Let's stop bad-mouthing the .30 Carbine


June 6, 2003, 08:27 PM
Many people believe that the .30 Carbine is weaker than the .357 Magnum. This is simply not true. The .30 Carbine has 967 FPE at the muzzle, while the .357 Magnum has 640 FPE at the muzzle. The .30 Carbine is superior.

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Andrew Wyatt
June 6, 2003, 08:47 PM
muzzle energy is not the end all and be all, else we'd all be shooting .017 caliber guns that shoot a 2 grain bullet at 8000fps.

June 6, 2003, 09:08 PM
I agree-BUT it depends upon how it is used and what it is used for. When I was in college, an aquaintance had just taken up deer hunting. Having shot a friend's M1 carbine, he was enamoured with it and its great firepower-all 15 rounds you know. He wanted one in the worst way. Kept on forever about the gun.

Finally, he was told that one of the older guys he worked with was in 'The Big War' and might have an idea on the carbine. When he asked the guy, he was told, " Well, alls I know about it is that hit ain't worth a DAMN for killin' Germans". (He was in Normandy in WWII.) Kinda busted the kids bubble.

Marko Kloos
June 6, 2003, 09:09 PM
Yes and no. You're quoting muzzle energy for .30 Carbine out of a rifle barrel, and .357 Magnum out of a handgun barrel. If you shoot warm .357 out of a Marlin lever gun instead, the numbers are much closer. The Magnum also offers much higher bullet weights if needed.

There's nothing wrong with .30 Carbine, especially when used in a War Baby. You just have to be aware of the ballistic limitations of the cartridge. Out to 200 yards, it's a capable social rifle.

El Tejon
June 6, 2003, 09:28 PM
nate, you're comparing a wrench to a screwdriver. Different tools for different jobs.

Nothing inherently wrong with the little carbine, just have to accept its power limitations and load with softs. For me it's just a wasted club eating space in the bag. Half dozen of one . . . .

June 6, 2003, 09:29 PM
Paper bullistics although useful are generally best for people who like to do their shooting with a book or magazine. Army changed the M1 Carbine to full auto once they realized it was pretty lame otherwise. Great little package, good for vehicle carry but not too respectable where the rubber meets the road. M16/AR15 is a much better weapon with all the small-light-compact and cute (to me) attributes but much deadlier when applied as a weapon.

June 6, 2003, 09:55 PM
I use my M1 Carbine as a home defense weapon. I live in an aparment building in suburbia, so where the lead goes after it passes through the BG (or wall if I miss) is very important. Combine that with short handling and a fifteen round magazine and you have a capable weapon for the short distances of in and around my building.

But since the energy is around 280 fpe at 300 yards, i.e. less than a .38 Special out of a 2" barrel, I own other WWII favorites, namely an Enfield #1 MkIV and a M1 Garand.

June 6, 2003, 09:55 PM
The M1 Carbine rifle is, in and of itself, one AWESOME rifle. It shoulders well, points well, maintains well, is a DREAM to shoot, etc ad infinitum... The only real drawback I see is the available ammo.

Sure, there are 1 or 2 hollowpoint offerings, but they aren't available in bulk, and cost as much as most premium rifle cartridges.

If the .30 carbine round got the kind of attention that the "big 3" got, it would be completely superior to the .357 magnum. But as it is, I would rather defend my home with 25 rounds of Georgia Arms 124gr +p "sheer power plus" than the same company's ".30 Carbine softpoint". Of course, if I WERE defending my home from hoards of zombies, I'd go for the 1050 rounds of Lake City XM193 first :D

Don't get me wrong, I've owned an M1 Carbine and loved it, but for only $8.99 per 100 rounds of fmj in 9mm, it loses as "cheap plinker" too. It's long gone and I'm saving for a 9mm AR.

But don't tell my Dad I said any of this... He and his '43 Postal Meter would never speak to me again :what:

June 6, 2003, 09:56 PM
If you can withstand listening to folks talking about putting $100 saddles on $50 horses, check out my 'modernizing the carbine' threads:

M1 Carbine - New Prototype Photos, forward scout mount (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=24415)

Red Dot on an M1 Carbine? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=10497)

M1 Carbine - The Original Fun Gun!

If you really want to have fun, consider getting one of those 5.7mm Spitfire barrels on there - you can use your original mags, as it just .30 carbine necked down to .22...

5.7mm Johnson or 22 Spitfire Info (http://www.reloadbench.com/cartridges/wmmj57mm.html)

...might be flatter shooting (?), but Gun Tests had a hard time wrangling much accuracy out of this chambering.

June 6, 2003, 09:57 PM
Sven, I can't wait to see your final product... I just hope you go PG, so I can see what I "coulda had" :)

Badger Arms
June 6, 2003, 10:58 PM
Who badmouths the Carbine and why? That's like picking on a mule because it can't do what a Draft Horse can do and isn't as smart as a dog. A mule is a mule. If it's designed to do it, it will do it.

The Carbine was NOT intended to replace the Garand, it was designed to suplement the 1911. It was cheaper to produce, easier to use, more accurate, and offered overall better performance than a 1911 for large numbers of support troops. It is not intended to be used as a primary weapon for front-line troops but rather a self-defense weapon for support troops.

