M1 carbine for home defense?


March 24, 2003, 08:50 PM
How would this gun do for home defense? I plan to use it loaded with the jacketed soft point ammo thats out there in .30 carbine. I've read this is a very effective gun/load combo for close up defense and i would incline to agree. I basicly figure that it packs a lot more of a punch then any of my handguns up close am I right? I also think it will be safe to use in a house with the soft point loads. My house is an older one here in florida and as a result has all cement walls unlike newer homes,so I don't feel over penatration to be an issue. So what do you guys think would you use the above mentioned gun/ammo combo for home defense?

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Marko Kloos
March 24, 2003, 09:15 PM
I think the M1 Carbine is a fine little social rifle....lightweight, good sights, fast and nimble to handle, and very decent capacity. I would feel very well armed with an M1 for home defense, or any other social purpose requiring ballistic intervention at 100-200 yards.

Will Fennell
March 24, 2003, 09:59 PM
I grew up with an M1 carbine as the family truck/house gun....it was the rifle that was always around, because it was HANDY. It went everywhere with dad and I. It was my first centerfire rifle that was mine....:cool:

And while it was really fun to shoot[we always seemed to have a ammo can full o'ball handy] and to a 8 year old, it look really kewl, I quickly learned that I had to shoot animals several times to have much effect. I'm not talking bull elephants, I mean run of the mill stuff that needed killing around the country side. Feral dogs, 'coons, bobcats, etc. When you got to wild pigs, and I don't mean big boars, but just 30-60 lbs shoats, I would need to put sometimes 3-5[!] rounds into the chest cavity do slow them down much. When they got much over 100 lbs, we are still talking pigs folks, not big "wild boars" like most envision, I would have to shoot them to pieces to anchor them. Yup, I'm talking soft point/hollowpt hunting ammo, not ball.

BTW, post-mortem investigation showed that the soft points didn't expand much, and didn't perform overall much better than ball.

Dad only let me shoot 1 deer with it, and after that multi-shot fiasco [first shot was right through the heart lung area, and the rest peppered around the body as I tried to stop the wounded animal form escaping to die a slow death] and subsequest blood trailing session[ we found the young buck, but it took awhile]. Dad upgraded my hunting armament to a single shot 30/30 with a weaver 3x that killed things alot better.

Now I'm not saying you need a single shot 30/30 for home defense, but don't fool yourself into thinking you have a semi-auto death ray! Look into the current crop of ammo, and see if anything has improved much......surely somebody has something better now than I had in the '70's[ ok, I'm feeling old now]. Make sure your rifle works well with your mags.....I found that the mil surp 15 rounders worked much better than most 30 rounders. I remember going through 3-4 aftermarket 5 round hunting mags to get one to work well. Looking at my old carbine, I think that if I were to set it up now for a HD rifle, I would open up the rear peep site a little....make it a little more of a "ghost ring" instead of the relatively small aperture. You can probally find a surplus site to experiment with. If your rifle is a milsurp, Olde but Goodie, check your stock.....mine was knocked over a few years ago, and took a fall. The stock broke cleanly in half behind the trigger guard. I replaced it with a wood surplus stock, but I think that if I were going to use this rifle more seriously, I would look into a synthetic stock from Choate or some such maker.

M1 carbine is a really neat rifle, that is most of all, VERY HANDY. Its fun to shoot, lite weight, low recoil and easy to teach newbies to handle. Great for kids with the proper training. An old former WW2 sergeant told me that is why lieutenants liked them so much....and the sergeants kept their Thompsons;)

March 24, 2003, 11:26 PM
The M1 is an excellent choice. JHP would be superior to softpoint or ball, though, IMO. I believe Winchester makes a Silvertip in .30 Carbine that would be a good option.

March 24, 2003, 11:52 PM
No Silvertip -- but they do load a hollow soft point or something like that. It's a soft point with a little hollow cavity in the tip. Either the Rem SP or the Win HSP will work. They expand from .55 to .63 and penetrate 12 to 18 inches.
Good Luck

March 25, 2003, 10:48 AM
I love my dads Enforcer:
http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/carbine/dcp01989.gif (http://www.1bad69.com/gallery/GunStuff/carbine/dcp01989.jpg)
(click to enlarge)

if you get close enough to the BG you can catch him on fire with the ball of flame it puts out!! :)

March 25, 2003, 11:19 AM

Don't feel you've made a poor choice because of the above comments... The m-1 carbine is a great weapon for self defense. Packing more energy at 100 yards than a .357 Magnum at the muzzle is nothing to scoff at. But ammo choice counts bigtime!

Ball tends to overpenetrate, and doesn't expand well. For home defense, I second the suggestions above. Find some softpoints or some soft hollow points. Those will play hell on predators of the two-legged kind.

