The .30 Carbine--Not the wussy you think!



I was always a fan of the M1 Carbine. Perhaps I got this from my Dad, a decorated WWII combat vet who carried one. Dad was in the PTO, the Philippines primarily, and a LVT crewman though he did see combat on foot as well as in many major and minor landings all with the 658th Amphibian Tractor Battalion. His favorite weapon was the M2HB .50 Cal. Heavy Machinegun but ya cannot carry one around with ya.

Dad liked the Carbine, especially in the jungle, for its lightweight, fast handling, and even faster shooting capabilities (his comment on the M2 version was “why, it will shoot as fast as you can pull the trigger and it’s controllable”). He felt it was a near perfect jungle weapon. Apparently, he was correct as many a Special Forces “advisor” chose to use one in Vietnam…until the M16 came into play.

Oh and the little workhorse was used by at least sixty-seven nations in its life, fought in over nine major wars and campaigns and countless small ones, and has been used my many police departments, worldwide, over the years. Not bad for a worthless little rifle that fires an underpowered cartridge…it is not an M1 Garand Rifle and it was never intended to be an M1 Garand Rifle.

In my opinion, I feel the bad rap that the Carbine gets is usually from know-it-alls, techno-shooters, and wannabees who, in reality, know nothing. With good shot placement and at 100 yards or less the Carbine will take Whitetail Deer and if it will kill a deer, it will kill a man. For the Carbine’s intent and purpose, it was a near-perfect solution. I reiterate it is not a rifle nor was it ever intended to be or compete with one, it is a true carbine, not a cut down rifle and not a small rifle that fires a pistol cartridge.


Let us consider the Carbine and its cartridge.



The man himself; David Marshall Williams (November 13, 1900–January 8, 1975), also known as Carbine Williams was an American designer of the short-stroke piston used in the M1 Carbine as well as the floating chamber operating system for firearms.



For our purposes i.e. self-protection…

What doesn’t help the performance of the Carbine is the limited bullet selection. Most common is the GI 110 gr FMJ Round Nose loading at roughly 1900 fps (usually 1800 to 1850 fps). It works, as many of our late enemies can attest, however it can be greatly improved. Luckily, we civilians are not bound to the Geneva Convention.

Based upon some advice from our own Jeff22 and tests performed by noted ballistician Doctor Gary Roberts I came up with the following for “duty” ammo for Jenny’s Carbine (see post….00&page=1#33589) or yours for that matter.

In no particular order:

# Winchester 110 GR. SUPER-X HSP (X30M1)Muzzle Velocity: 1990 Energy @ 100 yrds. 599 ft.-lbs.
# Remington 110 gr JSP (R30CAR)Muzzle Velocity: 1990 Energy @ 100 yrds. 600 ft.-lbs.
# Speer Gold Dot 110 gr JSP (24465)Muzzle Velocity: 1990 Energy @ 100 yrds. 602 ft.-lbs.
# * Corbon 100gr DPX (DPX30100-20)Velocity: 2025fps Energy @ 100 yrds. 607 ft.-lbs.

According to noted ballistician Doctor Gary Roberts,”The best ammunition choices for the M1 Carbine are the Remington 110 gr JSP (R30CAR) and the Corbon 110 gr JHP DPX loading using the all copper Barnes X bullet. The Remington load has an average velocity of 1864 f/s, expands to around .54” to .58” and penetrates 13” to 16” whether in bare gelatin, through automobile windshields, or Level IIIa body armor.This is comparable intermediate barrier performance to many good .223 loads.”

*Note: Dr. Roberts lists a Corbon 110 grain bullet. I could only find the 100 grain listed. Perhaps that was a typo.

Whichever ammunition you choose, make certain they function flawlessly in your weapon. Remember, FMJ’s that work are better than JSPs that jamb.

On that note, I would be cautious of any cheap magazines and of any 30-rounders. I stick to 15-round GI mags except I have one 30-round mag that works and Jenny got those. Personally, I advise going with GI 15-round magazines, they work.

Before closing there is another myth poopooing the old Carbine…that of lack of penetration. It appears that during the Korean War, the North Koreans and Chi-Coms, had rain/snow soaked clothing that would freeze externally. It was said that the carbine round would bounce off them…(please, maybe at 500 yards).

Anyway, at the Box O’Truth Old_Painless stated the following:

1. If anyone shot at a North Korean Commie and he didn’t go down, it was because they missed him. Because frozen clothing sure won’t slow down a .30 Carbine.

2. The old warhorse, the .45 ACP Ball, isn’t exactly “weak” in the penetration category either.

3. I don’t know how this rumor got started, but it looks like it was completely false.

4. The .30 Carbine, as we have noted before, is highly underrated in many categories.

5. Shooting stuff is fun.

Peruse the article and his site you will learn much.

My conclusion is and has been that I would not hesitate to use the M1 Carbine in a self-defense role (hell I did use it for many years). Granted there are better choices nevertheless, for a large group of shooters out there, recoil shy, arthritic, slight of build, et cetera, the old M1 Carbine is a near perfect solution.

This is one well-protected and happy M1 Carbine camper…

Read more: