|Type Semi-automatic rifle|
Used by See Users
|Place of origin United States|
Designer John C. Garand
|In service 1936–1959 (as the standard U.S. service rifle)1940s–present (other countries)|
Wars World War II Indonesian National Revolution Korean War 1948 Arab–Israeli War Hukbalahap Rebellion First Indochina War Suez Crisis 1958 Lebanon crisis Cuban Revolution Sandinista Revolution Vietnam War Cambodian Civil War Angolan Civil War Iran–Iraq War Soviet-Afghan War Gulf War Northern Ireland Troubles Syrian Civil War Numerous other conflicts
The M1 Garand is a .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II and the Korean War and also saw limited service during the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to U.S. forces, though many hundreds of thousands were also provided as foreign aid to American allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely used by civilians for hunting, target shooting, and as a military collectible.
- Service use
- En bloc clip
- Gas system
- Sniper models
- Tanker models
- Demilitarized versions
- Japanese Type 4
- Beretta Models
- M14 rifle
- Ruger Mini 14
- Springfield Armory commercial production
- Civilian use
- Non state actors
The M1 rifle was named after its Canadian-American designer, John Garand. It was the first standard-issue semi-automatic military rifle. By all accounts the M1 rifle served with distinction. General George S. Patton called it "the greatest battle implement ever devised". The M1 replaced the bolt action M1903 Springfield as the standard U.S. service rifle in the mid 1930s, and was itself replaced by the selective fire M14 rifle in the early 1960s.
Although the name "Garand" is frequently pronounced /ɡəˈrænd/, the preferred pronunciation is /ˈɡærənd/ (to rhyme with errand), according to experts and people who knew John Garand, the weapon's designer.
French Canadian-born Garand went to work at the United States Army's Springfield Armory and began working on a .30 caliber primer actuated blowback Model 1919 prototype. In 1924, twenty-four rifles, identified as "M1922s", were built at Springfield. At Fort Benning during 1925, they were tested against models by Berthier, Hatcher-Bang, Thompson, and Pedersen, the latter two being delayed blowback types. This led to a further trial of an improved "M1924" Garand against the Thompson, ultimately producing an inconclusive report. As a result, the Ordnance Board ordered a .30-06 Garand variant. In March 1927, the cavalry board reported trials among the Thompson, Garand, and 03 Springfield had not led to a clear winner. This led to a gas-operated .276 (7 mm) model (patented by Garand on 12 April 1930).
In early 1928, both the infantry and cavalry boards ran trials with the .276 Pedersen T1 rifle, calling it "highly promising" (despite its use of waxed ammunition, shared by the Thompson). On 13 August 1928, a semiautomatic rifle board (SRB) carried out joint Army, Navy, and Marine Corps trials between the .30 Thompson, both cavalry and infantry versions of the T1 Pedersen, "M1924" Garand, and .256 Bang, and on 21 September, the board reported no clear winner. The .30 Garand, however, was dropped in favor of the .276.
Further tests by the SRB in July 1929, which included rifle designs by Browning, Colt–Browning, Garand, Holek, Pedersen, Rheinmetall, Thompson, and an incomplete one by White, led to a recommendation that work on the (dropped) .30 gas-operated Garand be resumed, and a T1E1 was ordered 14 November 1929.
Twenty gas-operated .276 T3E2 Garands were made and competed with T1 Pedersen rifles in early 1931. The .276 Garand was the clear winner of these trials. The .30 caliber Garand was also tested, in the form of a single T1E1, but was withdrawn with a cracked bolt on 9 October 1931. A 4 January 1932 meeting recommended adoption of the .276 caliber and production of approximately 125 T3E2s. Meanwhile, Garand redesigned his bolt and his improved T1E2 rifle was retested. The day after the successful conclusion of this test, Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur personally disapproved any caliber change, in part because there were extensive existing stocks of .30 M1 ball ammunition. On 25 February 1932, Adjutant General John B. Shuman, speaking for the secretary of war, ordered work on the rifles and ammunition in .276 caliber cease immediately and completely and all resources be directed toward identification and correction of deficiencies in the Garand .30 caliber.
