Commercial M1 Carbines: Are They as Good as the Originals?

Shooting the M1 rifle offhand

In an earlier column, I mentioned that I did not like, care for, or recommend commercially made M1 Carbines to the ire of many. Although I believe that a properly certified GI-issued Carbine is arguably the best possible choice for personal home defensive use, the commercially made carbines leave a lot to be desired and I will do a deep dive here as to why I feel that way.

History and Fascination

I will start with a historic review of the U.S. GI Carbine, so we are all on the same page. In June of 1940, the Secretary of War approved and allocated funds for the acquisition of a light rifle. Winchester was chosen to develop the cartridge. The date set for the submission of designs was May 1, 1941. Nine designers and company representatives submitted designs. The one glaring omission from the entries was Winchester, because of its commitment to M1 Garand production.

USGI Carbine receiver and trigger housing
A USGI Carbine receiver and trigger housing made by Winchester, which is noted by the “W” on the rear of the trigger housing. Markings on other parts indicated they were also made by Winchester.

However, behind the scenes, negotiations convinced the folks at Winchester to design and fabricate a prototype light rifle for submission. Using David “Carbine” William’s innovative short stroke gas piston, Winchester worked around the clock and the prototype was completed on September 12.

The .30 Caliber Carbine M1 — as designed and manufactured — was originally intended to replace the M1911 pistol for those whose primary function was not front line infantry and whose primary function was support. Its specific purpose was to provide an alternative to GI’s normally issued a handgun only by giving them a weapon with more range and accuracy. History has proven that it was unquestioningly a success.

The M1 Carbine was the most prolifically produced small arm in American history with over 6.2 million produced from 1942 to 1945. It is a shining example of the manufacturing might that the United States displayed during WWII. Initially there were 11 prime contractors assigned to produce the M1 Carbine. Manufacturers included Winchester, Inland, Underwood, Quality H.M.C., Rock-Ola, Irwin-Pederson, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, National Postal Meter, Standard Products, and IBM.

However, only Winchester Repeating Arms was a firearms company with any firearms manufacturing experience. Additionally, I have heard that as many as 1,800 sub-contractors supplied parts. Every part was marked with a unique makers mark that was assigned to each. Those unique individual makers marks were placed on every part made, so they could identify who made them.

One of the unique things about the GI Carbines, and this is very important, was that their parts manufacturing standards were applied to every manufacturer to ensure complete interchangeability, regardless of who manufactured them. The Ordnance Department set the specifications and monitored each manufacturer to ensure they were all within those specifications.

Universal Carbine receiver for an M1
By comparison, a Universal Carbine receiver and trigger housing. Note the open bolt channel on the operating rod and the overall rough finish.

During the rigors of war time production, not all the prime contractors were always able to manufacture all their own parts. However, through lateral support between the prime contractors and the use of subcontractors for various parts, all needs were met. In addition to manufacturing needs, extra parts were also being manufactured as replacements and for upgrades.

Because all carbine parts were truly interchangeable is one of the primary reasons that original, “as issued” examples are now so valuable. Today, virtually all existing carbines have been rebuilt many times over with a potpourri of parts, and they all function flawlessly. It’s hard to realize now, but none of the people involved in the manufacture of the .30 Caliber Carbines could have conceived that collectors 80 years later would be interested in collecting a carbine constructed of all “the right parts” with all “the right markings.” Go figure…

By the end of WWII, production of all carbines had ceased. Many guns remained in service or storage overseas, and others returned home to America. They were inspected and rebuilt to the latest Ordnance Department updated standards and features that were set for the carbine at that time. The rebuilt carbines are identifiable by the markings left by the companies and arsenals that rebuilt them on the stock.

USGI Carbine barrel
A USGI Carbine barrel with integral gas piston housing, operating rod slide groves, and takedown notch.

Because of its size and weight, the M1 carbine was very popular with both the GIs and civilians who came in contact with it. Because of this popularity, carbines went in many different directions and were used for various purposes. Some are still in use today, by the police and/or armed forces of allies, and foes alike.

