You can now buy a newly manufactured Inland M-1 30 Carbine–we’ll get to that in a minute but before we do some background is appropriate…
The .30 M-1 Carbine was used by the U.S. Military in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. The carbine was supplied to allied forces and hung around long after Vietnam. I encountered the M-1 carbine in service with the Bolivian UMOPAR counter-drug police in the 1990s. These fun guns remain popular and effective for civilians today.
The idea for the carbine sprang from complaints that the M-1 Garand rifle was too big and bulky for support troops. A small light gun was more convenient for specialists encumbered with heavy weapons, radios or other gear. If you have ever tried to sling a Garand (43.6 inches long and weighing 9.5 pounds) and then use both hands for another task, you understand. This led to a competition in 1941 by major U.S. firearm companies and designers.
The Ordnance Bureau rejected the first carbines designs submitted. As depicted in the 1952 movie Carbine Williams starring James Stewart, Winchester hired David Marshall “Carbine” Williams after his release from prison. Williams had designed a short-stroke gas piston system while serving his prison sentence at a North Carolina facility.
Winchester had produced a full sized .30-06 rifle, the M-2, as a competitor to the Garand. Williams lightened and improved the M-2 by incorporating his short-stroke piston into the design. Major René Studler of the Ordnance Corps believed this rifle design could be scaled down to a carbine and demanded a prototype as soon as possible.
Thirteen days later, Winchester engineers pieced together a crude prototype using the trigger housing from a Winchester M1905 rifle and a modified Garand operating rod. Improvements continued and the M1 Carbine was approved on October 22, 1941. The first M-1 Carbines were delivered in mid-1942, with initial priority given to troops in Europe.
Winchester did the design work, but in 1941, the US was mobilizing for wartime production. Several companies geared up to make carbines. Inland Manufacturing, a division of General Motors was destined to produce nearly 3 million firearms in less than 5 years.
The Inland Division produced 1,984,189 M-1 Carbines, 140,000 M-1A1 folding stock Carbines, 500,000 M-2 full auto Carbines, and 811 M3(T3) night vision Carbines. The original cost of the M-1 carbine was $42.00
Of the 6,110,730 carbines built during WW2, Inland was the only supplier that made all four types of carbines, producing 2,625,000 or 43% of the total. Inland was the only manufacturer of the M1A1 folding stock, paratroop version, and was one of only two companies that made the M2 version with selective fire. Inland also was one of two companies that made the M3(T3) carbine with infrared night sight.
The M-3 carbine was first used in combat during the invasion of Okinawa. The scope would be used to detect Japanese units infiltrating at night. The M-3 carbine had no iron sights, it used the M2 infrared night sight and illuminator with an effective range of about 70 yards even in total darkness.
In his book, US Infantryman in World War II, Robert Rush estimates that thirty percent of Japanese casualties inflicted small arms fire during the Okinawa campaign were caused by the M3 carbine.
Fun Fact: Some 240,000 M-1 Carbines were declared surplus in 1963 and sold to NRA members for a $20 each. Today, there is a warehouse in South Korea, filled with M-1 Carbines waiting to come home. Mr. President, we might not be able to build a wall right now, but can we please bring these American carbines back?
Newly Manufactured Inland Manufacturing 30 M-1
You may have missed out on $20 carbines, but the new Inland Manufacturing is making carbines again, in Dayton, Ohio, just two miles from the original WW2 facility.
My Inland M-1 Carbine came from my uncle. It has a 300,000 serial was made in late 1942. Sometime in the 1950’s it was arsenal rebuilt and got some new parts. Adjustable sights, a bayonet lug, and a new safety lever. It went through at least one war, possibly two or three. The stock is dark and dented, it still has the original stock marked with the serial number. The finish on the metal is good, the strength of the parkerization is amazing.
My carbine is very reliable. I should replace the recoil spring. Even if they replaced it in the 50’s it is overdue a change. The Carbine was not designed to be extremely accurate, but with Creedmoor ammo, I was able to hold a 2-inch group off the bench at 50 yards. It would have been tighter if I was a better shot. At 100 yards, shooting off hand I was able to keep my hits on a half scale silhouette at 100 yards.
The M-1 1945 carbines feature many of the same characteristics of the original Inland Carbines and are manufactured in the USA!
The M-1 1945 carbine is modeled after the last production model that Inland manufactured in 1945 and features a type 3 bayonet lug / barrel band, adjustable rear sights, push button safety, round bolt, “low wood” walnut stock, and a 15–round magazine. A 30 round mag catch was used to allow high–capacity magazines.
SPECS – New Inland Manufacturing M1
Caliber: .30 carbine
Magazine capacity: 15
Barrel length: 18”
Total length: 35.75”
Barrel groove: 4
Twist rate: 1 x 20”
Weight: 5lb 3oz
The .30 Carbine round remains a good choice for hunting and home defense. It gained a reputation for under-performance in Korea and Vietnam which has been attributed to ammunition produced with lower velocities than the WW2 rounds.
The .30 Carbine is twice as powerful as the WW2 .45ACP caliber submachine guns. The M-1 carbine is half the weight of a Thompson submachine gun and provides better range, accuracy, and penetration. Lighter than the .45 ACP, soldiers armed with the carbine can carry more ammunition. The ammunition was also cheaper to manufacture than 30.06 or .45ACP. This was very important, especially when making millions of rounds in a wartime economy.
The popularity of the M-1 carbine for collecting, sporting and reenactments have resulted in continued civilian popularity of the cartridge. M-1 carbine Matches began in the 1950s and in 2006, they were reintroduced as part of the National Matches and CMP Travel Games.
Creedmoor Sports is now making .30 Carbine 110 Gr Rifle Ammunition. Made in Anniston, Alabama, Creedmoor’s .30 Carbine Rifle Ammunition combines Starline Brass with Hornady 110 gr FMJ bullets. It is available in 50 count boxes for $37.50. Buy five or more for $35.62 each.
Creedmoor .30 Carbine 110 Gr Rifle Ammunition Specifications:
During WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, the US Government contracted for millions of M-1 Carbine 15 and 30 round magazines. Some were marked and some were unmarked.
The US Government gave away approximately 5 million of the 6 million total Carbines manufactured to other countries. These countries had even more 30 rounders manufactured for their own needs, marked and unmarked. Some of these came from US wartime manufacturers and were high quality. There were also some commercial magazines of varying quality.
Chances are, if you have old magazines around, they have probably seen better days. Since most semi-auto malfunctions are caused by magazines, you should invest in quality. KCI USA is making new high quality 15 and 30 round magazines for the M-1 carbines.
We are in a new golden age of the carbine. Long before AR pistol caliber carbines were conceived, the M-1 carbine was stopping America’s enemies. It remains ready to serve. With new guns, magazines and ammunition, the M-1 is better than ever.
For information about the Inland Manufacturing M-1 1944 model click here.