In these roles, the lightweight, reliable, handy carbine beats both the Garand and the 1911 and gives many modern weapons a run for their money. It's much lighter than the M-4 especially when the Crunchies add all that laser, nitght vision, bottle-opener, holographic crap to it. It has twice the capacity of the Garand and it has greater knockdown (paper) potential than the 1911 -- but that's an apples and oranges comparrison.

Let's jump back in time and understand what they were dealing with and what they produced. Gas-operated rifles were decade-long development monsters (unless John Moses Browning designed them). The Carbine was developed to be JUST HEAVY ENOUGH for the cartridge it fired and handle better than any other gun of the period. Any soldier could fire it effectively and the bullet had enough punch to get the job done most of the time. I'd call it downright perfect.

In retrospect, it COULD have had a better gas system; it could have used a faster bullet; it could have had more energy; it could have included a laser sight. Unfortunately for all the critics, the time machine has yet to be invented.

Mike Irwin
June 7, 2003, 03:50 AM
Most of the carbine's reputation, or lack there of, comes from using full metal jacket bullets.

.30 cal. FMJ bullets of any kind generally aren't the best stoppers.

June 7, 2003, 03:55 AM
I keep my folding stock M1 carbine in the corner of my bedroom with a loaded 30 round mag, FMJs and the bayonet attached, so I can charge the bad guys while spraying madly from the hip...

Bet thats effective enough!


June 7, 2003, 05:14 AM
Sould we be bad-mouthing the carbine on the aniversery of D-Day?

Anyway, I think it is a great gun. I learned how to shoot on a M1 carbine and it will always be one of my favorite guns. As far as shooting at the bad guys, I'd take a M1 Carbine over an MP5 any day...

Sure it's not the best rifle out there, but it is FAR form the worst. You have to keep in mind what it was designed for... all things considered I think it's a great gun.

June 7, 2003, 05:20 AM
now I want a "good" m1 iver johnson,remington
maybe a new IAI,do they take bayonettes?(the IAI?)
I read some where that the reason the .30 m1 didn't kill alot of the enemy during the war was it was used on auto
& folks just missed...I could be wrong it has happend before,but I
really like the little rifle & think it could be a good
urban warfare carbine still available in the commie block
states like PRK,PRNJ & PRNY.
plus you can get good 30 round clips and the 15 round seem to feed real good

June 7, 2003, 06:33 AM
Full power .357 out of a levergun barrel is twice the energy of a .30 carbine.

June 7, 2003, 08:58 AM
I don't know about it's ballistics....

But I think it's probably the most fun gun to shoot that I've ever had the pleasure of shooting.

I may be slightly biased as it was my introduction to centerfire shooting at about 8 years of age.. :D To this day it's still my favorite gun to plink with.


June 7, 2003, 11:27 AM
30 Carbine 110 grain bullet @ 1990 fps from 18" brrl

357 magnum 110 grain bullet @ 2400 fps from 18" brrl

30 Carbine 110 grain bullet @ 1400 fps from 7.5" brrl (Blackhawk revolver)

357 magnum 110 grain bullet @ 1600 fps from 6" brrl


Or in other words the 30 carbine is to the 357 magnum sort of like the 30-30 is to the 308 Win (almost that big a difference)

The 30 Carbine IS weaker than the 357. It is also SMALLER:p (.308" vs .357")

June 7, 2003, 01:31 PM
The truth about the Carbine is that it was issued to replace the 1911 which was quickly recognized by the military to be the most inaccurate handgun in the world, and in its original form is still recognized as such by the rest of the world.

The consensus being that it would be better to hit with the "weak" carbine than to make an almost certain miss with the 1911.

When it (the carbine) reached priority one zones, it was decided that it should supplement, not replace the 1911, as there was a certain constituency, namely Field Grade Officers, who viewed the 1911 as a fashion accessory, and rarely being in the position to call upon it, never saw the wisdom of carrying an accurate weapon.

It is indisputable that the carbine will dramatically out-perform the as-issued 1911's both in firepower and accuracy in the same arena.

That the 1911 begged to be tweaked and toyed with to the extent that it has, in no way speaks contrary to the original performance of the piece.

The carbine was, and is, a close-range weapon that was, for years, unsurpassed in the job that it was intended to do.

June 7, 2003, 02:31 PM
Great collectors piece,

But a mini-14 is only a pound and a half heavier in the same small package. It has better range, power and has a large after-market supply of parts and accessories.

June 7, 2003, 02:58 PM
I think that the point natedog was making was that the .30 carbine has more going for it than the .357 from its typical platform does. The point being that noone sneezes at a .357 revolver so why do they consider a .30 carbine a punk?

There's always someone with a story of a "__________ gun that wouldn't stop a _______" fill in the blanks. Not to denigrate a veteran but while that story is undoubtably significant to him it ain't to the big picture. No doubt there's more than one guy whose M1 dropped somebody like a load of bricks.

The M1 carbine wasn't changed to full auto to deal with its "lame" performance but to enable it to replace the thompson and grease guns.

I would seriously doubt that anyone kept score on how many the M1 carbine killed vs anything else, it was a war not a soccer game.

I'll resist the temptation to defend the 1911 as it really doesn't need my help.

I guess that does it.

