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The Caliber .30 M1 Carbine and Manual

The US Carbine, Caliber .30 M1 was Semiautomatic, with a 15 round detachable magazine, firing a 108 gr bullet at 1990 fps, 950 ft-lbs muzzle energy", effective up to 300 yds. The M2 was selective fire, with a 30 round magazine, effectively answering the Chinese Burp Gun. The M1 and M2 were carried by Officers and troops not primarily issued the M1 Garand infantry heavyweight.


TM9-1276_1947 Tech Manual: Carbines, Cal. .30, M1, M1A1, M2, M3

TM9-2200 (html): Small Arms

FM7-10 (html): Rifle Company, Rifle Regiment

USMC: The Carbine, 1951


M1/M1A1 Carbines

M1919A4 .30 Cal Machine gun crew fires at North Korean troops during US breakout from the Pusan Perimeter following our assault at Inchon. Waegwan. 9/20/50

The assistant gunner, near soldier, and the ammo bearer, upper left are armed with M1 Carbines.



M1/M1A1 Carbines

"War Baby: A Great American Story.

Intended for officers, crew-served weapon sections and rear echelon troops, designed by a North Carolina Moonshiner, a Canadian immigrant and a prominent firearms company, produced by an awakened "sleeping giant" in greater numbers in a shorter period of time than any other small arm in history, "drafted" into distinguished service like so many millions of American men and women, and after 70 years the U.S. Carbine, Cal. 30, M1 still captures the hearts of nearly everyone who handles her." Quote from Fulton Armory


M1 Carbine

M1 and M1A1 .30 Caliber Carbines


7th Infantry soldier on captured Chinese position

Pfc. Julias Van Den Stock of Company A, 32nd Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division with M1 or M2 Carbine, rests on a Chinese Communist bunker with a Soviet DP light machine gun, along the slope of Hill 902 north of Ip-Tong.

Note the carbine mounts a US rifle grenade launcher, and the Chinese stick grenades in front of his right shoulder.


M2 & M3 Carbines

About 6 million Carbines were manufactured by the end of WWII, and had been used in every major military action involving American Military forces.

In my war, Korea, they were again deployed with great effect throughout our fighting forces. They were more powerful and more effective than the Chinese Burp Gun, in my opinion, but they were not a main battle rifle. Still, in the 45th Infantry Division and possibly other divisions, they were often substituted for the M1, perhaps because of supply problems, which led to severe problems for the infantry in fighting at over 150 or 200 yards.


Operation: M1, M1A1 Semiautomatic; M2, M3 Selective
Length: 35.65 in. (905 mm)
Weight unloaded: 5 lb 7 oz (2.48 kg)
Barrel: 18 in. 4 grooves, right hand twist
Magazine: 15 or 30 round detachable box
Muzzle: velocity 1990 fps, 967 ft-lbs.
Rate of Fire: M2 on full auto, 650-700rpm
300 yds: 1035 fps, 262 ft-lbs
Ammunition: 108 gr bullet, 13 gr charge, US Service M1
Effective Range: 300 yds
Rear Sites

The M1 Garand was the weapon of choice for infantry. The M1 Carbine, half the weight and with a less powerful cartridge, was the weapon of choice for support troops, and others not primarily involved in infantry combat. It was designed to meet combat needs less demanding than the M1 Rifle, but more than can be met by the M1911A1 pistol. It was more convenient to use than the M1, and less intrusive to their other duties, while still much more effective than hand guns.

Originally, the M1 was to be capable of selective fire control, but this was dropped. Because a demand arose for an automatic capability, the M2 was developed, with a selective-fire switch added to the left side of the receiver, operating on the sear mechanism.

The US Carbine, Caliber .30in, M3, or T3, was simply an M2 with suitable mountings prepared on the receiver to take various models of infra-red night-sighting devices. No open or conventional sights were provided, and the IR carbine mounted an M3 flash hider, a simpler design than that for the M1C Garand. The M3 carbine, (its development title was T3), was produced in limited numbers as a semi-prototype. Only about 2100 were manufactured compared to 5,510,000 M1 carbines, 150,000 M1A1 carbines and 570,000 M2 carbines.

The M1 and M2 Carbines were also much more powerful than the Russian type burp guns used by the North Koreans and, later, the Chinese, having more than twice their muzzle energy.

In the infantry, the M2 Carbine was carried by Staff NCOs and officers. With its 30 round magazine, rapid fire and greater stopping power, it was an effective counter to the various submachine guns used by the Communists in the Korean War.

In intense cold, however, such as the Chosin battle, light weapons such as the carbine and air-cooled .30 calibre light machine guns malfunctioned much more often than the M1 and the water-cooled heavies, with anti-freeze in their jackets. The Marines used alcohol based hair tonic as anti-freeze lubricants for all light weapons, with good success, but the carbine components were small and fragile, and repeatedly malfunctioned.

The Carbine continued to be used in Viet Nam, until replaced by the M16.


M1/M1A1 Carbines

The following additional information is courtesy of:
R. E. Sullivan, Colonel, USMC ('43/'67) (Ret.), Sun, 28 Nov 1999

The most unattractive feature of the M-1 Carbine as we had them in WW II and up through at least part of 1948 was the leaf type sight. There was no windage adjustment at all, and I've fired record on the range with those things, on say target 20, but had to hold in the left side of the bull on target 18. Then in '48 we got a modification that put a ramp type sight for elevation and an actual movable peep for lateral movement. Now those were worth taking to the dance. One thing about bullets, impact, weight, muzzle velocity etc. that afficionados of weapons take so seriously: My experience, on many battlefields, is that if you get a head shot or a pentrating wound to the body cavity, it takes the spirit of the bayonet plumb out of the individual you're shooting at.


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