Many have returned to America, before being sold by importers to collectors and gun enthusiasts. Collecting aside, the .30 Caliber M1 Carbine is just plain fun to shoot because of the same reasons it was popular during and after WWII. It was that popularity that gave rise to the “commercial carbine” phenomenon.

In the years following the end of the Korean War, the popularity of the carbine soared. However, the government had not released any to the public. Initially, some small quantities of surplus GI Carbine parts began trickling into the commercial market. But it wasn’t until the mid 1960s when more than a dozen different companies established themselves to manufacture and sell commercial variations of the M1 carbine. They did however have a major hurdle to overcome.

Markings on the receiver ring of a Universal Carbine indicting Hialeah, Florida as its place of manufacture.
Markings on the receiver ring of this Universal Carbine indicting Hialeah, Florida as its place of manufacture.

Commercial Hurdles

The two most important parts of any carbine are the receiver and the barrel. The first hurdle for the commercial manufacturers was a total lack of functional surplus receivers. Some companies manufactured their own receivers, of which a good number were cast. Some got hold of “decommissioned” receivers that had been cut in half and welded them back together — and not all that well either.

Others contracted companies to make receivers for them, while some simply purchased receivers from one another. As for the barrel part of the equation… Surplus barrels were available, but only in limited quantities that quickly became nonexistent. However, the most important thing missing from the equation of these private sector receivers, barrels, and parts was the very conspicuous absence of the Ordnance Department’s standards and inspectors.

The design, manufacture, and intended use of the U.S. GI Carbines was, and is, very different than those manufactured commercially. There is only one standard for the dimensions, machining, quality, and life span of every part on a U.S. GI M1 Carbine that was adopted by U.S. Army Ordnance. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the commercially made carbines. When U.S. GI Carbines and their parts were sold as surplus, their maintenance and inspection routine ceased. Consequently, many commercial carbines have documented function or safety issues.

Most of the commercial carbine manufacturers started out using as many of the surplus GI carbine parts as were available. As the supply of each part dried up for them, the commercial manufacturers made or substituted commercially manufactured parts. Although those parts may have been dimensionally the same as a GI part, none of them were manufactured to the U.S. Army Ordnance standards.

Commercial Carbines use of the cut 1903 Springfield barrel modification with a brazed on gas cylinder housing
An example of the commercial M1 Carbine’s use of the cut 1903 Springfield barrel modification with a brazed on gas cylinder housing.

The new “standard” became whatever “worked” and was the most cost efficient. Here is only one such example. Because carbine barrels were all but nonexistent, some commercial manufacturers took M1903 and 03A3 Springfield barrels and cut them down. They then did the machining of the rear of the barrel on the separate piece cut off the original barrel. They screwed the rifled portion (along with the consumer) of the barrel into the rear section.

The gas cylinder piston housing was brazed on and had a significant failure rate. Didn’t anyone stop to consider that the twist rate on a carbine was 1 in 20 and the twist rate of an ’03 Springfield was 1 in 10? It’s no wonder they had a reputation of not being able to hit the paper at 100 yards. It’s a wonder they could hit it at 10.

Additional problems arose because some commercial carbine manufacturers attempted to stick to established dimensions and interchangeability, but many did not. Another major problem you should be aware of if you own a commercial variant is that many commercial parts may fail and need to be replaced much sooner than their GI equivalent.

Universal Carbines gas piston showing the atrocious workmanship on both sides
Here is another example, a Universal Carbines gas piston showing the atrocious workmanship on both sides.

Knowing which commercial manufactures parts may fail, and how to identify them from those that will not, is compounded because commercial parts rarely have identifiable markings. That said, here is a partial list of parts that are known to fail on commercial carbines.

  • Bolts
  • Hammers
  • Firing pins
  • Sears
  • Extractors
  • Slides
  • Extractor springs and plungers
  • Gas piston housings

Additionally, some of the commercially manufactured receivers were machined improperly and some of the commercially manufactured bolts, especially those from Universal Firearms, were not properly heat treated and hardened. Those parts issues, along with improper headspacing, caused slamfires and out of battery discharges that injured shooters from weapon malfunctions.

