The M1 Carbine, Revisited

When you conjure up images of World War II firearms, nothing is quite as recognizable as the M1 Carbine. Chris Baker of Lucky Gunner Ammo took a deep dive into the M1 Carbine in a four-part YouTube series and knew he had to have one for himself. 

Like many other historical firearms, not very many have survived their time in service and the subsequent decades in retirement all too well. While there is a multitude of post-war set-ups and aftermarket accessory options, the main problem might be finding the right setup for you.

Admittedly, Baker is a shooter and not a collector so he wasn’t as concerned about matching serial numbers or having all original parts. Thankfully for him, there are companies out there that sell M1 Carbine full sets (not to be confused with the Garand) and components to build your own.

M1 Carbine
There is no real doubt why the M1 Carbine is one of the most loved WWII firearms.

The one Chris was able to acquire was, as he put it, a rescue project. It was built off the Fulton Armory receiver but had some major issues like an incorrectly installed and worn-out barrel and a bad rear-sight. He was able to pick up replacement parts and deliver it to a trusted gunsmith for a fix-up, including refinishing the stock. In a completely blasphemous turn, he installed an optic rail and Swampfox Justice red dot sight, but we’ll try not to hold that against him.

Then came the fun of taking the newly refurbished rifle to the range and test it out. Sadly, he ran into the common problems of reliability issues, which was a quick fix to tighten the gas piston nut, and the last round would fail to feed in each magazine.

shooting the M1 Carbine
Chris took his M1 Carbine to the range and tested out the different combinations of magazines and followers. He found no real difference in speed between the KCI followers and the GI-issued ones.

He was using his 30 round KCI Magazines, so he figured the problem was the follower. He thought he would install the original GI mag follower in his KCI mags but would lose the hold-open feature with the follower. (There were 30 round GI issued mags that showed up in the last year of the war that had a modified follower shelf that would hold open the bolt, but Chris’s 15 round GI mags didn’t have that feature.) He did a speed test with the different magazine and follower combinations and found no real advantage one way or another in regards to the hold-open feature.

30-round KCI magazine
He put GI followers in his KCI magazines. At $5 a pop, it was a more affordable option.

He wrapped up his review by announcing his pick for the worst accessory you can have for your M1 Carbine. Drumroll…..jungle clips that hold two 30 round magazines together. While used in the field by a lot of soldiers, they aren’t really feasible for modern non-soldier shooters. His reasoning is that the vibrations from the recoil jostled the lower magazine free if the shooter didn’t use tape or other items to keep them together.

M1 Carbine Review: Key Takeaways

  • Finding a pristine M1 Carbine from WWII is tough, but there are good post-war options like the model from Fulton Armory.
  • Main issues you’re encounter: reliably function and the piston nut coming loose.
  • Only the 30-round GI-issued magazine has a hold-open follower in the magazines. But you can swap out GI followers to cheaper post-war magazines.

All in all, this M1 carbine review is a concise, quick watch.

Patti Miller is one of the most awesome females in the tactical/firearm (or any) industry. Imagine a tall, hawt, dangerous Laura Ingalls Wilder type with cool hair and a suppressed blaster and you'll be getting the idea. What's interesting is that in addition to being a willing brawler and intrepid adventuress, she's also an Ent/Ogier level gardener and a truly badass baker.

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