The M1 Carbine was developed to replace the M1911A1 pistol, then being issued to special troops whose job precluded the carrying of the standard rifle. The design idea was that it is better to hit an enemy with a light rifle then to miss him completely with a heavy round from a pistol. It is faster and cheaper to train a person to shoot a rifle then it is to train a pistol shooter.
The M1 Carbine cartridge is a modification of the .302 Winchester Automatic cartridge. The ballistics are inferior to the .357 Magnum.
The M1 Carbine is a .30 caliber Carbine that has been used since WW2 and is still a popular weapon amongst today's Law Enforcement/Security Forces around the world, along with civilian use, it is chambered in .30 Carbine. Due to it being a carbine, it has a shorter barrel, and length, compared to rifles used in World War II (such as the M1 Garand), thus lowering power and range significantly compared to other conventional rifles. However the M1 Carbine was used much during the war. It has been favored for its mild recoil, by soldiers and collectors alike.
The M1 was used for paratroopers during WWII, mainly the folding stock variant, the M1A1. The military wanted a light gun that could pack a punch to help paratroopers get into a safe place without having to lug around more weight with the M1 Garand when they hit the dirt (paratroopers were fitted with everything in case of an emergency).
Unlike conventional carbines, which were generally a version of a parent rifle with a shorter barrel (like the earlier .30-40 U.S. Krag rifle and carbine), the M1 carbine has no parts in common with the M1 Garand and fires a different cartridge.
The M1 had a few design variants.
M1 Carbine Edit
The standard version with a full wood stock 15 round magazine and original sights
Paratrooper model with folding stock. Came with 15 round magazine. M1A1s were produced by the Inland division of General Motors. They were made side by side with full stock M1s and stocks were sometimes replaced by producers, making it hard to find an original M1A1 with folding stock. This variant was sometimes fielded with a vertical wooden foregrip.
A proposed variant with new sights for windage and elevation. Pretty much refurbished M1s with new sights and other extra late improvements.
Named as standard against the M1A1, but may have not been issued. Came with 15 round magazine and pantograph stock. The stock is more rigid than the A1's folding stock and folds flush.
Select-fire version, capable of full automatic fire, with 30 round magazine. Originally the M1 was supposed to have the select-fire capability, but a decision left the M1 without the automatic capability. The M2 came with a new wood stock, rear sight changes, bayonet lug, and other small changes.
The magazine of the M2 (30 rounds) was also different compared to the M1 magazines (15 rounds). It came with three catch ribs and a third magazine retaining surface. A round bolt modification also came introduced with the M2.
An M2 fitted with an early active infrared night vision scope, powered by a hefty backpack power supply unit. A forward pistol grip was added to assist in aiming with the heavy infrared lamp fitted to the weapon. As the T3 (T for trial, an older version of the modern "XM" designation) it saw action in 1945 on Okinawa.
The Korean War-era M3 used the M3 scope and made several improvements: the scope's detector was improved, increasing the effective range from 76 yards to 125, a conical T23 flash hider was added so that firing would not cause blinding white flashes in the scope (some late WW2 models have this too), and the IR lamp was moved from under the weapon to on top of the scope tube, as the underslung mount had proved prone to damage while the weapon was being carried.