February 2010

More on the M1 Carbines

Reader Fondersmith would have liked a more level playing field for the surplus guns; reader Shew tells us where X doesn’t mark the spot on gunstocks; and reader Jarvis wants a 9mm revolver.

Re: "Four M1 Carbines: CMP, Fulton, And Auto-Ordnance Compete," December 2009

I have always been fascinated with the M1 Carbine, and before I knew about the CMP program, I bought a Kahr Arms Carbine in December 2004. I have shot probably 2000 rounds through the rifle, and it is flawless today. I should mention that the new carbine from Kahr Arms (Auto Ordnance) has significant changes from my 2004 model. My M1 has a bayonet lug; it also has a ventilated hand guard, it has the lever safety and the cast trigger assembly. It also has the round bolt. So I guess the earlier M1 carbines made by Auto Ordnance were closer to the Inland carbine. I had heard that the Auto Ordnance carbine was manufactured in Korea using substandard materials. I wrote Auto Ordnance and was assured that the rifle was manufactured to military specifications, and all the parts were to those specifications also. I believe that you should have

used one of the earlier Auto Ordnance carbines in your test as you did with the Underwood, Inland, and the rebuilt models from Fulton, and that way you would have given it an A rating also.

—Bob Fondersmith,
Vacaville, California

This was a nice article, but to a collector there were a few things missing and a couple of errors that would have added a lot to your overall article. First of all, the stocks on your CMP service grade carbines are pristine compared to some that I have received. I have attached a photo [right and below] of a service grade carbine I received in October. Someone made a nice "X" in the side of the stock with their bayonet and then used the point to drill a cavity into each end of the "X" and in the center where the two lines cross.

One of the first points a collector would have liked to have seen in the article is the serial numbers or the year and month that they were produced. Then what are the dates and manufacturer located behind the front sight on the barrel. One can then tell if the barrel has been replaced during an arsenal rebuild. Since the barrels were not gauged, these carbines could have fired many rounds versus new barrels on the commercial units. That would ensure the accuracy testing did not favor commercial carbines.

The collector would notice a few things about your CMP carbines that increase their value. The stock on the Underwood is a Type 1 "I" cut stock. Depending on which carbine manufacturer this stock was made for, defined by the stamps in the sling well and the buttstock, it could be worth several hundred dollars. The front barrel band on the Underwood is either a Type 1 or 1A. This barrel band was issued before there was a bayonet made for the M1 carbine and brings a premium price. This Underwood also has the push-button safety, which was used until sometime in 1945. These push buttons were replaced by the lever safety, since soldiers were ejecting the magazines when they thought they were going to activate the safety. These push-button safeties also bring top dollar. If these three parts are marked for a Winchester, they could be worth more than half of what you paid for the Underwood.

The statement about the round and flat bolt body is wrong. The original bolt was flat, but to cut cost and production time and to solve a problem with lug cracking, Inland started producing the round bolt in 1943. The round bolt was noted to be smoother operating than the flat bolt.

There should be no difference in adjustments of the milled and stamped rear sight. They both have five range settings and a windage adjustment. Again, it is

cheaper and quicker to stamp and fold a piece of steel than go through a milling process on a block of steel.

As a collector, I think some mention should have been given to comparing the 60+year-old used military carbine versus a new, out-of-the-box commercial carbine.

—Allen Shew,
Bloomington, Indiana

Regarding: "Self-Defense Handgun Sights: Novak and Wilson Combat Win," October 2009

In this article there was a curious photograph with the caption, "There are those who believe the ability to rack the slide by use of the sights is important. Mil Specs (shown) work best." I would suppose that the reason for having the option and ability to rack the slide using the rear sight is to compensate for an injury to the offside hand during a gun battle. That being said, the operator would probably not be in the best of situations to use that part of the hand.

Instead, may I suggest a more tactical technique for racking the slide when your off hand is out of commission. If kneeling, hook the rear sight onto the rear aspect of the heel of your shoe and push down to cycle the slide, thus loading the chamber to get back into the fight. If you are not in a position to accomplish that feat, then carefully, avoiding covering any of your body parts with the muzzle, hook the rear sight onto your pistol belt (another good reason to wear a stiff pistol belt) to accomplish the same. If this is not feasible, then anything—such as the edge of a table or chair—may be enlisted.

Now on to a separate issue. I would like to suggest another pistol sight that has been omitted from this report: The TruGlo TFO tritium/fiber-optic handgun sights, shown at www.truglo.com.

