M1 Garand rifle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Type Service rifle
Place of origin United States of America
In service 1936–1957
Wars World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War (limited)
Designer John C. Garand
Number built 5.4 million approx
Variants M1C/D sniper rifles
Weight 9.5–10.2 lb (4.2–4.6 kg)
Length 43.6 in (1,100 mm)
Barrel length 24 in (610 mm)
Cartridge .30-06 Springfield (7.62 × 63 mm);
.276 Pedersen (prototype);
7.62 × 51 mm NATO (U.S. Navy)
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 16–24 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity 2750-2800 ft/s
Effective range 500 yd (457 m) 
Feed system 8-round "en bloc" clip (.30-06), internal magazine
Sights Aperture rear sight, barleycorn-type front sight
The M1 Garand (more formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1) was the first semi-automatic rifle in the world to be generally issued to infantry. It officially replaced the Springfield M1903 rifle as the standard service rifle of the United States military in 1936, and was in turn replaced by the M14 (which was derived from the M1) in 1957.
The M1 was used heavily in World War II, the Korean War, and, to a limited extent, in the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to American troops, though many were lent to other nations. It is still used by various drill teams and is a popular civilian firearm. The name "Garand" is pronounced variably as [gəˈrand] or [ˈgærənd]; descendants (and close friend Julian Hatcher) of the rifle's designer, John Garand, generally agree it should be the latter.
The M1 was developed by Springfield Armory firearms designer John Garand. The prototypes were refined during the 1920s and 1930s. Although officially adopted in 1932, it did not formally enter service until 1936, and then only through an executive decision by then-Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.
Springfield Armory produced modest quantities of the M1 Garand in the late 1930s and in ever-increasing numbers from 1940 to late 1945. Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded a production contract. Winchester deliveries began in 1941 and ended in 1945. The British Army tested the M1 Garand as a possible replacement for its Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk III bolt-action rifle, but rejected it after a series of environmental tests designed to simulate combat conditions.
John Garand presents his rifle to Army officials.The M1's semi-automatic capability gave United States forces a significant advantage in firepower and shot-to-shot response time over individual enemy infantry in battle (German and Japanese soldiers were usually armed with manually operated bolt-action rifles). The impact of the Garand and faster-firing infantry small arms in general soon stimulated both Allied and Axis forces to greatly augment issue of semi- and fully-automatic weapons then in production, as well as to develop new types of infantry firearms. The Garand remains popular among civilian weapons collectors and enthusiasts all over the world. General George S. Patton acknowledged the rifle's prowess when he called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised."
Much of the M1 rifle inventory in the post-WWII 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, and two new contracts were awarded. During the period of 1953 to 1956, M1 Garand rifles were produced by International Harvester at their Evansville, Indiana, facility and by Harrington & Richardson Arms Co. in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Beretta firm in Italy also produced Garands using Winchester tooling. Most recently, the M1 was produced by Springfield Armory, Inc. of Geneseo, Illinois, which is a commercial firm sharing the name of the military arsenal. This commercial variant is offered in either .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester chambering.
The M1 proved to be an excellent rifle throughout its service in World War II and the Korean War. The Japanese even developed a prototype copy for their own use near the end of World War II, but it never reached the production stage. Some Garands were still being used in the Vietnam War in 1963; despite the M14's official adoption in 1957, it was not until 1965 that the changeover from the M1 Garand was completed (with the exception of the sniper variants, which were introduced in WWII and saw action in Korea and Vietnam).
Some military drill teams still use the M1, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, and the Norwegian Royal Guards Drill Team. In certain high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units, M1 rifles are used for regular and interschool competition drills, including elaborate exhibition spinning routines similar to a majorette spinning a baton. For safety reasons, JROTC M1s are permanently disabled by having a metal rod welded into the barrel. In place of wooden stocks, exhibition teams often use fiberglass stocks, the former being heavier and more prone to breakage when dropped.
Design and mechanics
The M1 Garand with important parts labeled.The M1 rifle is a gas-operated, semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle. By modern standards, the M1's magazine system is archaic, relying on a Mannlicher-type system of clip-fed ammunition, and is the principal source of criticism of the Garand 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 Pedersen 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 prevented it from being fired while reloading.
Garand's rifle was originally chambered for the .276 Pedersen (7 mm) cartridge, charged by means of 10-round clips. Later, it was chambered for the then-standard .30-06 Springfield. With this new cartridge, the Garand had a maximum effective range of 500 yards (457 m), with the capability of inflicting a casualty with armor-piercing ammunition well beyond 880 yards (approx. 800 m). Because of the larger diameter of the .30-06 cartridge, the reworked magazine design held only eight rounds instead of ten.
