Iconic, legendary, battle-tested. Whatever word you use to describe the M1 Garand, there’s no denying the famous American service rifle makes an excellent—no, essential—addition to anyone’s firearms collection. So, if you don’t have that beautiful walnut and steel in your safe, let me be that little voice in your head, that angel on your shoulder, sweetly whispering, “Do it. You deserve this.”
1. It’s a piece of history.
General George S. Patton famously dubbed the M1 Garand “the greatest battle implement ever devised.” John Garand’s semi-auto was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II and the Korean War, and also saw service during the Vietnam War. Holding an M1 Garand, you can’t help but wonder, “Where did this rifle see action? Did it save a soldier’s life or help win a skirmish? What was it like to lug this thing across Europe?”
You might also spontaneously start a “USA! USA!” chant or belt out a rousing rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Anything is possible while holding such a powerful piece of history, and you don’t want to wait until these rifles are out of reach.
If you’re looking to own a piece of history, look no further than this listing. No rebuild markings, everything is totally original, and it comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.
2. It’s a great investment.
The problem with historical military rifles is that supply is limited. As rifles break or rust or get lost, that number shrinks, and the existing rifles become more expensive.
The good news is that the value increases we’ve seen over the last ten years also act as a built-in buying excuse. That’s how I convinced my wife to let me buy my M1 Garand, and this time I wasn’t pitching total BS. If you can find a deal on an M1 Garand in good condition, that rifle will almost certainly be worth more in ten years than it is today.
I’m not a firearms investor, but I do have eyes and an internet connection. The value of M1 Garands has risen dramatically in the last ten to fifteen years, and Rock Island Auction has the data to prove it. According to their analysis, M1 Garands saw a 66% price increase between 2010-2017, and “if gun collecting as a whole is indicative of anything, they will not be going back down.”
That trend line may level out, but your excuse still holds: M1 Garands should be a healthy portion of your retirement portfolio.
This listing describes the rifle as “collector’s grade” with all matching serial numbers. Worth a look it you’re for an investment piece.
3. It’s a pleasure to shoot.
I haven’t had my M1 for very long, but I already love it. It’s built like a tank, never malfunctions, and is surprisingly accurate for a 75-year-old gun. The peep sight feels more modern than it is and includes adjustments for windage and elevation.
The venerable old 30-06 isn’t always comfortable to shoot, but the M1s weight (9.5lbs!) helps compensate for the stiff recoil. I’m also partial to the trigger. It breaks cleanly (definitely better than my mashed-potatoes-mushy Mosin Nagant) and only weighs about 6 pounds. It’s no modern trigger, but I was pleasantly surprised.
One thing to note on functionality: the U.S. military designed the M1 to shoot a specific 30-06 cartridge, and modern cartridges can cause unsafe pressure levels. Operating rods have been known to break shooting high-velocity or heavy-bullet ammunition. You’ll likely be OK shooting 150g loads, but if this is an investment, you want to stay on the safe side.
You have two options. You can either purchase ammunition specifically designed for the M1 (like this stuff from Federal) or you can install an adjustable aftermarket gas plug like this one. Installing the plug doesn’t require any mods to the rifle, and you can tune the gas system for whichever load you want to use.
If you’re not looking for a WWII-era rifle exclusively, this could be a good option and will no doubt be fun to shoot.
4. It’s good for competition and hunting, too.
M1 Garands are great for weekend range trips, and if you take your M1 out of the safe just to look at it, I’m not judging. But you can do more!
The Civilian Marksmanship Program offers competitions specifically designed to be shot with as-issued M1 Garands. According to the CMP website, “The Garand Match allows shooters to reenact military and marksmanship history and features camaraderie and a relaxed, fun-filled, yet challenging experience.”
The John C. Garand Match is the oldest competition in the CMP’s classic military rifle division and is intended for both experienced and novice competitors. Shooters fire at targets from 200 yards from a variety of positions and speeds. Check out the video below for a taste of what a match looks like.
Also, if the M1 Garand is good for taking down Nazi’s, it’s good for taking down deer as well. The 30-06 has been used by hunters for generations, and most M1s are accurate enough to get the job done at normal hunting distances. You’ll need to practice with the iron sights to make sure you’re locked in, but if you’re willing to carry the M1 through the woods, it’ll do its job if you do yours.
For hunting or competition, this might be a good option.
5. It’s not a decision you’re going to regret.
Unlike last night’s fifth drink or that “Ron Paul for President” tattoo, purchasing an M1 Garand isn’t a decision you’re going to regret. Whether your M1 becomes a safe queen or a competition-winner, you’ll value that rifle for years, maybe decades, to come.
There aren’t many sure-fire decisions in life. This is one of them. The only real question is, What are you waiting for?