to move back and forth under pressure, but not much at all. The Tokarev gas piston is engulfed by a cap or “valve” that pushes a rod back with a small separate return spring under the rear sight assembly. This gives a smack to the bolt carrier, which moves back and cams the bolt out of a locking surface, i.e. a “tilting bolt.” While the bolt carrier moves back, the return spring of the operating rod pushes it back into place over the gas piston. In the M1 carbine, the small captive tappet gives a sharp blow to the bolt carrier/op-rod, which moves back and cams the turning bolt so that the rotating locking lugs are turned out of their recesses, and then the bolt and bolt carrier/operating rod go back together to complete the cycle of operations. When the operating rod clanks forward, locking the turning bolt, it slams the tappet forward within its chamber.

          So the two designs are substantially different, IMO. William’s wouldn’t have worked with corrosive ammo. Neither Tokarev’s nor William’s design had an immediately dismountable gas system.

        • “soviet AVS-36(…) how Williams’s idea spread and arrived to the Soviet Union.”
          Possibly it was independent invention, AVS-36 as name imply was accepted for service in 1936, however Simonov started working on self-loading rifle earlier, no later than 1926, as in this year Simonov showed his design to Artillery Committee of Main Artillery Directorate, which judged fit for testing, many shortcoming were revealed, so it look long to work it out.

  8. My two cents on the M1 Carbine is that it was victimized by its own success.

    For a moment look at the long period between wanting a semi-automatic service rifle and the perfection of the US Rifle, Caliber .30, M1 (aka Garand). The Browning Machine Rifle was an attempt to put semiautomatic rifles in the hands of front-line riflemen and according to the Browning Arms Museum in Ogden, Utah, was in pre-production form by 1912. The US Army had been looking for a semiautomatic service rifle since the end of the 19th Century and if there had been a practical one available when the Springfield was developed, it would have been adopted. When the Garand was adopted, it wasn’t perfected until 1942. One of the problems was that the Garand was bulkier and heavier than the Springfield M1903 rifle–and that was acceptable because when the Garand was adopted in 1936 the Garand officially replaced the Browning Automatic Rifle (except that the BAR was retained en lieu of a light machine gun–the US Army spent its R&D on fielding the semiautomatic rifle and shorted light machine gun development funds), and the Garand replaced the Thompson Submachine Gun too–as well as the Springfield and the M1917 Enfield (the latter was standard for the National Guard and the Army of the Philippines). The Garand was smaller and lighter than the BAR, but larger than the Springfield and heavier, too. In troop trials of 1938 and 1940 the need for a “light rifle” was obvious.

    The M1 Carbine was supposed to have 20 shot and 50 shot magazines and be selective fire–and weigh only five pounds, have a 300 yard effective range, and replace the pistol AND the submachine gun. The M1 Carbine was the second attempt to replace the submachine gun (and then the M14 Rifle would be intended to replace the Carbine, Garand, Browning Automatic Rifle and the submachine gun!).

    As of October 1941 the Light Rifle Program was going to field two magazine sizes: 10 round and 20 round. The select-fire capability had been dropped in the hopes of getting the Light Rifle into the field in time for war. The original 20 round and 50 round requirements matched the Thompson Submachine Gun magazine capacities of 20 rounds (type XX) and 50 rounds (type L)–there was a 100 round drum for the Thompson that may not have been practical. When the first US Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 reached combat troops, the only magazines available for the gun were 15 round magazines.

    Magazine design has come a long way. I disagree with Hackathorn that the M1 Carbine magazines were crap–they were typical of the period. The M1911 pistol magazines had flaws. The Browning Automatic Rifle magazine was originally designed as a disposable item loaded at the factory–but economics mandated that the empty magazines be saved and reloaded. The weakest spot of 20th Century automatic weapons was magazine–every student of small arms design knows this. The original all-steel waffle-stamped AR-15 magazines were intended as disposable, but economics dictated otherwise. Even the M1911 pistol magazine was flawed–the feed lips are easy to damage, the follower design can be improved, the thin magazine body will be hammered and dented by recoil and the cartridges slapping back and forth. In summary, the M1 Carbine magazines were mass-produced items that were on par with other magazines of the period. Ask BAR gunners how often they replaced their magazines.