On 3 August 1933, the T1E2 became the "semi-automatic rifle, caliber 30, M1". In May 1934, 75 M1s went to field trials; 50 were to infantry, 25 to cavalry units. Numerous problems were reported, forcing the rifle to be modified, yet again, before it could be recommended for service and cleared for procurement on 7 November 1935, then standardized 9 January 1936. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.
Production difficulties delayed deliveries to the army until September 1937. Machine production began at Springfield Armory that month at a rate of ten rifles per day, and reached an output of 100 per day within two years. Despite going into production status, design issues were not at an end. The barrel, gas cylinder, and front sight assembly were redesigned and entered production in early 1940. Existing "gas-trap" rifles were recalled and retrofitted, mirroring problems with the earlier M1903 Springfield rifle that also had to be recalled and reworked approximately three years into production and foreshadowing rework of the M16 rifle at a similar point in its development. Production of the Garand increased in 1940 despite these difficulties, reaching 600 a day by 10 January 1941, and the army was fully equipped by the end of 1941. Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Winchester was awarded an "educational" production contract for 65,000 rifles, with deliveries beginning in 1943.
The M1 Garand was made in large numbers during World War II, approximately 5.5 million were made. They were used by every branch of the United States military. By all accounts the M1 rifle served with distinction. General George S. Patton called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised." The impact of faster-firing infantry small arms in general soon stimulated both Allied and Axis forces to greatly increase their issue of semi- and fully automatic firearms then in production, as well as to develop new types of infantry firearms.
Much of the M1 inventory in the post-World War II period underwent arsenal repair or rebuilding. While U.S. forces were still engaged in the Korean War, the Department of Defense determined a need for additional production of the Garand. Springfield Armory ramped up production but two new contracts were awarded. During 1953–56, M1s were produced by International Harvester and Harrington & Richardson in which International Harvester alone produced a total of 337,623 M1 Garands. A final, very small lot of M1s was produced by Springfield Armory in early 1957, using finished components already on hand. Beretta also produced Garands using Winchester tooling.
The British Army looked at the M1 as a possible replacement for its bolt-action Lee–Enfield No.1 Mk III, but it was rejected when rigorous testing suggested that it was an unreliable weapon in muddy conditions. However, surplus M1 rifles were provided as foreign aid to American allies; including South Korea, West Germany, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, Iran, South Vietnam, etc. Most Garands shipped to allied nations were predominantly manufactured by International Harvester Corporation during the period of 1953-56, and second from Springfield Armory from all periods.
Some Garands were still being used by the United States into the Vietnam War in 1963; despite the M14's official adoption in 1957, it was not until 1965 the changeover from the M1 Garand was completed in the active-duty component of the army (with the exception of the sniper variants, which were introduced in World War II and saw action in Korea and Vietnam). The Garand remained in service with the Army Reserve, Army National Guard and the Navy, well into the 1970s or longer.
Due to widespread United States military assistance as well their durability, M1 Garands have also been turning up in modern conflicts such as with the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some military drill teams still use the M1 rifle, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, the United States Air Force Academy Cadet Honor Guard, the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, almost all Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and some Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) teams of all branches of the U.S. military.
The M1 rifle is a .30 caliber, gas-operated, 8 shot clip-fed, semi-automatic rifle. It is 43.6 inches (1,107 mm) long and it weighs about 9.5 pounds (4.31 kg).
The M1's safety catch is located at the front of the trigger guard. It is engaged when it is pressed rearward into the trigger guard, and disengaged when it is pushed forward and is protruding outside of the trigger guard.
The M1 Garand was designed for simple assembly and disassembly to facilitate field maintenance. It can be field stripped (broken down) without tools in just a few seconds.
