Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The M1 Carbine as a SHTF Gun

The following quote was originally posted as a comment to one of my posts on Blog O'Stuff (my other blog). It's relevant to this blog, so I am reproducing it here.

I have had great luck with both WW HPs and RP SPs in my Quality hardware. Hundreds of rounds with zero failures from 30 rounders. The mags are either early pattern WW2 30s, or my recent SEY 30s. In my gun, thee POI is withing an inch of the LC53 stuff I also shoot.

I personally dropped a deer (200+ pound blacktail buck at 75 yards with a single heart-lung shot) about 12 years ago. It was a WW 110 HP. It ran about 20 yards and dropped eader than Hogan's goat. The exit wound looked identicle to the 30-30 exits I have had.

I carried this gun for years as a trunk gun as a deputy. I know a Postal Inspector that took out a bad guy that was shooting at him. One shot in the Ten-X, and he stopped shotting forever.

Posted by Bernard Molloy to Blog O'Stuff at 7/10/2006 02:35:00 AM

The M1 Carbine is often looked down upon by Internet commandos and many gunnies. It's often called a "two-handed pistol," and it was intended by the Army to be a replacement for the M1911 for soldiers whose primary job title wasn't "Rifleman." It developed a bad reputation in Korea, but a lot of the blame for its poor performance can be pinned on improper use, bad shooting, and insufficient maintenance. That many of these Carbines were full-auto M2s with the fun switch set to rock & roll certainly didn't help.

One myth dating from the Korean War is that M1 Carbine Ball couldn't penetrate the heavy quilted uniforms of North Korean and Chicom soldiers. I call B.S. Check out the results Ol' Painless got when he shot .30 Carbine Ball into the Box O'Truth.

As civilians the vast majority of us won't have access to full-auto M2s (no loss IMO) but we're not limited to Ball ammo, either.

By and large a GI Carbine in good condition, that's properly maintained and fed good ammo from good magazines is going to be very reliable. Some will only feed Ball but a lot will run good with JSPs from Remington or Winchester. As noted by Mr. Malloy, .30 Carbine softpoint is nothing to trifle with. Its ballistics are similar to .357 Magnum as fired from a rifle, which is used by many folks to hunt deer.

Tactical Forums has several interesting threads on the .30 Carbine's terminal performance. E.g, this one and this one.

M1 Carbines are light, simple, and easy to shoot even by small-statured people. They make excellent defensive weapons for women and teens, but plenty of us guys like them, too. (I'm no giant myself at 5'6".) When put into a folding stock they can be made very compact. With the stock folded an M1 Carbine is close to a foot shorter than a 16" barreled CAR-15 with the stock collapsed. Because of this, I am really liking the M1A1 as a gun to put in the truck during a bugout. I figure the primary load would be Remington 110 grain JSPs, which run well in both my M1s, but with a couple magazines loaded with Ball in case extra penetration was needed, e.g., car doors.

If you want to mount an optic there are a few different mounts available but probably the best one is the Ultimak, which replaces the handguard to allow for forward mounting. I wouldn't put a magnifying optic on an M1 Carbine. The gun's effective range doesn't call for it. However, a red dot sight would be the cat's pajamas, allowing you very fast target acquisition with the ability to see your aiming point even in poor light.

My two Carbines are shown below. The one on the left is a Rock-Ola, while the folder is an Underwood.

Several vendors have replicas of the World War II M1A1 paratrooper stocks; the one pictured came from Cheaper Than Dirt. (The wood came stained but seemingly unfinished. I put on 4 or 5 coats of tung oil.) If you like black plastic, Choate Machine & Tool makes a modern folder. If like me you're lefthanded, the M1A1 replicas are more comfortable than the Choate stocks, which have a prominent "knuckle" on the right side where the hinge is located. This may tap your nose when shooting, which I find annoying.

Generally speaking, USGI Carbines are the best, although depending upon the specimen may be a bit worn. After all, the last one was built in 1945. Plainfield, Iver Johnsons, and IAIs are hit-or-miss from a quality standpoint, while Universals are generally to be avoided. Aside from poor quality, most Universals are not true M1 Carbine clones and won't accept most GI parts, or fit into aftermarket stocks meant for GI Carbines. The other commerical Carbines will. The new Auto Ordnance M1 Carbines are developing a pretty good reputation on the various gun boards. One fellow Carbine fan I spoke to at the range a couple of months ago showed me his AO, and described it as both reliable and the most accurate M1 he's shot. I put 10 rounds of Wolf FMJ through it and got a very nice group at 50 yards.

AR15s and AKs are great guns for your SHTF arsenal, but don't overlook the good old M1 Carbine.


Anonymous said...

