It weighs 9 pounds 8 ounces (4.3 kg) unloaded, and is 43.5 inches (1.1 m) long. The rifle is fed by a standard clip which holds eight rounds. Originally chambered for the 0.276 in (7 mm) Pedersen cartridge using a 10 round clip, it was later standardized to use the then official U.S. military rifle round: "Ball Cartridge, 0.30 in (7.62 mm), Model of 1906," commonly known as the .30-'06 ("thirty-ought-six").
History & Design
Developed by weapons designer John Garand in the 1930s, it eventually became the standard long arm of the US Army, being adopted in 1932 and entering service in 1936. It served through World War II and the Korean War where it proved to be an excellent weapon to the point where the Axis Powers used as many as they could capture. Some were still being used in the Vietnam War in 1963, although it was officially superseded by the M14 rifle in 1957. U.S. military drill teams still use the M1, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill team.
Perhaps the distinct edge it gave the Allied forces over their enemy in battle is why General George S. Patton called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised." The rifle remains popular with civilian weapons collectors and enthusiasts all over the world.
Variations & Accessories
Most variations of the Garand never saw duty, with the exception of the sniper variants. The sniper versions were Garands modified to accept scope mounts and from this came two systems. These are M1C (also called the M1E7) and M1D (also called the M1E8). However, neither were produced in significant quantities during the second World War. The only difference between the two versions is the mounting system for the telescopic sight. In June of 1944 the M1C was adapted as the standard sniper rifle by the US Army to replace the venerable M1903A4. The M1C and M1D first began being widely used during the Korean war. The US Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951.
One good example of a variant that never saw duty is the T26 (or M1E5), or the "Tanker Garand." The T26 has a shorter barrel at 18 inches and comes with a folding stock. The tanker name was actually added after the war when it was used as a marketing gimmick to sell the rifles. Another example of a variant that never saw duty is the T20E2. This variant is, at its simplest, a Garand modified to accept Browning Automatic Rifle magazines and has selective fire capability in semi- and automatic modes.
Similar to most modern rifles, the M1 had many accessories available. Several different styles of Bayonets fit the rifle: the Model 1905 (16" blade), Model 1905E1 (10" blade), M1 (10" blade), and M5 (6" blade). Also available was a Grenade launcher that fit onto the barrel using the M7 Spigot. It was sighted using the M15 sight which fit just forward of the trigger. A buttstock cleaning kit was also available for use in the field.
The M1 Carbine is often thought of as a variant of the Garand, but this is actually a misnomer. The carbine, while it shares subtle similarities in appearance, uses an action different to that of the Garand.
By modern standards, the M1 Garand does have drawbacks, particularly in the clip loaded magazine system it used. The magazine holds 8 rounds which are loaded by inserting an "en bloc" clip down into the rifle from the top while the bolt is locked back. In the bottom of the magazine there is a follower which keeps constant upward pressure (provided by the operating rod spring) on the cartridges so the bolt could strip the next one from the clip to chamber it during operation. When the last round is fired, the empty clip would be automatically ejected, producing a loud, high-pitched "ping" sound which could alert an enemy that the wielder cannot continue firing until the weapon is reloaded; although this generally could not be heard over the din of battle despite the commonly-heard myth to the contrary.
It is possible to load single cartridges into a partially loaded clip while the clip is still in the magazine, although it required both hands and a bit of concentration. Partially loaded or fully loaded clips could also be ejected by the operator by pulling the operating rod handle all the way back and then pushing the clip latch on the left side of the receiver. In practice however, the wielders of the weapon found it more expedient to simply shoot the remaining rounds in order to empty the weapon prior to reloading a full clip. Despite its intricacies, the clip fed, semi-automatic, gas-actuated system of the M1 Garand was much more advantageous than the manually operated bolt action systems used on the main battle rifles of nearly every other country during the era.
Purchasing & Sales
United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. Military surplus M1 Garand rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), a not-for-profit corporation created by Congress to promote firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified U.S. citizens.
- List of firearms
- List of modern weapons
- List of individual weapons of the US Armed Forces
- List of crew served weapons of the US Armed Forces
- Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP)
- FAS Garand info
- Sniper Central Page on the M1C and M1D
- Modern Firearms
- Photo and information about Springfield Armory's M1 Garand rifle