The rifle had an iron sight line consisting of rear receiver aperture sight protected by sturdy "ears" calibrated for 100–1,200 yd (91–1,097 m) in 100 yd (91 m) increments. The bullet drop compensation was set by turning the range knob to the appropriate range setting. The bullet drop compensation/range knob can be fine adjusted by setting the rear sight elevation pinion. The elevation pinion can be fine adjusted in approximately 1 MOA increments. The aperture sight was also able to correct for wind drift operated by turning a windage knob that moved the sight in approximately 1 MOA increments. The windage lines on the receiver to indicate the windage setting were 4 MOA apart. The front sighting element consisted of a wing guards protected front post.
During World War II the M1 rifle's semiautomatic operation gave United States infantrymen a significant advantage in firepower and shot-to-shot recovery time over enemy infantrymen armed primarily with bolt-action rifles. The semi-automatic operation and reduced recoil allowed soldiers to fire 8 rounds as quickly as they could pull the trigger, without having to move their hands on the rifle and therefore disrupt their firing position and point of aim. The Garand's fire rate, in the hands of a trained soldier, averaged 40–50 accurate shots per minute at a range of 300 yards (270 m). "At ranges over 500 yards (460 m), a battlefield target is hard for the average rifleman to hit. Therefore, 500 yards (460 m) is considered the maximum effective range, even though the rifle is accurate at much greater ranges."
En bloc clip
The M1 rifle is fed by an "en bloc" clip which holds eight rounds of .30-06 Springfield ammunition. When the last cartridge is fired, the rifle ejects the clip and locks the bolt open. The M1 is now ready to reload. Once the clip is inserted, the bolt snaps forward on its own as soon as thumb pressure is released from the top round of the clip, chambering a round and leaving it ready to fire. Although it is not absolutely necessary, the preferred method is to place the back of the right hand against the operating rod handle and press the clip home with the right thumb; this releases the bolt, but the hand restrains the bolt from slamming closed on the operator's thumb (resulting in "M1 thumb"); the hand is then quickly withdrawn, the operating rod moves forward and the bolt closes with sufficient force to go fully to battery. Thus, after the clip has been pressed into position in the magazine, the operating rod handle should be released, allowing the bolt to snap forward under pressure from the operating rod spring. The operating rod handle may be smacked with the palm to ensure the bolt is closed.
Contrary to widespread misconception, partially expended or full clips can be easily ejected from the rifle by means of the clip latch button. It is also possible to load single cartridges into a partially loaded clip while the clip is still in the magazine, but this requires both hands and a bit of practice. In reality, this procedure was rarely performed in combat, as the danger of loading dirt along with the cartridges increased the chances of malfunction. Instead, it was much easier and quicker to simply manually eject the clip, and insert a fresh one, which is how the rifle was originally designed to be operated. Later, special clips holding two or five rounds became available on the civilian market, as well as a single-loading device which stays in the rifle when the bolt locks back.
In battle, the manual of arms called for the rifle to be fired until empty, and then recharged quickly. Due to the well-developed logistical system of the U.S. military at the time, this wastage of ammunition was generally not critical, though this could change in the case of units that came under intense fire or were flanked or surrounded by enemy forces. The Garand's en-bloc clip system proved particularly cumbersome when using the rifle to launch grenades, requiring removal of an often partially loaded clip of ball ammunition and replacement with a full clip of blank cartridges.
By modern standards, the M1's feeding system is archaic, relying on clips to feed ammunition, and is the principal source of criticism of the rifle. Officials in Army Ordnance circles demanded a fixed, non-protruding magazine for the new service rifle. At the time, it was believed that a detachable magazine on a general-issue service rifle would be easily lost by U.S. soldiers (a criticism made of British soldiers and the Lee–Enfield 50 years previously), would render the weapon too susceptible to clogging from dirt and debris (a belief that proved unfounded with the adoption of the M1 Carbine), and that a protruding magazine would complicate existing manual-of-arms drills. As a result, inventor John Garand developed an "en bloc" clip system that allowed ammunition to be inserted from above, clip included, into the fixed magazine. While this design provided the requisite flush-mount magazine, the clip system increased the rifle's weight and complexity, and made only single loading ammunition possible without a clip.