From my experience, this particular set of pistol sights provides the best of two worlds—both tritium and fiber optics. The "DayGlo-like" fiber-optic light pipes shine very brightly outdoors in daylight, as well as in the shadows because of the reflected invisible ultraviolet component of natural sunlight makes them glow like the black light DayGlo fluorescent posters of our youth. In low-light situations, the tritium lamps take over to light the sights. The only criticism that I can make is that during normal indoor range conditions, the dots are not quite as sharp or bright

as the OEM sights that came on my Liberty Device. I’ve also heard that about another brand of tritium sights. But then again, we’re talking battle conditions, not target shooting.

—Clifford D. Weiss, CPO

Conversion Units Coming?

Have you done a test on a convertible pistol? By convertible, I mean being able to practice with it as a 22 and then changing barrels to a larger caliber. —GT Reader

Later in this issue is an article covering a conversion for the CZ 75, called the Kadet Adapter ($412), and the Kimber Rimfire Target conversion for 1911s ($330). We have been promised conversions for the Hi-Power by J.A. Ciener, and a new unit from Wilson Combat, but as of our deadline they hadn’t arrived. We plan to follow this test report with another, at a later date, featuring the new Wilson, Ciener’s Hi-Power, and one of the Marvel units. However, all makers report very high sales and relative scarcity of these units, so we won’t make any promises as to how soon you’ll see that next test.

—Ray Ordorica

More Cowboy Action Stuff

I’ve been a loyal subscriber for many years now, and I compliment you and your editorial staff for its integrity an honesty in reporting the "nuts & bolts" truth about today’s firearms. I list Gun Tests as my personal favorite among the six shooting and sporting magazines I currently subscribe to. I have actually made purchase decisions based upon what I have read in GT, with absolutely no regrets. You get an Atta-Boy from this gunslinger!

One request I would like to make is that you do more articles on Cowboy Action shooting irons. I have just become interested in Cowboy Action shooting, and the firearm choices are staggering.

—Arnie Bazensky,
Brea, California

FFL Kevin Winkle just brought me two 1887 lever-action shotguns to test—the Armi Chiappa and the Norinco YL 1887. Very cool!

—Todd Woodard

Re: "Firing Line," December 2009

As I sit here reading the December ‘09 issue, I find myself drawn to the Firing Line section of the magazine. The gentleman who was trashing Glenn Beck, Rush, Hannity, etc., saying those guys "spread fear, hate, and lies" really cracks me up. Thanks for taking him to task. As a fifth-generation Texan, a fourth-generation Texas peace officer, and an NRA Benefactor, I commend you and your efforts to maintain a political perspective in Gun Tests. After all, we are fighting to maintain our rights as free men. I’ll stand with you, any time, any place, to defend our rights and our culture.

—Roger Johnson,
Austin, Texas

I appreciate that. A little bit of politics goes a long way in GT, and we’ll keep it that way. Buy guns, shoot ‘em, rate ‘em. That’s been a successful journalistic formula for more than 20 years, so we’ll keep doing it. —tw

I hope you print this response to Mr. AOL. He wrote, "The White House is not going to ban guns; in fact, they HAD to allow guns in parks because it was tied to another bill they wanted passed." He does realize, I hope, that if it had not been tied to that defense bill, there would be no guns allowed in national parks.

The editor is right: Beck, Dobbs (who is no longer on CNN), and the independent Stossel, who was on ABC, and is now on Fox, are about the only media voices we have defended our "2A" rights.

—Marc Weinstein,
Ret. FDNY/EMS

Re "Coming Up in Gun Tests"

Due to a newly acquired CCW, I’m in the market for a summertime concealment firearm. I noticed there is no Kahr P380 review. Any on the horizon?

—Dave Upland,
California

I don’t have a Kahr in the works, but we’re still trying to arrange a Walther PK380, CZ 83, and Sig Sauer P232. Maybe we can look at a Kahr down the road. —tw

Why No 9mm Revolvers

I would like to own a 9mm revolver, but I can find no revolvers of that caliber for sale. Is there a logical reason why revolvers are not manufactured in 9mm? If you know of revolvers chambered for 9mm, would you please let me know about them?Thank you for all your great work. I always learn something new with each issue of Gun Tests and look forward to each new issue.

—Tim Jarvis,
Washington State

From the S&W manual for the Model 940 9mm DAO revolver: "Whenever rimless pistol cartridges are used in the cylinder of a Smith & Wesson revolver (except M547), full or half-moon clips MUST be used to both position and extract such cartridges. Failure to use ammunition clips with rimless cartridges may result in malfunction of the revolver." That’s the main reason why the 9mm wheelgun didn’t catch on. But similarity to the 38 Special is likely another reason. —tw

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