June 7, 2003, 06:23 PM
1911 which was quickly recognized by the military to be the most inaccurate handgun in the world, and in its original form is still recognized as such by the rest of the world.
Not true. Hard to shoot for a mama's boy who closes his eyes to pull the trigger but capable of minute of bad guy up to fifty yards. Remember the 1911 was too much for many of the city boy draftees who had never fired a weapon in their lives before Uncle Sam introduced them to his weapons in WWII basic training. The farm boys had no such trouble with old Slabsides. The M1 Carbine was a replacement for the PISTOL. What the front line troops did was try to replace the RIFLE with it and found it wanting.

Yes, it is a LAME cartridge, nowhere near as good as a 30/06, 45 ACP, or even a 357 Magnum.

June 7, 2003, 06:27 PM
Nothing inherently wrong with the little carbine, just have to accept its power limitations

That's what I keep telling people about the AR!

Detachment Charlie
June 7, 2003, 11:08 PM
Carbines are cute. And, cute will get you killed.
The weapon was designed for use in combat, although not originally intended to be a weapon for front line combat troops. True, it did find its way to those guys.
I was one of those, not in "The Big One," but in the S.E. Asia War Games (Hey, we took the Silver Medal!). Issued one of those cute little M2s, initially I found it pretty handy (It was light and as a combat photographer, I had enough crap to hump anyway.) The first time I NEEDED a weapon, convinced me that cute wasn't gonna cut it. Sorta like shootin a cape buffalo with a .38 Spl. -- it seemed to just p*ss him-off...as if the guy wasn't p*ssed enough and bangin away with an AK. Swapped it out for an old (the Navy didn't have any other kind) Model '97 and lived happily ever after.
The Carbine is a great little field plinker for soda cans or rats. Good fun. Bad ju-ju as a self defense weapon. Get a decent caliber hand gun and practice, practice practice. Or get a 12 ga., load appropriately and practice, practice, practice.
Now, where the h*ll did I leave my meds.
:cuss: :fire: :banghead:

Don Gwinn
June 8, 2003, 12:28 AM
See, that's what I don't understand. Abandon the M1 carbine, because it's not powerful enough, but go out and get a "decent handgun?" How can that make sense? What do you consider a decent handgun? Certainly not a 9mm, .357, .40, .45 . . . . no way that ammo out of a handgun beats the carbine round out of the carbine. You can argue all day about "but if they were coming out of the same barrel. . . ."
They're not, and that's the bottom line.

I can understand that you had experience with the carbine that convinced you not to use it. . . . but then why go to a handgun?

June 8, 2003, 12:49 AM
Anyone who thinks the .30 carbine isn't effective, is wrong...

If you've seen the video of this event like I have, you would see it is unfortunately very effective...

Laurens County Sheriffs Department, Georgia, USA

Deputy Dinkheller was killed on 12 January 1998. He made a traffic stop on a speeding vehicle, the driver of which emerged and immediately shot him with a .30 carbine, some rounds striking areas not protected by the officer's body armour and he died at the scene. The deputy returned fire and wounded the driver in the stomach, The shooter was captured after a search. He was a militia/survivalist member and his home was surrounded by a series of tunnels and trenches, which helped him initially avoid the helicopter FLIR. Kyle Dinkeller was 22 years of age and is survived by his wife Angela and their 22 month old daughter. At the time of Kyle's death, Angela was expecting a son

June 8, 2003, 12:54 AM
I saw that video and it is chilling.


Mike Irwin
June 8, 2003, 01:27 AM
"The truth about the Carbine is that it was issued to replace the 1911 which was quickly recognized by the military to be the most inaccurate handgun in the world, and in its original form is still recognized as such by the rest of the world."

Funny how some of the most BS "conventional wisdom/everyone knows this" just never dies.

Ok, Winwun. You've contributed toward spreading a mistruth. Now let me set it straight.

The Colt .45 is actually well thought of for its accuracy, even in military circles. And this was also the case nearly 100 years ago when it was adopted.

The military simply would not have stood for an inaccurate handgun.

During the handgun trials that led up to the adoption of the 1911, the firearms accuracy was a significant consideration. Not much use in having a gun that won't hit the target.

I've also had the pleasure of firing more than my fair share of military-production 1911s that are still in their military issued state.

Are they the most accurate handguns I've ever fired? No.

But they're certainly not the most inaccurate, either. I've fired many that have been MUCH worse.

If, then, the gun isn't the problem, then what was, and why did it lead to the creation of this rumor?

It was how the military trained, or in fact didn't train, its people. Throughout the 1930s military handgun training consisted of an allocation of fewer than 50 rounds per year.

Contrary to popular belief, not every American (in fact few Americans) are born with the innate ability to pick up a handgun and immediately start sniping targets at 300 meters.

Developing proficiency with a handgun, ANY handgun, takes time, effort, and ammunition, and the military rarely was inclined to give any of those up.

The carbine was adopted to replace the handgun in the hands of rear echelon troops primarily for that reason. A man with little firearms training is going to be able to hit more often, and at longer distances, with a carbine than he is with a handgun.

Quite frankly, that idea has a LOT of merit. It only took the United States military what, about 75 years to really catch on to it after the Europeans started issuing carbines to REMFs?

