Weapons: M-1 Carbine Rises From The Dead

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October 8, 2005: The much despised American World War II M-1 Carbine has been reborn as the Israeli Magal. Israel got over 100,000 World War II surplus M-1 Carbines (some of them at no cost), and used them mainly to equip security troops, or civilians volunteering for security duty. M-1 Carbines have now become collectors items, with one in good condition selling for nearly a thousand dollars.

Actually, the M-1 Carbine was only despised by gun enthusiasts. The M-1 Carbine was designed to provide a lightweight weapon for combat support troops, who would probably never have to use it. With these folks, the Carbine was popular. The six pound Carbine weighed about half as much as the M-1 rifle. Both used a 7.62mm bullet, but the M-1 rifle round generated 3360 joules of energy, while the Carbine had only 1070 joules in what was essentially a pistol round. In practice, the Carbine could wound and kill. Indeed, the Russians used an even lower powered cartridge (also 7.62 mm, generating 499 joules) in the millions of PPS series submachineguns they issued to their troops. While it's nice and elegant to take down an enemy soldier with one 7.62mm high powered rifle bullet, he's just as out-of-action if you spray him with your PPS 7.62mm submachinegun. The Russians did this frequently with PPS submachineguns equipped with 50 round drum magazines.

However, the Israeli Magal is a little over-the-top in the cost/benefit department. First of all, they cost a thousand dollars each. Weighing 7.7 pounds, it's only 27 inches long (18 inches with the folding stock folded). It has a shorter barrel than the M-1 Carbine, and, even though it uses the same ammo, has less hitting power (under 1000 joules). Israeli police got a thousand Magals in 1999, just in time for the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian violence. The Israeli cops did not like the Magal. It wasn't the lack of stopping power, but the unreliability of the weapon. Eventually, all went back to the factory for a number of fixes and enhancements. But when the Magal returned to service, it was only as a replacement for ancient M-1 Carbines, still used by civilian security volunteers. There, the Magal was appreciated, because it looks very impressive, and is much more compact than the M-1 Carbine, and is unlikely to ever be used.

 


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