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The M1 Garand (more formally the United States Rifle, Caliber .30, M1) was the first semi-automatic rifle in the world to be generally issued to infantry. It officially replaced the Springfield M1903 rifle as the standard service rifle of the United States military in 1936, and was in turn replaced by the M14 (which was derived from the M1) in 1957.

The M1 was used heavily in World War II, the Korean War, and, to a limited extent, in the Vietnam War. Most M1 rifles were issued to American troops, though many were lent to other nations. It is still used by various drill teams and is a popular civilian firearm. The name "Garand" is pronounced variously as [gəˈrand] or [ˈgærənd]; descendants (and close friend Julian Hatcher) of the rifle's designer, John Garand, generally agree it should be the latter.
[BREAK=History]
The M1 was developed by Springfield Armory firearms designer John Garand. The prototypes were refined during the 1920s and 1930s. Although officially adopted in 1932, it did not formally enter service until 1936, and then only through an executive decision by then-Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur. The first production model was successfully proof-fired, function-fired, and fired for accuracy on July 21, 1937.

Springfield Armory produced modest quantities of the M1 Garand in the late 1930s and in ever-increasing numbers from 1940 to late 1945. Following the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Winchester Repeating Arms Company of New Haven, Connecticut, was awarded a production contract. Winchester deliveries began in 1941 and ended in 1945. The British Army tested the M1 Garand as a possible replacement for its Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk III bolt-action rifle, but rejected it after a series of environmental tests designed to simulate combat conditions.

John Garand presents his rifle to Army officials.


The M1's semi-automatic capability gave United States forces a significant advantage in firepower and shot-to-shot response time over individual enemy infantry in battle (German and Japanese soldiers were usually armed with manually operated bolt-action rifles). The impact of the Garand and faster-firing infantry small arms in general soon stimulated both Allied and Axis forces to greatly augment issue of semi- and fully-automatic weapons then in production, as well as to develop new types of infantry firearms. The Garand remains popular among civilian weapons collectors and enthusiasts all over the world. General George S. Patton acknowledged the rifle's prowess when he called it "the greatest implement of battle ever devised."
Much of the M1 rifle inventory in the post-WWII period underwent arsenal repair or rebuilding. While U.S. forces were still engaged in the Korean War, the Department of Defense determined a need for additional production of the Garand, and two new contracts were awarded. During the period of 1953 to 1956, M1 Garand rifles were produced by International Harvester at their Evansville, Indiana, facility and by Harrington & Richardson Arms Co. in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Beretta firm in Italy also produced Garands using Winchester tooling. Most recently, the M1 was produced by Springfield Armory, Inc. of Geneseo, Illinois, which is a commercial firm sharing the name of the military arsenal. This commercial variant is offered in either .30-06 Springfield or .308 Winchester chambering.
The M1 proved to be an excellent rifle throughout its service in World War II and the Korean War. The Japanese even developed a prototype copy for their own use near the end of World War II, but it never reached the production stage. Some Garands were still being used in the Vietnam War in 1963; despite the M14's official adoption in 1957, it was not until 1965 that the changeover from the M1 Garand was completed (with the exception of the sniper variants, which were introduced in WWII and saw action in Korea and Vietnam).

Some military drill teams still use the M1, including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Team, and the Norwegian Royal Guards Drill Team. In certain high school Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) units, M1 rifles are used for regular and interschool competition drills, including elaborate exhibition spinning routines similar to a majorette spinning a baton. For safety reasons, JROTC M1s are permanently disabled by having a metal rod welded into the barrel. In place of wooden stocks, exhibition teams often use fiberglass stocks, the former being heavier and more prone to breakage when dropped.
 
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