It’s time to talk about the rifle everyone wants and loves — it’s time to talk about the M1 Garand.
That’s right, folks. Our first look into firearms history is going to target the gun, the myth, and the legend. The M1 Garand was famously called by General George Patton the “greatest battle implement ever devised,” and although its viability on today’s battlefield would likely be debated, there’s no question that in its day it was a force to be reckoned with.
According to the National Parks Service, development of a semi-automatic rifle that would give the United States an edge in combat in her next war — a war that just happened to be the grandest in scale in human history — began very quickly after the first world war.
Springfield Armory’s now-legendary John Garand had developed a rifle that would be adopted as the M1 in 1932. That rifle was finally approved for procurement in 1935 and standardized in the Army in 1936 — although the first production model was finally proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937, according to Olive Drab.
That rifle would be produced until 1957, and its numbers are staggering.
5.4 million were made over its production run, according to Olive Drab, of which 3.1 million were created by World War II’s end, the National Parks Service noted. The rifle saw use in three American wars — World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. In fact, the rifle still manages to turn up in conflicts all around the world today.
Let’s take a look into the gun’s nitty-gritty details:
- Action: self-loading, gas-action piston
- Caliber: 30-06 Springfield
- Operation Feed: 8-round internal clip
- Overall Length: 43.43 inches
- Barrel Length: 23.98 inches
- Weight: 9.63 lbs
- Muzzle Velocity: 2,800 ft./second
- Range: 440 yards
It’s worth noting that the above statistics, including the range, are from MilitaryFactory.com — other sources, including Range365, put the effective range out to 500 yards, and if you hop onto YouTube you’ll see folks doing some pretty impressive shooting at far beyond 500 yards:
That’s some pretty nice shooting!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “How can I add one of these gorgeous rifles to my arsenal?”
Well, you’re in luck! As of the time of this reporting, not only does popular website Gunbroker.com contain multiple Garand listings, but the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) still has a few rifles for sale, some of which are on sale for as low as $650.
If you feel like reviewing your firearm purchase in person, M1 Garands are frequently in the inventory of many used gun shops, and I don’t think I’ve ever once gone to a gun show where there wasn’t at least half a dozen for sale — often at comical markups.
Whether you wish to take one to the range or leave one in the past, there’s no doubt that this iconic rifle not only has contributed to our history, but the victorious outcome of the Second World War and subsequently the safeguarding of the free world.
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