Note: I have only mentioned the more commonly documented issues related to the commercially manufactured carbines. This list is in no way meant to be all inclusive.

Universal Carbines other poorly executed parts including a receiver, operating rods attachment to the bolt, trigger housing
Here are more examples of Universal Carbines’ other poorly executed parts including a receiver, operating rods attachment to the bolt, trigger housing, and more examples of beautifully crafted welds.

Final Thoughts

Please keep in mind that even if you acquire a U.S. GI M1 Carbine, don’t make the mistake of forgetting the history of these carbines and all they’ve been through. Even if a carbine looks like new, someone may have rebuilt it. That’s a hobby for some people. I recommend that before you fire your new acquisition, get your carbine safety inspected by a M1 Carbine qualified gunsmith. It’s worth the time and money and the best I know of is Ed Silva and his staff at Tell him the “other Ed” sent you.

Do you own an M1 Carbine? Is it an original or commercially produced model? How has it performed for you? Share your answers in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (47)

  1. I have an M1 carbine I’m pretty sure is not USGI but it has no markings on it. One of the big difference is that the recoil plague is not a separate piece, it is integrated into the receiver. Any ideas who could have made it?

  2. I bought an Inland from the CMP quite a while ago & the accuracy with my loads is fantastic. I made a colander out of a pie pan at 200 yds. with the 110 FMJ. The barrel is dated 2-45 & as such has the bayonet lug. I decided a few years back to buy a replica in order to give the original a rest, & I chose to get an Inland with the lug. Unfortunately, after getting it, the component shortage struck, but I was able to shoot it enough to break it in. I am very disappointed with the results.
    It came with the round bolt (my original has the flat bolt). It rubs on the inside of the receiver & the finish is coming off. When the bolt is manually retracted, there is a definite gritty sound, & if I let go of it half-way back, it sticks there & must be forcibly pulled back to get it to the stop.
    The main problem I have with it is that the magazine wiggles front & back in the mag well. When fired, the retracting bolt tilts the mag & the next round sometime barely gets caught by the bolt & it won’t feed, as it jams near the feeding ramp. I measured both mag wells & found that the dimensions of the newer one are nearly 0.02″+ larger than the old one. That apparently is the reason the mag cants when the bolt retracts & causes feeding problems. It also tends to stovepipe the spent cases. I suspect the cause of that is due to the stiff spring. I am very disappointed with it, not only with the cycling, but especially since it wasn’t inexpensive, and with the inflated prices now for components, I rarely shoot it because of the jamming problems. It is reasonably accurate, though not as accurate as the original.

  3. Enjoyed all the comments from you poor folks longing for an old GI M1carbine. I would recommend buying a Ruger mini 14 before getting a new carbine. They are also fun to shoot and can be acquired in either .223 or 5,56.

  4. Amazing article on an amazing rifle by an amazing firearm expert. I was very fortunate to have purchased my carbine from the author himself and I couldn’t be happier. I often just like to hold the carbine and let my mind go back to the jungles of Bougainville, Guadalcanal, New Guinea or so many other hell holes where the M1 played such an integral part in defeating the enemy. While sadly, so many of our brave soldiers have passed on it is somewhat comforting to know that so many of these weapons are getting the love that they deserve. Thank you for the article Mr. LaPorta.

  5. Thanks Ed for another excellent article. Im jealous of everyone in the comments owning these. Finally got to shoot one a few months ago. I get why you love them.
    Great stuff.

  6. I have a 10 year old still-pretty-new AO Paratrooper. The rear sight was junk, easily replaceable which I did, but with UTG’s carbine scope mount and a great little Bug Buster. The heat shield popped off until I relocated and re-riveted/elongated the flange. The folding stock was floppy but I fixed that with a dremel so the hinge lugs could ‘fall in’ easier. Factory Aguila results were meh but reloading the empties and using the little 3-9x bug makes it accurate and so fun!

