Bloke on the Range Tests the DEADLY M1 Garand Flaw that got GIs KILLED in WWII… (Actually No, Probably Not)

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We’ve all heard it at gun shows or with friends: The M1 Garand was the first rifle that brought true semiautomatic firepower to the battlefield, but it came with a fatal flaw – the ping, which would alert German soldiers that the hapless GI was out of ammo, allowing them to pop up and strike!

(For some reason, it’s always German soldiers, never Japanese, or Italian, or anyone else. I guess Germans just have better hearing.)

Of course this idea is a little far-fetched to begin with, but still, it’s something worth testing, and that’s where we turn to the Bloke and Chap of the YouTube channel Bloke on the Range. Will the dastardly German soldier (played by Chap) get the better of the brave American GI (Bloke), or will John Garand’s tactical egg timer prevail? Check out the video below, to find out!

No surprise, of course, the Chap doesn’t get far before the Bloke stuffs in another clip and is ready to go. For a couple of reasons, taking advantage of the “ping” sound created by the M1’s clip ejection isn’t very practical, including that it’s difficult to hear things when your ears are ringing from the sounds of battle, that the M1 reloads very, very quickly, that in many cases the ground won’t be hard concrete, and of course that under normal circumstances a US GI who has exhausted his clip is unlikely to be alone.

Given these reasons, it gets increasingly hard to imagine a circumstance where the ping would be a liability. Perhaps in house to house fighting where the ground is hard and the GI is out of view of his German foes it would make some kind of difference… But the M1’s quick reload and the support of other members in the squad still come into play there.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Kalash

    It has been, and always be, a cherished myth that: (a) In a battle the opposition could hear the “ping” and (b) that they would be able to react quickly enough to take advantage of it.

    The only possible scenario I can imagine where the sound of the clip ejecting and then bouncing around and making more noise would be in a CQB situation inside a structure, but that is assuming the other side’s ears had quit ringing after hearing 8 rounds of 30-06 going off inside an enclosed structure.

    A big if…

    • Kevin Harron

      A massive massive if.

      • UnrepentantLib

        I read a thing as a kid, back in the ’60’s, that when M1s first appeared in the Solomons guys would fire off five rounds, because the Japanese knew the Springfields had five round magazines and would wait until the Marine or GI was reloading to move. Then they’d pick them off with the remaining three rounds. I wonder if the guy who started that story was the same one who came up with the fatal ping.

      • BigR

        That is a “massive if” alright! If a cat had a glass ass, he wouldn’t jump off a fence but once!

    • Gary Kirk

      HUUHHH??

    • TechnoTriticale

      You can only hear the ping in movies (due to max dB levels in theatres), or on a modern range with responsive electronic ear protection.

      In actual historical conflict, anyone without ear protection, and close enough to hear the ping will have had their hearing seriously degraded by at least the last report.

      Anyone with ear protection wouldn’t have heard the ping at any distance.

      This myth only keeps arising because people are seeking some excuse for why the M1 side lost in WWI and Korea … oh, wait …

      • RealitiCzech

        And nobody but artillerymen used ear protection, as that was for the weak. Why is nobody answering that phone? It’s been ringing for 20 minutes now!

        • Bob Katt

          Huh? What did you say?

    • GUNxSPECTRE

      And that’s to say that men aren’t covering all sides with continuous fire : six o’clock and flanks, with multiple men on every side, supplemented with SMGs and light machine guns. Even with the rifleman build of WII American infantry formations, a side isn’t going to cave because a rifleman or two ran out of ammo at the same time.

  • Ranger Rick

    It’s called the “Ping of Freedom” 😀

    • Argartis

      Let Freedom Ping?

  • Cal S.

    Well, it lives right up there with all the other myths that just get repeated as fact. Like, 1911s won’t feed hollow-points or their magazines have to be underloaded by 2 rounds. Or, AK-47s are more reliable than AR-15s. Or, the M14 is better than the M16. Or, that revolvers can never fail. You know, all the myths dispelled by the age of information.

    • BobFromPineCreek

      Other great gun myths that you still see parroted around

      – It’s against the Geneva convention to shoot at individual humans with .50 cal or larger weaponry

      – If a .50 cal bullet even has a near-miss a few inches from your face the shockwave will still take your head right off

      -.22LR will bounce around somebodies body and do more damage

      – British infantry during WW1 fired their Lee-Enfields so fast the other side thought they had machine guns

      • Sulaco5

        Not so sure about the .22 thing, have seen a lot of people killed with a .22 and the results were ugly…

        • Vizzini

          The results of being killed with any more powerful caliber are even uglier.

        • Gunner4guy

          Agreed. Having done a bit of the Paramedic “thing” in the early 80’s I got the opportunity to see my share of suicides, homicides and negligent discharges resulting in either injury or death involving .22’s. Amazing how that little piece of lead can bounce around inside a torso tearing up organs, even more when it shatters. Don’t put down the effectiveness of the round just because of it’s size. Oh, and a even a FMJ .25 ACP can do some damage as well ricocheting around and shedding it’s jacket.

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        Just on the Lee machine gun thing, the problem is it is very hard to prove or disprove this. It is pretty hard to disprove that no German unit ever thought they were being fired at by a machine gun when it was actually just rifle fire. To prove it you have to have concrete evidence of battles where Britain had no machine guns but also accounts from German forces of machine guns being used. There is some evidence of this, like there are a couple of accounts by German officers at Mons who describe coming under machine gun fire when (from available evidence) there were no British machine guns at that locations and it was actually a combination of drilled rifle fire and Shrapnel shells. There are also more general German reports describing the British as having vast machine gun superiority, when in actuality they didn’t but it is possible that this is just people making excuses.

        • Jonathan Ferguson

          At least one German officer stated this to be the case. Mind you, he was a PoW at the time…

    • iksnilol

      LRBHO followers are a thing.

      • Cal S.

        Can’t you just let me dwell in my world of denial? Honestly…

        😉

        • iksnilol

          I’m a certified party pooper, so no.

          I cannot.

    • Mikial

      Excellent comment, and great examples.

  • Ark

    Survive one artillery barrage without ear protection and you won’t be hearing a damn thing.

    Also, isn’t the “fatal flaw” dependent on the GI in question not having buddies nearby whose rifles AREN’T empty? How often did that happen? If you’re completely separated from your buddies, an empty rifle may be the least of your concerns.

  • DetroitMan

    I have shot my Garand in many High Power style matches. With the full din of the firing line, I can barely hear my own clip eject. When there are other Garands on the line, I can’t hear their clips eject unless they are right next to me. I can’t image a German (or any other soldier) who is 100 yards away and taking fire from a line of Garands being able to hear a single clip ejection. Maybe in a rare CQB or building clearing scenario, an enemy might hear the ejection. But even then the temporarily-dry GI has friends with him.

    • GUNxSPECTRE

      And the rifle, smg, and lmg fire from their own lines. Or officers yelling orders, or grunts fore more ammo. Artillery shells screaming overhead and air-bursting. Or the noisy engines and tracks of armor going past. Rifle grenades and other explosives going off less than a football field away. Rounds whizzing past and either ricocheting or splintering everything it meets.

      I think we all get it. Nobody in their right mind is going to have the situational awareness to try and listen for a “ping”. What’s more useful is to spot and shoot at the muzzle flashes on the other side.

  • STW

    I suppose the next step is to learn if Sal Mineo really had to die in the D-day movie when he mistook the German Mauser action as a cricket.

    • LAMan

      While you’re there, note that the dastardly Mauser fired TWO quick shots to kill Mineo.
      (I’m sure it was just a second Teutonic Übermensch who did not step before the cameraman afterwards and operate his bolt.)

  • andrey kireev

    Armchair generals always find fatal flaws in weapons they probably never fired….. Because you know… In real wars it’s always one on one fights within 30yds or so (without gunfire, explosions, engine roar, or other soldiers with loaded firearms for that matter)

  • Fruitbat44

    Of course you did get GIs carrying empty clips, which they’d throw on the ground to trick too-clever-for-their-own-good Krauts into thinking it was safe to show themselves . . . A-ha!

  • Disarmed in CA

    Yes, all defective and dangerous. Send them all to me for ‘destruction’

    • BigR

      I’ll take the rest of them!!!! Oh! That’s right! I still have one to this day, and I still love to shoot it. When I was a young man, I had no problem with them, ever! I used to deer hunt with mine. Back in the old days, it really was the best battle implement devised by man!

  • BeefSupreme

    I recall the “ping” myth being perpetuated by the gaming commuting when playing a game of Battlefield or Call of Duty. If playing on a smaller map, you could hear someone’s ping and could possibly get the jump on them.

  • SirOliverHumperdink

    I’ve never seen a vintage GI uniform that would fit me- 5’11 185 lbs. Most I’ve seen wouldn’t fit my 12 year old boy. How the hell did those shrimps carry those rifles all day and FIGHT with them? That always amazes me.

    • Bob Katt

      They were tough.

      • kingghidorah

        No doubt there, but small. really small.

        • Bob Katt

          Small is good. You require a smaller tree to get behind.

  • DanGoodShot

    Sorry, the whole ping thing I never bought into. Both my grandfathers fought in the War. Both of them told me that was just a load of horse… It was never an issue.

  • I would like to put forth the theory that the fatal “Ping” has been propagated from Hollywood. If you watch enough WW2 movies and play enough first person shooters, where the audio is amplified, and the Ping is done for cinematic effect, I can easily imagine the myth being advanced further, because of course you distinctly hear the ping. The same thing with shooting the M1 on a range, with few shooters around, you’ll also hear the Ping in your immediate area. The actual reality is, and is evidenced by the movie, that the boom of the last shot, really drowns out any of Ping noise, in addition, if the shots are effective fire, an opposing force would be more worried about incoming rounds, than anything else. Also, soldiers don’t operate in a vacuum, but with their squads, platoons, etc… Just because one guy has his rifle run dry, doesn’t mean his buddies around him have dry rifles as well, so even if an enemy soldier took advantage of this Ping, he still has to deal with the entire squad firing back.

    • Bob

      hollywierd for sure!!
      when you are in a field of battle, you can’t hear much of anything. Plus, your brain shuts down a good part of your hearing to protect it!
      They didn’t issue us “ear plugs” (hearing protection) when I was in Vietnam in 68, and if they did, you certainly did not have time to put them on when the SHTF.
      Some guys would claim you could hear the VC jacking their bolt on their AK’s as on the last round, the bolt does NOT stay open!
      I suppose their might be an isolated incidence, but not a likely happening every day on “the field of battle”

      • andrey kireev

        you’re right…. Although as a user of an AK you can kind of feel when your gun runs dry, as bolt isn’t stripping any rounds from magazine, and comes home little easier… I don’t believe this is audible from the other side of the rifle at all….

        • Bob

          you’re right. wont hear much in and during a firefight

  • mazkact

    In the opening scene in Private Ryan I did appreciate all the pings on the beach. In close proximity to lots of others firing Garands one can here the pings. Shooting in Serivice Rifle one can hear pings from way down the line even with hearing protection. The myth about Fritz “getting” you from hearing the ping or luring Fritz with a false ping is utter B.S.

  • Leigh Rich

    Hollywood BS. Ask a real WW 2 Vet.

  • BigR

    WHEN DID THE C**K SUCKING BRIT EVER KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GUNS? WE HAD TO BAIL THEM OUT IN TWO WORLD WARS! DUMB F**K’S!

    • Mikial

      So true. One only has to look at the British WWII tanks to understand just how far behind they were.

    • S1

      Haha, you calling other people dumb, that’s ironic.

  • Terry Smotherman

    What is wrapped around the butt of the M1? and I want to know where I can get that cool grey coat that Bloke is wearing.

  • richard kluesek

    Same old midwives tale as the ‘clack’ sound of the AK safety being engaged or disengaged giving away the operator’s presence to the enemy about to be ambushed in the jungle …. in the movies ?

  • Bob Katt

    This is why they don’t allow Brits to have guns.