    Expecting the M1 Carbine to emulate the water-cooled heavy machine gun was unrealistic–but one criticism of the Carbine is that it couldn’t do that. When the M2 Carbine came out, troops armed with the Carbine were not drilled in automatic fire, but often these troops expected their Carbines to perform the same fire missions as the Browning Automatic Rifle–to provide light machine gun firepower. Mission creep set in and the M1 Carbine gained a bayonet, gained select-fire capability, improved sights, the M8 rifle grenade launcher, and there were even attempts to turn the M1 Carbine into a sniping weapon. The infrared night scope was put on the M2 Carbine (and labeled M# Carbine) because the weight of the Snooper Scope and its battery pack (along with its limited range) ruled out putting the primitive IR scope sight on something like the BAR.
    The all-up weight of 28 pounds might not have included ammunition in 30 round magazines–or might have just been one magazine.

    The M1 Carbine replaced pistol and Springfield Rifles in the hands of service and support troops and front-line non-riflemen (mortar and machine gun crews for two examples). These Carbine-armed troops may not have had the full infantry soldier training program and the percentage of Carbine-armed soldiers who were crack shots was smaller than the percentage of crack shots armed with the Garand. Colonel John George and Lieutenant Audie Murphy were two exceptions, expert marksmen armed with the Carbine at least some of the time. Many combat soldiers swore that they had hit enemy soldiers with 10 or 20 or even 30 shots from their Carbines and observed zero effect–failed to drop or stop or even make the enemy flinch. A rack grade M1 Carbine using service ammunition might be able to print a 4 or 6 inch shot group at 100 yards from a shooting bench and a sniper rifle of the period was expected to put all shots in less than 2 inches at the same distance–the standards of accuracy were different back then. Not everybody was a competent rifleman and battlefield stress combined with fatigue and undertraining make it unlikely that a Carbine-armed soldier would out perform a trained sniper using a specialty weapon. I suspect that there was a higher percentage of misses with the Carbine under battlefield conditions than anybody wants to admit–even at hand grenade distance. If there’s no hits, then of course Carbine bullets will fail to drop the enemy! Reports from Korea that bullets bounced off ice-covered Chinese quilted uniforms are not credible.

    By the way, there were also reports of .45 caliber bullets from pistols and submachine guns bouncing off these Chinese uniforms in Korea, too. When pitted against submachine guns and pistols on known distance (KD) ranges, the M1 Carbine is very accurate. Pitting the M1 Carbine against the M1903 Springfield on the range gives the older rifle the advantage–but in simulated battlefield conditions at distances of up to 200 yards and in the hands of equally well-trained or untrained troops, the M1 Carbine will both exhibit increased hit probability and increased fire volume over the more powerful (and more accurate) Springfield.

    The old Known Distance rifle marksmanship qualification course was at distances of 200 yards, 300 yards, and 600 yards (later at 500 yards)–the M1 Carbine is unable to stay on the 12 inch bulls eye at 300 yards and is pretty much a waste of time at 500 yards and 600 yards. Most soldiers aren’t really adequate marksmen on the range at distances beyond 300 yards–let alone combat–but with training and ballistic capability it is possible to get good 500 meter range scores. Just ask the Marines, the service that kept its KD course when the Army went TrainFire.

    When looking at the big picture, the Carbine was an astounding and absolute success. Gun snobs and armchair generals sneer at the M1 Carbine as junk because the M1 Carbine cannot do everything the M1 Rifle can. Or the BAR. Remember that the M1 Rifle (the Garand) was intended to replace all Springfield Rifles, Enfield Rifles, BAR’s and submachine guns in the hands of American soldiers. The Garand didn’t–but isn’t rated as a failure. The M1 Carbine was supposed to replace all front-line pistols, rifles in the hands of non-riflemen, and the submachine gun. The M1 Carbine was so successful that the US Army forced itself to supply another caliber cartridge to front-line troops in addition to the .30 rifle cartridge–and the .45 caliber pistol cartridge that the M1 Carbine replaced in the submachine gun and pistol.

