Calibre/Item: Featured Article
Make: M1 Garand
Licence Number: Informative Article Only
Comment: The M1 Garand (officially designated as United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, later simply called Rifle, Caliber .30, M1, also abbreviated as US Rifle, Cal. .30, M1) is a semi-automatic rifle chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge. It was the first standard-issue semi-automatic rifle. Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George S. Patton, the Garand officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces in 1936 (although the switch-over was not instantaneous) and was subsequently replaced by the selective fire M14, starting in 1957. During World War II, the M1 gave U.S. forces a distinct advantage in firefights against their Axis enemies, as their standard-issue rifles were slower-firing bolt-action rifles. The M1 continued to be used in large numbers until 1963 and to a lesser degree until 1976. Like its predecessor, the M1 originated from the Springfield Armory.
The M1 is an air-cooled, gas-operated, clip-fed, semi-automatic, shoulder-fired weapon. This means that the air cools the barrel; that the power to cock the rifle and chamber the succeeding round comes from the expanding gas of the round fired previously; that it is loaded by inserting an en-bloc (i.e., it goes into the rifle`s action and functions as part of the rifle) metal clip (containing eight rounds) into the receiver; and that the rifle fires one round each time the trigger is pulled. After the eight rounds have been shot, the empty clip automatically ejects with an audible "ping" noise.
The M1 was the standard-issue service rifle of the U.S. forces in World War II, the Korean War, and also saw service to a limited extent in the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to U.S. forces, though many thousands were also lent or provided as foreign aid to America`s allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely sought by the civilian population as a hunting rifle, target rifle, and military collectible. Although the name "Garand" is frequently pronounced /g?`rænd/, according to experts and people who knew John Garand, the weapon`s designer, /`gær?nd/ (`rhymes with "errand"`) is preferred. It is available for American civilian ownership through the Civilian Marksmanship Program.
Though the U.S. Army became interested in self-loading rifles with the Bang and Murphy-Manning of 1911, and there were pre-production models in 1916, the M1`s origin properly dates to 1919, when armies around the world were realizing standard rifle cartridges were more powerful than necessary for typical engagement ranges, leading to heavier rifles than really required. The Army trials in the 1920s had a .256-inch minimum caliber requirement, compared to the .30-06 then standard.
French Canadian-born Garand went to work at the United States Army`s Springfield Armory and began working on a .30 caliber primer-operated breech. In the summer of 1924, twenty-four rifles, identified as "M1922", were built at Springfield. At Fort Benning during the summer of 1925, they were tested against models by Berthier, Hatcher-Bang, Thompson, and Pedersen, the latter two being delayed blowback types. This led to a further trial of an improved "M1924" Garand against the Thompson, ultimately producing an inconclusive report. As a result, the Ordnance Board ordered a .30-`06 Garand variant. In March 1927, the Cavalry Board reported trials between the Thompson, Garand, and `03 Springfield had not led to a clear winner. This led to a gas-operated .276 model (patented by Garand on 12 April 1930).
During the spring of 1928, both Infantry and Cavalry Boards ran trials with the .276 Pedersen T1 rifle, calling it highly promising despite its use of waxed ammunition, shared by the Thompson. On 13 August 1928, a Semiautomatic Rifle Board carried out joint Army, Navy, and Marine Corps trials between the .30 Thompson, both cavalry and infantry versions of the T1 Pedersen, "M1924" Garand, and .256 Bang, and on 21 September, the Board reported no clear winner. The .30 Garand, however, was dropped in favor of the 276.
Further tests by the SRB in July 1929, which included rifle designs by Browning, Colt-Browning, Garand, Holek, Pedersen, Rheinmetall, Thompson, and an incomplete one by White, led to a recommendation that work on the 30 gas-operated Garand be resumed, and a T1E1 was ordered 14 November 1929.
Twenty gas-operated .276 T3E2s Garands were made and competed with T1 Pedersen rifles in Spring 1931. The .276 Garand was the clear winner of these trials. The .30 caliber Garand was also tested, in the form of a single T1E1, but was withdrawn with a cracked bolt on 9 October 1931. A 4 January 1932 meeting recommended adoption of the .276 caliber and production of approximately 125 T3E2s. Meanwhile, Garand redesigned his bolt and his improved T1E2 rifle was retested. The day after the successful conclusion of this test, Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur personally disapproved any caliber change, in part because there were extensive existing stocks of .30 M1 ball ammunition. On 25 February 1932, Adjutant General John B. Shuman, speaking for the Secretary of War, ordered work on the rifles and ammunition in .276 caliber cease immediately and completely and all resources be directed toward identification and correction of deficiencies in the Garand 30 caliber.