Badger Arms
June 8, 2003, 02:07 AM
It's strange that the AR-15 was, for all intents and purposes, born of the need to replace worn 30 Carbines. The Air Force had no intention of replacing them with the M-14 which was nearly twice as heavy.

To carry Mike's comments a step further, the M-16 is a CARBINE by any definition. The fact that they actually produce a sub-compact model called the M-4 carbine is beyond me. A 20" barrel firing a short round from a compact action (Trigger directly behind magazine) is a short rifle... shorter than many 'carbines' produced before or after it. The only problems with the M-16 revolve around its politicized adoption and the inflexibility of Army Ordnance and Robert "Body Count" McNamarra to improve the weapon and develop it into what it could have become. Remember that the M-1 Garand started production with a markedly different gas system than it entered WW-II with... I digress.

The AR-15 was not intended to fill the role that the Carbine filled, but it was revolutionary in the same way. It's ammunition was designed with a fresh design conception. The 30 Caliber Carbine ammunition was designed to be fired from a short-barreled light rifle and fall in energy directly between teh 45 ACP and the full-power 30-06 rounds. The 5.56x45 was designed to be fired from a lightweight rifle and allow controllable full-auto fire yet still effectively engage targets at combat ranges.

June 8, 2003, 07:11 AM
To say that the 1911 was accurate "when you learned how to shoot it" begs the question.

The fact is, for whatever reason, lack of training, small hands, "city boys" or whatever, when the "rubber met the road" the piece proved woefully inadequate.

Revisionist history, or the way some would like it to be, or someone's personal preference notwithstanding, the gun didn't perform adequately to the extent that a whole new gun was designed to replace it.

If the military was so smart, would they have designed a new gun when all they had to do was give "proper instruction" ?

When I was in the military service, the "20 and out" syndrome hadn't caught on, and consequently, there were plenty of OLD guys still around, guys who had used the piece from the Philipines to France, and their stories were fun to hear, and I never once heard anyone say that the 1911 was an acceptable piece.

Dependable ? You bet ! "It fired every time, and missed every time" was the quote from a Tech Sergeant with WW-1 time under his belt.

On defense of the piece, it spawned an industry that has stood the shooting world in good stead. The amount of money spent "accurizing" the .45 is incalculable, and the applications of the cartridge have contributed to the industry in the introduction of innumerable quality guns.

Likely, never in the history of shooting has so much good came from such a bad beginning.

The same can be said of the carbine. Look at the copies and "knock-offs" of the little M-1.

June 8, 2003, 07:59 AM
If the military was so smart... Ha ha ha ha. :p

Badger Arms
June 8, 2003, 03:14 PM
When I was in the military service, the "20 and out" syndrome hadn't caught on, and consequently, there were plenty of OLD guys still around, guys who had used the piece from the Philipines to France, and their stories were fun to hear, and I never once heard anyone say that the 1911 was an acceptable piece.

Funny, nobody I have ever talked to or heard from used the 1911 in combat. It's not an offensive weapon, it's a defensive weapon. When one pulls out the venerable Browning, one has already expended all other ammo, grenades, and forms of defense available and is preparing to 'take somebody with them.' It shoots every time and HITS EVERY TIME when somebody is trained properly to use one. Also when somebody isn't a WIMP or CITY BOY who learned how to handle a spoon instead of a shovel and how to operate a car, not a tractor. Me, I can hit bowling pins all day at defensive ranges with the issue 1911. Has there been some strange shift in the universe that has caused the same gun to somehow grow accuracy? I'm talking about surplus guns here, not modern CNC made masterpieces of accuracy.

I don't know where your information is coming from or if you are just trying to be contrary here. The 1911 was a dependable, accurate, and reliable arm that served its limited role admirably.

Al Thompson
June 8, 2003, 09:39 PM
Winwun, getting the equipment has always been a higher priority than actually training with the equipment. Only in the last 15 years or so have we actually tried to marry suitable amounts of training dollars with equipment density. (think ammo allocations or money to do manuver training)

As for the 1911 or any other type of firearm (or a rock for that matter), no training or poor training will make the best stuff worthless.

In my time in the Army, I had perhaps 75 1911A1s in my hands at one time or another and observed at least that many being fired. Despite the last ones being purchased in 1945 and the extensive use and abuse, I can only remember one being so worn that the user couldn't qualify.

Not sure what ax you have to grind, but experiance beats hearsay 99.9% of the time.

June 8, 2003, 09:53 PM
Mike Irwin...

.30 cal. FMJ bullets of any kind generally aren't the best stoppers.


30-06 and 308 work pretty good, dont they?

Art Eatman
June 8, 2003, 11:27 PM
Lone_Gunman, I think he means in comparison to an expanding bullet.

winwun, I'm another who blames the lack of training for the "woeful inadequacy" of a 1911. My uncle, my father and I have all done a lot of shooting with box-stock 1911s and 1911A1s, going back to 1912 vintage production critters. My uncle killed several deer with his, while sitting on the motorcyle he used in working his cattle. My father's shooting wasn't shabby.

The 1912 vintage 1911 I used in my first "combat pistol" training course, with original "sights" :), still was good enough for me to achieve eight-second "El Presidentes" with GI hardball.



