The M1 carbine guide
You will find here a thorough study of the M1 carbine (United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1) over the period 1941-45. We will first discuss the basic concepts, then we will see in more detail the characteristic elements of the M1 carbines of the second war.
History of the US M1 Carbine
Since 1938, the US Army has been eager to equip non-combatant troops with a semi-automatic rifle, less bulky, lighter and more maneuverable than the Garand.
It was not until 1940 that the Ordnance Corp. accepted the request. The green light was given in 1941 to the various arms manufacturers to launch the competition. More than 20 prototypes were then submitted to the US Army. After a year and a half, the choice will be made for the Winchester model and will take the designation of M1 Carbine.
Between 1941 and 1945, more than 6 million USM1 rifles were produced by 12 different contractors. Inland, Winchester, Underwood, National Postal Meter, Quality Hardware, IBM, Saginaw (Michigan, Grand Rapids), Standard Products, Rock-Ola, Irwin-Pedersen, Commercial Controls. This mass production makes the M1 rifle the most produced American weapon during WW2.
The commissioning will be done from June 1942. The rifle was an immediate success thanks to its lightness and maneuverability (it could be held with one hand) and this despite its lack of power.
It equipped from then on the units of support and support (transmission, artillery, transport, ...). A version with folding stock was developed for the airborne troops under the demomination 'M1 A1 Carbine'.
An example of a WW2 M1 carbine
Features of the WW2 M1 Carbine
Operation: Semi-automatic by gas borrowing
Length: 905 mm
Unloaded weight: 2.48 kg
Cannon: 457.2 mm 4 stripes on the right side
Weight with ammunition: 2.5 kg
Magazine capacity: 15 shots
Speed : 607 m/s
Rate of Fire: M2 on full auto, 650-700rpm
Effective range: 275 m
Production and case markings of M1 and M1 A1 carbines by manufacturers (1941-45) :
|Manufacturer||Case Marking||M1||M1 A1|
|Inland Division, General Motors||INLAND DIV.||2 485 000||140 000|
|Winchester Repeating Arms||WINCHESTER||828 059|
|National Postal Meter||NATIONAL POSTAL METER||413 017|
|Quality Hardware Manufacturing Corp.||QUALITY H.M.C.||359 666|
|International Business Machines||I.B.M. CORP.||346 500|
|Saginaw Steering Gear Division. Michigan, General Motors||SAGINAW S.G.||293 592|
|Standard Products||STD. PRO.||247 160|
|Rock-Ola Music Corporation||ROCK-OLA||228 500|
|Saginaw Steering Gear Division. Grand Rapids, General Motors||SAGINAW S'G'||76 897|
|Commercial Controls Corporation||COMMERCIAL CONTROLS||239|
|Total Production : 6 110 969|
M1 carbine serial number ranges (1941-45) :
|1||5||Inland Division, General Motors||November 1941|
|6||10||Winchester Repeating Arms||December 1941|
|11||999 999||Inland Division, General Motors||05/42-09/43|
|1 000 000||1 349 999||Winchester Repeating Arms||09/42-02/44|
|1 350 000||1 449 999||Underwood, Elliott, Fisher||11/42-07/43|
|1 450 000||1 549 999||National Postal Meter||01/43-09/43|
|1 550 000||1 662 519||Quality Hardware Mfg. Corp||02/43-05/43|
|1 662 520||1 762 519||Rock-ola Mfg. Corp||11/42-11/43|
|1 762 520||1 875 039||Irwin Pedersen-Saginaw Gear||03/43-09/43|
|1 875 040||1 937 519||Quality Hardware Mfg., Corp||June 1943|
|1 937 520||1 982 519||National Postal Meter||10/43-11/43|
|1 982 520||2 352 519||Standard Products||03/43-05/44|
|2 352 520||2 912 519||Underwood, Elliott, Fisher||07/43-02/44|
|2 912 520||3 212 519||Inland Division, General Motors||09/43-01/44|
|3 212 520||3 250 019||Irwin Pedersen-Saginaw Gear||05/43-01/44|
|3 250 520||3 651 519||Saginaw (Saginaw) Division||05/43-02/44|
|3 651 520||4 009 999||International Business Machines||10/43-05/44|
