Springfield Armory has just announced a compact carbine variant of their M1A-pattern rifle called the “Tanker.” The Tanker was inspired by an experimental modified Garand rifle concept that never really saw the light of day.
Toward the end of World War II it was apparent that the full-size Garand rifle was too long and heavy for paratroopers as well as soldiers in the Pacific theater fighting jungle warfare. Smaller firearms and carbines weren’t always powerful enough to fight at longer ranges or through cover and brush.
Springfield Armory engineers experimented with the Garand carbine idea starting in 1944. Independently, soldiers in the Philippines were modifying rifles in the field to achieve the same goals with hopes of seeing a production carbine.
Ultimately the M1 Garand wasn’t especially suited for the conversion. Gas system problems combined with the ammo in use at the time made the carbines unreliable and difficult to aim and fire. But they were shorter, lighter and easier to handle.
When the war ended, the carbine project was shelved and eventually almost all of the experimental guns were destroyed. It wasn’t until the 1960s when tinkerers started modifying surplus Garand rifles that the Tanker name and Garand carbine took off, and even then, it was pretty short-lived.
Not to let the idea blink out of history, Springfield Armory is happy to announce their take on the carbine built on the M1A chambered in 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester.
Springfield’s new Tanker is based on the SOCOM M1A with a 16.25-inch carbon steel barrel. The carbine has a parkerized finish and a “Vintage” walnut stock. Unlike some of the original Tankers, the Springfield M1A has a full-length stock and forend with a single forward sling setup.
It comes with a fully-adjustable ghost ring rear sight with click adjustment in minutes of angle. The front sight is an XS Sights post with a tritium night sight lamp. And it comes standard with a 10-round steel magazine.
The suggested retail price is up there at $1,987, but of course real-world and online prices should be lower. It’s also a good deal less than other production Tankers built on Garand receivers.
For many shooters converting an original M1 Garand to a carbine pattern is downright sacrilege, and they may see this as a fun alternative. For other shooters the magazine-fed action and .308 Winchester chambering are going to be the main appeal.
No matter what the case is, this gun definitely screams “love it or leave it” and plenty of people will find some love with the Tanker.