    Not bad for a useless piece of junk!

    • “M1 Carbine replaced pistol and Springfield Rifles in the hands of service and support troops and front-line non-riflemen (mortar and machine gun crews for two examples).”
      Recently U.S. Army released RFI (Request For Information) for SCW (Sub Compact Weapon)
      which apparently is supposed to fill that role. It remains unclear for me what is relation between Sub Compact Weapon and sub-machine gun, is one subset of another (which?) or they are mutually exclusives or equal to each other?

    • regarding the M1 carbine in Korean winter. When making ammunition for service weapons a given cartridge must work in both hot conditions, where background heat increases chamber pressure, and in cold conditions where cold saps heat, and with it, chamber pressure. In regular conditions, a .30 carbine round is very unlikely to bounce off of anything. But in Korea, in a snowstorm, when your rounds are barely producing enough heat to cycle the weapon, very possible. It’s a shame I dont have access to a cold storage warehouse and some antique ammunition, might be a valid experiment.

    • Regarding the IR set up, apart from weight the IR spotlight was only good to about 2-300 metres so it would have been wasted on a full size rifle anyway. The M1 was pretty much ideal in that role.

  9. Audie Murphy, the World War II hero, favored the carbine, carried it often, and could shoot it accurately one-handed. And he was not a big strapping guy.

  10. Hi,
    In the Netherlands the army and police after WWII were armed with M1-carbines. All M1’s were refurbished by the national AI ordnance company to the latest specs, often with new barrels, sturdy 15-shot magazines and new wood furniture. No original rifle anymore, just mixed parts.

    In the 80’s these were sold to sport shooters and were extensively used by them. Special M1-carbine competitions were very popular. Military grade .30M1 dump ammo could be bought and later on often of these sturdy shells were reloaded.

    Reliability was never an issue in the 80’s and 90’s competitions. I personally fired my M1 25.000 times without any failure. Normal accuracy is about 1 1/2 – 2 inches at 100 yards when there is a light upward pressure on the barrel in the wood and with quality ammo.

    However, the bolts and other parts were exchanged by some without any care for head space. Not cleaned properly. Reloaded case lengths were not checked. And also the parts and springs are now at least 35 years old. Not surprisingly some carbines blew up due to a cracked bold, giving the M1 a bad reputation.

    In my opinion it still is a very reliable rifle and very effective up to 150 yards. But it needs attention on head space and ammo. And use military grade 15-shot magazines and the later specs parts.

  11. The original RfP for the Carbine states that it was intended to “replace the pistol, sub-machine gun (i.e., the Thompson 1921/28) and some shotguns” with support troops like transportation, etc. There’s a reason it was often called “the cooks’ rifle” in its early days.

    Edwin Tunis, in his 1954 book Weapons, called the Carbine “The pistol that looks like a rifle”, intended for troops who ‘don’t often need a ‘shootin’ iron’, but when they do, need it badly”. He noted that while the .30 Carbine round was much less powerful than the Garand’s .30-06, it had considerably more power than the .45 ACP pistol round. He also noted that (a) any rifle-type weapon is inherently easier for non-experts to actually hit something with, especially under stress, and (b) paratroopers liked the folding stock version because they could bring it with them and land shooting, instead of waiting for the Garands to come down in drop canisters on the next pass by the Skytrooper.

    As far as tactical effectiveness, the standard Carbine load (110-grain FMJ) leaves the muzzle at 1,900 F/S for about 880 FPE, dropping to about 450 FPE at its maximum sighted range of 300 yards. This means that the Carbine hits as hard out there as any 9 x 19mm or .45 SMG does at the muzzle. It also weighs less fully loaded, and has both less recoil and greater accuracy, mainly due to being a gas-operated, closed-bolt firing arm as opposed to a blowback open-bolt advanced primer ignition system.

