US M1/M2/M3 Carbine
By Duncan Long
Developed during World War II as a replacement for the 1911-A1 pistol, the M1 Carbine is short and light. The gun was the brainchild of David M. "Carbine" Williams who apparently did much of his design work for the carbine while serving time for "moonshining". Later Williams helped engineers at Winchester perfect his basic design.
The original gun was designated by the US military as the M1 Carbine. Later a selective-fire version was fielded in an effort to create a more potent weapon; this became the M2 version of the carbine. Finally a selective-fire version that could accept early infrared viewers was created and designated the M3. In addition there were many experimental configurations of the firearm created for the commercial as well as foreign military markets. But the M1 and M2 were the only ones to ever be made in great numbers.
Today this gun is out of production in the US; however there are literally millions of these guns available worldwide with many military surplus M1s having come back into the US quite recently from South Korea and other allies. That makes the one big plus of the M1 Carbine the wealth of inexpensive surplus parts and military and commercial accessories for it. These permit a shooter to modify the carbine almost to his heart's content.
Like all the other pistol and pistol-sized cartridges, the .30 Carbine cartridge is marginal with a FMJ bullet. With an expanding bullet this changes, however. In such a case the M1 Carbine becomes a useful, close-range weapon. For a short time M1 Carbines chambered for the 5.7mm Johnson were available; this round uses a necked-down .30 Carbine cartridge to propel a lightweight .22caliber bullet with a muzzle velocity will in excess of 2,000 feet per second. As such this is an ideal close-in combat round that would be suitable for some types of hunting as well.
Iver Johnson was the last company to manufacture the M1 carbines. During its production it also made M1 Carbines chambered for 9mm Luger. This version is a handy firearm, though the 9mm Luger is a bit less powerful than the .30 Carbine when fired from a 16-inch barrel making it second choice as a defensive round.
The M1 Carbine is gas operated with a rotating bolt that locks into the barrel. The charging handle is similar to that of the M14/Mini-14 rifles and the safety in the front of the trigger guard is somewhat like them, though the "switch" of the lever is much different. Oddly enough the magazine release is a button on the right side of the receiver--an arrangement that was later apparently copied by designers of the AR-15 rifle.
For a more detailed look at the M1 Carbine and its variants - including some little-known experimental versions - as well as accessories for these firearms, see Duncan Long's book, The L'le Carbine, available from Delta Press, P.O. Box 1625, 215 S. Washington St., El Dorado, AR 71731 Phone 800-852-4445.
If the article above was of interest, chances are you'll also enjoy these books by the same author:
All-new, 2nd Edition of AR-15/M16 Sourcebook by Duncan Long This carefully researched, newly revised manual covers the history, military and custom spin-offs, grenade-launchers, SAW versions, and accessories of this popular firearm. If you own an AR-15, or would just like to learn more about this firearm, you need this book. Marketed by Paladin Press.
Protect Your Privacy: How to Protect Your Identity as well as Your Financial, Personal, and Computer Records in an Age of Constant Surveillance by Duncan Long Identity theft is at an all-time high. Protect Your Privacy gives you everything you need to know about protecting your computer security, financial and telephone privacy, identification, freedom of movement, and more! Learn to safeguard your privacy in virtually every situation—on the Internet, telephone, face-to-face, even with the government enforcing the Patriot Act. Stop scam artists before they have a chance to compromise your private information. From Lyons Press.
Copyright © 1996, 2007 by Duncan Long. All rights reserved.