The American infantryman at left is armed with an M1 carbine that has a magazine pouch attached to its stock.
Q: I recently started collecting U.S. M1 carbines and accessories and have a question regarding a magazine stock pouch I purchased at a gun show. The pouch has a metal snap inside of the portion that fits over the stock. The snap seems to have no purpose and I am wondering what it was for.
A: Actually, the pouch to which you refer was not originally designed, nor intended, to be attached to the stock. The M1 carbine was conceived and designed to give military personnel, who would otherwise be armed with handguns, an arm with greater range and accuracy than a pistol. Since it was envisioned that the carbine would take the place of the .45-cal. pistol in such instances, the magazine pouch designed for the new gun was to be carried on the standard pistol belt. The metal snap on back of the pouch would mate with the fastener on the pistol belt that was intended for use with the pistol magazine pouch. It was soon discovered by enterprising G.I.s that the pouch could be attached to the stock and provided a ready means to carry two extra 15-round magazines on the carbine at all times. This became a rather common practice, as evidenced by numerous World War II-era photos depicting the use of such pouches in all theaters of the war. A similar pouch, having two narrow belt loops rather than the single wide loop and pistol belt snap, began to be issued later in the war. This pouch would not fit on the carbine stock, but large numbers of the earlier pouches remained in use through the end of the conflict. --Bruce N. Canfield