.30 Carbine for SHTF/Survival?


November 27, 2004, 04:59 PM
I'm not too familiar with the .30 M-1 Carbine but I see several of them on the various ad boards for a pretty decent price, and I've certainly seen plenty of cheap ammo for them.

I don't have a ton of money and I'm looking for a decent shtf/survival rifle. How well would an M-1 Carbine handle this role?

How is the recoil on an M-1 Carbine? Could a small statured female handle it easily?

Yes I know that the AK is a good shtf/survival rifle, but I just plain don't like it. Or the SKS. I've shot and handled both of those and I just really don't like them.

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November 27, 2004, 05:21 PM
The M1 would be fine in this role, but the ammo isn't the cheapest for storage. Depending on how much you want to stuff away, anyways.

You could always look at one of the 9mm carbines. The ammo is about as cheap, and about as powerful.

(Reconsider the SKS, at 1/4 the initial investment, plus ammo is probably 1/2 the cost, you can afford to have a couple and more ammo. Hits harder and farther than the .30.)

November 27, 2004, 05:33 PM
so what you don't like the AK, it's still a far better SHTF rifle, nobody likes it when the SHTF anyway. if you just want some rifle that fits your imaginary SHTF scenario fantasy just pick any you like. BTW the SKS fits people of smaller stature very well.

how about a Beretta Storm Carbine and a matching Beretta Pistol so you can use the same ammo and mags?

how about a Armalite AR-180B? AK reliability with common cheap lightweight ammo.

November 27, 2004, 06:06 PM
It's decent, and my 5' 2" wife just loves to shoot mine. It's better than a .22 LR and much better than the 7.62 that she's scared of. It's about equivalent to a .357. Some may argue about that, but it's more than a .38 Special.

November 27, 2004, 07:00 PM
Wow, didn't mean to offend anyone. Seems the Art Major is a bit touchy about the old AK.

All I said was that I didn't like the AK or SKS. I would much rather be protecting myself and family with a rifle that I was comfortable with than with one that some people worship as the ideal but doesn't work well for me. In my opinion, the ergonomics suck.

But I didn't post to have a flame-war about the AK or SKS. I posted to find out info on the M1 Carbine. I also stated that I am on a limited budget, so the solution of buying two new guns that match, or one overpriced polymer wonder isn't really in the cards.


November 27, 2004, 07:12 PM
No offense, just consider that there are other options that won't break the bank, and for which you can find ammo as or more cheaply and more commonly, and pack about the same or more power than the .30
Check into the Ruger PC-9 carbine, the Kel-tec Sub2000 (under $300), or maybe a Marlin Camp. All those are 9mm carbines (100rounds of white box 9mm FMJ at Walmart for about $11!!). If you have any .357's, consider getting a .357 lever action. Big five advertises them here for $299 often.
In a true SHTF situation you're more likely to find 9mm or .357/.38 in a ransacked department store, or in a trade for other goods.
The .30 isn't a bad choice. For SHTF with any magazine fed rifle, you're going to need to stock up on mags.

Jim K
November 27, 2004, 07:13 PM
There are a couple of advantages to the M1 carbine. One is that it has the general look of a "sporter" rifle rather than the look of a "nasty black assault rifle", something that can be an advantage. Another is that the carbine, given any reasonable care, is pretty reliable.

One drawback is that GI carbines are getting expensive as they become more and more collectors items rather than working guns, and newly manufactured ones are not proving that reliable. Also ammunition is not anywhere near as cheap or available as other calibers such as 5.56, 7.62x39, or 9mm Parabellum. In a real SHTF situation, having a rifle in the military and police caliber (5.56mm/.223) would probably be an advantage.

As to power, the .30 carbine is essentially a hot pistol cartridge; it is outclassed by both the 5.56 and the 7.62x39, and way under full power rifle cartridges like the 7.62 NATO (.308) and .30-'06, although the latter have a lot of blast and recoil.

One possible alternative is the Ruger in 5.56 (.223) which also has the "sporter" look, and for which 20 and 30 round magazines are again available.


November 27, 2004, 07:22 PM
Jim knows a lot more about the carbine than most of us. But, I carry an M-1 carbine in thetruck, I carried one on three different continents and do now. I took three female friends who are interested in self defense, all of them have husbands in Iraq now. The are in the same boat as you, don't like the AK, the SKS is uncomfortable, they are all carrying SP 101s as concealed carry revolvers and want a rifle. I let each shoot a box of 50 from three different carbines and all are sold. They plan to go to the next Tucson gunshow, but the Post Sportsmans Center gunsmith told them that he can slick up an IMI or Kahr carbine so it is absolutely dependable. I think the M-1 carbine is a great weapon and all of the clones except a late Universal can be made ultra dependable.

George S.
November 27, 2004, 07:22 PM
Most of the USGI M1 Carbines I have seen (and lusted after :D ) have been pretty expensive as in the $600 and higher range. I have not found .30 Carbine ammo to be that cheap at least compared to .223 or 7.62x39. It would be a good choice for anything from a truck rifle to small game to a SHTF rifle. It's just too bad they are so expensive. There are some non-USGI versions but I have not heard a lot of good things about them.

I'm not a AK fan either. For some reason, they just don't feel comfortable to me. Granted, they're accurate and will take punishment in the field but to me, they are just too pricey and the cost is even more than Carbines.

I have a Mini-14 Ranch and I like it a lot. It's a proven design, eats any .223 or 5.56mm NATO round I have tried so far, and with only about $60 in mods will give me 2.5-3" groups at 100yds. The action is based on the proven M1/M14 design and is a great size for average to shorter people and has little recoil. I paid $475 for mine brand new. Lots of folks complain about quality hi-cap mags not being available, but I have some John Masen mags that work very well.

The Mini-30 in 7.62x39 would be a good choice as it will take deer easily and ammo is readily available and very inexpensive.

November 27, 2004, 07:26 PM
FilJos: The M-1 carbine should work just dandy for your purposes. I've shot one a couple of times and was impressed with the overall handiness and low recoil. My guess is that small-statured folks would really feel comfortable with it. The caliber is fine for your stated intent. Ammo is a bit more expensive these days but not enough to matter if you're not going through it by the caseful. I've heard that the 15-rd magazines are the handiest and most reliable.

Good luck-they're neat rifles.


November 27, 2004, 07:41 PM
In a SHTF scenario, I'd want something that gives me a little more reach than the .30 Carbine. I opted for a bolt-action rifle, mostly because I live out in the country where long shots would be quite feasible, and partly because I want as much distance as possible between me and the marauding hordes of hungry city-dwellers!:D

If your budget is tight, you really cannot beat an SKS or lever action .30-30. Of these two, the SKS will probably get you a few extra yards of range, and most certainly the ammo is cheaper.

Another thing about SHTF rarely discussed is the type of environment you'd most likely find yourself. Do you live in the city or country? Maybe suburbia? Your needs, abilities, and likely environment should be taken into consideration when seriously contemplating this.

November 27, 2004, 08:11 PM
The M1 carbine is a decent short range weapon. Anything under 100 yards, you're okay. With hollowpoints it hits about like a .357 Magnum. With ball, about like a .38 Special (expect multi-shot groups before a bad guy goes down with ball, according to a Command Sergeant Major I knew who carried one off and on through WW2 and Korea when he didn't have a Thompson).

Ammo is a bit expensive.

The advice on a Ruger PC carbine is good for short range. They are tough and handle just like an M1 carbine, and have a double-mag pouch from Gould & Goodrich, you can have 45 rounds on the gun with 15 round mags. The Ruger also uses Ruger pistol mags, and the .40 S&W PC4, with 180 grain hollowpoints, probably hits a bit harder than the .30 carbine, with more commonly available ammo. Most cops use .40 now..... something to think about.

The two guns cost about the same, new Kahr M1 carbines are about $600, any mil-surp M1 carbine is the same more or less, the Ruger is about $400-500.

A lever action Marlin in .357 Magnum would also do well, for about $350, out to 150 yards, with fairly cheap ammo. Not exactly a quick reload (only 10 shots) but the design hasn't changed in a hundred and ten years, it "WORKS and WORKS AND WORKS", for a one or two opponent scenario, it would do.

The Keltec Su-16, which uses the AR-15 magazine and fold in half for storage, is in 5.56mm, has widely available mags, and runs about $500. Good survival gun. Not made for five thousand rounds firefights (burning off two 30 rounders back to back will make it heat up pretty good from what I've heard) but for a SHTF gun, it would certainly hold it's own. And chambering a rifle round, it packs more of a punch (especially with SP or JHP rounds) than any of the previously mentioned carbines.