June 9, 2003, 12:39 AM
Mike Irwin: re your statement that the US military took 75 years to do what the Europeans had done with the adoption of the carbine. Must disagree. Traditionally the carbine was a shorter version of the infantry rifle and was meant for specialty troops such as cavalry and artillery. The US did do this with the carbine versions of the trapdoor springfields and the Krag. The US was unique with the adoption of a single barrel length rifle in 1903 and was shortly copied by the Brits with the SMLE(1907). The Germans did the same in WW2 with the K98. The 30 cal. carbine was and is a unique weapon, a light weight, short, low power rifle ( a personal defense weapon using modern termanology)for REMFs. I suspect that in other armies the task was done with SMGs.

Mike Irwin
June 9, 2003, 02:05 AM

You're missing the point.

By your definition, NO handgun is of suitable functionality for a military arm.

Your buddy the Tech Sgt....

Ever think to ask him how far he was shooting?

Was he up close and personal with his target when he fired, or was he popping off across No Man's Land, expecting to be blessed by the accuracy gods?

A handgun is a very specific type of weapon, designed to be used as the court of last resort. If you're pulling your handgun, you've likely exhausted your other options and are in some trouble.

But, all of this is still at great odds with your original statement, that the GUN was inaccurate. You've given a number of examples of where people armed with a handgun failed to hit their targets.

But was this the gun's fault, or was this the shooter's fault?

Given what I know about the 1911 and its design, I'm going to say it was the shooter's fault, not as you claim the fault of the weapons system.

Mike Irwin
June 9, 2003, 02:07 AM

Step back farther in history.

The French, I believe, were issuing carbine versions of the Mle 1818(?) musket to their artillery troops about 75 years before the Americans started arming artillery units as a matter of course.

June 9, 2003, 02:53 AM
I'm going to get crucified for this, but I have always thought the .45 Carbine would be a better close-quarters personal-defense arm than the .30 Carbine that was produced.

Why wan't the Carbine chambered for .45 rounds? the .45 was good enough for a Thompson, and GIs used plenty of those. Why not chamber the Carbine for .45 so logistically you would only have to handle 2 rounds (.30-06 and .45) rather than 3 rounds?

I never understood this. Call me a fool.:banghead:

June 9, 2003, 07:30 AM
Jimbo: Call you a fool ? I think not. Very insightful. Very good point.

As for the rest of the arguments, I must have been in a different army than some of the others. The 1911's that passed through my hands RATTLED ! Are pistols supposed to rattle ?

Perhaps the 1949 - 1952 military suffered a lack of proper barrel bushings.

That the piece has so many apologists substantiates my original thesis. You don't see anyone apologizing for a truly quality piece, nor do you see millions of dollars spent "accurizing" that which is already a tack driver.

Wimp, City Boy, Small Hands, Untrained, etc. It seems that the fall-back defence of "If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger" is still alive and well.

In case there is any doubt of my feelings on the subject, if someone dumped a truck load of the 1911's in my yard, I would first gleefully unload them on the world of people who seem to like them. (Hey, knock yourself out) If that was impossible, then I would have the dumper prosecuted for littering.

Al Thompson
June 9, 2003, 07:30 AM
jimbo, that's a darn good question. I suspect there was probably some requirement for a 300y range.

Lone, when you get the impact velocity over 2300 fps, lots more stuff happens. Bones tend to shatter and there is some cavitation, IIRC. That being said, FMJ is not the way to go to stop someone. If you don't hit bones, you tend to just punch holes. IMHO, the stopping power of .308/.30-06 FMJ is a bit over-rated. I assissted in culling some deer with a .308 and 168 MatchKings. Not a very effective bullet compared to a decent SP.

June 9, 2003, 09:02 AM
jimbo, seems i remember hearing that it was because we had a whoole lot of barrel making machinery around for building .30 cal rifle barrels tho the garand had 1:10 rifling and the carbine 1:20.

Art Eatman
June 9, 2003, 09:12 AM
winwun, it takes a lot of years of wear for a 1911 to rattle. Just cause proper maintenance wasn't done doesn't mean the design or manufacture is bad. For that matter, as long as the barrel bushing and link pin are within spec, it just plain doesn't matter at all if the slide rattles. If the barrel is properly locked to the slide, it's locked to the sights, and that's all that matters.

You don't change oil and filter in a Rolls Royce, it'll eventually start rattling. Thing is, a 1911 will still function with its rattle...


June 9, 2003, 09:18 AM
Good point, Art. Very good point.

Art Eatman
June 9, 2003, 09:23 AM
Look, ya gotta remember the time element wrt the Garand and the M1 Carbine. These were the first serious semi-auto offerings to the US military. And, in the 1930s, there wasn't a lot of procurement money--plus we weren't seriously thinking about war itsownself.

So, the Garand was selected as the main battle rifle, even though mass production didn't begin until around the time WW II actually started. The Carbine was selected for other roles, and it was far easier to train guys in its use than in the use of a pistol. And, it met the criteria as short and handy and adequately powerful to some 100 yards or so. Pistols were primarily a weapon of the Military Police.

Of the American population of the 1930s, very few people knew much about shooting pistols, particularly compared to the numbers who were pretty good with a rifle. You just didn't need a handgun for self defense as much as you do today.

