The M1 Carbine is a gas-operated, semi-automatic, carbine that was used by the United States during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and retired in the early 1970s, and is still in service with many nations today including Israel and South Korea. It's nicknamed the "Peashooter" due to its small size and thin barrel.


It took the .30 M1 carbine cartridge and it featured a 15 round magazine, which in later models was turned into a 30 round magazine. This cartridge was only used by the M1 Carbine and naturally being a defense cartridge, was not as powerful as the standard .30-06 cartridge of most other full size American infantry weapons of the time.[1] The weight of the M1 was about 2.48 kg and the length was around 90.5 cm. The M1 had a rotating bolt and it had a muzzle velocity of 566 m/s. It even could have a sling added. Although a bayonet could not be added originally. The iron sights were located right above the trigger and at the end of the barrel. The carbine was soon widely issued to infantry officers, American paratroopers,[2] NCOs, ammunition bearers, forward artillery observers, and other frontline troops.[3]


The M1A1 Carbine was an adaptation of the regular M1 Carbine that was mainly used by paratroopers. This version had a foldable stock and it had the same 15 round magazine as the original. The M2 was fundamentally a newer and modified version of the M1 for example the new 30 round magazine or the new ability to choose between selective fire and fully automatic.[4] The M3 however was based on the M2 and the only real difference was that it had the iron sights removed and it had a scope mount on it. This version was produced in limited numbers.
Carbine-equipped Marine on Iwo Jima February 1945

A US Marine on Iwo Jima, holding an M1 carbine.


The request for a new, compact weapon arose in 1938 and it was brought up again in 1940.[5] This request was eventually answered by Winchester and in 1941 the new M1 Carbine was adopted. Over the course of the war, many different companies produced the M1 Carbine and eventually over 5,000,000 were produced. 

They were used by American forces in Italy, France, the Pacific, and in other campaigns. Most of the US troops preferred the M1 Garand over The M1 Carbine though. M2 Carbines and M3 Carbines were also used during the Korean War.


  2. Rush, Robert S., GI: The US Infantryman in World War II, Osprey Publishing Ltd. (2003), ISBN 1-84176-739-5, p. 33: Officers were issued .45 M1911 pistols as individual weapons until 1943, when they were issued the M1 Carbine in place of the pistol.
  3. Rush, Robert S., GI: The US Infantryman in World War II, Osprey Publishing Ltd. (2003), ISBN 1-84176-739-5, pp. 33-35: Officers and NCOs, as well as airborne and other elite troops were frequently allowed to exchange with Ordnance personnel for their individual weapon of choice.

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