Ejection of an empty clip created a distinctive metallic "pinging" sound. In World War II, reports arose in which German and Japanese infantry were making use of this noise in combat to alert them to an empty M1 rifle in order to 'get the drop' on their American enemies. The information was taken seriously enough that U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground began experiments with clips made of various plastics in order to soften the sound, though no improved clips were ever adopted. According to former German soldiers, the sound was inaudible during engagements and not particularly useful when heard, as other squad members might have been nearby ready to fire. Seasoned U.S. infantry soldiers would sometimes purposely toss an empty en-bloc clip creating the same sound a Garand makes when it has fired its last shot and is empty, in an effort to draw out the enemy, with varying degrees of success.
Garand's original design for the M1 used a complicated gas system involving a special muzzle extension gas trap, later dropped in favor of a simpler drilled gas port. Because most of the older rifles were retrofitted, pre-1939 gas-trap M1s are very rare today and are prized collector's items. In both systems, expanding gases from a fired cartridge are diverted into the gas cylinder. Here, the gases meet a long-stroke piston attached to the operating rod, which is pushed rearward by the force of this high-pressure gas. Then, the operating rod engages a rotating bolt inside the receiver. The bolt is attached to the receiver via two locking lugs, which rotate, unlock, and initiate the ejection of the spent cartridge and the reloading cycle when the rifle is discharged. The operating rod (and subsequently the bolt) then returns to its original position.
The M1 Garand was one of the first self-loading rifles to use stainless steel for its gas tube, in an effort to prevent corrosion. As the stainless metal could not be parkerized, the gas tubes were given a stove-blackening that frequently wore off in use. Unless the gas tube could be quickly repainted, the resultant gleaming muzzle could make the M1 Garand and its user more visible to the enemy in combat.
Several accessories were used with the Garand rifle. Several different styles of bayonets fit the rifle: the M1905 and M1942, both with 16-inch (406 mm) blades; the Model 1905E1 with shortened 10-inch (254 mm) blade; the M1 with 10-inch (254 mm) blade; and the M5 bayonet with 6.75-inch (171 mm) blade.
Also available was the M7 grenade launcher that fitted onto the end of the barrel. It was sighted using the M15 sight, which fit just forward of the trigger. A cleaning tool, oiler and greasepots could be stored in two cylindrical compartments in the buttstock for use in the field. Because of the limitations of the Garand's clip-loading magazine, the rifle proved less than ideal for use in launching 22 mm rifle grenades, and the M1903 Springfield was retained for use in that role long after grenade launchers for the Garand became available.
The M1907 two-piece leather rifle sling was the most common type of sling used with the weapon through World War II. In 1943 a khaki canvas sling was introduced that gradually became more common. Another accessory was the winter trigger, developed during the Korean War. It consisted of a small mechanism installed on the trigger guard, allowing the soldier to remotely pull the trigger by depressing a lever just behind the guard. This enabled the shooter to fire his weapon while using winter gloves, which could get "stuck" on the trigger guard or not allow for proper movement of the finger.
Most variants of the Garand, save the sniper variants, never saw active duty. The sniper versions were modified to accept scope mounts, and two versions (the M1C, formerly M1E7, and the M1D, formerly M1E8) were produced, although not in significant quantities during World War II. The only difference between the two versions is the mounting system for the telescopic sight. In June 1944, the M1C was adopted as a standard sniper rifle by the U.S. Army to supplement the venerable M1903A4. Wartime production was 7,971 M1Cs.
The procedure required to install the M1C-type mounts through drilling/tapping the hardened receiver reduced accuracy by warping the receiver. Improved methods to avoid reduction of accuracy were inefficient in terms of tooling and time. This resulted in the development of the M1D, which utilized a simpler, single-ring Springfield Armory mount attached to the barrel rather than the receiver. The M1C was first widely used during the Korean War. Korean War production was 4,796 M1Cs and 21,380 M1Ds; although few M1Ds were completed in time to see combat.
