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'.

WW2 M1 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  
Underwood-Elliot-Fisher UNDERWOOD 545 616  
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  
Irwin-Pedersen IRWIN-PEDERSEN 146 723  
Commercial Controls Corporation COMMERCIAL CONTROLS 239  
Total Production : 6 110 969


M1 carbine serial number ranges (1941-45) :

From To Manufacturer Date
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 : 

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.

M1 carbine rear sight

 

-The 2nd model (1944-??) micrometric machined (Adjustable sight, milled construction).

M1-carbine-rear-sight-2.jpg

 

- The 3rd model (194?-??) micrometric stamped (Adjustable sight, stamped construction).

USM1-rear-sight.jpg

 

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):
m1 carbine trigger type1

 

- The 2nd model (Type II):

type-2-m1-carbine.jpg

 

 

Manufacturers and reception markings on M1 carbine stocks 

Here is a list of the different markings you can find on authentic M1 carbines :

M1 carbine markings

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.

'UN-QUALITY' marking:
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.