M1 Garand rifle, used throughout World War II and the Korean War.

The History of the M1 Garand —
From World War II to Korea

World War II to Korea

About 1.5 million M1 Garands were produced by the same manufacturers between the end of World War II in 1945 and the end of production in 1957. Harrington & Richardson and International Harvester built M1s during 1953 through 1956. A final and very small lot was built at Springfield Armory in early 1957, using components already on hand. Beretta also built some M1s using Winchester tooling.

The M1 Garand Rifle, right side view.

The History of the M1 Garand Rifle


John Garand, the Inventor


The Early Designs and Initial Adoption


Springfield Armory and World War II Production


From World War II to Korea


The M1 Garand After 1957

Garand showing his rifle design to several military officers in the early 1950s.

John Garand showing his rifle design to several military officers in the early 1950s.

Much of the M1 inventory underwent repair or rebuilding at the arsenals after World War II.

The U.S. Marine Corps officially adopted the M1C as their sniper rifle in 1951, modifying it the following year with a different scope and flash hider.

Many standard M1s were converted to the M1D sniper model during the Korean War, but few made it to that theatre. The M1C was the principal sniper weapon of the U.S. Army in Korea, and the standard sniper rifle of the USMC.

The M1 was used by U.S. forces in Korea, and starting immediately after World War II, sold or given to U.S. allies. This eventually included America's WWII adversaries Germany, Japan, and Italy!

Korea was the source of several of the stories about how the enemy infantry had learned that the Garand's empty clip made a distinctive metallic "ping" as it ejected. They would listen for that sound and then rush what they thought to be a suddenly unarmed American position.

In turn, Americans troops learned to throw an empty clip while firing the first of eight rounds in a fresh clip — possibly luring the enemy out of cover to face an M1 with seven rounds remaining.

Two U.S. Marines overlooking the Naktong River, South Korea, 19 August 1950.
U.S. Marines providing marksmanship training for South Korean troops, 1952.

The Wikipedia page has a list of its users. Reorganized into table form, that data is shown below.

Nations Using the M1 Garand Rifle
Nation Number Date Notes
Argentina about 30,000 before 1964 Some were converted to accept magazines
Brazil "large numbers" early 1950s Some were converted to 7.62x51mm NATO and to accept FN FAL magazines
Cambodia ? ?
Denmark 69,810 prior to 1964 Received from U.S. government
20,000 ? Purchased from Italy
Ethiopia 20,700 1960s
France 232,500 1950-1964 Addition units used by Free French Forces and the French Foreign Legion
West Germany 46,750 prior to 1965
Greece 186,090 prior to 1975 Also 1,880 M1C/M1D
Indonesia 55,000 to 78,000 prior to 1971 Also a few M1Cs, plus some from Italy
Iran 165,490 prior to 1964
Israel up to 60,000 prior to 1975
Italy 232,000 1950-1970 Plus 100,000 built under license by Beretta
Jordan estimated 25,000-30,000 prior to 1974 Plus 100,000 built under license by Beretta
Japan ? after 1945 Manufactured by Howa for the Japan Self-Defense Forces
Laos 36,270 1950-1975
Norway 72,800 prior to 1964
Pakistan possibly 150,000 prior to 1975
Paraguay 30,750 prior to 1975
Philippines 34,300 1950-1975 Plus 2,630 M1D
Saudi Arabia 34,530 prior to 1975
South Korea 296,450 1964-1974
South Vietnam 220,300 1950-1975 Plus 520 M1C/M1D
Thailand 40,000 prior to 1965
Turkey 312,430 1953-1970
Venezuela 55,670 prior to 1975
John Garand and his children read the comics.

John Garand was awarded two government medals for his work: the Medal for Meritorious Service in 1941, and the Medal for Merit in 1944. However, he received no royalties for his design, he had signed over all patents of his invention to the U.S. Government. He was simply paid as an engineer for Springfield Armory, and he never earned more than $12,000 a year during his 34-year career with the U.S. Ordnance Corps. There was a attempt to give him a $100,000 cash award in appreciation for his work — a bill was introduced in the Congress but it was not passed.

Garand stayed on in his position as a consulting engineer until he retired in 1953. He died in 1974, still living in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The M1 Garand rifle was the direct ancestor of the M14 rifle.

The M14 replaced the M1 as the standard service rifle in 1957. However, that was not the end of the M1's career, even within the U.S. military....

John Garand after his retirement.
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