I have my carbine in a folding stock, under my bed, and have a 15 round mag loaded with softpoints in the nightstand... although my loaded 1911 and .357 Mag in the nightstand, too, would likely be reached for first!

Congrats on the neat gun! I'm sure you'll love it's handiness and light weight.

Tom C.
March 25, 2003, 01:09 PM
With decent hollowpoints, the carbine makes a very good home defense weapon, in my opinion. Others agree. Jim Cirillo, of NY stake-out squad fame, thought the carbine was the most effective long gun they used.

March 26, 2003, 12:30 AM
Bobby had a nice rebuilt import [he sold it for 3 times what he paid,to pay the chiropractor],he did not like it till he bought some reloads hps that blew big holes in a standard Mempho phone pole erected to shoot at,2&3 shot pops tore that pole up. 50&100 yds. The rifle always shot reliably ,he thought it was the ammo,those reloads did really well,hollow points.

March 26, 2003, 09:02 AM
beckroders are you talking M1 Garand or M1 carbine, its hard to imagine a carbine tearing up a phone pole at 100 yds. that would certainly be impressive performance from HPs. But what do i know i've only punched paper with mine.

March 26, 2003, 02:18 PM
As any long gun is easier to aim, especially under stress, that a handgun, something light and short yet sturdy like the M1 Carbine would be an excellent choice. And, if you run out of ammunition, you can always club them with it!:)

Bart Noir
March 26, 2003, 02:43 PM
Scooter says "you can always club them with it!" Well, if you have the later design forward handguard ring, you can fix bayonet and do more than club!

Bart Noir
A pistol packing piece of paramilitary paranoia.

March 26, 2003, 06:00 PM
m1 Carbine. A man at a pawn shop in Olive Branch, Ms sold his personal reloads, had 3 ,50rd bxs, when we went back there has been difs between owners ,the man w/the hot loads had moved back to Pennsylvania, the shop has been closed for a while,yes it was impressive, surely some one here has seen something similar,we dont reload Yet. Thanks

March 26, 2003, 06:20 PM
Check out my thread here on THR about putting a red dot optic onto an M1 Carbine (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10497).

Disclaimer: I'm currently deep into a carbine obsession from which I know I will eventually escape and move on to something else, but for now, man I _love_ those rifles.

Lightweight, compact, fun to shoot. I'm planning on a detailed ammo roundup sometime in the next year. Maybe I'll buy some Ham and shoot it up.

Here's another THR thread wherein we are discussing ammo for the carbine (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=14768).

March 26, 2003, 08:06 PM
Well, I've got my old Underwood carbine hiding under the bed, 15 round mag loaded with softpoints and a Choate stock. I don't feel undergunned at all and yes, I do have a handgun handy too.

I could substitute an AR, a 20" barrel Mossy 500, a 45 cal lever action, or several others, but why? The little M1 will likely do the job just fine, we could argue pros and cons of any weapon for hours, the use of any gun has tradeoffs.

Don in Ohio

March 26, 2003, 08:17 PM
I do not hesitate a moment, when I pick the .30 Carbine to put in the truck. I have taken a number of hogs, and feral dogs with it. I alternate ball and SP in my 15 round mags.

March 27, 2003, 04:54 PM
I really like the M1 carbine. In fact, I had an AR15 first, before I bought one. Then I sold my AR.

One thing to remember- and this is good practice with all lower-powered "intermediate" cartridges like the .30 Carbine, 5.56x45mm and 7.62x39mm- is to use a "controlled pair" whenever possible.


One hole is good. Two holes are much gooder.

Johnny Guest
March 27, 2003, 05:32 PM
Self defense may be the ONLY thing for which the M1 carbine is really suited. They ARE indeed very little handy little shoulder arms, and having a long gun of any kind sure beats NOT having one.

We recently had a spate of carbine buying going on in my agency. Guys were talking about possible uses, and, much as I like the carbine, I always try to disabuse people of the misconceptions. The .30 USC round is NOT powerful enough to be a sporting deer cartridge. Neither the cartridge nor the arm lend themselves to significant improvement by handloading. The Carbine itself is NOT accurate enough to be a proper varmint arm.

It is an anti-personnel combo, pure and simple. This was the design purpose--To make it possible to keep enemy soldiers away from secondary personnel more efficiently than a handgun. Worked fine for this. It really was not so good for attack, though some non-traditional troops made it work for the purpose. Let's face it--No human being wants to be shot with anything, and if hit, with anything, will usually stop what they're doing. Mission accomplished. It is possible to place hits (plural) more reliably with a carbine than with a handgun, but let's don't kid ourselves about the immediate result.