Word meanings change with time. The "Carbine" length gun of the 1800s isn't the same as today's "Carbine" length gun. So what? The deal is, ya gotta think about relative length of barrel compared to "standard"--and even "standard" changes.

:), Art

June 9, 2003, 09:33 AM
Wimp, City Boy, Small Hands, Untrained, etc. It seems that the fall-back defence of "If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger" is still alive and well.

Winwun, I was one of the shooters that learned on the basic 1911A1 as issued by Uncle Sugar. I learned it under the auspices of my father in the 1960s. He and I were often regaled by well meaning individuals with tales of the unshootability of old slabsides and that it couldn't keep its rounds on a #10 washtub at 50 yards. Despite all this difficulty and woe, I could keep decent groups with the old girl and they have continually improved to this day.

When I qualified in basic, about 80% or more of my peers had obviously never held gun one in their hands let alone a 45 ACP. City boys, yes. Some were mama's boys, too. It was hard enough to get them to qualify on the RIFLE range, let alone on the pistol range. I think Uncle Sam gave us 40 shots apiece on the Rifle Range before turning us loose as riflemen.


June 9, 2003, 10:37 AM
The .30 Carbine is superior.

no way that ammo out of a handgun beats the carbine round out of the carbine.

These quotes belie the lack of understanding of terminal ballistics. You can look at paper all you want, but that will not tell you much. The defining parameters of a good SD bullet are in it’s terminal ballistics, not in paper ballistics.

BTW, the carbine was designed in the post 1939 Nazi blitzkrieg era. The new tactic demonstrated that deep penetration quickly endangered support troops. According to Larry Ruth and Scott Duff “Such elements as ammunition carriers, machine gunners, mortar crews and headquarters personnel would be well served by a light rifle of semiautomatic or full automatic fire”. Military planner saw the need to arm rear echelon troops with something a bit more “effective” than just the 1911. The design parameters went out on June 15, 1940.

All in all, the M1 Carbine is a fun gun but not among my top choices for SD.

June 9, 2003, 10:45 AM
You can look at paper [bullistics] all you want, but that will not tell you much.

Good advice, but something folks continue to ignore... :banghead:

Numbers are not the performance, like the map is not the territory, like the weather report is not the weather. :banghead:

Badger Arms
June 9, 2003, 11:28 AM
Why wan't the Carbine chambered for .45 rounds? the .45 was good enough for a Thompson, and GIs used plenty of those. Why not chamber the Carbine for .45 so logistically you would only have to handle 2 rounds (.30-06 and .45) rather than 3 rounds?There already were carbines chambered for the 45. Remember the Reising, Thompson, and Grease Gun? All were, ahem, excellent SUBMACHINE GUNS!!! They also weighed much more. The reason that the Carbine wasn't chambered for the 45 was becasue we already had a submachine gun, silly, why make one that's semi-automatic!!! Besides, you try and shoot an M-1 carbine with 45 ammo and it might well destroy the gun. They COULD have made a decent Carbine that weighed a little more than the Carbine and was reliable and they DID. That's what the Reising was supposed to be. It was unreliable as all getup, but they made some and issued them too.

June 9, 2003, 12:24 PM
Big G, my range experience was quite a bit different, and also, I suspect, quite a bit more enjoyable than yours.

When we went to the KD (known distance) ranges, we were given the first half of the day to "practice" and "familiarize" ourselves with the weapon being fired and the ammo was unlimited and so was the instruction and coaching from the cadre that continually patrolled behind the FL and observed the target spotting.

The second half of the day was firing "for record". Now that I think on it, the "unlimited" practice could have contributed to the poor showing with the 1911. Even a healthy, strapping 17 year old is going to feel some tingling for a while after popping the .45 for half a day. If we had waited untill the next day we might have done better. I dunno.

I also remember the carbine and M-1 rifle at 500 yards. It seemed that the bull on the 500 yard target was proportionately larger at 500 than it was at 300. Whatever, we were laced so tightly into the sling, that someone could have picked us up by the end of the barrel and shaken us without the shooter coming loose from the rifle.

The 4 days at the range twice a year was likely the most enjoyable part of my military career. To get to shoot "all we wanted to" was a real hoot for most of us.

June 9, 2003, 01:03 PM
Mike Irwin makes some good points and I agree with most. Here is a little more info. In addition to the training problem mentioned, many, if not most, 1911s I saw in active service were maintained terribly over the years. Reliability was down and they were really sloppy (having been shot a gazillion times) guns, with fairly lousy accuracy. A gun not up to snuff shot by a new guy with poor training equals many misses. Take the same guns, maintain them to mil specs (nothing fancy!) and give the shooter some decent training, and he gets hits. The M-1 Carbine was more easily fired with little training and an acceptable level of accuracy than the 1911, in my opinion. That's just the difference in ease of teaching someone who's never fired a gun to shoot a rifle versus a handgun. That's the way it is. A point of clarification: the fully auto M-1 was called the M-2. I my opinion, the main problem with the M-1 carbine is the bullet. With a good hollowpoint it would be a lot better. In military use, however, it had to be FMJ ball ammo (Hague Accords). The FMJ fired from the Carbine was certainly no match for the FMJ fired by the Garand, or even the 1911.

