Last year, Inland Manufacturing launched a new series of WWII replica .30-caliber rifles, including the historically accurate 1945 M1 Carbine and the M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine. The M1 was a prolific lightweight combat rifle pressed into service around the world, so it was only a matter of time until some industrious soul opted to trim down the already handy carbine into an even handier package by chopping off the shoulder stock and shortening the barrel. In recognition of the abbreviated versions of this platform, and to meet the requests of interested collectors, Inland has released the new Advisor M1 pistol for 2016.
Because the M1 carbine was not officially manufactured or issued to military personnel in a pistol-like configuration, there isn't a historically accurate platform to mimic per se. Therefore the Inland's design team opted to use the company's M1A1 Paratrooper carbine as the starting point for the Advisor. This gun is built at the factory as a pistol using a brand new parts which means it's legally considered a handgun and can be sold without the tax stamp required for short-barreled rifles. If, however, an Advisor owner chooses to register their pistol with the Federal government as a short barrel rifle, all of the hardware is in place to attach a folding Paratrooper shoulder stock once the necessary paperwork is in place.
The Advisor uses the same reliable, battle-proven short-stroke piston semi-automatic action as the carbine. A portion of the expanding gasses generated by a fired cartridge are redirected from the barrel to a piston which pushes the operating slide to the rear. The motion of the slide actuates the rotating bolt and recoil assembly in order to eject the spent case and then load a fresh cartridge from the removable box magazine. Although the bolt does not lock open when the last shot is fired, a bolt hold pin located on the right-side charging handle allows the bolt to be locked into the open position manually.
The shortened 12" barrel does not have a bayonet lug. However, it has been threaded and fitted with a bell-shaped flash hider. The muzzle thread is 1/2-28 TPI making it compatible with a wide variety of .30-cal. AR-10 type muzzle devices and sound suppressors. The winged fixed-front sight housing is secured to the barrel with a roll pin. Rear sight block, dovetailed into the receiver, supports a sliding, adjustable peep aperture.
The Advisor's other controls, including the right-side magazine release, cross-bolt safety button and smooth-faced steel bow trigger, are incorporated into the rounded cast steel trigger guard. The 15-round blued steel magazine provided with the pistol does not drop free when the magazine release is depressed but it is easy to manually remove. This pistol will also accept 30-round M1 magazines. The trigger of this particular pistol felt good, if a little heavy, with a very slight take-up before cleanly breaking with 6 lbs. 11 oz. of trigger pull.
The pistol's precision machined-cast receiver, barrel, flash hider, barrel band and trigger group have all been treated with a matte-black Parkerized finish. The barrel cover, stock and pistol grip are all carved from American Walnut. The GI-type carry strap is held in place by sling mounts attached to the barrel band and the base of the pistol grip. Inland manufactures the Advisor with the same arsenal stamps and markings as those found on the company's other period M1 Carbine replicas. This pistol tipped the digital postal scale at 4-lbs. 12-oz. with the empty magazine and GI carry strap installed.
As a fan of the fun that rifle-action pistols can provide at the shooting range, I was looking forward to running the Advisor M1. Thanks to the weight and shape of the pistol, shooting .30 Carbine cartridges produced a mild level of felt recoil that will agree with just about every shooting skill level. The controls were easy to operate with only modest levels of manual pressure required to cycle the slide, fill the magazine and operate the controls.
Although the pistol had a loud report, the bell-shaped flash hider successfully tamed what would have been a bright muzzle flash. Taking hold of the thick, stumpy Paratrooper grip is a bit like shaking hands with a two-by-four. A narrower contoured pistol grip would be preferable, like some of those attached to the Ivers Johnson Enforcer M1 pistols, but this one was workable.
To stabilize rifle-action pistols for off-the-bench shooting, I have been and will continue to be a proponent of single-point slings. Creating push-pull tension between a heavy pistol like this one and a sling can provide a level of steadiness near that of a shoulder stock. I tried improvising a single-point sling by unhooking the GI carry strap from the front sling mount and hooking it around the shoulder of my shooting hand. It helped, but it was a little too short for the job. It would be helpful if Inland would offer a simple sling mount which could be inserted in the top grip mount for the folding Paratrooper stock and held in place by the big screw that's already there.
Accuracy testing was conducted using the factory iron sights. Paper targets were set at 50 yards, the gun was placed in a handgun shooting rest and held with a two-handed grip just like a revolver or duty-size semi-auto pistol. I was curious to know how shaving the barrel length down from 18" to 12" would affect ammunition velocity, so a LabRadar chronograph was set up next to the shooting station about 12" to the side of the gun.
The various brands of factory .30 Carbine cartridges tested were surprisingly consistent in bullet weight, bullet shape, velocity and accuracy. My guess is that ammunition companies are sticking to fairly fixed configurations in order to ensure their rounds will run reliably in (and not cause damage to) WWII vintage M1s. As a result, there were no ammunition related malfunctions in the course of testing.
The .30 Carbine velocities listed for rifles had muzzle velocities of around 1990 fps. with the 110-gr. bullets yielding about 965 ft lbs. of energy. When fired from the Advisor pistol, the average 10-shot velocity readings for each load ranged from 1818 to 1877 fps. with energy levels of 807 to 860 ft lbs. Hornady 110-gr. FTX rounds turned in the best single 5-shot group of the test at 1.63" but averaged 1.84" for five consecutive groups fired. The tightest single group for Speer 110-gr. Gold Dot soft points was 1.68" while this load had a slightly better average group size of 1.78". Aguila 110-gr. full-metal jacket rounds yielded a best single group of 1.73" with an average of 1.85".
The new Inland Manufacturing Advisor M1 Pistol provides M1 Carbine aficionados with another way to enjoy this historic platform and fans of rifle-action pistols with an excellent and unusual option to take to the range. It exceeded my expectations of being a fun, interesting rifle-action pistol to shoot. Unlike some of the other pistols in this class, the Advisor’s recoil is exceptionally mild making it accessible to shooters of all ages. Just like the other M1s Inland manufactures, the Advisor is 100-percent American made with components constructed right here in the United States.