    In all respects, the Carbine in its original .30 caliber is superior to any and all SMGS, whether WW2 vintage or later. Yes, even the vaunted H&K MP-5. I have shot both side by side, and whether the criteria is accuracy, hitting power, or hard-target penetration out to 300 yards (which is a foolishly long shot for a 9 x 19mm, even a closed bolt one), the Carbine always wins hands down.

    Incidentally, the mid-1980s decision by many police and sheriff’s tactical teams, such as Columbus OH PD, to change over from the Carbine as their primary weapon to the MP-5 in 9 x 19mm was mainly due to federal grants being available to buy the H&Ks. At the same time, they changed from the S&W M66 revolver in .357 Magnum to the M1911A1 in .45 ACP, which was a step down in power and frankly a less reliable sidearm. (Stainless-steel DA revolvers are about as failure-proof as it gets in the real world; trust me, I’ve actually been there.)

    The main result of the changeover was to provide the generally anti-police news media with something else to howl about. The wood-stocked Carbine and “silvery” DA revolver just didn’t look as “militarized” as the dead-black HK and the dark blue-black Colt automatic. Never mind that the “obsolescent” Carbine and Magnum wheelgun are actually superior tactical weapons, compared to their successors.

    One CPD spokesman said the change was motivated by “ammunition interchangeability” between the two. Excuse me? Since when can you use .45 ACP in a 9 x 19mm, or vice versa?

    Later, CPD did in fact go to 9 x 19mm handguns, which would have been the logical replacement for the .357 revolvers (comparable power plus greater capacity), but by then they were using M4 carbines in .223, which was what they probably should have replaced the .30 Carbines with from the beginning. Oh, well, all’s well that ends, as Col. Cooper used to say.

    The .30 Carbine hasn’t really “evolved” since its inception. Mainly for the same reason that double-action, solid frame revolvers haven;’t changed substantially since S&W and Colt introduced such designs in the 1890s. They were, and are, perfectly adequate for their missions “as is”.

    As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.



    • I am so glad someone has addressed this issue of police weaponry: the federal grants that placed those MP5 SMGs in the hands of law enforcement did not do any favors to line officers. The carbines, if well-maintained, do indeed shine in an LEO role: that is why the Israeli police and civilians still carry them. The wooden furniture of the carbine provides yet another function for CQ combat as an emergency impact weapon. And finally to the .357 revolver: it was easier for firearms staff to place near idiot proof Glocks in the hands of officers and train them than to encourage tactical excellence with a full power weapon. Thanks for your observations,

  12. Great conversation and great tips (buying wolf springs now). The Marine Corps improved the M16 sights because only hits count. Anyone who has ever shot the M16A1 and A2 would have to agree it is a much better sighting system on the A2. The Marine Corps continues that tradition today with the ACOG. Rounds on target, not noise and smoke.

  13. Over my USAF career I started with M-1, M-2 Carbine and finished with the M-16 and along the way used a Match M-1 Garland in competition. I loved the carbine and hated the ammo and am damn glad I didn’t have to face the enemy with it. I owned two M-1’s in civilian life and it’s fun. The M-1&2 and AR-15 or combat M-16 all have much in common, you can carry a whole bunch of low performing ammo and the rifles are easy to become a marksman. We learned in “NAM”, heavy accurate battle rifles with 165 gr. bullets are the past and ammo logistics and “fire on target” have replaced accurate well placed shots. I have to say one more thing. Before the M-16 was invented I was in SAC when General LeMay experimented with the AR-15 for only SAC Security troops. I have to clarify the AR-15 is the Armalite Rifle, Stoner design that entered the market as a civilian and law enforcement new technology. It is no combat or assault weapon, the M-16 born in the jungles of “NAM” is our battle rifle, that’s Assualt.

  14. I have an IAI carbine (Israel Arms Inc. out of Texas) that I bought around 19 or so years ago. I mounted it in a surplus Korean GI stock, added a wolf spring, and it has provided thousands of rounds worth of enjoyment ever since.