June 9, 2003, 01:27 PM
Another point. We had the same problem with the S&W .38 Special in the Air Force. Few would say that the S&W is not an accurate handgun. But after having been shot much and maintained little, they were no better than the Army's 1911s, for the same reasons. Some shot the way a Smith should shoot, that is, very nice. But many were just terrible. And it wasn't unusual for sights to fall off, cylinders to lock up, etc. Despite all that, it was easier for the average person to qualify with the AF Smith than with the 1911, even with crummy examples. Two reasons. The .38 Special has less recoil than the .45ACP and the S&W Combat Masterpiece has far better sights than the GI 1911.

June 9, 2003, 03:19 PM
Interestingly enough, I have heard more blatant misinformation regarding firearms since I've been in the military than in all my previous 29 years (in all fairness, I have heard plenty of fact, too).

Regardless of what many may assume, just because someone is in the military doesn't make them Wyatt Earp or Gunny Hathcock with their weapons. I was the only one of my squad that shot expert last time we qualified, and that was my best shooting for record, to date.
...oh, yeah. I like the li'l carbine. One should always shoot twice with intermediate power cartridges, anyway.


June 9, 2003, 03:24 PM
...heard more blatant misinformation regarding firearms since I've been in the military... :p
So true. And NOT just about firearms. The service is the BS capital of the universe. If the BS emitted by servicemembers was natural gas you could heat Alaska. :o

June 9, 2003, 04:07 PM
Carbines are cute to look at, a joy to carry and fun to shoot. They did, however, receive a fair amount of 'bad press'---much of it well deserved---whenever there was an attempt to use them as a substitute for the/a main battle rifle. That aside, they are a great plinker----a nice, handy, close-in defensive firearm---wish the likes of Wolf or Baranul made some of that inexpensive steel cased ammunition for them----a lot more of them would 'come out of the closets'.

June 9, 2003, 05:24 PM
Last time I fired my buddies Carbine, it would jam every 1-3 shots.. With origional plastic mag and 3rd party metal mag.

June 9, 2003, 06:41 PM
Senior Member

"Finally, he was told that one of the older guys he worked with was in 'The Big War' and might have an idea on the carbine. When he asked the guy, he was told, " Well, alls I know about it is that hit ain't worth a DAMN for killin' Germans". (He was in Normandy in WWII.) Kinda busted the kids bubble."

That seems to fit a pattern. WW2 vets who served in Europe seem to love the Garand and Thompson and hate the carbine. Pacific vets seem to have the opposite opinion. A Marine vet of the Korean Chosin Reservoir battle who I spoke to had only good things to say about the carbine. He picked one up when his Garand had problems. Opinions do seem to vary but that Europe/Pacific dichotomy seems prevalent.

June 9, 2003, 07:09 PM
Last time I fired my buddies Carbine, it would jam every 1-3 shots.. With origional plastic mag and 3rd party metal mag.

Well, there ya go. There is no such thing as an original GI carbine plastic mag. So you proved that with crappy mags a carbine will jam. Your buddy should spring the big $10 to by a GI mag or two.

Double Naught Spy
June 9, 2003, 07:31 PM
What I don't understand is why folks wish to argue over the reputation of a non-living object that isn't exactly being manufactured in large quantities anymore. So some people don't think the .30 carbine does an adequate job. What those people think has no bearing on how the gun performs for those of you who feel it does what is needed. There is no need to defend the honor of your gun. It can speak for itself when needed and the decision made at that time directly by the parties involved.

If y'all want to argue firepower, I'll gladly take you on with my NAA Mini Revolver in .22 lr as I feel perfectly secure in knowing that I have it with me all the time and that it will bring any conflict to a quick end. Um, okay on that last part, it is only going to end the conflict quickly if I use it on myself. I may have neglected that point when I offered my challenge. :uhoh:

Seriously, every gun and caliber has the potential to be applied well in the correct types of situations. Few guns do everything needed in all situations. Pick the right gun for the right job given the parameters of the situation and things will be fine. Make the wrong choices and things won't.

Baba Louie
June 9, 2003, 08:10 PM
FWIW, read Audie Murphy's book To Hell and Back to see what a WWII vet thought of his "lucky" carbine.

Seemed to work for him just fine.

Of course, he was kind of a good shot to begin with.

From memory, I seem to recall him telling one of his buddies that he preferred it to the Garand for city (and woods?) fighting.

They're fun. Up close, they're better than throwing rocks. YMMV


Art Eatman
June 9, 2003, 08:49 PM
I never did have much use for the firearms training during my Army stint from 1-'54 thru 5-'58. I shot a Garand more before I went to Basic than during Basic. In Korea, we took our ack-ack to the range one time, and the ammo was limited for the quad-fifties and twin-forty-mm.

We never qualified with our personal weapons such as the M2 Carbine or the 1911A1.