On 3 August 1933, the T1E2 became the Semi-Automatic Rifle, Caliber 30, M1. In May 1934, 75 M1s went to field trials; 50 were to infantry, 25 to cavalry units. Numerous problems were reported, forcing the rifle to be modified, yet again, before it could be recommended for service and cleared for procurement on 7 November 1935, then standardized 9 January 1936. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.
Production difficulties delayed deliveries to the Army until September 1937. Machine production began at Springfield Armory that month at a rate of ten rifles per day, and reached an output of 100 per day within two years. Despite going into production status, design issues were not at an end. The barrel, gas cylinder, and front sight assembly were redesigned and entered production in early 1940. Existing "gas-trap" rifles were recalled and retrofitted, mirroring problems with the earlier M1903 Springfield rifle that also had to be recalled and reworked approximately three years into production and foreshadowing rework of the M16 rifle at a similar point in its development. Production of the Garand increased in 1940 despite these difficulties, reaching 600 a day by 10 January 1941, and the Army was fully equipped by the end of 1941.
Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Winchester was awarded an "educational" production contract for 65,000 rifles, with deliveries beginning in 1943. The British Army looked at the M1 as a possible replacement for its bolt-action Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk III, but it was rejected when rigorous testing suggested that it was an unreliable weapon in muddy conditions.
The M1`s semiautomatic operation gave United States forces a significant advantage in firepower and shot-to-shot recovery time over individual enemy infantrymen in battle (German, Italian, and Japanese soldiers were usually armed with bolt-action rifles). General George S. Patton called it the greatest implement of battle ever devised. The impact of faster-firing infantry small arms in general soon stimulated both Allied and Axis forces to greatly augment issue of semi- and fully automatic firearms then in production, as well as to develop new types of infantry firearms.
Much of the M1 inventory in the post-World War II period underwent arsenal repair or rebuilding. While U.S. forces were still engaged in the Korean War, the Department of Defense determined a need for additional production of the Garand, and two new contracts were awarded. During 1953–56, M1s were produced by International Harvester and Harrington & Richardson. A final, very small lot of M1s was produced by Springfield Armory in early 1957, using finished components already on hand. Beretta also produced Garands using Winchester tooling.
The M1 proved an excellent rifle throughout its service in World War II and the Korean War. Surplus M1 rifles also armed many nations allied to the United States postwar, including West Germany, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Greece, Turkey and Iran. Following the Korean War, Garands were loaned to South Korea. Some Garands were still being used in the Vietnam War in 1963; despite the M14`s official adoption in 1957, it was not until 1965 the changeover from the M1 Garand was completed in the active-duty component of the Army (with the exception of the sniper variants, which were introduced in World War II and saw action in Korea and Vietnam). In other components of the armed forces, such as the Army Reserve, Army National Guard and the Navy, Garands continued to serve into the 1970s or longer.
Some military drill teams still use the M1, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the Norwegian Royal Guards Drill Team, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Honor Guard, almost all Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and some Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) teams of all branches of the U.S. military. The Greek Army Evzones (presidential) Guard still uses M1s, and it was used as a training rifle in the Greek army even in the late 1990s.
The M1 rifle is a gas-operated, semi-automatic, clip-fed rifle. By modern standards, the M1`s feeding system is archaic, relying on clips to feed ammunition, and is the principal source of criticism of the rifle. Officials in Army Ordnance circles demanded a fixed, non-protruding magazine for the new service rifle. At the time, it was believed that a detachable magazine on a general-issue service rifle would be easily lost by U.S. soldiers (a criticism made of British soldiers and the Lee-Enfield 50 years previously), would render the weapon too susceptible to clogging from dirt and debris (a belief that proved unfounded with the adoption of the M1 Carbine), and that a protruding magazine would complicate existing manual-of-arms drills. As a result, inventor John Garand developed an "en bloc" clip system that allowed ammunition to be inserted from above, clip included, into the fixed magazine. While this design provided the requisite flush-mount magazine, the clip system increased the rifle`s weight and complexity, and made only single loading ammunition possible without a clip.
