|Operation: M1, M1A1 Semiautomatic; M2,
Length: 35.65 in. (905 mm)
Weight unloaded: 5 lb 7 oz (2.48 kg)
Barrel: 18 in. 4 grooves, right hand twist
Magazine: 15 or 30 round detachable box
Muzzle: velocity 1990 fps, 967 ft-lbs.
Rate of Fire: M2 on full auto, 650-700rpm
300 yds: 1035 fps, 262 ft-lbs
Ammunition: 108 gr bullet, 13 gr charge, US Service M1
Effective Range: 300 yds
The M1 Garand was the weapon of choice for infantry. The M1
Carbine, half the weight and with a less powerful cartridge, was
the weapon of choice for support troops, and others not primarily
involved in infantry combat. It was designed to meet combat needs
less demanding than the M1 Rifle, but more than can be met by the
M1911A1 pistol. It was more convenient to use than the M1, and
less intrusive to their other duties, while still much more
effective than hand guns.
Originally, the M1 was to be capable of selective fire control,
but this was dropped. Because a demand arose for an automatic
capability, the M2 was developed, with a selective-fire switch
added to the left side of the receiver, operating on the sear
The US Carbine, Caliber .30in, M3, or T3, was simply an M2 with
suitable mountings prepared on the receiver to take various models
of infra-red night-sighting devices. No open or conventional
sights were provided, and the IR carbine mounted an M3 flash
hider, a simpler design than that for the M1C Garand. The M3
carbine, (its development title was T3), was produced in limited
numbers as a semi-prototype. Only about 2100 were manufactured
compared to 5,510,000 M1 carbines, 150,000 M1A1 carbines and
570,000 M2 carbines.
The M1 and M2 Carbines were also much more powerful than the
Russian type burp guns used by the North Koreans and, later, the
Chinese, having more than twice their muzzle energy.
In the infantry, the M2 Carbine was carried by Staff NCOs and
officers. With its 30 round magazine, rapid fire and greater
stopping power, it was an effective counter to the various
submachine guns used by the Communists in the Korean War.
In intense cold, however, such as the Chosin battle, light weapons
such as the carbine and air-cooled .30 calibre light machine guns
malfunctioned much more often than the M1 and the water-cooled
heavies, with anti-freeze in their jackets. The Marines used
alcohol based hair tonic as anti-freeze lubricants for all light
weapons, with good success, but the carbine components were small
and fragile, and repeatedly malfunctioned.
The Carbine continued to be used in Viet Nam, until replaced by