Two of John C. Garand's patents, showing the original gas trap design and revised gas port system.The original Garand design used a rather unreliable gas system involving a special muzzle extension gas trap that was later dropped in favor of a simpler drilled gas port. Because most of the older rifles were retrofitted, pre-1939 gas-trap Garands 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 met a long-stroke piston attached to the operating rod. The operating rod was therefore pushed rearward by the force of this high-pressure gas. Then, the operating rod engaged a rotating bolt inside the receiver. The bolt was attached to the receiver via two locking lugs, which rotated, unlocked, and initiated the firing cycle when the rifle was discharged. The operating rod (and subsequently the bolt) then returned to its original position.
An M1 Garand en bloc clip loaded with eight .30 caliber rounds.The weight of the M1 varies between 9.5 and 10.2 pounds (4.2–4.6 kg) unloaded (depending on sling type and stock wood density), a considerable increase over the previous M1903 Springfield. The length was 43.6 inches (1,100 mm). The 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 to the rear. Clips can also be manually ejected at any time. The "en bloc" clip is manually ejected by pulling the operating rod all the way to the rear, and then depressing the clip catch button. Other than weight, the clip-feeding system of the Garand was the most heavily criticized feature of the rifle, which made it difficult to reload partially expended clips, and its use was not continued in later firearms designs. A myth that the clips cannot be reloaded can be seen as evidence of the awkwardness of the arrangement.
The rifle's ability to rapidly fire powerful .30-06 rifle ammunition also proved to be of considerable advantage in combat. In China, Japanese banzai charges had previously met with frequent success against poorly-trained Chinese soldiers armed with bolt-action rifles. But armed with the Garand, one or two U.S. soldiers could kill an entire assaulting enemy squad before it reached its objective. In the short-range jungle fighting, where opposing forces sometimes met each other in column formation on a narrow path, the penetration of the powerful .30-06 M2 cartridge enabled a single U.S. infantryman to kill up to three Japanese soldiers with a single round.
Ejection of an empty clip created a distinctive and unnatural metallic "pinging" sound. In World War II, reports arose that 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 counterparts. 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 quieten the sound, though no improved clips were ever adopted. During the Korean War, American soldiers supposedly used the sound to their advantage, noting that the enemy would reveal themselves when they heard the clip eject, and would carry and throw empty clips as a decoying tactic. However, all of these reports are largely unsubstantiated, and, in reality, clip ejection noise in the larger cacophony of infantry small arms combat likely had little effect one way or another in most engagements.
The Garand was one of the first self-loading rifles to use stainless steel for its gas cylinder, in an effort to prevent corrosion. As the stainless metal could not be parkerized, these gas cylinders were given a stove-blackening that frequently wore off in use. Unless the cylinder could be quickly repainted, the resultant gleaming muzzle often made the Garand and its user more visible to the enemy in combat
The M1 Garand was designed for simple assembly and disassembly to facilitate field maintenance. It can be broken down using only a rifle round.
Inserting an M1 "en bloc" clip.The Garand is loaded with a full clip of 8 cartridges. Once all eight rounds are expended, the bolt will be automatically locked back and the clip ejected, readying the rifle for the insertion of a fresh clip of ammunition. Compared to contemporary detachable box magazines, the M1's "en bloc" clip is light, simple, and only has to be oriented with the bullets pointing forward prior to charging the rifle (the clips have no top or bottom).
Most operators find the "en bloc" clip simpler and quicker to use than a stripper clip. Once the clip is inserted, the bolt snaps forward on its own as soon as pressure is released from the clip, chambering a round and leaving it ready to fire. It is advisable for the operator to ride the bolt forward with his hand (in order to prevent the bolt from closing on his thumb, resulting in the very common "Garand thumb" or "M1 thumb"), and to strike the operating rod handle with his palm to ensure the bolt is closed
The M1's safety 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
Contrary to widespread misconception, partially expended or full clips can be 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, not to mention the added delay in returning fire. 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. It is also possible to modify the clip latch, disabling the clip ejection function, and thereby allowing the weapon to be charged like a traditional top-loading rifle.
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.
Both official and aftermarket accessories were plentiful for 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 with 6-inch (152 mm) blade.
Also available was a grenade launcher that fit onto the barrel using the M7 spigot. 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 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 used with the weapon through WWII. From about 1944 onward, a green cotton webbing sling was provided, eventually replacing the earlier model.
Another accessory was the winter trigger, said to have been developed during the Korean War. It consisted in 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. The device, however, left the trigger completely exposed, and it is unlikely that the mechanism was left mounted, as it could easily cause the rifle to be fired accidentally.
Rifle, Cal. 30, M1C with M84 telescope and rear sight protector.
Rifle, Cal. 30, M1D with M84 telescope and T-37 flash suppressor.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, but 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 of 1944, the M1C was adopted as a standard sniper rifle by the U.S. Army to supplement the venerable M1903A4
The procedure required to install the M1C-type mounts through drilling/tapping the hardened receiver was inefficient in terms of tooling and time. This resulted in the development of the M1D, which utilized a simpler, single-ring Springfield Armory mount The M1C and M1D first began to be widely used during the Korean War. The U.S. Marine Corps adopted the M1C as their official sniper rifle in 1951. The U.S. Navy has also used the Garand, rechambered for the 7.62 × 51 mm NATO round.
