The A-O Paratrooper: A Favorite M1 Carbine

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The A-O Paratrooper is easier to transport due to the folding stock, and it offered good reliability and a lot of shooting fun. We think it is a good interpretation of the WWII model.

Gun Details

Manufacturer Auto-Ordnance
Model Name M1 Carbine Paratrooper
Model Number Model AOM150
Surplus/Collectible Yes
Hunting Yes
Recreational Yes
Price 941
Caliber/Gauge .30
Capacity 15+1
Weight Unloaded 5.3 lbs.
Warranty 1 year
Magazine Detachable steel box
Length of Pull 13.2 in.
Action Type Semi-automatic
Action Finish Gas-operated short-stroke piston
Barrel Finish Parkerized
Sights Flip aperture rear; fixed front
Trigger Pull Weight 7.1 lbs.

With the stock folded, the Carbine is more compact, but it can still be ready to fire.

Two indents in the side of the stock allow the wire stock to fold closer to the side of the rifle.

A flat and unpadded leather cheek piece made the A-O slightly less comfortable to shoot, but was historically accurate.

The buttpad was metal and twisted to the side when the stock is the folded position. Crude looking, but effective.

The pushbutton safety (left arrow) is behind the pushbutton magazine release; some testers mixed them up at first, but with a little time on the gun, they managed fast reloads with the light rifle.

The A-O is a reproduction of the Model M1A1, which is a model variant specifically designed for paratroopers who required a shorter weapon. The original Inland manufactured the M1A1 back in the day. These are rare and quite collectible, and we imagine a collector would be loath to fire a valuable specimen. In our opinion, the A-O makes a great stand-in for the original. Like early original M1A1s, the A-O had no bayonet lug, and the stock was close to the original’s, even down to the brass rivets that attached the leather cheek rest to the wire stock.

The sights were per the original, a simple flip-up aperture with two settings, one for 150 yards and the second for 300 yards. Windage was drift adjustable. We preferred the sights on the Inland because they were easier to adjust, but this sight set-up on the A-O is historically accurate, if that’s more to your liking.

The stock does not lock in an open or closed position. A detent keeps the stock in position, and when we fired using the stock, we could easily knock it out of the open position. Again, this is a feature on this older design. The rest of the stock was plain walnut. The pistol grip was thick and filled the average-size hand. The stock was made of a heavy-gauge wire with a flat unpadded cheek rest and a steel buttpad. The stock folded to the left side of the rifle, and like on the originals, the left side of the stock was milled out and the buttpad pivots to the side so the stock folds flatter against the wood under the receiver.

Elsewhere, the A-O was a close copy of the original M1A1 produced in 1942-43. The rear sight, folding stock, no bayonet lug, and flat-milled bolt top are period correct. The rear sight on the A-O is the simple drift-adjustable sight. The A-O’s stock and sight don’t actually sync up. The low-wood stock is a feature of Carbines built in 1944. The rear sight is from earlier models. That’s nit-picking and is not a game changer by any means, if you’re looking at this rifle as a portable shooter.

Magazines inserted easily, but we needed to make sure with both Carbines that it was fully seated. When we loaded a magazine of the Hornady Critical Defense ammo, we expected a similar jam as we had in the Inland, but that did not happen. The A-O chewed through all the ammo with no exceptions. Looking at the feed ramps of both rifles, we noticed the A-O was more polished and finished. We suspected the extra polishing on the A-O allowed it to feed the Critical Defense ammo better than the Inland. We used the two 15-round magazines that came with the Carbines and the 30-round magazine interchangeably and had no issues with either rifle. Pressing the magazine release on both the Inland and A-O allowed the magazines to drop free. On the last shot fired, the bolt locked back, open, due to the design of the magazine follower. This allows the user to lock the bolt back by pulling the bolt fully rearward and pressing the bolt hold-back button - a handy feature.

With the stock folded, we fired from the hip and found it quite easy to walk in hits on clay pigeons set out on a bank at 25 yards. The A-O was also light enough that we could shoot it one handed.

Our Team Said: The A-O was extremely fun to shoot and quite accurate. The folding wire stock is not as stable as the wood stock, but it offers a smaller package to carry. As a home-defense rifle or truck rifle, the A-O is a good choice.

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