M-1 / M-2 / M-3 Carbine [Automatic Rifle]:

The M1 Carbine was originally developed from the unauthorized use of the Winchester Model 1907 Self-Loading Rifle during First World War. The reason was that the light weight Winchester rifle was appreciated by soldiers. During the fall of 1937, a suggestion by the Chief of Infantry was given for a semi-automatic rifle more powerful than a pistol but less powerful than an M1 Garand and with a range of 300 yards and lightweight as well.

In response to this, the Ordnance Department and Winchester Repeating Arms worked to develop a new round firing a 110-grain bullet with a 2000 feet-per-second muzzle velocity. The round was standardized as the "Cartridge, Caliber .30SL, M1." on 30 September 1940. The US Military also needed to develop a new rifle for the round and released specifications for the new round and the requirements for a "light rifle." and firearms designers from around the country began work on a new rifle. The military also paid close attention to European conflict. Observers noted that German Wehrmacht's "Blitzkrieg" tactics were able to bring troops deep into the rear areas of their enemies and attacking support personnel who were previously considered safe behind the front lines.

By 1 May 1941, nine prototype guns were Received by the Army, including a design by John Garand. Unfortunately, none of these rifles were found to be acceptable in testing and a second round of tests were scheduled for September, 1941. During this series of testing, the capability for fully-automatic firing was dropped because none of the submitted designs were able to meet this requirement. Winchester did not submit a prototype in series of tests due to their engineers being more concerned with getting the M1 Garnad into full production but for the second series of tests, they submitted a prototype which was an amalgamation of ideas from a variety of designers including from Eugene Pugsley. The design used a short-stroke gas piston developed by David Williams who was a former convict. The new round of testing began on 15 September 1941.

John Garand's design showed improvement from its prior incarnation, but the Winchester design was still a superior gun. On 30 September 1941, the Winchester design was adopted and the first contract was for nearly 900,000 of the new rifles. To distinguish the new "light rifle" from the M1 rifle, the weapon was adopted as the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1. The M1 carbine went from a requirement to operational status in less than under one year, which was a record for developing a weapon to arm a major military. The United States entered World War II six weeks later and the M1 Carbine was fired in war.

In November 1941 and Mid 1942, requirements were first increased to 1.1 more Carbines and then up to 4.5 million weapons. As a result, multiple additional companies were given contracts to manufacture the light rifle. Design experiments by Inland Manufacturing Division of General Motor resulted in the adoption of the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1A1 on 21 May 1942. The M1A1 differed from standard M1 carbines by the use of a metal frame folding buttstock in an effort to reduce the size of the carbine further for use by airborne troops. The M1A1's stock actually increased the weapon's weight by about a quarter pound. Inland was the only company producing the M1A1 for the duration of the war. At this time, the US military also recommended the newly-developed M1A2 for adoption. The improvements incorporated into the M1A2's design were due to combat experience showing the original non-windage-adjustable 'L-type' flip rear sight was not adequate for combat and the M1A2's new rear sight was capable of windage and elevation adjustments. The sight was adopted and later used on all new and rebuilt carbines but the M1A2 was never built. Various other experimental changes were tried but none were adopted,

On 23 October 1944, the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M2 was adopted in response to the need for a fully automatic weapon. The M2 carbine was designed to permit both semi-automatic and fully-automatic fire which fulfilled the dropped original requirement and allowed a soldier to select which mode of operation he needed in combat. A final version of the carbine was adopted on 16 August 1945. The United States Carbine, Caliber .30, T3, which was later renamed the M3, was a M2 carbine which mounted an infra-red scope and allowed soldiers to see in the dark for night operations.

Between October, 1941 and August, 1945, nearly 6.25 million M1 Carbines and its variants were built. This makes it the most produced small arm in American military history and the most produced small arm during World War II.

The M1 Carbine most appreciated feature was its weight and was half as heavy as the M1 Garand. The fifteen and later thirty round magazine gave it a fair amount of firepower as well. The biggest problem that many troops had with the carbine was the relative lack of stopping power of its cartridge. In some cases, Enemy soldiers would have to be shot several times before being stopped. St8ill the M1 Carbine was considered a fine weapon.

The carbine served admirably in both World War II and Korea. The carbine was also distributed to other nations under American military assistance programs. As well, several civilian manufacturers built versions of the M1 Carbine in a commercial form and sold it on the civilian arms market.

For more information about the M-1 Carbine, go here

Weight: 5.47 lbs. (2.48 kg) (empty).
Caliber: 30 Carbine (7.62 x 33 mm). [Johnson Models in 5.7 Johnson and 9 mm]
Barrel Length:18 inches (45.8 cm).
Overall Length:35.6 inches (90.5 cm).
Action:Gas Operated Rotating Bolt.
Mode of Fire: Semi Automatic [M-2 is Fully Automatic].
Range:656.2 feet (200 meters).
Magazine:15 or 30 Round Magazines.
Cost: $400.
Made in: USA.
Special:Relatively lightweight weapon, tough construction, and Weapon accepts modification relatively easily. After market composite stocks are available.

[ M-1 Garand, M-1 Carbine, M-14, M-16, and Winchester are copyrights of their respective owners. ]

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa ) and by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).

Copyright © 2001, Mischa & Kitsune. All rights reserved.