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The Right Tool: M1 Carbine in Vietnam



In the jungles of Vietnam, the M1 Carbine served America’s allies in the struggle against Communism.

From 1960 to 1975, the Cold War seethed in a tropical place: Vietnam. It was a war unlike any other we’d fought since our own Revolution; guerilla tactics ruled the day and the difference between friend and foe was a line in the sand being redrawn daily. America was forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back, as the wrong incursion into the wrong piece of territory could upset the balance between the great superpowers of the 20th Century and turn the Cold War into a nuclear furnace. Alliances shifted and the jungle tribe that helped you today might backstab you tomorrow. In this terrible conflict, only one ally remained constant: the M1 Carbine. Its handy size and extra magazine capacity made the M1 Carbine the perfect tool for close combat. This terrific homage to the M1 Carbine from its faithful manufacturer, Kahr Arms Group, goes out to all the heroes of Vietnam … including the ones who still cannot say their names.



  1. Paratrooper

    October 28, 2022 at 3:22 pm

    Non concur. Not a good combat weapon and thus, not one on which to depend to protect life and family. Popular, maybe, because it was light weight, but only with REMFs who never had to fight. Popular now with collectors/re-enactors who do not grasp *stopping power as life and death important* to the combat Infantry. Carbine uses an underpowered pistol cartridge. Jammed easily and repeatedly in dirty/dusty battle conditions due to not enough power in the cartridge to operate the bolt. Company officers and First Sergeants in Infantry units got rid of carbine and carried Thompson or Garand in both War Two and Korea. (In Korea, US troops used Thompsons we had given to Chinese Nationalists, captured by Communists in their Civil War,and then recaptured by Americans from ChCom units, after ChiCom entry in Korean War.) The Vietnamese Rangers I advised in 1964-65 were armed with one BAR per platoon, rest were one third Garand, one third Thompson, one third carbine (organizing documents written by some high level *staff advisors* with no concept of reality, resulted in nightmare ammo resupply situation). Carbine cartridge did not have the range to be effective in open (rice paddy) terrain, and did not have adequate power to punch through jungle vegetation/thick brush vines and bamboo. Also, even at shorter ranges, carbine did not have the power to be a fight stopper. The VC who were shot several times by a carbine kept on fighting, usually until some other Ranger with M-1 Garand, BAR or Thompson put them down. Where possible, the carbine armed Rangers in unit to which I was assigned, traded their underpowered carbine for Thompson or Garand. I have 49 months Infantry service in Viet-Nam between 1964 and 1969; DD214 to verify same.

    • Big Al 45

      October 31, 2022 at 9:37 am

      Ok, all well and good, but the ‘brush buster’ myth of nearly ANY cartridge was debunked long ago.
      In fact, high speed light weight bullets (5.56) were the worse, so the .30 carbine was probably better than you know for that.

    • Faulkner

      November 7, 2022 at 9:33 am

      You compare the M1 carbine’s performance with that of the BAR, M1 rifle, and Thompson submachine gun which the carbine was not designed to compete with or replace. Obviously it was put to task in an environment it was not meant to be used in, that of a main battlefield rifle.

      It was designed to replace the M1911A1, so in that comparison, which would you rather have in the jungles of Viet Nam? A M1911A1 or a M1 carbine? When used in the context of it’s design it performed quite well.

  2. Thomas lino Deconcini

    October 28, 2022 at 1:22 pm

    GOD BLESS EVERY VETERAN , From Tucson Arizona

  3. Ashau

    October 28, 2022 at 1:19 pm

    Got two in the closet. One vintage WWII made by Inland Manufacturing a division of General Motors. Both nice weapons

  4. James

    October 28, 2022 at 12:14 pm

    Many interesting chambering in the M 1 Carbine.
    17-30 Carbine
    5.57 Spitfire
    256 Win. Mag.
    9mm Win. Mag. ( Not 9mm Luger)
    357 Magnum ( Iver Johnson was working on it back in early 1980’s before they went bankrupt)
    45 Win. Mag. ( Several custom gunsmith chambered the M1 for this cartridge)
    Other good cartridges would be
    357 AutoMag
    41 AutoMag
    44 AutoMag

  5. Dave Puckett

    October 28, 2022 at 10:31 am

    We fought to keep communism from taking over Vietnam, (which it eventually did anyway) and we calmly let it take over our own country.

    • Ima Enyurphase

      October 28, 2022 at 1:49 pm

      Maybe its time for us old vets to take it back.

    • Tom S

      October 28, 2022 at 2:27 pm

      Oh so true sir.

    • Bob

      October 28, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      You’re right brother. It’s amazing how a draft dodging piece of shit like trump could convince a few million unemployed rednecks that it would be a good idea to take over our great country just for his own personal gains.

      • Rickety Rick

        November 9, 2022 at 11:13 am

        It wasn’t just Trump. They all dodged the draft. AND, most young kids were too stupid, (after the draft) to know they were cannon fodder for politicians private wars of power plays. With no constitutional waging of wars, presidents just criminally pursued fighting wars they wanted to watch play out to further the military-industrial complex for their short-term power grabs. Now the Tranny’s and other softys, can be used up as they are all extinquishable such as us vietnam era drafted slaves. This whole policy has been left unchecked and is quickening the demise of this once great country. Sad, Sad, Sad.

  6. Stephen Russell

    October 28, 2022 at 10:24 am

    Love to rent 1 to shoot

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