Chiappa M1-9: A WWII Clone in 9mm

Did you like the old-school M1 carbine famously used by paratroopers in WWII? I did, which is why I was attracted to the Chiappa Firearms M1-9 Carbine. Of course, the rifle is not an exact replica, as it’s chambered in 9mm, but it’s pretty dang close. I’m not sure what influenced my love for classic guns, but there is something special about the battle guns of WWII. With my background in law enforcement, most of my firearms world is wrapped around AR-15 rifles and sprinkled with Glock pistols.

But that hasn’t stopped me from craving a classic-looking gun that eats cheap ammo and uses popular magazines. I’ve noticed many manufacturers are returning to the classic look on some of their newer models. A modern gun with a walnut stock, gosht ring sights, or some other classic feature is growing in popularity. When Henry released the Homesteader, my plan was to wait and see if it was any good before buying it. But I couldn’t wait and decided to be a guinea pig.

Chiappa M1-9
Unlike the M1 Carbine, the M1-9 doesn’t have a bolt lock feature. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
I also bought the Ruger PC Carbine and equipped it with a PPSH stock from Woodshop Wednesday. That review can be found in a previous article, so be sure to check it out. Next was the F.M. Ranch Rifle, which is a somewhat AR-based 5.56 rifle with a Woox dark walnut stock. Now, my newest addition to this lineup is the Chiappa M1-9, thanks to Cooper’s Gun & Pawn.

Chiappa M1-9 Classic Rifle

When you glance at this rifle, you notice that it’s extremely close to the M1 carbine by appearance. The only thing that really gives it away at first glance is the magazine. Because it’s chambered in 9mm, it has a smaller magazine than the original .30 caliber magazine. Its purpose was to create a smaller rifle than the famous M1 Garand, as paratroopers and support troops needed a lighter, more compact rifle. However, the M1 Carbine wasn’t without it’s faults. It has a bit of a troubled history with quality and reliability in the early days.

Most of those issues were worked out, and the gun was used in multiple wars after WWII. And now, Chiappa has given us an affordable pistol caliber carbine (PCC) that uses the same stock as the original M1 carbine, but it can be switched to the iconic folding stock if you so desire.

Chiappa M1-9
The Chiappa M1-9 uses the original M1 Carbine stock. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Chiappa used Beretta 92F magazines with the M1-9. Glock mags would have been a more popular choice here in the U.S., but Chiappa Firearms is located in Italy, so it makes sense to use an Italian magazine. I just like having one magazine for as many guns as possible. It’s easier to find a variety of magazine capacity and even drums when Glock mags are used. But it’s not a deal breaker for me, and Beretta mags are popular enough as well.

Accessories for the M1-9 Rifle

The cool thing about a remake of a gun that already exists is finding accessories. Because Beretta 92FS magazines are common, places like GunMag Warehouse offer a ton of options, including Mec-Gar’s Beretta 92FS 20-round magazine and ProMag’s 32-round mag. You can find just about any capacity you want, including 10-, 15-, 17-, and 18-round mags. It’s easy to find a genuine G.I. M-1 sling, or you can go with a more modern one. The rear sight can be taken off, and an S&K scope mount can be attached if you want a scope. The possibilities are endless!

M1-9 vs. M1 Carbine

A few other things that are not the same on the M1-9 as the M1 Carbine are noticeable once you shoot it. First is the lack of a bolt lock or bolt hold open. When the gun is empty, there is no way to know except for pulling the trigger again. Second, you can not manually lock the bolt open because there is no bolt lock feature. This can be a safety issue when transporting the M1-9. You can stick something in front of the bolt to hold it open, like a small piece of rubber or wood, but I wish there were a better option.

Chiappa M1-9
Except for the smaller magazine, the M1-9 looks just like the M1 Carbine. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
But it does mean you need to carry that piece of rubber or wood around with you. It would be nice if Chiappa could figure out how to add this feature to the gun. Not just for safety reasons but to make it a little more authentic to the original M1 carbine. I used a variety of ammunition at first and had some mixed results. The company recommends 100-150 rounds be fired through the gun to break it in. They also recommend field stripping it and oiling the parts before heading to the range for the first time.

On the range with the Chiappa M1-9

I used some Real Avid Gun Max oil on the M1-9 before heading to the range. At the range, I first used some Federal ball ammo and didn’t get off to a good start. I had failure-to-eject and failure-to-feed issues about every two to three rounds. After running through both 10-round mags (that came with the gun) several times, I gave up and moved on to some other ammo. Winchester did much better, with a few mishaps about every 50 rounds. Thinking this could be due to a needed break-in period, I decided to dump a lot of 9mm ammo through it.

Shooting the Chiappa M1-9
I had a few feeding issues, but it was shooting much better after the first 200 rounds. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Global Ordnance provided ammunition for this project, so I put 350 rounds of 124-grain Igman ammo through the M1-9. It did get a little better after 200 rounds, but I was still experiencing the occasional misfeed. I didn’t have any other Beretta mags at the time to see if this would improve the cycling at all. The accuracy wasn’t what I had hoped either because the rear sight moved just a little every 100 rounds or so. I could hit my targets, but the groupings were not great for a carbine.

Is the M1-9 Worth it?

I was a little disappointed with the feeding issues and the lack of a bolt lock on the M1-9. After putting more than 350 rounds through the gun, I would not recommend this as a self-defense gun. But I’m not sure that is the point of this carbine either. For a self-defense weapon, there are a lot of options out there that are more modern and reliable. I still had fun shooting the Chiappa, and I’ll probably hang on to it for now. By the time I finished my last 50-round box of ammunition, I had one malfunction.

That’s not so bad that I’m going to scrap it or trade it in for something else. I wanted a classic-looking rifle that I could have some fun with on the range in a caliber that is not expensive to shoot. It accomplishes that, and I may try some other magazines the next time I take them out for a spin. Until then, I plan to test a few accessories out and see if they truly are compatible.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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