  7. I have a Plainfield (commercial) carbine mfg in ’65.
    As I understand it the Plainfield carbines are as close to GI as a commercial carbine gets.
    Mine is a dependable weapon without a failure in the 500 or so rounds I’ve put through it.
    I’ll pass it along to my daughter when the time comes.

  8. This is some great eye opening article. Who knew that a lot of these carbines are enlightens you to totally have a carbine inspected by a professional before buying one. Great write..thanks for a great article..

  9. Traded an old rifle for a national ordinance m1, had to replace the bolt and spring, it shoots rather well. Made from surplus GI parts in the mid 60’s, found surplus origanal parts online for replacements. Gun shoots nice and is a nice home defense firearm, chose quarters

  10. I have a commercial M1 by Auto Ordnance (which I seem to remember is somehow related to Kahr). It did not get off to a good start for me: The mag release broke during my first day on the range with it. Fortunately, Auto Ordnance was great about repairing it under warranty. My gunsmith who replaced the flip-up rear sight with an adjustable aperture sight told me that AO had upgraded the mag release to a reinforced version. Despite the bad start, I enjoy shooting it and don’t regret buying it. That said, I’d buy a genuine GI version if I could afford it.

  11. Great article. I have 2 Gi carbines, IBM & National Postalmeter. Like them both. One was a $15 1962 National Marksman Ship Program my dad bought. The other, I picked up about 20 years ago. Love the ease of handling and feel with sight picture.

    I did not know of all the major problems of Universal Carbines. Thanks for a job well done.

    I also owned a couple of the 22 M1 carbines that look like an M1. Unfortunately, They just look like M1 carbines. Internally, they are nothing like an M1 carbine and quality is very low.

  12. go to Cabelas used gun library and you will find prices ranging from 1500.00 to3000.00 all are ww2

  13. I picked up a Universal for a song a few years back. It looked practically brand new, but it was cheap because it didn’t cycle. Piston was seized up. I assume someone shot it once and then stuck it in a closet for 30 years without cleaning it. After much rather spooky work with WD-40, a hammer and punch I managed to extract the piston. Polished it to a mirror finish and put it back together. Worked great after that. As the author points out, the craftsmanship is rather shoddy, the welds are especially atrocious. They’ve held, but they sure don’t look good. The gun shoots well and the accuracy is acceptable despite the rather floppy rear sight. As another commenter noted, it doesn’t like 30 round magazines, but has no issues with 15 round mags.

  14. Hillary Clinton stopped S Korea from selling to surplus US ARMS dealers its few hundred thousands arsenal refurbished M- 1 Carbines they had in storage.
    An aquaintence involved in world wide military surplus arms sales was part of group starting program.
    At time he was involved S. korea wanted $50 USD each delivered to Cali docks
    Millions of brass military rounds and 15’30 rnd mags@ $25 per 1000.
    All in 8-10 rifles kosmoline and paper wrapped in wood crates. All were as if brand new and some were full auto converted to semi with folding wire stocks.
    He figured under $300 sale price from his central US warehouse.
    Owned a few, played with a few and even had some Nicole plated, gold plated triggers and barrel bands with commemorative Korean War etching of US Army.

  15. I did have a Winchester made carbine through DCM, It had been refurbished at least once as it had the later sliding rear sight but not the bayonet lug. My current carbine is of Iver Johnson manufacture. It is accurate. and I have no mechanical issues as long as I use standard hardball ammo.

  16. I own a commercial M1 carbine purchased from a police department surplus sell off. Rear sight was broken off, but for a few bucks and a good bit of time with very fine file and emory paper I replaced it. It’s one hell of a shooter and quite accurate out to 60+ yds. It’s my wife’s deer rifle.

  17. I have a Plainfield I bought from a friend back in 1982. The only problem I have had, is with some of my early reloads. The old learning curve got me (bad brass work). Love the thing. When I was doing a lot of hiking in the desert, I carried it all the time.