Garand`s rifle was originally chambered for the .276 Pedersen cartridge, charged by means of 10-round clips. Later, it was chambered for the then-standard .30-06 Springfield. With this new cartridge, the M1 had a maximum effective range of 440 yards (400 m), with the capability of inflicting a casualty with armor-piercing ammunition well beyond 875 yards (800 m). Because of the larger diameter of the .30-06 cartridge, the modified clip held only eight rounds.
Garand`s original design for the M1 used a complicated gas system involving a special muzzle extension gas trap, later dropped in favor of a simpler drilled gas port. Because most of the older rifles were retrofitted, pre-1939 gas-trap M1s are very rare today and are prized collector`s items. In both systems, expanding gases from a fired cartridge are diverted into the gas cylinder. Here, the gases met a long-stroke piston attached to the operating rod. The operating rod was therefore pushed rearward by the force of this high-pressure gas. Then, the operating rod engaged a rotating bolt inside the receiver. The bolt was attached to the receiver via two locking lugs, which rotated, unlocked, and initiated the ejection of the spent cartridge and the reloading cycle when the rifle was discharged. The operating rod (and subsequently the bolt) then returned to its original position.
The weight of the M1 varies between 9.5 pounds (4.31 kg) and 10.2 pounds (4.63 kg) unloaded (depending on sling type and stock wood density)—a considerable increase over the previous M1903 Springfield. The length was 43.6 inches (1,107 mm). The rifle is fed by an "en bloc" clip which holds eight rounds of .30-06 Springfield ammunition. When the last cartridge is fired, the rifle ejects the clip and locks the bolt open. Clips can also be manually ejected at any time. The "en-bloc" clip is manually ejected by pulling the operating rod all the way to the rear, and then depressing the clip latch button. Much criticized in modern times, the en-bloc clip was innovative for its era. The concept of a disposable box magazine had not been embraced, and en-bloc clips were cheap and reliable. Contemporary rifles with the ability to easily top off a magazine included the Johnson M1941, the obsolete Krag-Jørgensen and the Lee-Enfield No.1 and No.4.
The rifle`s ability to rapidly fire powerful .30-06 rifle ammunition also proved to be of considerable advantage in combat. In China, Japanese banzai charges had previously met with frequent success against poorly trained Chinese soldiers armed with bolt-action rifles. Armed with the M1, U.S. infantrymen were able to sustain a much higher rate of fire than their Chinese counterparts. In the short-range jungle fighting, where opposing forces sometimes met each other in column formation on a narrow path, the penetration of the powerful .30-06 M2 cartridge enabled a single U.S. infantryman to kill up to three Japanese soldiers with a single round. The Garand`s fire rate in the hands of a trained soldier, averaged out to 40–50 accurate shots per minute at a range of 300 yards, made it the single fastest-firing service rifle during World War II, until the StG 44 was adopted as the German service rifle in 1944 (in practice, the bolt-action K98k remained the German service rifle).
Ejection of an empty clip created a distinctive metallic "pinging" sound. In World War II, reports arose in which German and Japanese infantry were making use of this noise in combat to alert them to an empty M1 rifle in order to `get the drop` on their American enemies. The information was taken seriously enough that U.S. Army`s Aberdeen Proving Ground began experiments with clips made of various plastics in order to soften the sound, though no improved clips were ever adopted. According to former German soldiers, the sound was inaudible during engagements and not particularly useful when heard, as other squad members might have been nearby ready to fire.
The M1 Garand was one of the first self-loading rifles to use stainless steel for its gas tube, in an effort to prevent corrosion. As the stainless metal could not be parkerized, the gas tubes were given a stove-blackening that frequently wore off in use. Unless the gas tube could be quickly repainted, the resultant gleaming muzzle could make the M1 Garand and its user more visible to the enemy in combat. The M1 Garand was designed for simple assembly and disassembly to facilitate field maintenance. It can be field stripped (broken down) without tools in just a few seconds.
M1 Garand reliability can be improved by lightly polishing the feed ramps and certain surfaces on the bolt and operating rod with Simichrome and rouge. The greatest improvement that can be made to an M-1 is to glass bed the stock, which increases accuracy.
