The Best M1 Carbine Mags

The Best M1 Carbine Magazines


Finding the best M1 Carbine magazines for your new war baby can be a challenge.  Luckily for you, we've broken down all the features you want to use to evaluate the best M1 carbine magazine for your War Baby.

Should you go for the standard 15-round capacity or try a 30? What are the features you need from your M1 carbine magazine and what can you avoid? These are two questions you’ll find answered here along with everything you could ever want to know about the M1 carbine and its magazines.


The best M1 Carbine mags are the ones made to military specifications, are available for purchase, and are compliant in your state. These magazines will give you an awesome experience at the gun range and they will ensure you are protecting your legacy grade M1 Carbine. If you have one of the new production M1 Carbines, you can try some different styles of magazines without having to worry about premature wear or failure on your historic rifle.




The M1 Carbine - A Brief History


The M1 Carbine, formally the United States Carbine, Caliber .30, M1 is a lightweight, semi-automatic carbine that was a standard firearm for the U.S. military during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. There were several variants of the M1 carbine, including the M2 carbine which was a select-fire version of the M1 Carbine. One of the more rare variants was the M3 Carbine which featured one of the first active infrared scope systems ever fielded.

The M1 Carbine, affectionately called the War Baby was born from a need to fill a void from the limitations of weapons in the U.S. arsenal prior to World War II. The Army Ordnance Department received reports that the full sized M1 Garand was too heavy and cumbersome for most support troops to carry. After the start of World War II this need became more urgent and generated a formal request for a new compact infantry weapon to equip support troops. The requirements were for a lightweight defensive weapon with rgeater range, accuracy and firepower than a handgun, while weighing half as much as the Thompson submachine gun or M1 Garand rifle. Paratroopers were added to the list of intended users and a folding-stock version would be developed specifically for these airborne troops.








Selecting M1 Carbine Magazines



There are many options for you to choose from when searching for the best M1 Carbine mags. One of the first things to consider when purchasing magazines for your M1 is whether or not your M1 Carbine is an original WWII-era firearm or one of the commercial copies. There is nothing wrong with owning ANY M1 Carbine and you should take just as much pride in ownership of your commercial Carbine as you would an original WWII-era. However ownership of an original WWII-era M1 Carbine should consider the next generation who will eventually own your War Baby and that means magazine selection is essential.



Avoiding Lemons


When buying magazines for any firearm, you want to avoid 'lemons' that may have mixed results in your firearm. For the M1 Carbine, you can avoid lemons by staying away from anything made of polymers or produced outside of the normal military specifications. If you own a commercial copy M1 Carbine that is not recently made, you may want to stick to the standard 15-round magazine as your Carbine may not feature an M2 style magazine catch to ensure proper support of the extended 30-round magazine.





Picking Winning Magazines


If you own an original WWII-era M1 Carbine, we recommend avoiding M1 Carbine magazines that have a "bolt hold open" style follower. The main reason for this is your M1 Carbine does not have any sort of bolt hold open mechanism that can be engaged by a magazine. What happens when you use these magazines is after the last round is fired, your original WWII-era Carbine bolt will slam into the back of the magazine follower. You have an obligation to protect and preserve your Carbine for future generations by trying to avoid unnecessary wear and overtime this action will lead to either a cracked bolt or operating rod. The benefit from this purported bolt hold open feature is cancelled out by the risk of damage this presents for your original M1 Carbine.


Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ - Magazine Selection
What is the best M1 carbine magazine?

The best magazine for your original WWII-era M1 Carbine is a military-spec magazine that does not feature a bolt hold-open style follower. The M1 Carbine does not have a bolt hold-open feature that can be engaged by a magazine. If you continuously use a bolt hold-open style magazine in your original M1, the steel-impacting-steel when your magazine is empty will eventually cause a failure in your rifle or magazine.  If your M1 Carbine is a current commercial copy, you can use either style of follower.

Will a 30-round magazine work in my M1 Carbine?

If you own an original WWII-era M1 Carbine, the chances of it having an M2 style magazine catch to support using a 30-round magazine is nearly certain.  You can buy with confidence as when the M2 was fielded the US Army retrofit all existing M1 Carbines with the M2 style magazine catch. There is always a possibility that at some point your Carbine had an M1 style mag catch put on, but this is very unlikely.  All of the currently produced commercial M1 Carbines feature M2 style magazine catches.

Why should I buy a 10-round magazine for my M1 Carbine?

For those who live in restricted capacity states, a 10-round magazine for your M1 Carbine is universally compliant.  The other benefit comes from being able to load a full magazine each cycle starting with a new 50-round box of ammunition.

FAQ - History of the M1 Carbine
Who invented the M1 Carbine?

The M1 Carbine was invented by Fred Humeston, William C. Roemer, and David Marshall Williams.

When was the M1 Carbine invented?

The M1 Carbine was designed from 1938 to 1941. 

How many M1 Carbines were built for the U.S. Military?

During WWII there were 6,121,309 M1 Carbines produced across all variants.


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