  18. My father in law left me an Alpine US M1Carbine, I believe he acquired in 1962. He was a Marine in WWII and was a truck driver, I believe support troops like that were issued M1 Carbines. He landed on Okinawa on April 1 , 1945. Sadly, he passed on April 1, 1995, fifty years later. It shoots like a champ, only issue I had was a bad ejector and got that fixed. Great rifle.

  19. I have a Winchester GI M1 Carbine and have for many years. Son hunted with it growing up. He just came home asked about it so we took it to the range, gun was dead on 100yd iron sights. Recently took it to my gunsmith he said suckers in good shape keep on shooting time to time. It’s an heirloom now, everyone that shoots it loves the old gun.

  20. Years ago we bought an IAI carbine and have had no problems. Didn’t see that manufacturer mentioned. Has anyone had problems with an IAI carbine

  21. Back in the early ’90s a slew of GI M1 Carbines were imported by somebody (Sile?). They were very rough and sold for @ $95. Several of my friends bought one or two. Most of them had issues (rough bore, loose parts, loose wood, cracked wood, no finish) but they were genuine G.I. A short ten years ago you could get one from the CMP for $495 to $695. I thought that was too much. I was wrong. Last time I checked, the CMP doesn’t really offer them, though they are still listed. The .30 cal carbine round is an over-glorified pistol round, but a hot one. This makes it perfect for a self-defense house gun. They are now illegal to purchase here in IL, though the “jury” on constitutionality of SAFE-T Act is still out. Oh, and if someone files the front sight on a firearm, that will make it shoot HIGHER. Stay safe.

  22. I have the new Inland and it is dead nuts on up to 125 yards. It is my wife’s primary weapon at home. Do not stand in front and look threatening. She has fired it for the last few years and can clean it in minutes. Very nice tool for her

  23. I own 3 m1 carbines 1is a original m1A1inland and a kahr built and then a new inland built one they have all preformed like troopers . I did a little experiment by taking the 2 inland models and cross fitting parts to check for interchangeablety,tore down reassembled and then fitted 100 rds each no problems .The parts exchange was a complete armorers rebuild only did with the two inland’s but I have installed gi parts in the kahr and it functions perfectly.

  24. Had a Universal years (decades actually) ago and other than it didn’t like 30 rnd mags it was a beautiful gun, dunno what the twist rate was but it was spot on at 100 yds. developed a problem with bolt/firing pin (Possibly headspace, firing pin wear, dunno what for sure) that it had inconsistent primer strike, After2 different gunsmiths couldn’t fix it I replaced the bolt wit a GI bolt and firing pin. bolt dropped right in, firing pin “ear” had to be ground even with bottom of bolt to go in the universal receiver. Worked just fine after that. Sadly needed money and had to sell it.
    Later got a GI carbine, Doesn’t look as nice but then you go thru a few wars and see how you look, right!
    And this one likes the 30 rnd mags the other one didn’t so it’s got that going for it.

  25. I have an original carbine purchased though the cmp program in the mid 1960s. Dad bought 3. One for him, one for Mom and one to sell. Mom’s was the best and I have it. Dad’s was so oily and cosmulined he soaked the stock in bleach for a week. Made it a blonde stock with oil stricks. They both shot well and were used in high power rifle competition. I haven’t looked at it in a while however as I recall it is a Winchester. It shoots well taking any magazine I have.

  26. I suppose if cost and time wasn’t an issue, you could always go with a Fulton Armory version.

  27. I have an early production model of a Universal Firearms M-1 Carbine .30 caliber. Because Universal at the time still had access to OEM parts, my rifle is as good of quality as you can find from a government contracted manufacturer. None of the rough finish, poorly executed parts as described above. I guess I am lucky. Having spent 30 years with the Marine Corps, this is my favorite weapon. Never a misfire, slamfire or any of the aforementioned malfunctions, and, if I might add, fairly accurate at 100 yards. BLUF, this is my primary CQB, home defense weapon behind my trusty 1911 A1

  28. Many years ago, probably over 40 now, I bought a commercial M1 carbine with a paratrooper stock. It was one of my first firearm acquisitions and my youthful exuberance was in love with the folding stock. Alas, it was prone to misfires. I tried several different brands of ammo, no dice. I was crushed. But there’s no use for a firearm that won’t go bang, so I traded it off for…don’t even remember now.

