Gratuitous Gun Pic — M1 Carbine (.30 Carbine)

I have often touched on the topic of the WWII / Korean War-era M1 Carbine before, but never really done it justice.  For those people who have a busy day ahead of them and have to get on with it, here’s the Executive Summary:

I love this rifle.


I love it more than just about any other rifle I own, because it satisfies several of my “needs” at one go:

  • it’s handy — lightweight, easy to carry, easy to shoot / low-no recoil, not huge and cumbersome
  • shoots a decent cartridge (a topic to be covered at some length further down the page)
  • it’s a piece of history, and killed lots of Evil Bastards (Commies, Nazis and Imperial Japs) in two major conflicts
  • plentiful ammo (under normal circumstances, don’t get me started)
  • less importantly, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy shooting it.

“But Kim,”  you may ask plaintively, “what about all the geeky stuff?”

Glad you asked.  Because it’s the weekend, I’ve taken the trouble to collect a few videos from EwwChoob and put them all in one post.

Firstly, there’s Gun Jesus (Ian McCollum) giving you the background history and technical aspects (in his usual masterful manner).

Next comes Chris Baker from Lucky Gunner, giving not one but four videos (you can skip the first one as it covers more or less the same ground as McCollum does):

  • Part 1(history and overview)
  • Part 2 (.30 Carbine ammo test)
  • Part 3 (self defense with the Carbine)
  • Part 4 (reliability, and modifying the Carbine).

Finally, there’s a great conversation about the M1 Carbine between Ian McCollum and the peppery Ken Hackathorn.

Whenever I watch gunny videos, my trigger-finger starts to itch, but with gunny videos about the M1 Carbine, it starts to itch really badly.  So if you own one already (and you should, it belongs in every household almost to the  degree that a .22 rifle does) and you end up going out to the range with your M1 Carbine this afternoon instead of tackling the “Honey-Do” list, tell her it’s my fault.


  1. I just so happen to have a new-to-me Inland that is going to the range today for her first shooting session with me. I plan on enjoying the heck outta 2 or 3 magazines of Korean surplus ammo I managed to score (at original prices!) during the start of the ammo scare (and my only regret was not buying 3).

    They are an incredible gun. They’re easy to shoot as a .22, and are in a similar power range as a .357 carbine. They created the niche of the Personal Defense Weapon, the modern carbine in between the sub-machine gun and the modern small battle rifle, especially for civilians stuck at semi-auto. They weren’t meant as a 300 yard battle rifle or as a sub-machine gun, as the negative M2 carbine stories from Korea bore out. However, at 10 to 100 yards as a pistol substitute, they were (and are) incredible.

    The only flaw with the M1 Carbine is now cost. They’re too expensive to manufacture as-is, because they’re from a different era where every good gun cost that much to make when it was government money. They were only cheap and disposable because they were war surplus. (And let’s not talk about the quality issues from the manufacturers once the USGI parts dried up.)

    Now they’re war collectibles, and any WW2 gun is now 1200 to 1500 minimum for an Inland. I’ve seen Rock-Ol-As and IBMs running $2500-$3500, and getting sold. That’s a lot of money; I still wouldn’t own any except for my wife’s insurance payout (and an excuse that they’re an investment….).

    I am a big fan of the .300 AAC Blackout because I think it’s the modern successor to the M1 Carbine in the PDW platform (for those of us stuck at semi-auto). You can build a 10 to 12 inch AR pistol (or SBR) and load it with 180 grain Hornady Sub-X rounds, and be incredibly prepared for 99% of the “reach out and touch someone” situations in modern urban life.

    Plus, if a 1 year old AR gets confiscated or placed into evidence, that’s sad, but then you just go get 1 (or 3) more. If an M1 gets confiscated or placed into evidence, that is a tragedy.

  2. Oh boy, one of my favorites! Quick story of where I (figuratively) won the lottery.

    Buddy in Chicago who is strictly a hunter, not a milsurp collector had a neighbor in her nineties, who’s husband died, and she found an old M1 Carbine among his things. She asked him to sell it for her (thank the Good Lord it was him) and over breakfast he asked me if I’d buy it and for how much.

    I told him a) I didn’t know much about it (at the time, that’s changed), b) there were millions of them around, but mostly mix-masters and sporterized, not worth much money, but c) really good ones with original, or at least correct parts might go for thousands. I also told him I didn’t have the time to research it at the time, but I’d give him $500 for it, and because I’m an honest soul, suggested he do some research on it and find out if it was worth more. He decided he didn’t care, widow friend just wanted it gone, and he liked me, so deal done over that breakfast.

