By: Friedrich Seiltgen
The M1 Carbine was the most widely produced infantry rifle of World War II. More than six million were produced by various manufacturers, with General Motors Inland division producing about three million of them in five years.
Designed as a compromise between the M1 Garand and the 1911 Pistol, the rifle had its niche and saw action in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.
In early 1942, there was interest in a folding stock version for Airborne units. Inland designed a folding stock version of the M1 for use by paratroopers. Approved in May 1942 as the M1A1, the Inland division produced all folding stock carbines, approximately 140,000 in total.
Many folks do not know that Inland was resurrected, and they are producing M1s, 1911s, and M-37 Trench guns at their new facility located a couple of miles from the original factory in Dayton, Ohio.
The man behind the design of the M1 carbine’s gas system was David Williams. Williams was a North Carolina moonshiner who ran a distillery near the town of Godwin. In July of 1921, Cumberland County deputies conducted a raid and seized his still. There were no arrests that day, as Williams and the still workers fled. When the deputies left the scene, they came under fire from the woods, and Deputy Albert Pate was struck and killed.
The next day, David Williams was arrested and charged with murder! There were questions about Williams’ sanity, and he would eventually plead guilty to second degree murder, claiming he only fired a shot to scare off the deputies, and one of his workers was the real murderer.
Williams was sentenced to 30 years hard labor for the murder of Deputy Pate. While serving his sentence at Caledonia State Prison, Warden H.T. Peoples noticed Williams’ mechanical aptitude and allowed him to work in the machine shop creating tools needed by the prison. Eventually, he was tasked with working on the prison’s firearms. Williams began his firearm design work while in prison and eventually created four different semi-automatic carbine rifles using his floating chamber design.
The Williams family started a campaign to get his sentence commuted. They approached the sheriff to whom he surrendered, as well as the widow of Deputy Pate, who agreed to the commutation if Williams would help the country with his designs.
In November 1927, the petition to commute Williams sentence was presented to the governor, and in December it was granted.
Williams returned home and kept working on his designs. He was eventually contacted by Colt firearms and was the designer behind the Colt Ace Service pistol, a .22 caliber version of the 1911. In 1938, Williams designed the 1911 conversion kit, which allowed the pistol to use .22 ammunition for training, but could quickly convert the pistol back to caliber .45 ACP.
In 1941, Williams was working for the Winchester Company and was assigned as leader of a team that would eventually produce the M1 Carbine. After three days, Williams was removed from the team due to differences with the other engineers. Williams was allowed to work separately, and in September 1941, shortly before the trials of the new rifle, Williams was asked to step in again and resolve two issues with the gun. Williams succeeded, and on September 30, 1941, the Winchester light rifle was adopted as the Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 Carbine.
Action Type: Semi-Automatic
Caliber: .30 Carbine
Magazine capacity: 15 or 30
Sights: Rear: aperture adjustable, Front: wing protected post
Barrel Length: 18”
Overall Length: 25.75” / 35.75”
Weight: 5lb 3oz
The Inland Manufacturing M1A1 is a beautiful piece of history and is virtually identical to the original. The quality standards at Inland Manufacturing are high, and their motto is, “Quality Means Doing It Right When No One is Looking.”
The M1 Carbine was used by countless allies of America and is still in service with several countries even today. Go check out the offerings of Inland Manufacturing and see what all the buzz is about.
That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article ideas. And as always – “Let’s be careful out there.”
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, Active Shooter Response, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. His writing has appeared in RECOIL, The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at [email protected].