Today we’ll look at a favorite of mine, the renowned M1 Garand. It’s your starting weapon when you begin your career as an American Rifleman, which reflects historical facts: the United States Armed Forces adopted the Garand as the standard service rifle in 1936. It’s still widely used by civilians and sought after by collectors to this day.
The First Mass-Produced Semi-Automatic Rifle
The M1 rifle was designed in 1928 by French-Canadian-born inventor Jean (John) Cantius Garand and became famous as the first semi-automatic rifle to be adopted as standard issue by a nation’s infantry. If you don’t feel like reading a Wikipedia article, a gas-operated semi-automatic rifle uses the energy of the high-pressure gases from the shot being fired to eject the spent case, chamber the next round and cock the hammer. You just need to pull the trigger again to repeat the cycle. Being the first to wield this type of rifle, US infantrymen had a huge advantage in terms of rate of fire over enemies equipped with bolt-action rifles, which had to be manually reset and reloaded. The Garand is loaded with an 8-round en bloc clip, which ejects with a characteristic ping! when depleted.
To capture the gunpowder gases which powered the mechanism, Garand invented a patented gas trap, located at the muzzle of the rifle, which sent the gas back through a cylinder located under the barrel (this is why the Garand looks so “fat”). Tapping the gas from the barrel, however, meant sacrificing accuracy. For this reason, among others, the M1 Garand is nowhere near as precise as the bolt-action M1903. It does, however, have less recoil.
An all-purpose rifle, the M1 Garand does an okay job in close combat, rocks at mid range and, with some careful aim, can still hurt at long range. And the best thing: Uncle Sam just gives it to you :)
Stay tuned for more!