    So. I didn’t really look at the thing for a couple years, but in my usual OCD fashion I did dive into it for about two weeks of evening and weekend Interwebs research. You guessed it. It is an Inland Div almost never fired specimen, with original sling, and oiler (although that’s pretty rusty) manufactured in December 1941. One of their first. It had no magazine, so I have a few after markets for it, but all the other parts are properly stamped so as to confirm it is exactly what went out the factory doors when it was made.

    I never met the widow, I wanted to, but my buddy said he was a staffer of some sort, and did not see much field action in the war, and it was likely his issued carbine that he just smuggled home with him, which is why it’s in such great condition. One of the few times I got lucky in life. I’ve fired about a hundred rounds through it, which certainly won’t hurt it, it’s a battle rifle after all. People worry about these things being delicate, and age somehow affecting them like it does us human beings–it doesn’t. But it will remain mostly a safe queen, and lightly used, to be handed down to my son someday.

  3. I have an M1-Carbine that I used with grandkids as the next step up form shooting a .22 rifle. My granddaughter enjoyed shooting it when she was eleven years old. That old gun is my stick in the truck for trips and keep under the bed with a magazine close by. It does not look as scary as the AR’s and if I had to use it for home defense it is dead on accurate and won’t go through my neighbors house, most likely. I wish I had bought several way back when they were affordable but, oh well.

    1. My dad bought the one I inherited for maybe $15 in the 1950s. From the director of civilian marksmanship, a federal position that I can’t complain about.

  4. A bit of of a tangent, but here goes: I have a couple of digitzed World War Two M1 carbine training videos. In those 1940s productions, the narrator says “car-byne.”

    Nowadays, in the Lucky Gunner video and most other places, I hear “car-bean.” I wonder when and why the pronunciation changed.

    Meanwhile, I found an affordable 1000-round ammo box of Koren milsurp for mine at the beginning of the Great Covid Ammo Panic, it will be in business indefinately.

  5. At The military academy I attended from 4th to 9th grade ( in the early 60’s) , when you became an upperclassman ( 8th Grade ) we were issued a M1 from the Armory every Wednesday and Friday for drill. ( it was almost as big as I was at the time) The very first lesson was how to clear it without losing your thumb. We were never issued even practice rounds, but never the less, it was pounded into us to always check and clear your weapon when first handling it. They were always in perfect condition. ( because the gunny who was in charge of the Armory inspected every one when they were checked in and God Help you if you some how got dirt on it. )

    Somehow, I suspect that experience doesn’t happen anymore. Imagine the Karens of the country learning 14 year olds were being given military weapons at school.

  6. Agree whole heartedly with ya. I remember a story of a cop on the NYPD stake out squad back in the bad days of NYC. Can’t remember his name. I believe he had 11 kills to his credit. Most were with an M1 carbine. Described it as the hammer of Thor.

    I was lucky to get the milsurp bug in the late 90s. Just in time for the CMP release of early 2000s. Picked up an Inland and Winchester for 495 and 595 respectively. Mailed directly to my house lol…before all the BS of today. To me even though I could get more today, they are tied to a momentous world event. Like all the milsurp guns I have, I literally feel the history flow through my hands when I break them out. It is a wonderful and wonderous firearm.

    1. That was Jim Cirillo. Tales of the Stakeout Squad.
      They loved the M1 carbine.

  7. Once upon a time, I dressed up as a soldier for Halloween. My costume included an M1 carbine as my dad believed, correctly, that the Springfield was too heavy for me to carry all night.

  8. I picked up a sorry looking Inland M-1 carbine years ago, caked black, nasty. I cleaned it up and refinished the stock, much better now. It shoots 8″ high at 100 yds. I read that many were rearsenaled, and any front sight on hand would be installed on them. I suppose that’s why mine shoots high.

    Bonus: The Ruger Blackhawk in .30 carbine is tons of fun. Loud with huge fireballs, recoil is surprisingly mild. Accurate too.

    1. AMT Automag III pistol in .30 Carbine is also fun to shoot. HUGE grip circumference. I’d love to compare it to a Coonan .357 1911.

