M1 Carbine

From Academic Kids


The M1 Carbine (more formally the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1) was a lightweight semi-automatic rifle and carbine that was a standard firearm in the US military during World War II and the Korean War. In a select-fire version it was known as the M2 and M3 Carbines.



The weapon was designed in response to offer non-front line troops a better weapon than a pistol in terms of range and hitting power, but without the cost or weight of a full power weapon. Initially the weapon was going to be automatic-fire, but this feature was dropped on the production version. The feature would be added again on the M2 Carbine, an automatically firing M1 (select fire). The weapon was developed in part due to observations of the Nazi Germany blitzkrieg where Nazi troops would quickly and deeply penetrate or bypass an opponent's front lines using mechanized infantry assisted by tanks and airplanes. Facing an enemy that used this tactical approach meant that support and rear-echelon troops could come under direct attack by front line forces. In anticipation for this possibility, this carbine was commissioned to supply an adequate defensive weapon to those troops.

In response to a competitive design process, Winchester Repeating Arms submitted a design developed mostly by David M. "Carbine" Williams, a some-time bootlegger who came up with a significant part of the design while serving a prison sentence for murder. Upon his release, Williams went to work for Winchester and helped complete the design.

The weapon ended up being popular among frontline troops as well and would go on to be used heavily in WWII, Korea, and even in to certain degree in Vietnam. There were two main variants made from it both of which were also used in WWII. The M2 Carbine was a select fire (capable of fully automatic fire) version of it, and was used with a thirty round clip. The M3 Carbine was a M2 carbine with a early active infrared nightscope system. It was first fielded around 1943, and saw extensive use in the battle of Okinawa. Later an improved version of the M3 was used in Korea as well.

The M1 series were finally replaced by the M16 in the 1960's, though continue to be used as civilian firearm. The M1 series was the most produced US weapon for several decades, until finally M16 production surpassed them.


Although the M1 Carbine is sometimes described as a development of the M1 Garand rifle, it wasn't. It has a different internal design, based upon a lightweight tappet-and-slide gas system and detachable, large-capacity magazines. It fires a smaller and lighter .30 caliber (7.62 mm) cartridge which is very different, in both design and performance, from the full-sized .30-'06 cartridge used by the Garand.

The weapon was also issued to some regular troops, particularly officers, drivers and radio operators, since it was lighter and less unwieldy than the M1 Garand rifle, and was still considered suitable for shorter range combat. Variants including folding stocks for paratroopers, and select fire versions were produced.

The M1 Carbine, originally intended only for non front line troops, ended up being very popular with them due to its light weight. The weapon's individual round had less hitting power than the larger rounds, but it didn't matter because it was much easier to get multiple hits, due to its high practical rate of fire and accuracy with its effective range. Its range was much shorter than the full-power rifles, but urban and woodland combat involved shorter distances. There was much criticism of its accuracy at longer range and the power of a individual round, but this was the price to be paid for a weapon prized for its light weight, compactness, low recoil, and high rate of manual fire. This however did not stop some veterans from dropping them first-chance to acquire more powerful weaponry.

The Carbine was inadequate for ranges normally asociated with assault rifles, and when fired, the .30 inch (7.62 mm) caliber US Carbine cartridge loses considerable lethality after about 200 m though it was optimistically listed as effective up to about 275 m.

The cartridge had inferior hitting power compared to assault rifles, as it is within the power range of pistol rounds, and as such suffered from a lack of penetration. Its effective range differs from weapons like the AK-47 and other full power or intermediate cartridge rifles.

The trend toward firing more, but weaker rounds was also seen the later light automatic rifles such as the Stg44, AK-47, and later the M16.


carbine M1A1

  • Folding stock
  • Paratrooper use.

Carbine M2

  • Early 1945
  • Selective-fire version..

Carbine M3

  • as M2
  • Mounting for an early active (infrared) night vision sight.

Production & usage

A total of 6.25 million M1 Carbines of various models were manufactured, thus making it the most produced small arm in American military history. Despite being designed by Winchester, the great majority of these were made by other companies. The largest producer was the Inland division of General Motors, but many others were made by contractors as diverse as IBM and the Rock-Ola jukebox company.

Numerous M1 Carbines were obtained and used by the Israeli Palmach-based special forces in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948. Because of their compact size and semi-auto capabilities, the M1 carbines were given to reconnaisance companies of the Israeli Defence Forces.

After the Korean War the Carbine was widely exported to US allies and client states, and was used as a front-line weapon well into the Vietnam era. The M1 was quite popular in both the Korean and Israeli militaries. Surplus Carbines are popular among firearms enthusiasts in the US and elsewhere. Starting in the mid-1950s, U.S. military surplus M1 Carbines were sold through the National Rifle Association for $20. When surplus stocks began to wane there was limited civilian production of the design by Iver-Johnson, Universal (who made some changes in the parts), and then Israel Arms International. This extended production into the 1990s. As of 2004, the M1 Carbine was again being manufactured commercially by a subsidiary of Kahr Arms - Auto Ordnance

Civilian usage

The M1 Carbine is still in use, even today, by shooters and police. The inherent accuracy and but limited penetration due to rounded head, the .30 Carbine (7.62 mm) round has been found to be an advantage in some urban policing scenarios. The Israeli police still use the M1 Carbine as standard rifle for non-combat elements and MASHAZ volunteers.

As a hunting weapon, the M1 Carbine cannot be used on white-tailed deer in the state of Minnesota because of its low probabilty of killing the deer in a single hit. It could potentially wound the dear and then it would be in great pain. This is largely because the weapon's ability to be used for multiple hits is not taken into account. Also, the lethality probabilities for animals like deer are significantly higher than for humans.

See also


he:M1 קרבין no:M1 karabin pl:M1 Carbine sl:M1 Karabinka zh:M1式卡宾枪


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