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M1 .30 Caliber Carbine
M2 .30 Caliber Carbine
M3 .30 Caliber Carbine

The M1 carbine was developed to provide better protection to service troops than standard issue pistols, when caught under surprise attack during envelopment movements by enemy forces. The M1 carbine filled a need for a weapon heavier than a pistol, but lighter than a rifle for issue to company-grade officers and NCOs. The M1 carbine proved to be such an effective light weight weapon that it was also carried for protection by heavy and light weapons teams. All models of the M1 carbine family (including the M2 and M3 carbines) fired a .30 caliber carbine cartridge from 15-round and 30-round detachable box magazines. Though the 2 types of magazines could be used in either type, the M1 types were generally issued with 15-round magazines, while the M2s and M3s were generally issued with 30-round magazines.

The M1 carbine had only a semi-automatic fire capability. M1A1 was also a semi-automatic weapon, but featured a folding metal buttstock, designed specifically for use by paratroopers. The M1A2 was fitted with an improved sight, adjustable for elevation and windage. In the end, this variant was not produced and the new sight was fitted to existing M1 and M1A1 carbines. An improved version of the M1A1 was also developed, replacing the original side-folding stock and a pantograph stock. The end of the Second World War and the reduction in demand for such weapons resulted in the M1A3 also not being produced in quantity

During the Second World War, a select-fire variant capable of either fully automatic or semi-automatic fire was also developed and designated as the M2 carbine. The M3 carbine was a specially modified variant of the M2 with a grooved receiver for attaching the T3 scope mount. This was used for mounting an infrared 4x "Snooper Scope" sniper scope.

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