As I say, I personally like the little carbine quite well. No offense is intended toward the weapon itself, nor toward those who use it. But it is neither a .30-06 nor a .22-250. :p


March 28, 2003, 01:07 AM
The more I look at that new light barreled Bushie AR the more I like it. Though I wonder about the thiner barrel....just how much does it degrade preformance? In terms of accuracy and in terms of heat effects from semi-rapid fire? Sure is nice to have as light a weapon as possible in the AR!

March 28, 2003, 09:15 AM
I don't there there is any practical decrese in accuracy with the thinner barrel. Remember you're talking about a 16inch chrome lined combat barrel that will probably still shoot 1-2MOA. In terms of combat accuracy it won't be a factor, in terms of benchrest maybe but that's not what you're talking about with a light 16in barrel. Its more important to have something light that you can keep mounted onehnded while opening doors or doing mag changes.

Don't know about heat dissapation but i would suspect that might only be a factor during substained full auto fire.

As soon as i can scrounge up the bucks i'm swapping my M4 profile barrel for a Bushie lightweight.

March 28, 2003, 04:24 PM
Good choice. Its not a deer rifle. Its not a 22. With HP's or soft points its very similar to a 357 in performance. Hi caps abound, and its not on any banned list. Historically interesting, light and easy to handle. What's not to like?

Sure its not a 30-30 but niether is a 44 mag in a levergun.

March 28, 2003, 05:48 PM
In a truly "home" defense situation due to the close quarters, low light the majority of the time, a great possibility of missing and sending a round thru a window or a wall, a shot gun loaded with bird shot makes the best "home" defense weapon.

The stats show that the miss rate for handguns and long guns drawn in a point and shoot situation are above 75%. This includes well trained gun owners. Once adrenaline starts pumping, most training goes right out the window.

Most people don't have the time to carefuly aim and shoot an intruder. Most people have the lights off in the house at night and end up shooting at shadows.

Granted the sound of a gun discharging will send most intruders running, there are some that will shoot back though.

To give your self and your family the best protection, a pattern of spray works the best.

As always, only an opinion.

The .30 carbine is a fun round for plinking. I have a Blackhawk in that caliber and its a blast to shoot.

If its your only gun, it certainly is better than not being armed at all.

Good luck.

March 28, 2003, 07:43 PM
Wow! a 75% miss rate for trained shooter? I'd be interested in a source for those stats.

March 28, 2003, 08:46 PM
Get a copy of a book called "Too Close for Complacency".
The author published a miss rate of 92% at 21 feet or less.

The Canadian Mounties did a study and found a 88% miss rate.
NYPD, no surprise, did a study and found a 85% miss rate.
There are many other studies including ones from the FBI and other agencys you can find with a little looking.

I site these studies because at the very least law enforcement has to keep current and qualify regularly. The public does not.
But we all know how poorly most all police officers shoot.

Being a firearms instructor for 25 years both in the private and professional sectors, the loose stats I have collected from other instructors at training seminars seem to back 75% and above.

This is only because most all police department and private sector training is inadequate at best.

Proper technique and lots of practice time training is essential.

Look at any IDPA or competitive shooter and see the hours and many thousand rounds of ammo they practice.
And this with no one shooting back.

Most gun owners spend an hour 4x a year at the range to practice, if that.
This includes CCW permit holders. Scary, Huh?

When I do intensive training, including under stress live fire training, most do very poorly at best.

This has a negative reaction to the shooter in that after getting good at hitting a target, once the stress part starts, they can't hit the target at all.
I comment they just killed the innocent bystander standing to the side of the assailant.

The only cure for this is time spent practicing.
Which adds up to money, which most cops and people don't want to spend.

Those that do, become part of the small percentage that hit their targets most everytime.

Its also not like riding a bike. You do forget and reflexes slow down with age.
Boy do I know that.

The shotgun just gives you that edge if the right loads and barrel length are used.
A draw back is it takes two hands to operate.

Gerald McDonald
March 28, 2003, 10:29 PM
I have had a couple of M1s, great shooters that were easy to handle but, if mine were the norm I would not want to shoot in a concrete room. The ones I had would ricochet worse than any round I have ever shot. If you missed it would probably hit them on one of the trips around the room if it didnt get you first.

March 28, 2003, 11:53 PM
Which M1 carbine are you speaking of?

I regard the commercial variants such as the Iver Johnson and Universal as little more than borderline junk. I experienced op-rod failure from a cheaply made cast iron op-rod in an Ivor Johnson crack and fail at the 500 round mark. I replaced it with a forged G.I. op-rod.

I have also owned some military M1 carbine guns in the past and their reliablity has not be good either.

None have been as reliable as the more economically priced SKS or AK series of weapons.

