By Linda Levan,
V-P Women of the ISRPA
My father’s favorite rifle was the M1 Garand. We frequently spent time looking at his collection and talking about this rifle’s history. He liked to repeat General George C. Patton description of the M1 Garand as “the greatest battle implement ever devised.”
The M1 rifle was named after Canadian-American designer John Garand. The M1 Garand is a .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle that was designed for long range accuracy. It was the standard U.S. service rifle during World War II and the Korean War, and saw some limited use during the Vietnam War. Approximately six million M1 Garands were produced between 1936 and 1957 by Springfield Armory, Winchester, Rock Island Arsenal, International Harvester, and Harrington & Richardson. The M1 Garand was replaced by the M14 rifle in the early 1960s.
The M1 Garand was designed for semi-automatic fire using a spring steel clip containing eight rounds. This is where the term “clip” originated. All other rifles used a detachable or fixed magazine.
Most M1 rifles were issued to U.S. forces, though many hundreds of thousands were also provided as foreign aid to American allies. The Garand is still used by drill teams and military honor guards. It is also widely used by civilians for hunting, target shooting, and as a military collectible.
United States citizens who meet certain qualifications may purchase U.S. military surplus M1 rifles through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The CMP is run by the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (CPRPFS), a not-for-profit corporation chartered by the United States Congress in 1996 to instruct citizens in marksmanship and promote practice and safety in the use of firearms.
The M1 Garand represents a piece of history so I decided to get some hands on training. I met with Master Class shooter David Clark, who has shot on the Indiana Service Rifle Team at the National matches for the past three years. The National Matches were first held in 1903, moved to Camp Perry, OH in 1907 and continue to take place every summer at Camp Perry. The National Matches have become a huge, national shooting sports festival with well over 6,000 annual participants. School students and competition event shooters range from beginners to many of the world’s best.
David demonstrated how to properly shoot the M1 Garand in the standing, sitting/kneeling, and prone positions using a sling. I was challenged by the use of a sling but quickly learned how helpful it was in controlling recoil.
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This article is written in honor of my father, Arthur Levan (1936-2017), a lifetime member of ISRPA
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