My Favorite M1 Carbines – Part 1 of 2 By Scott Duff
This post is my second about my favorite World War II US arms. The following paragraph is repeated from my earlier Blog post entitled “My Favorite M1 Garand.”
As a researcher and serious student of American history I like comparative technological study. Therefore, my theme for World War II focuses on the year 1943. By 1943 the primary US arms were well developed and production was at or nearing its peak. Americans were engaged in combat against the Axis powers around the world. My World War II collection includes 1943 manufactured arms: an SA and WRA M1 rifle, an Inland M1 and M1A1 carbine, a Colt M1911A1, and so on. I like this approach as it shows a comparative study of where US arms making was at a specific point in time throughout the major weapons designs.
While I enjoy mint condition firearms as much as any collector, my collecting passion has long been firearms with a provenance or those that may show indications of having possibly been in combat and used for their intended purposes. Also, I have generally sought examples that were the most representative common type and manufacture. There were over six million M1 carbines manufactured by eleven companies between 1942 and 1945. There are most likely more variations of M1 carbines than of any other 20th century US military firearm. So which to collect? Like many collectors I began by thinking I wanted one of each manufacturer. That became a daunting task, so I narrowed my focus to mostly concentrate on carbines manufactured by the two companies who made the greatest number, Inland Division of General Motors and Winchester Repeating Arms Company.
Over the years I had bought a few others including a Standard Products because they were made in Port Clinton, Ohio, the nearest town to the home of the National Matches at Camp Perry, a Rock-Ola because a juke box company making firearms was just too cool, and IBM because I had an IBM computer at the time.
When I began to sell down my collection as I moved towards retirement, I had to make decisions on which to keep and which to sell. Keeping a Winchester made sense as I owned a WRA M1 Garand, but I resisted that because I wanted my M1 carbine and M1A1 carbine, only made by Inland, to match by manufacturer and time period of production. I sold all but my Inland M1 carbine that was made in 1943 as it was the perfect match to my Inland M1A1 carbine which also made in 1943.
My Inland M1 carbine (s/n 338xxx) is 100% original and was manufactured in the second quarter of 1943, has an Inland 5-43 barrel and all expected features of the period including high wood stock, two-rivet handguard with early wide and deep sighting groove, flip rear sight, push button safety and type 1 band. I added the properly marked magazine and oiler and period correct khaki sling. The configuration of my Inland is typical of the M1 carbines carried during most of World War II. It is not flat new in unissued condition, but shows usage and wear, but not abuse. Possibly combat used, but who knows for certain? It does have that “look” that I like.
Part 2 will feature my Inland M1A1 carbine.
More information on the M1 Carbine may be found in our book “The M1 Carbine Owner’s Guide” by Larry L. Ruth with Scott A. Duff that is available from our website.