Paratroopers Sidekick: The M1A1 Carbine

The M1A1 carbine is perhaps one of the more iconic rifles from American forces in World War Two. It was specifically designed for the Paratroopers, and was used extensively in numerous campaigns of the War. With a folding stock, it allowed Paratroopers to carry less weight, and squeeze the carbine into their gear for their combat jumps over Sicily, Normandy, Holland, and Germany with the 17th Airborne Division. Today it fetches a collector premium over other M1 carbines in their original, unaltered form.

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Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and works in the shooting sports industry. He is an avid recreational shooter and a verified gun nerd. With a lifelong passion for shooting, he has a love for all types of firearms, especially handguns and the AR-15 platform. Patrick may be contacted at [email protected].

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • schizuki

    Why is the paratrooper firing at paratroopers?

    • Steven

      It happened a few times during the war. The Philippines was one instance.

    • Widgt

      The 6th Fallschirmjägeregiment put up a heck of a fight in Normandy.

      • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

        Bless You

      • schizuki

        They didn’t drop in, though.

  • GD Ajax

    Looks like the M1 Carbine will get the last laugh. Short stroke piston .308s seem to be the current trend. While no one uses complicated M1 Garand gas system except as a reserve weapon and third world nations.
    Upgrading its derivative the M14 to modern standers is also more difficult than buying new guns.

    • Heretical Politik

      Complicated? I’m pretty sure the Garand’s long-stroke gas system with a rotating two lug bolt is found in every kalashnikov pattern rifle ever made.

      • iksnilol

        Well, the Garand has an open action adn the dogleg sticking out.

        • Heretical Politik

          I wouldn’t argue that the Garand doesn’t have flaws. And there are parts of its design that are complicated-like its clip system-but that was a design requirement and an understandable choice in the 1930s. But I would argue that its basic operation-a twin lug rotating bolt driven by a long stroke gas piston-while not radically inventive, is a simple, proven, and reliable method of operation that was highly influential on Kalashnikov’s later design. In fact it influenced the M1 carbine as well; their bolts are nearly identical designs.

    • Alexandru Ianu

      A short stroke piston adds at least 2 parts compared to a long stroke piston, usually more since a lot of guns are SVT/AR-18 derived.

  • Herr Wolf

    And here I thought AK underfolders had a cruddy cheekweld

  • WELLS SHANE

    THE M1 CARBINE WILL OUT SHOOT THE 300 BLACKOUT

    • CommonSense23

      I really wonder how you get that idea.

      • WELLS SHANE

        BECAUSE I HAVE SHOT BOTH

        • CommonSense23

          Umm and that means what. I would love to see what load that you have found for the 30 Carbine that is capable of outshooting a supersonic 300BLK. And you don’t need to type in all caps.

          • Jared Vynn

            300 blk in a pistol will out do 30 carbine in a rifle. Not sure what Wells Shane is thinking/smoking.

            With a 115 gr bullet you get about 2,000 fps with 300 blackout in an 8″, while you need an 18″ to get about 1,900 fps with a 110gr in 30 carbine. No comparison at all 300 is far superior.

          • Porty1119

            I believe that the .30 Carbine is also lighter and smaller per round than .300 Blackout, making it a better round for a weapon meant to be carried more than shot. That’s just my opinion, though.

          • Jared Vynn

            Both weigh about 200 gr with similar bullet loads of 110gr bullets. And the size difference is negligible as the are no modern (pdw or other similar) firearms that take advantage of the smaller cartridge size of the 30 carbine. Most firearms are designed with either 1.3 inch cartridge (pistol) overall length or 2.3 inch overall length (rifle). And as 300 blackout gets superior ballistics with half the barrel length (or half the barrel weight) the 300 blackout would still be a much lighter firearm platform.

          • CommonSense23

            What gets me in when people try to put down 300BLK is they never take into consideration that the whole point of 300BLK is how you can run both subs and supers in the same mag. Yeah if you are only going to shoot subs it makes sense to build a 45 Carbine suppressed. Or if only supers a 7.62×39. But show me a gun that can from offering MP5SD levels of suppression to rifle external ballistics by just pulling the trigger.

          • Jared Vynn

            Not to mention you get great performance with half the barrel length of other cartridges like .223/5.56 and 7.62×39.

          • iksnilol

            Eh, 7.62×39 has good short barrel performance.

          • Jared Vynn

            They perform nearly identical from what I have found. Some 300 blk loads have a little more velocity or more energy but for similar bullet weights and barrels lengths they are within 100ft/s(30m/s) of each other.

          • iksnilol

            Yup.

          • WELLS SHANE

            BECAUSE A 300 BLACKOUT IS SUBSONIC.

          • CommonSense23

            Seriously you don’t need to type all caps. And not all rounds are sub sonic. Especially the military loads.

          • WELLS SHANE

            DO NOT TELL ME HOW TO TYPE.

          • CommonSense23

            Well at least stop putting out incorrect facts at least if you are going to type like you are thirteen.

          • Jared Vynn

            Military loads are not the only loads, and 300 blackout has a wide range of supersonic loads.

          • WELLS SHANE

            YOU ALL MISS POINT GUN MAKER’S PRODUCE NEW ROUNDS AND EVERY ONE JUMPS AT THEM.I THOUGHT THAT WAS POINT.MILITARY ROUNDS. GET OUT AND TRY SHOOTING SOME DIFFERENT ROUNDS OUT OF BOX

          • Jared Vynn

            No you missed the point. No one said reloading loads, there is literally factory loads from 110gr up to 220gr for 300 blackout. Any factory load under 180gr tend to be supersonic. I doubt there is even any Military loads done for 30 carbine anymore.

            You simply failed to do adequate research into the subject.

        • Don Ward

          APPARENTLY WITHOUT HEARING PROTECTION!

          • Jared Vynn

            MAWP, WHAT?

    • MisterTheory

      WHAT?????

  • Pandaz3

    I don’t care for the big block of wood they call a pistol grip nor the cruddy cheek weld as already mentioned. The stock on the one I tried seemed wobbly to me

  • WELLS SHANE

    WOULD LIKE TO PUT TH 30.30 ROUND IN M4 PLATFORM

    • Porty1119

      It’s called .300 Blackout. I’m interested in one as a cast-bullet shooter.

  • Tassiebush

    I never imagined that the stock didn’t lock in place. So it was just friction holding it in place? I’d be curious as to how much that impacts it’s usefulness?

  • Nick Grahm

    The re-enactor’s flag shoulder patch is backwards. Is that how they were in WW2?

    • William Nelson

      Yes, I believe. It wasn’t until the most recent hostilities that the flag was flipped to make it look as if it was “advancing forward.”

      And as always, I freely admit that I could be wrong about this.

  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    So no one is going to mention that he said 2015?!

  • Pete Sheppard

    I used to have a repro folder. They are actually pretty comfortable. Mine was stolen, and a new on is on my want list for my carbine.
    Weren’t the folding carbines also popular with ground troops?

  • John

    YOU LIARS!!! YOU BROUGHT BACK A PARATROOPER FROM WORLD WAR 2! I’M SUING THIS ENTIRE WEBSITE FOR FALSE ADVERTISING AND LIBEL!

  • Dougscamo

    Why do Miles and his buddy sound like Cheech and Chong in the opening……hmmm….

  • Frank Stratton

    Used an m2 in case in the ’80s . It was very effective. Been shooting an original since I was 14 worked fine. The 300bo is just a .30 carbine on steroids. Best civilian caliber in the ar platform. 0 to 300 meters with the right load and projectile.
    Would really like one in .38 Super.

  • Devil_Doc

    I was expecting an in depth breakdown of an M1 carbine, like something Alex C would do. I got cosplay. What is going on with this site?

  • robocop33

    Well it was NOT specifically made for paratroopers. It was made for those in the rear and for those in the immediate rear AND tankers. Paratroopers wee given those with wire or folding stocks.