    So yeah, I’d not buy a commercial M1 without knowing it was from a reputable manufacturer. And then I probably wouldn’t want to pay the price. I’d say the CMP/DCM is the place to source, if you still can. My mother had one sourced there, she shot it in military rifle shoots because she didn’t handle the weight of an M1 Garand, and definitely wasn’t going to put up with the recoil of a bolt action in 30-06. She was game for anything, up to a point. My brother got that one, kinda wished that I’d done better negotiating on that, but there was so much to sort through and he really wanted it.

  29. Seen some bad reviews on youtube on the new ones.
    Gunjesus didnt like it much.
    When he and Ed agree its steer clear time.
    Hope i get to shoot an gi issue one one day

  30. Thanks Ed, I should have talked to you before I went ‘hunting’ for an M1 and almost bought one until the owner said $3K. I decided to wait and do a little more sleuthing.

  31. Well this article is something Ed discussed with myself a few years ago , since that time I have through him purchased (hopefully it’s there) a remanufactured M1 by a very reputable gunsmith and look forward to putting it to use on my next visit this year I hope Ed . My only wish would be to bring it home but alas due to Australian laws it stays with Ed in a safe . Good history lesson and warnings people take note & thank you Sir .

  32. I am the very proud owner of an Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine. The Website can tell you how they manufacture their Carbines. All I can say is that mine shoots absolutely incredible groups with the iron sights at 25, 50, and 100 yards. I have found that the tolerances of all the working parts to be very good and have no complaints whatsoever with the workmanship or the quality. I have found that the stock that my rifle came with was easily replaced with a “G.I. Issue” stock, complete with scratches, dings and dents. It makes my Carbine easy to pass for an original . That is until you see it shoot. Then everyone asks if I have had it customized!

    Perhaps I am the only Auto Ordnance owner with this high quality Carbine, and all the rest are disappointed with their purchases; but somehow I just do not think that is the case.

    Signed : just lucky I guess

  33. I very much enjoy your article’s. Something an every day working man can learn from. Could you do an article on the Inland M1 carbine please.
    Thanks Much
    I have not already posted anything similar

  34. I very much enjoy your article’s. Something an every day working man can learn from. Could you do an article on the Inland M1 carbine please.
    Thanks Much

  35. Serial number 860. Came from the guard armory in Milwaukee.
    Loved it. Shot great, and accurately.
    Then it got destroyed when the house burned down.

  36. Own a UNIVERSAL carbine, bought in the early 80’s. Agree that they (Universal) are not built to the same quality level as a WWII M1 Carbine. The issue was then, and still is, that the inexpensive/”beater” surplus WWII M1 Carbines no longer exists. HOWEVER, the M1 Carbine was the first PDW, and the 30 caliber M1 Carbine round is superior in fire power of any 9mm PCC combo. A 110 grain HP/SP 30 caliber M1 Carbine round is going about 1900 fps. A 115 grain 9mm round in a PCC can be as much as 500 fps slower. Likewise, 9mm PCCs are using a “blow back” operating system. while the M! Carbine uses a short stroke gas piston. So, with both a ballistic advantage, and a gas piston instead of a counterweight, a strong case can easily be made for the M1 Carbine as better than any 9mm PCC. If AUTO ORDINANCE builds at the same level of quality as a WWII M1 Carbine, then we have a winner. Note – I “upgraded” to a HENRY “X” in .357 from the UNIVERSAL M1 Carbine as a home defense gun. Auto Ordinance doesn’t make their M1 Carbine with a tactical style folding stock and none of their M1 Carbines have been seen/available for years. Hear INLAND now builds near identical level quality M1 Carbines, but other than seeing an old flyer, nobody I have contacted has ever seen one in person.