The Garand is loaded with a full clip of eight rounds. Once all eight rounds are expended, the bolt will be automatically locked back and the clip ejected (with a distinct metallic ping), readying the rifle for the insertion of a fresh clip of ammunition. Compared to contemporary detachable box magazines, the M1`s "en bloc" clip is light, simple, and only has to be oriented with the rounds pointing forward prior to charging the rifle (the clips have no top or bottom).
Once the clip is inserted, the bolt snaps forward on its own as soon as thumb pressure is released from the top round of the clip, chambering a round and leaving it ready to fire. Although it is not absolutely necessary, the preferred method is to place the back of the right hand against the operating rod handle and press the clip home with the right thumb; this releases the bolt, but the hand restrains the bolt from slamming closed on the operator`s thumb (resulting in "M1 thumb"); the hand is then quickly withdrawn, the operating rod moves forward and the bolt closes with sufficient force to go fully to battery. Thus, after the clip has been pressed into position in the magazine, the operating rod handle should be released, allowing the bolt to snap forward under pressure from the operating rod spring. The operating rod handle may be smacked with the palm to ensure the bolt is closed.
The M1`s safety catch is located at the front of the trigger guard. It is engaged when it is pressed rearward into the trigger guard, and disengaged when it is pushed forward and is protruding outside of the trigger guard. Contrary to widespread misconception, partially expended or full clips can be easily ejected from the rifle by means of the clip latch button. It is also possible to load single cartridges into a partially loaded clip while the clip is still in the magazine, but this requires both hands and a bit of practice. In reality, this procedure was rarely performed in combat, as the danger of loading dirt along with the cartridges increased the chances of malfunction. Instead, it was much easier and quicker to simply manually eject the clip, and insert a fresh one, which is how the rifle was originally designed to be operated. Later, special clips holding two or five rounds became available on the civilian market, as well as a single-loading device which stays in the rifle when the bolt locks back.
In battle, the manual of arms called for the rifle to be fired until empty, and then recharged quickly. Due to the well-developed logistical system of the U.S. military at the time, this wastage of ammunition was generally not critical, though this could change in the case of units that came under intense fire or were flanked or surrounded by enemy forces. The Garand`s en-bloc clip system proved particularly cumbersome when using the rifle to launch grenades, requiring removal of an often partially loaded clip of ball ammunition and replacement with a full clip of blank cartridges.
It is recommended that very slow burning powders and heavy bullets not be used in the Garand. This is an issue especially important to handloaders, as the pressure curve of slower propellants can put too much pressure on the gas piston, bend the operating rod, and adversely affect the Garand`s accuracy. The Garand is best used with bullets of about 150 grains weight, as in "Ball, Caliber 30, M2" ammunition. However, there are several adjustable gas cylinder plugs available that vent excess gas out of the gas cylinder, reducing the pressure on the operating rod.
Both official and aftermarket accessories were plentiful for the Garand rifle. Several different styles of bayonets fit the rifle: the M1905 and M1942, both with 16-inch (406 mm) blades; the Model 1905E1 with shortened 10-inch (254 mm) blade; the M1 with 10-inch (254 mm) blade; and the M5 bayonet with 6.75-inch (152 mm) blade.
Also available was the M7 grenade launcher that fitted onto the end of the barrel. It was sighted using the M15 sight, which fit just forward of the trigger. A cleaning tool, oiler and greasepots could be stored in two cylindrical compartments in the buttstock for use in the field. Because of the limitations of the Garand`s clip-loading magazine, the rifle proved less than ideal for use in launching 22 mm rifle grenades, and the M1903 Springfield was retained for use in that role long after grenade launchers for the Garand became available.
The M1907 two-piece leather rifle sling was the most common type of sling used with the weapon through World War II. In 1943 a khaki canvas sling was introduced that gradually became more common. Another accessory was the winter trigger, said to have been developed during the Korean War. It consisted of a small mechanism installed on the trigger guard, allowing the soldier to remotely pull the trigger by depressing a lever just behind the guard. This enabled the shooter to fire his weapon while using winter gloves, which could get "stuck" on the trigger guard or not allow for proper movement of the finger.