These guys hit the nail on the head with the M1 Carbine and its cartridge. The M1 Carbine is indeed a great bug out rifle and general defensive plinker for several reasons. Surplus ammo is still easily found and cheap, parts are plentiful, and even the ragged out beater imports work fine. I don't buy the opinion for one second that the .30 carbine cartridge is not a man stopper. The funny thing is that the 9mm ball has been a standard Military round for 100 years yet the .30 cal carbine runs rings around it in every way.

Anonymous said...

I have an original M1A1 Paratroopers Carbine that has not been fired since 1942. Bet that is a hard one to find

Anonymous said...

Interesting arguement for the M1 Carbine. Personally, I like my Polish underfolder, and would probably take that as my SHTF gun. But if I see any M1 Carbines, I might consider picking one up. Thanks for posting this.

Gringo_Malo said...

I won't dispute any of the good things you've said about the M1 Carbine. I've just never gotten into them because, for the last two or three decades, the Commies have been willing to sell me more gun for less money. Their ammo's cheap too. G.I. M1 Carbines are getting awfully pricey, and I haven't seen any cheap ammo for them in years.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I like the .308 round alot, that being said .223/5.56 AR options abound (although there's the major tradeoff) and the systems are a bit lighter on average + plus if you have both (M1 and AR) you have more options for ammo to send downrange. There's great review of the AR options and comparisons at anyways just thought I'd add my $.02.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather left me his M1 Carbine (Underwood, 7/1943) when he passed. I find it to be a very reliable firearm. I bought a Springfield M1A NM because I wanted to learn to hunt in case I needed to provide for myself (prolonged disaster, etc.)

I must admit though that if I could have only one of the two I would take the M1 Carbine. It's lighter, faster to access, faster to reload and a lot handier. Not to mention the sentementality.

The M1A is a good gun for sure. But its much heavier and slower to reload. And if gasoline becomes scarce I could hold ~3-4 times more ammunition with the carbine.

imarangemaster said...

I'm the guy in the original post from 2006. 75 Yards for my kill was actually a conservative guess, based on 85 long paces. since that post, I have measured my paces, and they are actually longer than three feet by several inches, so it was closer to 95-100 yards. In 2012, I still prefer my Inland M1 Carbine over my AR or AK as my house PDW.
Bernard Molloy

Jewcap said...

I've got a Standard Product's M1, I got it from a veteran for $500 and he even threw in his Arisaka! The only thing i don't like about the Standard Product is that there is no bayonet lug. It isn't a big deal but i feel like I'm missing something. But for $500 I shouldn't complain.

Dave Markowitz said...

Nice. The bayonet lug didn't come along until about 1945 and most M1 Carbines were not retrofitted with one until well after WW2.

Anonymous said...

I also have a Standard Products M1 Carbine. It has an early stock with the I shaped oiler slot and high wood. It also has the early L shaped rear flip. I got for about 800 bucks, so it cost a little. But it is in amazing condition. better than any I have ever handled and runs like a dream. As far as having a gun that I feel will do the job of protecting my family if it is called apon for that, the M1 is fantastic. Not only I, but my wife who is a small woman, can make several accurate shots without flinching. Love that carbine. Also, my grandfather who is 92 yrs old caried one during WW2 in some very unfriendly places.

Anonymous said...

The M-1 carbine is a very effective round for it's intended purpose. It surpasses the .357 Magnum (and no one scoffs at the .357 Mag). As measured against the older M-1 Garand (.30-06) it does not match that rifle's power spectrum. It was designed for a different mission. Plus it could also carry 30 rounds in a "detachable" magazine. However, it was the weapon of choice used/selected by many US Marines, paratroopers, and US Army soldiers during WWII (especially in the jungle). It was used by tons of GIs. MY dad killed a deer with one shot at 55 yards with the M-1 carbine. My father in law (Veteran under Gen. Patton in in WWII) said it was effective and numerous troops in his unit carried the M-1 Carbine during the war with the Germans. It has reasonable practical combat accuracy. I worked on a Police Department in MI for several years and all our "rifles" were M-1 carbines (original GI models). Officers on the PD engaged several subjects during critical incidents and the M-1 Carbines never failed to operate and they never failed to stop the suspects. The .30 Carbine could easily penetrate and blow through the metal on a car as well. In those days many road blocks were established with the help of the M-1 Carbines. No officers ever failed to qualify with the M-1 as well. Every officer on my PD liked the smaller carbine. In fact when our PD finally sold the old carbines, every one of them was purchased by an Officer. On several occasions I worked with the Detroit PD and their Tactical Mobile, "30 series cars," and the Narcotics officers. They routinely used M-1 Carbines on thousands of serious operations and higher-risk narcotic raids. Based on my experience I later acquired a GI spec "IBM." My carbine has never had a mal- function, failure to feed or other operational problem. It can easily drop the rounds in the NRA bulls-eye target at 100 yards.