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In March of 2011 my wife and I quit or jobs, cashed in our chips and left the big city behind to move to our farm hidden away in northeast Georgia. These are our observations on the news of the day and our adventures in homesteading, becoming self reliant, prepping and living a simpler, more fulfilling life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The M1 Carbine

Preppers seeking a high-performance tactical carbine should give this vintage and battle proven firearm some consideration.

There is a desire among preppers and others to have in their arsenal a capable "tactical" long gun with the specific purpose of self defense. There are many rifles that fit this category such as the AR-15, AK-47, Mini-14 and many others.There is a readily available, often overlooked long gun that is superb for this purpose and that can compete with most of its more high-tech and more expensive competition -- the M1 carbine. 

With proper ammunition, the M1 carbine can easily compete in effectiveness with .223-chambered weapons out to at least 150 yards, and few have any need shooting at anybody farther away than that. In addition, the M1 carbine weighs only 5 1/2 lbs., making it a pound or more lighter than most of its competition, including even the pistol-caliber carbines, and considerably lighter than the M16A2 at 7.9 lbs. The M1 carbine has many other assets as well. It has superb reliability under the worst field conditions. Its accuracy exceeds that of virtually all the pistol-caliber carbines and is comparable with that of many of the semi-automatic .223 rifles. 

Ballistically, the M1 carbine's little .30 caliber cartridge packs about 2.5 times the kinetic energy of a standard .45 ACP or 9mm load fired from a pistol. This is solidly in the energy territory of the .44 Mag. revolver. Indeed it has only 90 ft./lbs. less energy at the muzzle than the Russian 5.45x39mm cartridge and is only a little farther behind the .223 when fired from 14.5" or 16" barreled carbines.  Using expanding bullets, Out to at least 150 yards, the .30 Carbine cartridge usually makes a more serious wound than does the .223, .308 or .30-'06, when the latter are used with FMJ bullets. It is also greatly superior to any of the common defensive pistol rounds fired from a handgun or carbine, even when the latter uses hollow point ammunition. 

When the .30 Carbine cartridge is loaded with expanding bullets, its effectiveness as a manstopper increases exponentially. One police unit used M1 carbines loaded with JSPs in several shootings. They found the carbines to be extremely effective. Quoting one of their more experienced officers about the results from shootings with a .30 Carbine using expanding bullet ammunition, "We never had to shoot anyone twice."

One former Marine who saw extensive combat with the MI carbine in the Pacific in World War II was quite emphatic that the little gun and its cartridge were effective in the close-range combat that he experienced. He also stated that he greatly preferred the M1 carbine to the Garand for that type of fighting because of its much lighter weight, shorter length and higher magazine capacity.

Probably the most authoritative account of the effectiveness of the M1 carbine in real combat comes from the superb book Shots Fired In Anger by John George. George served as a company grade officer in World War II in the famous Merrill's Marauders, operating behind Japanese lines. George was a highly experienced and successful service rifle competitor, shooter and hunter before the war, so all of his writing is from the perspective of someone highly knowledgeable about guns.

George reports, "The M1 carbine turned out to be the ace weapon of the war, as far as I am concerned. It was light and handy, powerful, and reasonably accurate ... The cartridge was powerful enough to penetrate several thicknesses of helmet, and to perforate the plates of the Japanese bulletproof vest, which would only be dented by .45 auto slugs. It was flat shooting enough to have practical accuracy at more than 200 yards ... For many types of offensive fighting, such as sneak raids and infiltration tactics, it was often superior even to the M1 (Garand), penetration being the only point of difference."

The Ml carbine is too good a gun to be overlooked. Several hundred thousand of them are in circulation in the U.S., and although you will find new issue M1's listed in the $700 range, many used M1's can be purchased at very reasonable prices. A Google search will lead to a plethora of accessories available for the M1 allowing for personalizing and extended utility. 
info for this article was sourced from "Guns Magazine" June 2001 

Pics of the M1 Carbine

Famous pictures of Patty Hearst and Malcolm X, both holding M1 Carbines.

auto ordinance m1 carbine article
auto ordinance m1 carbine article


  1. Nice post
    Thanks for sharing useful information.

    Please keep it up.
    45 acp ammo

  2. Thanks NBF, I have a M1, been in my family for at least 60 years. In all aspects it performs great and I consider it a major asset.