Low prices on the Auto Ordnance M1 Carbine start at Champion Firearms- The M1 Carbine (more formally the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1) was a lightweight semi-automatic carbine that became a standard firearm in the US military during World War II and the Korean War and resulted in a number of variants. It found favor with many troops, and came into wide use over several decades.
The M1 Carbine originated as a design by Jonathan Edmund "Ed" Browning, the half-brother of inventor John Browning. A couple of months after Ed Browning died in May of 1939, Winchester hired ex-convict David M. "Carbine" Williams, a some-time bootlegger who had devised a short-stroke gas piston design while serving a prison sentence for murder. (This unlikely true story, a natural for the movie industry, was the basis of the 1952 movie Carbine Williams starring James Stewart.) Winchester hoped that Williams would be able to complete various designs left unfinished by Ed Browning. Williams design change for the rifle was the incorporation of his short-stroke piston design. The first M1 Carbines were delivered in mid 1942, but contrary to popular myth, Williams had little to do with the carbine's development.
The M1 Carbine was particularly intended for soldiers who needed a lightweight rifle - such as paratroopers and engineers - and for infantry involved in such shorter range engagements as commonly occurs in urban and jungle warfare.
Troops in the rear, or frontline troops required to carry a lot of other equipment (such as medics and engineers) had found the older full-size rifles too cumbersome, and pistols and revolvers to be insufficiently accurate or powerful. Much the same constraints applied to the airborne.
Historical Ties: Auto Ordnance & the M1 Carbine-- The Auto Ordnance Corporation was founded in Queens, NY in August 1916 by ex U.S. Army Ordnance officer, John T. Thompson. The company has been best known for the submachine gun that was named after the company's owner. In 1939 Auto-Ordnance was acquired by businessman Russell Maguire. In 1940 Auto-Ordnance moved to Bridgeport Conn.
In October 1940 U.S. weapons manufacturers were given notice of the basic specifications for a light infantry rifle that the War Department was interested in having developed. In response, Auto-Ordnance Corporation submitted two models of a light rifle for U.S. Army preliminary trials in May-June of 1941. An improved version was submitted for the final trials in September 1941, but Auto Ordnance lost out to a design submitted by Winchester. The Winchester design quickly evolved into what we now know as the U.S. Carbine caliber .30 M1.
Government contracts for the production of the U.S. Carbine caliber .30 M1 were granted to ten primary contractors, among them was the "International Business Machines" corporation (or IBM). None of the ten primary contractors manufactured all of their own parts. Each required the assistance of various subcontractors. In March 1943 Auto-Ordnance was subcontracted to manufacture all of I.B.M.'s bolts and slides, and 50% of I.B.M.'s receivers. To keep pace with wartime demand, the Office of Ordnance relocated an I.B.M. management team to the Auto-Ordnance facility along with Ordnance officers to oversee production. By the the time production had been completed in May 1944, I.B.M. made a total of 346,500 M1 carbines.