November 27, 2004, 08:25 PM
I have both the 9mm CX Storm and an Inland M1 made in 1944.
I like them both.

I really enjoy the M1.
The 110 gr. .30 caliber bullet travels out of this little gun, according to what I've read, at 1990 feet per second.
At my indoor range you can shoot the .30 carbine on the pistol range.

As far as self-defense rounds, Winchester makes a hollow point and Remington makes a soft nose bullet. I understand the Cor Bon will be coming out with a DPX in this caliber, but I read this on a forum and I cannot say if it's for sure.

If you do not want a military surplus carbine, Auto Ordnance (Kahr) makes an M1 from new parts. This is a great little gun and you can find them from the high $400's to the mid- $500's.

We all have our preferences. I enjoy the 9mm carbine because ammo is cheap and it's fun to shoot. The .30 carbine is a lot of fun to shoot and the ammo is affordable, but the self-defense rounds are a little more expensive.

Mine is right at 60 years old and it functions well. It has not been refinished, although I'm sure some of the springs were changed along the way. I think this says something about the design of these little carbines.

They are fun to shoot and full of history.

Good luck.

November 27, 2004, 10:06 PM
If the M-1 carbine fits you best and you are comfortable with it, get it and use it.

It sounds simplistic, but I have bought and sold alot of guns and I can tell you this about them. You can't settle for something you don't really want and you shouldn't try to talk yourself into anything other than you what you want. You will never be satisfied with it.
Buying and carrying/using a gun is a very personal choice.
I personally do feel that the AK is a better choice for me. It does have advantages (at least in my mind) over the M-1 Carbine. So does the SKS. (A good bolt action MBR would be my first choice though.)
However, maybe to you the M-1 Carbine's advantages (small size, light weight, easy on the user) outweigh guns like the AK and SKS. For most purposes, it is going to be the shooter that wins or loses the fight, not the rifle.

Gotta go with what works best for you.

I will tell you that I wouldn't want to have a well trained shooter banging away at me with an M-1 Carbine.

November 27, 2004, 10:16 PM
FilJo, what do you consider a decent price? I'd like to find a good shooter carbine. And ah, where can you find the AO's for $400?

Thanks all,

November 28, 2004, 12:14 AM
sorry, that didn't come out right. art major and proud of it.

a little tired of hearing SHTF, what exactly do you have in mind?
IMHO the only thing an M1 carbine will do in a SHTF situation is short term urban especially those with minimal training (riots?), maybe you'd have pistol that uses .30 carbine too for simplified logistics.

November 28, 2004, 01:19 AM
I have one and love it. It would be great for a female.

November 28, 2004, 06:18 PM
I've owned a General Motors M1 carbine, great little PLINKER(emphasis added). The Mini-14/30 was designed to have the same stock dimensions as the M1 carbine. Both stone reliable with good mags, with low recoil, and far more effective than a long pistol round. Good luck.

Texian Pistolero
November 28, 2004, 06:48 PM
I KNOW I've posted on this topic before, but I CAN"T find it!

Ok, here I go, (again.)


The M-1 Carbine is EXCELLENT for your stated porpose.

It has virtually NO recoil. Still loud, but so as any gun.

It has the muzzle energy of a .44 Magnum out of a pistol barrel.

By definition, the carbine was DESIGNED precisely for the mission you require, the most bang for the buck for the hastily trained amateur.

The carbine is INCREDIBALLY handy in tight conditions.


Most of the G.I. carbines floating around out there are pretty old and beat up, (and as noted, not cheap), point is, you need a lot of testing and evaluation to pronounce a given piece as service worthy. No problem for the specialist, but by definition, the people you describe are non-specialists.

Lot of crappy after market mags floating about, only a specialist knows the good ones (repeat above.)

Might just stick to 15 round G.I. (in funky oil paper.)

While I prefer 5.56 and 7.62 Commie ammo because of low cost and wide availability, M-1 Carbine DOES cost more, but should be available into the the reasonable future.

I personally don't like the small safety on carbine. easy to bobble under addrenaline dump. But, a training issue..

What nobody has inquired about is RANGE. Persuming failrly short range environment, this rifle will perform fine. (Consider over penetration in Army post housing.)

But I don't think you are talking about a REAL SHTF, just holding out a few dayss, or until 911 shows up.

Final answer, if you can find a good one, it will fit your needs admirable.

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