General George S. Patton, one of the most important Allied generals of World War II, called the M1 Garand Rifle ‘the greatest battle implement ever devised’. It was the standard issue semi-automatic rifle of the United States armed forces.
The Garand, designed by John Garand in 1928, replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield in 1936 and continued in use until it was replaced by the M14 Rifle in the late 1950s. About 5.5 million of them were made. It was in service until 1959.
It was used by many other countries, including France, Italy, Canada, West Germany and Japan. Even Nazi Germany captured and used the Garand. The British Army looked at replacing its own bolt-action Lee Enfield Rifle, but decided against it after testing suggested it would not suit muddy conditions.
During World War II the Garand gave the U.S forces an advantage over the Axis. It fired faster than the rifles of the Germans and their allies. The barrel of the M1 Garand was cooled by air.
The rifle was cocked by the expanding gas from the previous round. It was fired from the shoulder, and the metal clip contained eight rounds of ammunition, the rifling firing one each time the trigger was pulled. At the end of the eight rounds, the clip was ejected automatically with a pinging sound.
It had an effective firing range of 500 yards (457 meters) and could fire at a rate of 40 -50 rounds per minute. It had both a front and a rear sight.
In this video we see the Garand being fired in slow motion. The rifle is filmed at 600 frames per second.
The Garand is still used by some the U.S. military for drill purposes, notably the Marines Corps and the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary.