The M1 Carbine was originally designed in the early days of World War 2 as a scaled-down version of the M1 Garand, the main battle rifle. The intent wasn’t to issue the Carbine to smaller people, but for those keeping the war machine logistics running. The idea was that people packaging or driving supplies for the front line didn’t need a large weapon or even full-power ammunition. Because the M1 Carbine is scaled down in size and power, I’ve always believed that it was well suited for youth that have already learned the fundamentals of marksmanship on rimfire rifles.
My son has been shooting .22LR rifles and pistols for quite some time. I knew it was time for him to try something with more zip. It had been nearly 20 years since I’d shot an M1 Carbine, but even back then I knew it was a great stepping stone for youth and smaller framed people. The Carbine’s weight is light enough, and the recoil of the .30 Carbine round isn’t too stout, but still has enough gas reach out a ways. I recently borrowed my Father-in-law’s M1 Carbine for the TFB Field Strip series. He also gave me some ammo for my 11-year-old son and I to shoot for our next range session.
Once we made it to the shooting range, I gave my son the run-down of how to operate the M1 Carbine. After shooting the first five rounds, he said: “I LIKE THIS”. The example we shot that day ended up having some hiccups with failures to feed (which we’re addressing), however, that ended up giving him a great experience on clearing malfunctions. In the long run, those failures should make him more efficient on the M1 Carbine. I made the animation below to show how my son handled the recoil impulse. For his next time on the Carbine, we’ll work on a better stance for further taming the recoil.
There are some pros and cons to the M1 Carbine. If you’re looking for an original, the prices tend to be rising as there are fewer on the market. After checking a few online auction sites, the average seems to be hovering around $1,000 or more (sometimes a lot more). The good news is that there are some manufacturers making reproduction M1 Carbines. Some of the reproduction Carbines are even chambered for commonly available pistol ammunition and feed from common pistol magazines. You can check out newer models from Chiappa, Inland, and Auto Ordnance if you or your youngling have been eyeing the M1 Carbine. There is also defensive application ammunition available in .30 Carbine that keeps the M1 a viable platform for home defense.
If you’ve been looking for a lightweight, yet moderately powerful rifle, that’s still easy to manipulate and maneuver, consider the M1 Carbine. There are newer and different options that can fit the same bill just as well, but with the M1 Carbine, you also get to enjoy a little slice of history.
What do you think of the M1 Carbine as a youth rifle or one for small-statured people? Have your smaller loved ones given it a try? If so, what did they think?
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.