M1 Carbine
Country of origin

United States



Year(s) designed
  • Frederick L. Humeston
  • William C. Roemer
  • David Marshall Williams
Production began

September 1941

Production ended

August 1945; Commercial: 1945 - Present

Weapon type



.30 Carbine


gas-operated, rotating bolt

Overall length

35.6 in (900mm)

Barrel length

18 in (460 mm)


5.2 lb (2.4kg)

Magazine/Cylinder capacity

15 or 30 round detachable box

Cyclic rate

Semi Automatic

M3: 850-900RPM

Maximum effective range

70 Yards (64m)

Used by
  • South Korea
  • Taiwan

The M1 Carbine was developed to replace the M1911A1 pistol, then being issued to special troops whose job precluded the carrying of the standard rifle. The design idea was that it is better to hit an enemy with a light rifle then to miss him completely with a heavy round from a pistol. It is faster and cheaper to train a person to shoot a rifle then it is to train a pistol shooter.

The M1 Carbine cartridge is a modification of the .302 Winchester Automatic cartridge. The ballistics are inferior to the .357 Magnum.

The M1 Carbine is a .30 caliber Carbine that has been used since WW2 and is still a popular weapon amongst today's Law Enforcement/Security Forces around the world, along with civilian use, it is chambered in .30 Carbine. Due to it being a carbine, it has a shorter barrel, and length, compared to rifles used in World War II (such as the M1 Garand), thus lowering power and range significantly compared to other conventional rifles. However the M1 Carbine was used much during the war. It has been favored for its mild recoil, by soldiers and collectors alike.


The M1 Carbine was a lightweight, intermediate cartridge firearm, developed and adopted in 1941, as a supplement to the then standard issue M1 Garand. The M1 Carbine was to take the place of pistols for vehicle drivers, members of crew served weapons, NCOs and other secondary roles to the frontline infantryman. Despite its lack of 'knockdown' power, it was popular, primarily due to its handiness and lightweight and was seen in front line usage in both the European and Pacific Theaters of World War II. It was also used paratroopers during WWII, mainly the folding stock variant, the M1A1. The military wanted a light gun that could pack a punch to help paratroopers get into a safe place without having to lug around more weight with the M1 Garand rifle when they hit the dirt

The version with the bayonet lug, and the replacement of the "L" peep sight with the adjustable windage rear sight was an undesignated upgrade to the model and was not given a separate model number. This upgrade officially started in late 1944, but were only seen in the field in late 1945, in the very last months of the war. Occupation troops did, however, get this version of the gun. The upgraded version was used extensively during the Korean conflict and into the early years of Vietnam. The M1 carbine could still be found in US National Guard, Army or Air Force reserve unit armories on into the early 1970s, in addition it was a common police weapon from the mid 1950s into the late 1970s. Surplus M1 Carbines were widely exported to US allies, and it remains a popular weapon among Israeli police to this day


Unlike conventional carbines, which were generally a version of a parent rifle with a shorter barrel (like the earlier .30-40 U.S. Krag rifle and carbine), the M1 carbine has no parts in common with the M1 Garand and fires a different cartridge.

Variants Edit

The M1 had a few design variants.

M1 Carbine Edit

The standard version with a full wood stock 15 round magazine and original sights


M1 Carbine .30 Cal


Paratrooper model with folding stock. Came with 15 round magazine. M1A1s were produced by the Inland division of General Motors. They were made side by side with full stock M1s and stocks were sometimes replaced by producers, making it hard to find an original M1A1 with folding stock. This variant was sometimes fielded with a vertical wooden foregrip.

M1A1 Carbine tri army

M1A1 Carbine .30 Cal


A proposed variant with new sights for windage and elevation. Pretty much refurbished M1s with new sights and other extra late improvements.


Named as standard against the M1A1, but may have not been issued. Came with 15 round magazine and pantograph stock. The stock is more rigid than the A1's folding stock and folds flush.


The M2 Carbine was a select fire upgrade of the M1 Carbine that was developed in late 1944/early 1945. No examples of the M2 Carbine were issued before the surrender of Nazi Germany, however, there were some field conversion kits for altering M1 Carbines sent to units for field testing before the end of the war. Though not impossible, it would be very rare to see an M2 in any sort of action prior to Germany's surrender (however they do show up in late war Combat photographs in the South Pacific). The M2s were common among the occupation forces and U.S. Forces in Korea (1950-1953). M2 Carbine along with the M1 Carbine were used by the Army of The Republic of Vietnam as well as the Vietnamese police. US Army soldiers and Marines also used solely the M2 Carbine in extremely small numbers. A small number of M1 and M2 Carbines were captured by the National Liberation Front, also known as the Vietcong who used them against anti-communist forces.


M2 Carbine Fully Automatic .30 Cal


Refurbished M2. Manufactured by Auto-ordinance these are overstamped and sold in the Us exclusively for the civillian market. Often known as "Walmart guns" these weapons can be purchased cheaply but holding its own with solid reliability and accuracy.

Inland M1sniper

M3 Carbine "Snooper Rifle" Next to its Power Supply .30 Cal


The M3 Carbine was an M2 Carbine fitted with an early night-vision scope and active infrared sight. By the end of the Korean War, a forward pistol grip had been added to aid in handling the M3's increased bulk. An external power source for the infrared sight had to be carried in a backpack.

Iver-Johnson Enforcer Pistol Edit


Iver-Johnson Enforcer .30 Cal

The gun is built from spare parts, leftover pieces from contract M1 Carbines.  As our involvement in Vietnam was waning, and the issues with the M16 were getting ironed out, the military moved away from the heavy M14, and the older M1.  Companies in the US found themselves with manufactured parts that had not been assembled into rifles.  And many companies had invested heavily in the tooling needed to produce these guns.  So it is understandable that these companies would look for ways use these parts and machines.

But it wasn’t enough to simply use them.  By the mid 1970s, the M1 Carbine was a hard sell.  The gun was still made of wood and steel, in an era increasingly dominated by aluminum and plastic (and some steel, too). The Enforcer Pistol is still manufactured and sold in the US.  

Howa M300 Edit

The Howa M300 was a Japanese Hunting Rifle Based on the M1 Carbine. Developed in 1960 and produced by the Howa Machinery Co. A distinctive feature of this model is a front located iron sight, unlike the original M1.

See alsoEdit

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