I was the only guy in the whole battalion who would "liberate" a canister of 600 rounds of Carbine ammo and go to the beach at low tide at Inchon, and shoot whatever "targets of opportunity" were found--including seagulls. And I got chewed out for wanting to "waste ammo" and was made to stop. :barf:


Badger Arms
June 9, 2003, 09:06 PM
What I don't understand is why folks wish to argue over the reputation of a non-living object that isn't exactly being manufactured in large quantities anymore.We must make arguments of this sort so that history does not repeat itself. A healthy discussion about the merits of a certain caliber or weapon can provide insight into future caliber and weapon choices. For instance, if there is sufficient evidence to support the inadequacy of the 30 carbine in self-defense, one might consider the anemic M-4 Carbine in a different light. One might also say, "Well if the M-1 Carbine was just fine, why do we worry about the effectiveness of the M-4 that shoots faster and more effective projectiles more reliably and with greater accuracy? When we ignore history or let said history be rewritten, revised, ignored, etc., we are doomed to repeat said history. I don't want our Crunchies to be walking around with Chauchaut Machineguns because we didn't examine the faults in that design and somebody decided it was a sound concept today. Get my meaning?

June 9, 2003, 09:16 PM
These questions are basically a multivariable equation for which there is no single solution. One of the variables is the time period in which you are making the evaluation, and many of the variables are subjective.


- there are other powders and bullets available today for the .30 carbine that were not used in WWII

- there are other chamberings and weapon designs available today that were not available in WWII

- surplus ammo availability (and reloading component costs) changes over time... ammo that might be scrounged in a doomsday scenario will vary depending on your location and the timeframe. For example, you are not likely to find any 30-06 or .30 carbine ammo on a UN supply truck, but you probably could find some NATO 7.62mm today...

If you had to choose a weapon today, I can't think of many rational reasons to choose an M1 Carbine over an AR-15.

That said, if someone kicks my door down tonight holding a weapon, I have several rounds of .30 carbine softpoint hunting ammo waiting to introduce themselves.... I'm confident that the reception these bullets would receive would matter very little, compared to rounds coming from an AR.

The size of the holes and the penetration they make matter mostly to the worms. Which is why I feel that most "caliber wars" are for the birds.

June 10, 2003, 08:16 AM
Double Naught, your last paragraph is a jewell. It said it all better than anyone could hope for.

Al Thompson
June 10, 2003, 08:59 AM
Well, one really good reason to talk about esoteric stuff here is to educate the new folks (and us older ones). :)

June 13, 2003, 12:49 PM
I qualified in the 1980's with 1911A1's and one 1911 (yes, unmodified and in service). I had no particular trouble shooting expert. I feel that folks badmouthing the .45 and the stories are form folks not so good with the pistol. Lots of guys in my units would start out with that crap. Once they were taught how to shoot (Weaver stance; front sight, press) they did pretty well.

Anecdotal story- We once had a gent from the post pistol team come to the range to teach us how to shoot 1911's. He showed us the one handed firing position, holding the hammer with our thumb to prevent hammer follow ( a problem with match triggers, not our service pieces), and breath control.
At lunch I showed my friends the weaver stance and discussed the importance of the front sight. After chow the Team guys ran the range. Those of us using the Weaver stance all shot higher scores than the others trying to One Hand the pistols. Technique???

Al Thompson
June 13, 2003, 01:47 PM
Willard, during my time on active duty, the old ways still conflicted with the new ones. Good on you for making progress.

Our bane was the AMU before Lori Johnson got ahold of them.

June 13, 2003, 03:21 PM
Talking about a different round in the M1 carbine, I do not know if they are still made and I can't remember who was making them, but there was a company that reworked the M1 to shoot the 45 Winchester Magnun. From what little I heard on them, they were supposed to be pretty awesome.

June 13, 2003, 03:40 PM
The M1 Carbine had a good reputation in the Pacific theatre as the ranges were in relation to the design of the rifle. The problem is when people started to think that it would work past its effective range. If those same people were to use a Grease gun at those same ranges, they would get the same results. If you were to try to make the Garand an anti-aircraft gun, it would not be very successful either.

The real bad reputation of the Carbine was in Korea. This was due to two items. The first is the M2 version of the Carbine. And the second was the long ranges. Carbines were used at 200-500 yards regularly. The results were dismal. This should be expected as the round and the rifle were not designed for this purpose.

The addition of full auto fire made things worse. The most common war story of people that used the carbine was that they emptied a full magazine and the enemy did not seem effected by it. If you have any experience with full auto carbines you will notice that there is considerable muzzle rise. What happened was a soldier shot at an enemy over 200 yards away, the muzzle rise caused the rest of the rounds to miss and the first round did not hit due to the range of the engagement. So the enemy was not hit at all. The carbine is a very effective round when used as the firearm it was designed. It is meant for 150 yards and under use. Full-auto fire is for 50 yards or less. In this role it is highly effective and its reputation in this role has been proven.

The 1911 is a good handgun when used by a competent shooter. Its accuracy reputation is from handguns that were not maintained correctly while in use for 30-40 years. Most of the people that could not hit were using handguns that had been passed on to the next recruit every 8 weeks or so. That promotes wear as each recruit has to learn how to tear down, assemble, CLEAN properly, and then shoot it.

As for the 1911 needing a lot of tuning for accuracy, that is only for competition as does the M14, Beretta M9, M16, and every other competition firearm. The M1 Carbine functioned well, was accurate enough for its intended role, and is more effective than most submachine gun rounds. If it was as bad as some of you say it is, then it would have suffered the same fate as the Reising. It would not have been produced into the 1950’s. It would not have been copied for civilian use. It would not be used by the Israelis even to this day if it were such a terrible firearm.

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