|4 010 000||4 074 999||Underwood, Elliott, Fisher||02/44-03/44|
|4 075 000||4 075 009||Winchester Repeating Arms||February 1944|
|4 075 010||4 432 099||National Postal Meter||11/43-05/44|
|4 432 100||4 532 099||Quality Hardware||07/43-08/43|
|4 532 100||4 632 099||Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation||11/43-03/44|
|4 632 100||4 879 525||Quality Hardware Mfg. Corp.||09/43-05/44|
|4 879 526||5 549 921||Inland Division, General Motors||01/44-08/44|
|5 549 922||5 834 618||Winchester Repeating Arms||02/44-11/44|
|5 834 619||6 071 188||Saginaw (Saginaw) Division||02/44-05/44|
|6 071 189||6 099 688||Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation||03/44-04/44|
|6 099 689||6 199 688||Underwood, Elliott, Fisher||03/44-05/44|
|6 199 689||6 219 688||Rock-Ola Mfg. Corporation||April 1944|
|6 219 689||6 449 867||Inland Division, General Motors||08/44-11/44|
|6 449 868||6 629 883||Winchester Repeating Arms||11/44-01/45|
|6 629 884||6 664 883||Inland Division, General Motors||11/44-01/45|
|6 664 884||7 234 883||Inland Division, General Motors||01/45-08/45|
|7 234 884||7 369 660||Winchester Repeating Arms||01/45-09/45|
|7 369 661||8 069 660||Inland Division, General Motors||01/45-08/45|
|0||239||Commercial Controls Corporation||??/??-??/??|
US M1 Carbine part names :
Characteristic parts of WW2 M1 carbines :
Some pieces have evolved over the period 1941-45. Here is what you need to know to have a coherent M1 at a given date.
One will note in particular the evolutions on the following parts:
The Rear Sight:
-The 1st model (1941-44) in square (Leaf or Flip L-Type Sight) with two positions 100 yards and 300 yards.
-The 2nd model (1944-??) micrometric machined (Adjustable sight, milled construction).
- The 3rd model (194?-??) micrometric stamped (Adjustable sight, stamped construction).
The Trigger Housing group :
Originally it was planned to equip the USM1 with a firing selector (semi-auto, full-auto). In a goal of simplification the first models were deprived of it (1941-44). The selector was introduced at the end of 1944.
- The 1st model (Type I):
- The 2nd model (Type II):
Manufacturers and reception markings on M1 carbine stocks
Here is a list of the different markings you can find on authentic M1 carbines :
Crossed out markings :
It is not uncommon to find cases with two manufacturer's names, one of which is crossed out. In fact, some manufacturers have supplied other manufacturers with breech housings. Upon receipt the original manufacturer's name was crossed out and the final manufacturer's name was added.
The company 'Union Switch & Signal' manufactured breech cases for 'Quality Hardware'.
To avoid having to cross out the original manufacturer's name and retype the final manufacturer's name, the housings were marked 'Un-Quality'.
Union Switch & Signal has also made cases for Postal Meter. They are marked 'U' on the bevel.
We hope this article was useful. Visit our US militaria page if you are interested in rare American militaria items.
Good books to know everything about the M1 carbine:
If you are interested in M1 carbines, I warmly recommend the book by Leroy Thompson published a few years ago: "The M1 Carbine". This book also deals with the M1A1 "Paratrooper" model and the select fire M2 Carbine. It is an exciting read about the history of the M1 Carbine, the battle between manufacturers to produce the best possible rifle and the details and different models of the M1 Carbine. If you love history and firearms, this is truly an indispensable book! You can find it easily online.
Another good book recommendation is "The M1 Carbine: A Revolution in Gun Stocking", written by Grafton and Barbara Cook. In this book, you will find a lot of information you won't find anywhere else. The reading is easy and very interesting.