The M1 Garand is certainly a great design, but it’s often forgotten that it is fundamentally a piece of late 1920s technology, and it has some serious flaws. Its Achilles’ heel, though, is probably its susceptibility to mud, dirt, sand, and other foreign matter. Ian and Karl at InRange TV took an M1 out to the Arizona desert to give it a mud bath, testing the gun’s resistance to unforgiving conditions, the video of which is embedded below:
This time last year, I wrote an article published on this site called Hindsight is 30/06: A Critique of The M1 Garand, which examined the M1 in a more scrutinizing light than Patton’s “greatest battle implement ever devised” is usually subjected to. In that article, I identified as a critical weakness of the M1 rifle the large, open action designed by John Garand as a way to maximize the efficiency of the rifle’s receiver, especially with regards to overall length. The large ingress point right above the rifle’s firing mechanism, the exposed locking lugs, and the grit-sensitive operating rod recess all come together to make the rifle exceptionally susceptible to debris, especially mud and sand. The InRange test above bears all this out, and neither was it a surprise to either of them, as previously they had tested the very closely related M1A design in similar conditions. Going back even further, U.S. government tests conducted in 1950 and in 1940 both produced exactly the same results.
The M1 just really, really, really hates mud, dirt, dust, and sand.