      1. I wanted an Automag III, at least until I got the Automag in .22 wmr. Jam-o-matic POS, got rid of it. And yeah, a Coonan.

        I did a little more reading about the M-1 shooting high at a hundred after my first post. Evidently 8″ high was nothing, as long as they didn’t shoot low they let ’em pass. Six o’clock hold FTW.

  9. I owned a new Inland carbine for one trip to the range. It was from the newly reconstituted Inland company. Sadly it would not cycle properly with any type of ammunition I tried. The rear sight was not staked properly as well. I bought it at Kittery Trading Post and they refunded my money. The first time I have ever had to return a firearm for any reason. I looked at a couple of carbines at Amoskeag Auction Company, and they went for much more than I was willing to pay. I would like to get one someday as well, as it is a neat and handy gun.

  10. The M1 is one of my favorite guns to shoot. I’ve been blessed to have a father with an itch for them too, which means that we have at least 4 or 5 of them, including an IBM and an International Harvester, both with all the same serial numbers on the component parts. No Singer, but that would be on the list of lottery-winning-fueled purchases.

  11. In the Early-60’s did a tour in the USAF. Was handed an M-1 Carbine at Lackland during Basic.
    Two years later, got handed another one when at Elmendorf in AK, for a required Re-Qual.
    Never handled another weapon during that tour. Don’t remember what I fired during Basic, but it must have been good enough as they kept me in; at Re-Qual, shot IIRC 283, and they gave me a Medal. So, when I mustered out, I had an Expert Rifle ribbon, a GCM, and (eventually) a NDM to put on that blouse.
    Have two M-1’s presently:
    1) An Underwood that is a re-import (Blue Sky / AR) with that detail properly stamped in the barrel – believe it may be a late-40’s manufacture supplied to some foreign nation, as it does not show any marks that would hint Arsenal Rebuild, but has the improved rear-sight, and bayo-mount ;
    2) a 1990’s era IAI model with the ventilated metal handguard that was commercially available through normal firearms channels. Saw it at the SHOT Show in their booth, and bought one when my distributor had them in stock – sorry I didn’t also get one of their Garands to go with it.

  12. Gosh! You sure know how to make a fella feel good about things. Bought one about 35 years ago, and if memory serves me, it cost about 125 bucks, delivered.

    Almost fell off my chair seeing they now go for near 1500. Holy moley! As to ammo, there were periodic dumps of Greek .30 milsurp that were snapped up at near .22 ammo prices. I am told those days are scarce now.

    Agree that it is the most fun plinker next to a Ruger 10-22 that can be had., but at $1500 – no way and no, not selling it even with a twelvefold price appreciation.

  13. I still have my Auto Ordinance carbine.

    Bought it new, completely milspec ( not one of those shitty Universals ). Dead on below 100 yards.

    Makes bunnies explode. Wife made me use .22s on them
    She likes cooking bunnies.

  14. I have a Rossi clone of the m1 Carbine in 9mm. it uses the same magazines as my beretta so it is one of the teowaki combinations. Good gun and easy to shoot. Probably only good out to 50 yards, but should work well enough then.

  15. I got my uncle’s firearms when he passed, and among them was a M1 carbine. It jammed a lot and I was unhappy with it, until I did some checking. It turns out that the magazines uncle picked up were garbage, so I got some new ones. Also, it wanted to be run wet – lots of lube! My father and his brother both said the M1 carbine was a great weapon, and I have to agree (now).

    1. It doesn’t need to be soaked, that just encourages it to pick up grit.

      Put a dab of grease in the bends of the op rod track, in the receiver rails, and on the bolt ears.

      1. This is the one case where it doesn’t hurt to treat the Carbine like the M1 Garand. Go to WalMart and buy the red SuperTech gear grease in the tub. Yes, you can splurge on Mobil-1 if you insist, but the WalMart generic is 100 times better than what was originally used for the job.

        Take a Q Tip or cleaning patch, get a very small drop of grease on it. Spread the grease on any part that rubs another part, so thin that you can see a little sheen but can’t tell that the grease is red. More is not better here.

        Then oil the springs, other exposed metal, and any part that rotates.

        After shooting, clean all the old grease off, and grease and oil for next time.

        Also, the WW2 GIs considered the magazines disposable. Put the original mags away, and buy 15 or 30 round mags from Brownell, and shoot them until they get cranky, and trash them. A new spring kit’s a decent investment too.

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