The flimsy magazines are easily damaged and are so flimsy that simply taking off the floor plate of the magazine to clean it will bend the cheap sheet metal floor plate and if you do not straghten it absolutely straight it will slip off under fire and cause a jam to the weapon.

30 round magazines in this gun are noted for being very unreliable and the commercial 30 round magazines are little more than junk. The military magazines are better but still are made of very thin flimsy sheet metal and even they are not 100 per cent reliable even in the more common and somewhat more reliable 15 round capacity.

In combat and hunting the M1 carbine has proven to be a dismal failure first class. Its weak and aenemic cartridge is eclipsed by even the intermediate battle rounds like the 7.62x39 or the small caliber .223.

Its weak operating spring must be immediately replaced with a heavy duty one or else partially riding the operating handle down will result in the bolt not fully going into battery. Ever notice a long time user of an M1 carbine constantly double hitting the op-rod after it runs forward to make sure the bolt closed all the way.

The MI carbines gas system needs a special tool to remove the piston for cleaning. If not kept clean this weapon soon malfunctions. Not a very good system compared to the very reliable and easy take down of the AK or SKS series of weapons.

Accuracy is very dismal with this weapon. Basket ball size groups being the norm on a good day at 100 yards.

The rear sight is staked and the stakes often come loose resulting in a loose rear sight. True, they can often be restaked but what a pain the the rear end to have to go through this.

The safety in the lever type is awkward to use under stress and the older push button safety resulted in people hitting the mag release button instead of the safety under stress resulting in ones losing his magazine in a bad moment and often under fire.

I really can not fathom why anyone would choose this weapon over the Ak or SKS series of weapons. The orginal M1 carbines are archaic collectors pieces that go for big bucks compared to the much more economically priced SKS or even AK series of weapons, and the commercial M1 carbines are little more than borderline junk.

March 29, 2003, 09:36 AM
This thread concerns home defense, most of your concerns are not important for home defense, ie Long range accuracy, durability of magazines etc.

As another datapoint my carbine has yet to have a part fall off of it or malfunction due to my not cleaning the gas piston, or malfuntion for any other reason for that matter. My MAK90 and my Yugo SKS NEVER get through a range session without a jam. I'm not saying that the AKs and SKSs are junk, although mine seem to be, i'm just saying that they aren't the be-all and end-all of reliability and the M1 carbine is hardly an antiquated wall-hanger.

Sylvilagus Aquaticus
March 29, 2003, 02:19 PM
If M1 carbines were as relatively inexpensive and readily available as hey were some years back I'd not hesitate to get one for a truck gun....or house carbine. Slick actions, negligible recoil for anyone, a piece of history to be sure. I too have a Blackhawk in .30 Carbine and it's my hog and dog gun for feral pigs and coyotes. Handloads with 4227 or H110 topped by a Speer FNHP 110gr. are big medicine for those pests.

If I were to find one for a decent price for the condition I'd snap it up.


"If we could just get everyone to close their eyes and visualize world
peace for an hour, imagine how serene and quiet it would be until
the looting started..."

Mad Man
April 8, 2003, 09:11 PM
One thing to keep in mind:

If you have to use a rifle/carbine in a home defense situation, and are either prosecuted or sued for it, it will be harder to portray you as an assault-wielding Rambo type with a wood-stocked M1 carbine than it would if you used an AR-15 or AK-47.

April 8, 2003, 09:23 PM
Defense attorney: "...defended himself using this, ratty old World War II rifle, less powerful than many handguns on the market today..."

Man to Lawyer: "hey, that rifle's in great shape, buddy, and it hits harder than .357 Mag at 100 yards."

Defense Attorney (loud whisper to client): "let me handle this"

April 8, 2003, 09:33 PM
FYI...Cor-Bon is working on a "Powerball" load for the .30 Carbine. Should work out well for home defense.

April 8, 2003, 10:18 PM
M-1's are showing up more often on these threads.
How accurate are the M-1's? Do they need a lot of work? I found one made in 1944 and I'm tempted to buy it.
I have wondered about over penetration of the available .30 caliber rounds compared to the .223 tactical loads.

I'd like to read some opinions.

April 8, 2003, 10:19 PM
My M1 Carbine is my home defense weapon. Of course, my only other choices right now are pistols and a Garand.

Art Eatman
April 8, 2003, 10:31 PM
ah, I've always been able to hit tin cans and such with any of the carbines I've had. As far as group size, I guess you could expect three MOA or maybe a bit better.

Penetration? Around the house I'd venture that it's six of one, half-dozen of the other, when comparing the carbine and the .223. Either will go through a sheetrock-style wall or two.

I've always found that if they're kept reasonably clean, they're quite reliable. M1 or M2 versions, same-o same-o...

Tried out my father's carbine from WW II, the other day. Shot just fine. All it needed was a new sling. :)


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