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Book Review: The M1 Carbine: Variants, Markings, Ammunition, Accessories, by Roger Out

A lot of information in a small, affordable package about this major weapon of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and countless other battlefields of the world.

The M1 Carbine: Variants, Markings, Ammunition, Accessories, by Roger Out (ISBN 780764361890, Schiffer Publishing, 880 Lower Valley Road, Atglen, Pennsylvania 19310; 610-593-1777;; Hardcover, 80 pages, 300 color and b/w illustrations, 2021, $24.99).

The M1 Carbine is Schiffer Military History's latest addition to their Classic Guns of the World Series. This 80-page publication is hard-bound and of the quality someone would expect from Schiffer Publishing. The M1 Carbine adds to the series that includes Mauser Rifles Vol. 1: 1870-1918, The Luger P.08 Vols. 1 & 2, Walther P.38, The M1 Garand, The Colt M1911, German Submachine Guns, American Submachine Guns, The Sten, and The German MG 34 and MG 42 Machine Guns in World War II.

As a writer and editor for REGI ARM in France, author Roger Out is no stranger to the world of historical and modern military weapons. He has managed to pack a lot of information about the M1 carbine into a small package.

The M1 Carbine briefly covers the development, various manufacturers, variants (M1A1, M2, and M3), accessories, bayonets, and ammunition associated with the weapon. Out’s French background will give readers accustomed to American authors a slightly different perspective of the carbine.

The illustrations he selected for this book are a mix of crisp, contemporary color photographs as well as period black-and-white photos showing the carbine in use — not only by U.S. troops in World War II, but also by French forces in WWII and Vietnam, U.N troops in Korea, and guerrilla fighters in Central America.

Additionally, many of the staged, contemporary photographs showed the carbine grouped with French military items. While the author frequently referenced French use of the firearm,, there was no discussion of how to determine if a carbine had been used by the French military. A couple of contemporary photos, however, failed to reveal the all-important markings.

All measurements — with the exception of caliber — are in metric. Contract dates, serial number ranges, or monthly/ yearly production numbers are not included in this publication. Out did include one table that gives the production totals for all final manufacturers during the WWII, however.

Interestingly, Out gives a large amount of credit for the development of the M1 carbine to David Marshall Williams, though, in a sidebar biography about Williams, he does state that a team from Winchester was involved in the development. Other publications, such as Larry Ruth's War Baby!, recognize Williams' involvement in the gas system but place more significance on the work of William Roemer and Fred Humiston in the refining and development of the firearm.

The M1 Carbine would have benefitted from one more read-through by a fresh set of eyes before publication. One photograph referenced in the main text is missing while the subtitle of another refers to the firearm as being a 30-06. Thankfully, it is correctly identified as .30 carbine later in the book.

These unfortunate errors take away from what is overall a decent book for its size. Regardless, collectors accustomed to information reported by American authors will enjoy the added details about French use of the weapon.

At just $25, The M1 Carbine is an affordable option for those who are just becoming interested in collecting M1 carbines or firearms from that period in general. Ryan Roth 

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