Watch: Why Was the 30 Carbine Cartridge and Carbine Adopted?


Watch: Why Was the 30 Carbine Cartridge and Carbine Adopted?

In this video, Ian of Forgotten Weapons joins another fellow to answer this question from a Patreon supporter:

I was wondering if you could address the choice by the US Army of the M1 Carbine in .30 Carbine, over a full-auto weapon like the Thompson or the grease gun, and in a new and otherwise un-used cartridge, instead of something already in production and in the supply chain.

What practical real world benefit would the .30 Carbine round offer that would offset the nightmare of getting yet another item to troops in all theaters of the war?

Why go to a semi-auto carbine, when the Russians and Germans were proving the effectiveness of full auto SMGs that could also be fired single shot from the shoulder?

While the M1 Carbine is a handy little rifle, it seems like there would have been better options available to the Americans when it was adopted.

In other words, why the 30 carbine?

In my youth, I had similar questions for my father, who was my source of all gun knowledge. At the time, I was befuddled when he told me the M1 carbine had been introduced to replace the 1911 45 ACP pistol in many applications.

The more I learned, the more it made sense to use a light, compact, easy-to-use firearm that could actually place accurate fire at some distance, and the M1 Carbine did that.

I later learned the 30 carbine cartridge was not much good for hunting, especially deer hunting. This did not compute, so I asked, “If it’s not good enough to kill deer reliably, why use it on men?”

Dad’s reply: “Son, people are easy to kill.”

Hard truth: Even prey animals are usually tougher than we are.

As to the fan’s question about a 30 Carbine Tommy Gun.Well, Thompson did make a prototype version chambered in 30 carbine (check it out here), but it was so heavy and unwieldy that it was never even test-fired.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of Karl Kasarda, Ian’s partner in this video. I suspect he will improve with time, but interaction between the two co-hosts isn’t exactly natural. Many of his interjections seem to interrupt the flow of the narrative.

What do you think?

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Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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