General George S. Patton declared the M1 Garand semi-auto rifle to be the greatest battle implement ever devised. He may be right. Canadian inventor John Garand’s semi-auto rifle with its 8-round En-Block clip provided the firepower superiority that helped turn the tide for Americans soldier in WWII. And it’s no less an impressive firearm today.
The M1 Garand semi-auto rifle was manufactured by Springfield armory and Winchester during WWII. Later, Harrington and Richardson, and even International Harvester, produced the rifle for American troops during the Korean war.
Near the end of WWII, the Japanese military begin experimenting with semi-auto rifles. Essentially copying the M1 Garand and chambering it for their own 7.7 Arisaka cartridge. With only a few hundred poorly functioning rifles made, they never saw service in the war. Now, they are only a collector’s footnote.
Two short-barreled M1 Garand variations, the M1E5 with a folding metal stock, and the wood stocked T26, existed as only prototypes. In both cases, the military decided the barrel was too short to be practical. Not to mention the loud report and huge muzzle flash. In these days of surgical special forces operations and unmanned drone strikes, it’s hard to imagine the horrors of a world war and the amazing courage of the men who carried the M1 Garand rifles across Europe and the Pacific. It’s impossible to hold a M1 Garand semi-auto rifle and not think about the sacrifices of the greatest generation.