  15. —Bearing in mind the average age of any OEM M1/M2 Carbine is headed rapidly towards 80 years, any prudent user damn well better replace all those springs about NOW.
    —There is such a thing as too much power. Dad used to relate a story of an irate marital encounter involving a philandering wife, a ca 1950 housing project, and a Garand loaded with AP. Also directly involved, so the story goes, was a great number of thinly constructed exterior/interior walls, five refrigerators, four ovens, three bathtubs, a brand new 1951 Ford and a bare graze of an innocent cat’s nose…three blocks away. The philandering couple were barely unscathed despite being married, just not to each other, the shooter forgiven once the major appliances repaired/ replaced and the pure luck, thanks only to the presiding judge’s observation that, “Only the curvature of the Earth prevented a real tragedy.”
    Dad was the investigating military officer since the Garand was government property…as was the AP round itself, hence that part the relationship. But the story made an impression on me and much later in life, when the very real possibility could manifest of having to walk out or shelter in place. Ventilation of the neighbors appliances or their cat would be decidedly unpopular not to mention an audible signature certain to annoy and attract unwelcome participants from the next county.
    That M1 Carbine keeps looking better all the time. Having participated in more than a few barracks discussions I can verify the the absolutely moronic claims usually bandied about concerning …well, everything that shoots or even makes a loud noise. The only real problem these days seems to be the price.
    Time to wrap it up. Mine? 1943 Inland. Better than reasonably accurate at a hundred yards, scoring a hit every time. At 200 yards plus, guaranteed to scare the crap out of and/or seriously impede the opposition’s desire to advance…as the “ puny” round whips by one’s ear…which in the modern civilian world is likely what a rational one really wants. The world is a complicated place and you want to avoid spending your retirement funds on legal fees.
    Pay no attention to the “Reputation Pundits.” They weren’t there and like pretty much all pundits, they simply don’t know.
    A short Carbine story by someone who really was there. I’ve seen the citation, and interviewed the actual witnesses.
    The short version, with a post-action snapper to it
    The Philippines, 1945, against very determined Japanese resistance, Dad was the Lieutenant platoon commander assigned to a combat patrol .
    The Captain commanding the company was widely thought to be an incompetent buffoon, accurately, as things turned out.
    The Captain led the Company into a well and professionally laid ambush by the Japanese. (By 1945, almost ALL the survivors on both sides were highly competent and very professional. Except Captain Buffoon.)
    The knee mortars started to land, the Nambu LMGs began and the good Captain opted to lead the retreat.
    In other words, Captain Buffoon ran… returning eventually to the designated Company Area, alone.
    The company clerk notified the Captain the Battalion Commander as well as the Regimental Commander, as well as just about everyone South of Doug MacArther might wish a little chat with the Captain.
    The Captain was never seen again.
    Meanwhile, back in the jungle of Luzon, Dad, now Company Commander was desperately trying to salvage the situation, successfully, but not perfectly. It seems the Captain had ordered his advance at sundown resulting in a Night Action. A big no-no in pre-night vision technology, 1945.
    The sun was gone but Dad had stumbled into (read “fell into’) a jungle stream headed generally the direction of their lines. As it happened, in the darkness, they managed to merge with another platoon and together, interspaced, they
    moved as silently as possible towards the American lines.
    You can see this coming, can’t you?
    It wasn’t too long before Dad realized they had successfully merged with a fully armed Japanese platoon and the situation degenerated into real, no-billshit hand to hand, bayonet fighting. In total darkness. Probably outnumbered. Not even likely winning the battle.
    Crap. Things were not going well for the recently promoted Company Commander.
    Dad had been carrying an M1 Carbine but shortly, Private Doofus, FU Extrodinier, had managed to meander in amongst the Japanese, collecting what appeared to be a gaping face-wound on the way. Yikes, what now!
    The witnessed citation reads, “The lieutenant killed the two closest Japanese and led the bewildered American soldier away from danger. ( “Hah!,” Said Dad on relating the story some years later. “Safety was in some short supply ‘bout then.”)
    Now here’s the real M1 Carbine part. Dad, thinking Private Doofus had lost an eye, assigned a troop to escort/walk/carry Doof to the rear for medical attention. Doof, being Doof, happily accepted. Being a thoughtful and sensitive new Company Commander, he swapped-out his much lighter Carbine for the Troop’s infinitely heavier Garand…to lighten the Troop’s load.
    As Dad watched th two fade into the really black Philippine night he belatedly realized they had not switched their ammunition load and he had no idea if the Garand held one round, 7 rounds, or no rounds. Oops.
    It worked out, ultimately; Nobody ever-for-sure found out how the Captain fared but th suspicion was he finished the war in charge of urinal toilet cakes somewhere in the Far Northern pacific.
    The company, on that night on Luzon suffered few if any serious casualties, including the hideous melee in the creek. Mostly attributed to the excess length of the Japanese bayonets that prevented proper usage.
    It turned out Private Doofus, FU Extrodinier had suffered a painful gash above the eyebrow by running into a tree in the dark . A few stitches and the medics said he’d be alright. “Lucky,” they said. “You got no business living through something like that,”
    —-The very next morning, the Japanese moved a field gun directly across the river opposing the anticipated river crossing/assault. They got off a single round before being unceremoniously killed around their gun. The single round traveled straight down the opposite road for a little more than a mile and exploded just short of a US mess line of troops, miraculously killing only one.
    It was Private Doofus, FU Extrodinier.

