Early twin carb Knuck in VL Frame

Early twin carb Knuck in VL Frame
This is a fine example of KNUCKIN FUTTY! An early Bonneville Lakester sportin' a dual carb Knuck in a VL frame!! Gotta Love It!!!!


A Rifleman is not simply an owner of a Rifle. A Rifleman not only has a proper rifle, they know how to use it accurately under a wide array of conditions and situations. A Rifleman is 90% Mindset, 10% Guns & Gear!! 

Stay Tuned here if you are interested in the Art of the Rifle.

The M1 Garand For Homeland Defense
by Dan Hendrickson
aka Garand69
written for Gun Culture Forum, Jul 9 05-
Revised .03.04.2014


Purpose of post:

To inform the forum membership about the validity of the M1 Garand when incorporated into a CIDG/Homeland Defense role based on the reasons why I chose it. These reasons have several roots, some personal opinion, some personal experience, and some just plain fact. I hope that this post is informative to those who have not settled on an MBR yet, or are considering moving up to a larger caliber.

What this post is not:

I am not in any way shape or form starting a "My rifle is better than your rifle" controversy that will waste everyone’s time and energy. While my opinions are strong, they are only my opinions. I am in no way trying to convert anyone, so if you feel that your rifle is the greatest rifle on the planet, wonderful, keep using it, and master it.

Some Background:

My background with firearms starts with my Grandfather and while I admit I don't blindly agree with everything he said, I do believe that his reasoning is what has shaped my opinions on firearms. He was a "Lifer" in the U.S. Military starting his service in 1940 (Pacific Theater) and retiring in 1980, and he was a competitive High Power Rifle shooter and Bullseye Pistol shooter for the majority of those years. Personally I think his opinion was more than qualified.

While he was always an avid collector of firearms he always said that all anybody ever needed was 5-6 guns in 4 calibers to do anything that could ever possibly come up in North America. They were 2 pistols, .22lr & .45acp, two rifles, .22lr & 30-06, and one shotgun, 12ga. He also taught me to always count the rounds as I shot them. He would often stop me in midstream while shooting and ask how many rounds that I had left, and that answer better be right! It was drilled so much that I always count rounds to this day, I even find myself doing it with a single shot, it is just habit ( more on round counting later).

My background includes being an NRA certified Rifle & Handgun Instructor, an NRA certified Range Safety Officer, I started an American Legion based CMP affiliated gun club in 2003, where we hosted monthly matches (pistol oct-apr, rifle apr-oct.) and I attended High Power/Service Rifle matches 2-3 times per year (not nearly as often as I should today though). I was a 1st Generation “Fred Head” and was the IL State Coordinator for the RWVA Appleseed Project as well as Rifle Instructor. In March of 2010, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to help 12 other Rifle Instructors train 50 members of the US Army's 2nd Engineer Battalion long distance marksmanship/SDM. We were the last training they received prior to deployment to Afghanistan. After Fred purged the majority of 1st generation “Fred Heads”, including myself, several of us Co-Founded the United States Riflemans Association. Enough about me, lets get to the rifle.

Why The M1 Garand?

#1 Battle proven in every conceivable weather condition in 3 major conflicts. Desert war in Africa, Tropical war in the Pacific, Bitter cold in Europe, Aleutions, and Korea etc. etc. etc. No other U.S. issued Semi Auto or Selective fire MBR has seen every weather condition on such a large scale. This rifle was also a favorite among Vietnamese Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG) set up by the CIA during the Viet Nam war.

#2 Low parts count. While a low parts count alone does not make something more reliable or less complicated, it does have a major benefit in regards to Murphy's Law. The only MBR that has fewer parts than the M1's 62 total is the M14's 61 total. The FAL has 143, the AR has 119, the HK91 has 92

#3 It's not a clone. If that statement offends you, go back to the top where it says "what this post is not". It is a personal opinion of mine that "clones" are NOT the same as the military issued rifle that they pretend to be. If you think a cheap clone is suitable for defending your life fine, but I would not use one for that purpose. The high end clones such as those from DSA, LRB or Springfield Armory are excellent rifles, BUT, they are still parts kits on new receivers, in SA's case a cast receiver, and they are NOT battle proven on a large scale. Sure the design is, but the rifle is not. There is not one clone company that I have not heard complaints about at one point or another. And the later the production, the less mil-spec parts are used. This is especially true with the Springfield M1-A's.

#4 Loved by soldiers that were issued it. I am very active with the American Legion and have discussed the subject with several vets from WWII through Desert Storm. I have never met a US GI that did not love his M1 Garand. That cannot be said about the M-16 platform or the M-14 (Though the only complaints about the M-14 that I have heard was in full auto).

#5 Effective Combat Range & Accuracy. It is hard to beat an M1 when it comes to combat range & accuracy. While the action on the M1 is not the most accurate design, compared to say the way an M-16 action locks up, the excellent sights coupled with a long sight radius and excellent trigger really add to the combat accuracy. While the 30-06 cartridge lethality stretches past the 7.62X51 a solid 100-150 yards. Now please understand I am talking combat, not match shooting. Yes your National Match M-1A or AR is more accurate BUT that tight match chamber is not suitable for combat because it reduces reliability. I don't care if you have put 1000 rounds through it at the range with never a malfunction, as soon as you put it in a combat (ie dirty) environment you will have problems. So lets compare apples to apples, mil-spec chambers to mil-spec chambers etc. etc.

