NRA Gun of the Week: U.S. M1A1 Carbine

posted on February 23, 2019

Besides serving in Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, what do Don Malarkey and Carwood Lipton from “Band of Brothers“ have in common? For one, they both used the M1A1 "paratrooper" carbine during the war. One of the most interesting U.S. military small arms of World War II is the M1A1 “paratrooper“ carbine. This handy little carbine was present for all of the major American airborne operations during World War II, and it has the distinction of being only one of two guns developed specifically for the American airborne. The other is the Reising Model 55 submachine gun as used by U.S. Marine Corps parachutists, but that is a story for another day.

In May 1942, the airborne asked for a shorter, handier version of the U.S. M1 carbine, and M1A1s were being delivered by October of that year. The M1A1 was fitted with a new buttstock that had a walnut pistol grip and a wire folding stock with a leather cheekpiece and a cast buttplate.

The Inland Division of General Motors in Dayton, Ohio, was the only maker of the M1A1 during the war—delivering 140,591 before war's end—but you will find original stocks with other makers receivers due to postwar rebuilds. Lean more about the M1A1 carbine in this week's NRA Gun of the Week video hosted by Mark Keefe.


Model: U.S. M1A1 Carbine
Manufacturer: Inland Division of General Motors
Action Type: short-stroke-gas-piston-operated, semi-automatic center-fire rifle
Chambering: .30 Carbine
Weight: 5 lbs., 5 ozs. 
Overall Length: 35.6”
Barrel Length: 18”
Production Dates: October 1942 to December 1944
Total Production: 140,000+

Additional Reading:
Video—ARTV: Inland Mfg. M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine Review   
The M1A1 Carbine  
Inland Mfg.'s New Production M1 Carbine  
Arms of American Airborne
General Motors Went to War
NRA Gun of the Week: Inland M1A1 Paratrooper Carbine


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