  16. There is video of a GI firing an M2 on full auto in a Clint Eastwood movie, Heartbreak Ridge. During the opening credits there is black and white combat footage from the Korean war. At one point a soldier grabs an M2, points it toward the hills and rips off an entire magazine on full auto. The empties that fly out of the gun are so close together that they seem to be touching.

    • The upgraded M2 carbine fitted with the integral bayonet lug, side-by-side magazine holder, select-fire option, and twin-column-30-round banana magazine is period-accurate for the Korean and Vietnam eras but anachronistic for the late-WW2 period during such operations as the Remagen Bridge raid and Iwo Jima.

  17. Some years ago (just before the prices tripled) I acquired an apparently unrefurbished RockOla carbine. (I haven’t bothered to checkS/N 166XXX puts it a 1942 production but Ty 3 barrel band may not be original. Flat bolt, adj. sight. Metal finish is an even brownish patina, bare only on sharp edges. Bore is excellent. Very faint import stamp underside of the barrel. Hardwood stock and buttplate are new and clearly not original.
    LGS threw in Korean War vintage sling and oiler and a couple of 15 rd milsurp mags in waxed paper, also a repro mag pouch. I was out the door for under a buck fifty.
    One day I might find a more suitable stock but until then I’m satisfied.

  18. I used to have an M1, and have fired 1000s of rounds through it -all reloads, because that stuff is almost impossible to find in the Netherlands. And if you do find some M1 ammo, you pay through the nose.
    It was an Inland, 1942 i.i.r.c. Ex US military, ex Dutch military police, and who knows how many private owners after that.
    It may not be a tack driver, but it was accurate enough for me.
    As for reliability: In my experience most stoppages came from resting the carbine on the mag. When resting on the fore-end or the trigger guard, stoppages were almost non-existent. Also, some of the mags were much more prone to feed malfunctions that others, so I simply used the best ones and forgot the rest.
    Mechanically, I have had only one problem with the carbine: The op-rod snapped once, leaving me with a separated charging hook. I dropped in a new op-rod and I was back in business.
    The one thing that did worry me was that the carbine could be fired with the bolt not 100% in battery. That actually happened to the previous owner of my M1, causing him to quit shooting. The case blew out to the rear, and a big chunk of wood blew out of the side of the stock. Otherwise the carbine was undamaged, and after buying it, I have used it for years after that accident. But I did end up checking the bolt after (almost) each shot.

    Still, I sorely miss my M1… 🙂

    PS Forgotten weapons totally rules! Keep up the good work!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.