  37. I inherited an original M1 US Carbine from my Father. On top just under the rear sight it’s stamped “National Postage Meter “, and on the barrel near the front sight it’s stamped “IBM. From what I’ve read it was common for IBM to manufacture barrels for a variety of M1 Carbine manufactures. I absolutely love this rifle, and you’re correct, it’s the perfect home defence weapon: light, short, which makes it very maneuverable in tight spots, does not blow your eardrums out when fired, and very low over penetration risks. It’s basically a long barreled pistol, what’s not to like? I wouldn’t give up my M1 Carbine for love or money. If you are fortunate to own an M1 US Carbine your holding a piece of history, be proud and respect your rifle, chances of acquiring another one are getting slim to none.

  38. I just saw newly made “Inland Carbines” listed for sale on Gun Deals for $1399.00. I scrolled right past but I wonder what is going on with that? I would pay $499.00 in a heartbeat!

  39. The author has hardly scratched the surface of this topic. For example, when it comes to Universal carbines, the early ones were made almost entirely of GI parts and had a good reputation. By the time the company finally closed its doors for good, the design had been significantly altered and fabricated parts were as he described (often atrocious). Original GI surplus carbines today often suffer from tired springs and cracked or loosened gas piston nut rings. Before you get the proper tool to tighten your loose nuts, you might want to clean the gas ports. Yes, I know how this sounds.

  40. Dad was a WW2 vet and it was there that he learned the workings of the M1. It was no surprise then that when the Civilian Marksmanship program sponsored the release of thousands of surplus M1’s in about 1962 that he purchased one. It came through the mail with a $13.00 purchase price. It was an Inland production of 1944. It’s been my plinking gun, deer rifle, and home defense tool for 60 some years now. It’s a wonderful rifle, a great shooter, and gets the job done without a lot of kick. If you come across an original and the price is right buy it.

  41. “The .30 Caliber Carbine M1 — as designed and manufactured — was originally intended to replace the M1911 pistol for those whose primary function was not front line infantry and whose primary function was support.” Replacing the 1911 with the sorriest firearm I have ever fired, makes as much sense as replacing the Original 4-speed V-8 Mustang (ALL designs were 2-doors then), with a 4-door all electric Mustang. To me, replacing the M1 Garand, or the 1911, with an M1 Carbine, is of the highest insult to both. The M1 Carbine is no way even anywhere near the class act of the M1 Garand or the 1911, just like the 4-door Electric Mustang is NOT a Mustang! The only good thing about the M1 Carbine, is it may be considered the forerunner to todays popular modern Pistol’s Caliber Carbines. Having to qualify on an M1 Carbine quickly put it at the top of my; “Never, Ever, to own list. It was underwhelming in every way, just like the 4-door Electric Mustang.

  42. About 12 years ago I acquired a 1943 M1 carbine made by inland. I love it. Fun to shoot but it shoots three to four inches low. I heard a rumor that some GI’s filed the front sight down and was wondering if that’s the problem. Is it possible to find an original front site and where might I look to aquire this replacement part?

  43. Good article, Ed. I was not aware that Carbines were being rebuilt with the poor quality control issues you mention. Thank you!
    I had been looking for a Carbine for some time but could not find one in the condition I wanted, that was not priced incredibly high. I researched and found that Inland was manufacturing new Carbines and after checking their website and reviews, opted to buy one. So far, so good. Since you did not mention any manufacturers, I would like to hear your opinion of Inland Carbines.
    One issue I found that required more research was getting good quality magazines. Beside the 15 round mag that comes with the Inland, I wanted some 30 round and additional 15’s. I did find a couple manufacturers that stood out and bought some extras.
    I would like to see a follow-up article on Carbine magazines. I think that would be of great help to those wanting to buy a Carbine and have extra mags.
    Thanks again! Keep up the good work.

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