The U.S. Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951. This USMC 1952 Sniper's Rifle or MC52 was an M1C with the commercial Stith Bear Cub scope manufactured by the Kollmorgen Optical Company under the military designation: Telescopic Sight - Model 4XD-USMC. The Kollmorgen scope with a slightly modified Griffin & Howe mount was designated MC-1. The MC52 was also too late to see extensive combat in Korea, but it remained in Marine Corps inventories until replaced by bolt-action rifles during the Vietnam War. The U.S. Navy has also used the Garand, rechambered for the 7.62×51mm NATO round.
The detachable M2 conical flash hider adopted 25 January 1945 slipped over the muzzle and was secured in place by the bayonet lug. A T37 flash hider was developed later. Flash hiders were of limited utility during low-light conditions around dawn and dusk, but were often removed as potentially detrimental to accuracy.
Two interesting variants that never saw service were the M1E5 and T26 (popularly known as the Tanker Garand). The M1E5 is equipped with a shorter 18-inch (457 mm) barrel and a folding buttstock, while the T26 uses a shorter 18-inch (457 mm) barrel and a standard buttstock. The Tanker name was also used after the war as a marketing gimmick for commercially modified Garands.
The T26 arose from requests by various Army combat commands for a shortened version of the standard M1 rifle for use in jungle or mobile warfare. In July 1945 Col. William Alexander, former staff officer for Gen. Simon Buckner and a new member of the Pacific Warfare Board, requested urgent production of 15,000 carbine-length M1 rifles for use in the Pacific theater. To emphasize the need for rapid action, he requested the Ordnance arm of the U.S. 6th Army in the Philippines to make up 150 18" barreled M1 rifles for service trials, sending another of the rifles by special courier to U.S. Army Ordnance officials at Aberdeen as a demonstration that the M1 could be easily modified to the new configuration. Although the T26 was never approved for production, at least one 18" barreled M1 rifle was used in action in the Philippines by troopers in the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment (503rd PIR).
Another variant that never saw duty was the T20E2. It was experimental gas-operated, selective fire rifle with a slightly longer receiver than M1 and modified to accept 20-round Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) magazines. Bolt has hold open device on rear receiver bridge. Muzzle velocity 2760 fps. Cyclic rate of fire 700 rpm. Select device similar to M14 selector. Full automatic fire was achieved by a connector assembly which was actuated by the operating rod handle. This, in turn, actuated a sear release or trip which, with the trigger held to the rear, disengaged the sear from the hammer lugs immediately after the bolt was locked. When the connector assemble was disengaged, the rifle could only be fired semiautomatically and functioned in a manner similar to the M1 rifle. Machined and tapped on left side of receiver for scope mount. Complete with rifle grenade launcher. Weapon has an overall length of 48 1/4", a barrel length of 24", and weighs 9.61 lbs. without accessories and 12.5 lbs. with bipod and empty magazine. Designated as limited procurement in May, 1945. Due to cessation of hostilities with Japan, number for manufacture was reduced to 100. Project was terminated in March 1948.
Demilitarized models are rendered permanently inoperable. Their barrels have been drilled out to destroy the rifling. A steel rod is then inserted into the barrel and welded at both ends. Sometimes, their barrels are also filled with molten lead or solder. Their gas ports or operating system are also welded closed. Their barrels are then welded to their receivers to prevent replacement. Their firing pin holes are welded closed on the bolt face. As a result, they cannot be loaded with, much less fire live ammunition. However, they may still be used for demonstration or instructional purposes.