#6 Cost. The M1 is one of the cheapest MBRs out there. Again let's compare apples to apples. Cheap clones are cheap clones, As a citizen of the USA you can't buy REAL M14's, FAL's, G3's etc unless you have the money and license to own selective fire weapons and live in a state that let's you have them. The selective fire part isn't the real issue because I feel it is useless from a Homeland Defense standpoint, but the "REAL" part is an issue. For the cost of a high end clone FAL or M1A you can buy 3 service grade M1s or 5 rack Grade M1s from the CMP www.odcmp.com. Are they perfect? of course not, but they are ready for action with some cleaning. If you bought 3 Service Grades and picked the best one and cleaned up and sold two for the current gunshow price of $800-950.00ea that is a lot of ammo and spare parts.

#7 No Magazines. The 8rd enbloc clip is always a been a reason for people to bash the M1. That bashing is really unjustified, especially in a homeland defense sense. Why? In any semi-auto firearm that uses a detachable magazine, the source of most feeding problems stems from the magazine itself. The M1 clip can be reused indefinitely whereas detachable mags wear out and need springs replaced and mag lips recontured. Good magazines are not cheap (M1-A) plus you will need stripper clips and a mag charger for the balance of your combat load anyway. Another interesting thing about the M1 clip is its weight, 40 rounds of 30-06 in (5) M1 clips weigh less than 40 rounds of .308 in (2) 20 round M14 magazines. Now I have been hearing the weight issue as an excuse to choose the .223 over .308 for years and so have you, so I will use it to favor the M1 here. 

Not only is it lighter it also takes up less room, you can fit (6) 8rd M1 clips in an M16 mag pouch were as you can only fit (2) 20 round M14 mags. and that 48 rounds of '06 still weighs less! The 8 round limit is not much of an issue in a Homeland Defense sense, I don't foresee human wave tactics being used against the militia, and 8rnds are a lot easier to count than 20. Viet Nam era grenade vests are also another viable carry option.

While I've heard recommendations about putting tracers a few rounds from the bottom of a mag so that you know you have only "X" rounds left but I don't care to use tracers to mark my position, I would rather use them to mark the enemies position for my team when I choose to. I also use 8 round 1911 clips in my combat load which makes remembering even easier. If you fire and maneuver the M1 will not be much of a disadvantage.

Now about that pesky M1 clip ejecting to god knows where, that is easily fixed with a Holbrook Thumbsaver. This device can be added to an M1 with no permanent modifications. The clever device keeps the clip in the rifle after the last shot, you eject it manually by depressing the clip ejector on the left side of the rifle. It also holds the bolt open after you reload, to close the bolt you pull it back just like the M14 (hence the thumbsaver moniker), and last but not least you can top off with loose ammo. That neat and reliable little device fixes the 2nd biggest problem with the M1, The biggest problem with the M1 to me is scope mounting I don't have a scope on mine because of it, but if I do scope an M1 I will drill the barrel for a scout mount. I don't like offset scopes and "no gunsmith" mounts.

#8 Ammunition. The unmodified M1 prefers mil spec ammo (as do most MBRs), but, with an adjustable gas plug you can shoot anything from 110gr to 220gr bullets you just have to experiment a little. Availability is everywhere, I see M2 Ball Greek HXP (1970's-80's mfr) advertised for 200rnds for $130 shipped. I know it is not the “384 rounds in clips and bandoliers for $79.00 (sometimes less)” that it was when this article was originally written, but it is still a good deal. This is reloadable brass not throw away. For good reloadable .308 surplus in strippers and bandoliers (if you can even find it) your paying about the same or more. AP and Tracer are readily available, and even API was recently listed on the CMP website.

#9 Virtually Ambidextrous. Safety in center, ejects up, loads from top. I'm right handed but in a militia sense you should be able to use your rifle weak handed.

#10 True Cost and spare parts. $1500 will get you a CMP Service Grade HRA ($650), 1000 rnds M2 Ball, loose ($650), 4 M1 Garand Bandoleer Repacks w/6 clips ea ($100) (look for ammo in clips, it is out there and is the best way to buy it), Buttstock Cleaning Kit, A full set of springs, Sling and a set of bolt internal parts ($100ish)

In summary I hope you have benefited from this post. If you have never shot an M1 before you owe it to yourself to do so, you would be surprised how easy it is to hit long range targets with it and how mild the recoil is. There are CMP M1 clinics all over the country and they supply the rifle and ammo. Get some good Marksmanship Training at a USRA American Marksmanship Clinic or if that is not available, an Appleseed Shoot (preferable full distance). At my age, my idea of possible conflicts involve 400+ yard harassment and scout/DM situations and the M1 fits that role well. While I love the M-1A I just can't justify the cost (unless I find one below market). Also if you already have, or have to have a .308, you can rebarrel an M1 and still be well under the cost of a DSA FAL HK91 or SA M1-A. As a man on a budget it's my best choice. Just my $.52 worth.