Most variants of the Garand, save the sniper variants, never saw active duty. The sniper versions were modified to accept scope mounts, and two versions (the M1C, formerly M1E7, and the M1D, formerly M1E8) were produced, although not in significant quantities during World War II. The only difference between the two versions is the mounting system for the telescopic sight. In June 1944, the M1C was adopted as a standard sniper rifle by the U.S. Army to supplement the venerable M1903A4.
The procedure required to install the M1C-type mounts through drilling/tapping the hardened receiver was inefficient in terms of tooling and time. This resulted in the development of the M1D, which utilized a simpler, single-ring Springfield Armory mount. The M1C and M1D first began to be widely used during the Korean War. The U.S. Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951. The U.S. Navy has also used the Garand, rechambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round.
Two interesting variants that never saw service were the M1E5 and T26 (popularly known as the Tanker Garand). The M1E5 is equipped with a folding buttstock, while the T26 uses the standard solid stock, and has a shorter, 18-inch barrel. The Tanker name was also used after the war as a marketing gimmick for commercially modified Garands. Another variant that never saw duty was the T20E2. This variant is a Garand modified to accept Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) magazines, and has selective fire capability, with semi- and fully automatic modes.
The T26 arose from requests by various Army combat commands for a shortened version of the standard M1 rifle for use in jungle or mobile warfare. In July 1945 Col. William Alexander, former staff officer for Gen. Simon Buckner and a new member of the Pacific Warfare Board, requested urgent production of 15,000 carbine-length M1 rifles for use in the Pacific theater. To emphasize the need for rapid action, he requested the Ordnance arm of the U.S. 6th Army in the Philippines to make up 150 18" barreled M1 rifles for service trials, sending another of the rifles by special courier to U.S. Army Ordnance officials at Aberdeen as a demonstration that the M1 could be easily modified to the new configuration. Although the T26 was never approved for production, at least one 18" barreled M1 rifle was used in action in the Philippines by troopers in the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (503rd PIR).
During the 1950s, Beretta produced Garands in Italy at the behest of NATO, by having the tooling used by Winchester during World War II shipped to them by the U.S. government. These rifles were designated Model 1952 in Italy, and eventually led to variants of their own, the best known of these being the BM59 series.
The M1 Garand was the direct predecessor of the M14 rifle, which replaced it. The Japanese began development of a modified copy of the Garand, the Type 5 Rifle, near the end of World War II, though it never reached production status. During the 1950s, Beretta developed the BM59 series of rifles, which would also be produced under license in Indonesia as the "SP-1" series. Ruger produced the Mini-14 rifle, which utilizes a reduced-size operating system and a different gas system. The Mini-14 looks like the M14, but is chambered for the smaller .223 cartridge.
Despite similarities in naming, there is no relationship between the M1 rifle and the M1 carbine, other than a similar rotating bolt design. Additional confusion can arise from the development of several other weapon systems, "M" being an abbreviation for Model, such as the M1 submachine gun and M1 tank.
United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. military surplus M1 rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The CMP is run by the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (CPRPFS), a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the United States Congress in 1996 to instruct citizens in marksmanship and promote practice and safety in the use of firearms. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. From 1903 to 1996, the CMP was sponsored by the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), a position first within the Department of War and later in the Department of the Army. The DCM was normally an active-duty Army colonel.
In 2009, an effort by the South Korean government to export about 850,000 firearms to the United States, including 87,000 M1 rifles, for eventual sale to civilians, was initially approved by the Obama administration, but it later blocked the sale in March 2010. A State Department spokesman said the administration`s decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands and be used for criminal activity. However, in January 2012, the U.S. and South Korea agreed on the sale of 87,000 M1 Garand rifles, and the South Korean government entered into discussion with U.S. civilian arms dealers. Korea has a record of selling tens of thousands of M1 Garand rifles to the U.S. civilian market between 1986 to 1994. In August 2013, the Obama administration banned future private importation of all U.S. made weapons, including the M1 Garand. Note that this action did not preclude the return of surplus U.S. weapons, including M1 Garands, previously loaned by the U.S. to friendly nations, to the custody of the U.S. Government; in recent years, the CMP has received most of its surplus weapons through such returns from foreign countries.
Military surplus Garands and post-war copies made for the civilian market are popular among enthusiasts around the world. In 2013, President John F. Kennedy`s personal M1 Garand was auctioned by Rock Island Auction Company. This rifle was acquired by Kennedy in 1959 from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship and has the serial number 6086970.