As mentioned in part 1, other than direct US involvement, the M1 Carbine saw service across the globe both in legitimate government service and in the hands of other non-governmental parties. And again, it was both loved and hated at the same time depending on who you ask.
Cuba & Bolivia
The 26th of July Movement in Cuba loved the M1 Carbine and the .30 Carbine cartridge. It was a step above the Springfield M1903 rifles they were capturing from government armories and the nearby Dominican Republic made their own modified version, the .30 Kiraly-Cristóbal Carbine which were also used in Cuba during the Cuban Revolution..
The M1 and M2 carbines were also used against Ernesto “Che” Guevara in Bolivia. Félix Rodríguez, a Cuban exile turned CIA Special Activities Division operative, advised Bolivian Special Forces and captured Guevara in the Yuro ravine in south central Bolivia
Bolivian Special Forces and the regular Army used the M1 Garand along with the M1 and M2. The carbines were especially well-liked due to their compactness and light weight. Those were great features when scouring the mountains for communist guerrillas.
As mentioned in our Ruger Mini-14 article, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was involved in heavy police action against the IRA and PIRA during “the troubles.” Originally, the RUC armed their officers with M1 carbines, but the situation was heating up as the IRA and PIRA became better armed due to their American cousins in Boston and Uncle Gaddafi in Libya providing them with both money and arms.
In 1979, the M1 Carbine was retired with the Ruger Mini-14 since they wanted something with more punch but a similar general layout.
Israel has had a long history with the M1 Carbine. Ever since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War when the Palmach, special forces of the Haganah, the underground army of the Yishuv (Jewish community) during the period of the British Mandate for Palestine had them smuggled in. Since then, Israel has purchased and received M1 Carbines and continues to use them to this day.
The Netherlands received a total 84,523 M1 Carbines after WWII. Both the Army and the Rijkspolitie (Dutch National Police) used them as did the the Nederlands Indisch Leger; KNIL (Royal Netherlands East Indies Army). Which they put them to combat service during the Indonesian War of Independence in the late 1940s.
The United States provided France with 269,644 M1 and M2 Carbines from World War II to 1963. The M1 carbine was used by the French Paratroopers and Foreign Legionnaires during the First Indochina War against the Việt Minh and Algerian War against the FLN.
The French classified it as the Mousqueton Américain M1 Calibre .30 (M1 Carbine, American, .30-caliber).
Mexico received a total 48,946 M1 Carbines to be used for their various police departments across the country.
In the US, the M1 Carbine was extremely popular with a number of groups. The Black Panther Party and the Symbionese Liberation Army both put them to use. This was due to three factors.
One, they were extremely affordable as WWII surplus. Two, they were lightweight and handy to use. And three, they had 15 and 30 round mags available.
Patty Hearst put one into action when she robbed the Sunset District branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco on April 15, 1974.
And then there’s the famous Ebony Magazine photo of Malcolm X holding an M1 in September, 1964 when he was protecting his family from Nation of Islam members who had threatened him.
The M1 Carbine saw and continues to see service across the globe. Both in official and unofficial capacities. Its commercial production has never truly stopped, made by various manufacturers over the years of various quality. Some where great and some…weren’t.
The one of the more famous commercial production guns that worked well were the Iver Johnson-made Plainfield carbines. They were at first built with surplus USGI parts and ran well. The other famous one are the ones made by the Universal Company out of Hialeah, FL. At first they were of the same quality as the Iver Johnsons, but when they ran out of quality-made surplus parts they redesigned the M1 Carbine and that’s where problems started to arise.
A rare one here is the US is the very high quality M1 Carbine made by Howa of Japan. Marketed at a commercial hunting rifle, it didn’t sell very well, but was made to exquisite quality and finish levels.
As for accuracy, the M1 Carbine is capable if the shooter is able to do his/her part correctly.
Cleaning and field stripping is a breeze, especially since all WWII and post-war US-made surplus ammo was non-corrosive.
In the end, opinions still vary as to the handy little M1. Is it loved? Is it hated? It depends on who’s using it and why. All I know is when I open my safe like Schrödinger did to check on his cat, my M1 is still very much alive and well.