Japanese Type 4
The Type 4 Rifle, often referred to as the Type 5 Rifle, (Japanese: 四式自動小銃 Yon-shiki jidousyoujyuu) was a Japanese experimental semi-automatic rifle. It was a copy of the American M1 Garand but with an integral 10-round magazine and chambered for the Japanese 7.7×58mm Arisaka cartridge. Where the Garand used an en-bloc clip, the Type 4's integral magazine was charged with two 5-round stripper clips and the rifle also used Japanese style tangent sights. The Type 4 had been developed alongside several other experimental semi-automatic rifles. However, none of the rifles entered into service before the end of World War II, with only 250 being made and many others were never assembled. There were several problems with jamming and feed systems, which also delayed its testing.
During the 1950s, Beretta produced Garands in Italy at the behest of NATO, by having the tooling used by Winchester during World War II shipped to them by the U.S. government. These rifles were designated Model 1952 in Italy. Using this tooling, Beretta developed the BM59 series of rifles. The BM59, which was essentially a rechambered 7.62x51mm NATO caliber M1 fitted with a removable 20-round magazine, folding bipod and a combined flash suppressor/rifle grenade launcher. The BM59 is capable of selective fire. These rifles would also be produced under license in Indonesia as the "SP-1" series.
The M14 rifle, officially the United States Rifle, 7.62 mm, M14, is an American selective fire automatic rifle that fires 7.62×51mm NATO (.308 Winchester) ammunition. The M14 rifle is basically an improved select-fire M1 Garand with a 20-round magazine. The M14 rifle incorporated features of both the M1 rifle and the M1 Carbine, including the latter's short stroke piston design originally developed by Winchester Arms.
Designed by L. James Sullivan and William B. Ruger, and produced by Sturm, Ruger & Co. the Mini-14 rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and a version of the M1/M14 rifle locking mechanism. Although the Mini-14 looks like the M14, it utilizes a reduced-size operating system, a different gas system and is chambered for the smaller .223 cartridge.
Springfield Armory commercial production
In 1982, years after the closure of the U.S. Springfield Armory, a commercial firm - Springfield Armory, Inc. - began production of the M1 Rifle using a cast, heat-treated receiver with serial numbers in the 7,000,000+ range, along with commercially produced barrels (marked Geneseo, IL) and G.I. military surplus parts.
United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. military surplus M1 rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The CMP is run by the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (CPRPFS), a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the United States Congress in 1996 to instruct citizens in marksmanship and promote practice and safety in the use of firearms. The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code. From 1903 to 1996, the CMP was sponsored by the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM), a position first within the Department of War and later in the Department of the Army. The DCM was normally an active-duty Army colonel.
In 2009, an effort by the South Korean government to export about 850,000 firearms to the United States, including 87,000 M1 rifles, for eventual sale to civilians, was initially approved by the Obama administration, but it later blocked the sale in March 2010. A State Department spokesman said the administration's decision was based on concerns that the guns could fall into the wrong hands and be used for criminal activity. However, in January 2012, the U.S. and South Korea agreed on the sale of 87,000 M1 Garand rifles, and the South Korean government entered into discussion with U.S. civilian arms dealers. Korea has a record of selling tens of thousands of M1 Garand rifles to the U.S. civilian market between 1986 and 1994.
In August 2013, the Obama administration banned future private importation of all U.S. made weapons, including the M1 Garand Note, that this action did not preclude the return of surplus U.S. weapons, including M1 Garands, previously loaned by the U.S. to friendly nations, to the custody of the U.S. Government; in recent years, the CMP has received most of its surplus weapons through such returns from foreign countries. However, all civilian and military firearms imported into the U.S. after January 30, 2002, are required by federal law to have the name of the importer conspicuously stamped on the barrel, slide, or receiver of each weapon. This requirement significantly lowers a military weapon's value relative to those without the importation markings as they distract from its original state.
Military surplus Garands and post-war copies made for the civilian market are popular among enthusiasts around the world. In 2013, President John F. Kennedy's personal M1 Garand was auctioned by Rock Island Auction Company. This rifle was acquired by Kennedy in 1959 from the Director of Civilian Marksmanship and has the serial number 6086970.