Two interesting variants that never saw service were the M1E5 and T26 (popularly known as the "Tanker Garand"). The M1E5 is equipped with a folding buttstock, while the T26 uses the standard solid stock, and has a shorter, 18-inch barrel. The "tanker" name was also used after the war as a marketing gimmick for commercially-modified Garands. Another variant that never saw duty was the T20E2. This variant is, at its simplest, a Garand modified to accept Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) magazines, and has selective fire capability, with semi- and fully-automatic modes. Several Ordnance commands at various organizational levels in the Pacific also modified Garand rifles late in the war to produce both Garand 'Tanker'-type carbines and BAR-magazine-equipped Garands similar to the T20E2, though it is unknown if any of these weapons ever saw actual service.
During the 1950s, Beretta produced Garands in Italy at the behest of NATO, by having the tooling used by Winchester during WWII shipped to them by the U.S. government. These rifles were designated Model 1952 in Italy, and eventually led to variants of their own, the best known of these being the BM-59 series. Beretta Garands chambered in 7.62 × 51 mm NATO served in the Danish armed forces as the Gv M/50, before being replaced with the Heckler & Koch G3.
Quick reference of variants
U.S. Army designation U.S. Navy designation Description
M1E1 N/A M1 Garand variant; modified cam angle in op-rod
M1E2 N/A M1 Garand variant; prismatic scope and mount
M1E3 N/A M1 Garand variant; roller added to bolt’s cam lug (later adapted for use in the M14)
M1E4 N/A M1 Garand variant; gas cut-off and expansion system with piston integral to op-rod
M1E5 N/A M1 Garand variant; 18-inch barrel and folding stock
M1E6 N/A M1 Garand variant; sniper variant
M1E7/M1C N/A M1E6 Garand variant; sniper variant with M81 scope (though the M82 or M84 scope could be used) on a Griffin and Howe mount
M1E8/M1D N/A M1E7 Garand variant; sniper variant with M82 scope (though the M84 scope could be used) on a Springfield Armory mount
M1E9 N/A M1 Garand variant; similar to M1E4, with piston separate from op-rod
M1E10 N/A M1 Garand variant; variant with the "Ljungman" direct gas system
M1E11 N/A M1 Garand variant; short-stroke Tappet gas system
M1E12 N/A M1 Garand variant; gas impingement system
M1E13 N/A M1 Garand variant; "White" gas cut-off and expansion system
M1E14 Mk 2 Mod 0 M1 Garand variant; rechambered in .30 T65/7.62 × 51 mm NATO with press-in chamber insert
T20 N/A M1 Garand variant; select-fire conversion by John Garand, capable of using BAR magazines
T20E1 N/A T20 variant; uses its own type of magazines
T20E2 N/A T20 variant; E2 magazines will work in BAR, but not the reverse
T20E2HB N/A T20E2 variant; HBAR variant
T22 N/A M1 Garand variant; select-fire conversion by Remington, magazine-fed
T22E1 N/A T22 variant; unknown differences
T22E2 N/A T22 variant; unknown differences
T22E3 N/A T22 variant; unknown differences; uses T27 fire control
T26 N/A M1 Garand variant; 18-inch barrel and standard stock
T27 N/A Remington select-fire field conversion for M1 Garand; ability to convert issue M1 Garands to select-fire rifles; fire control setup used in T22E3
T35 Mk 2 Mod 2 M1 Garand variant; rechambered for .30 T65/7.62 × 51 mm NATO
T36 N/A T20E2 variant; T20E2 rechambered for .30 T65/7.62 × 51 mm NATO using T35 barrel and T25 magazine
T37 N/A T36 variant; same as T36, except in gas port location
As stated earlier, the M1 Garand was the direct predecessor of the M14 rifle that replaced it. During the 1950s, Beretta developed the BM-59 series of rifles, which would also be produced, under license, in Indonesia as the "SP" series. Ruger produced the Mini-14 rifle, which utilizes a reduced-size operating system and a different gas system. The AK-47 was developed from an earlier Kalashnikov carbine which heavily drew from the Garand design; particularly, the locking system with its rotating bolt is based on Garand's design. The AK-47 also uses a highly simplified form of the Garand trigger group.
Despite similarities in naming, there is no relationship between the M1 Garand and the M1 Carbine, other than a similar rotating bolt design. Additional confusion may come from the adoption of several other "M1" weapons ("M" being an abbreviation for Model), such as the M1 Thompson submachine gun and M1 Abrams tank.
United States citizens meeting certain qualifications may purchase U.S. military surplus M1 Garand 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 created by the United States Congress in 1996 to instruct citizens in marksmanship and promote practice and safety in the use of firearms. Prior to 1996 the CMP was administrated by the Army. Military surplus Garands and post-war copies made for the civilian market are popular among enthusiasts around the world.