Holy Dogma

The guys and girls who made these guns were trying to equip the fastest-growing war machine in human history. They weren’t overly concerned about matching parts or stock cartouches. However, they did put markings on absolutely everything big enough to sport one. This has led to a most fascinating collectors’ milieu.

Most all original carbines were rebuilt at some point at an American arsenal. As part of this process, worn parts were replaced and upgraded components added. Nobody working at these arsenals cared about markings or parts provenance, so rebuilt carbines are typically a mixed-and-matched amalgam of components from a variety of manufacturers. Original, unmolested carbines that have not undergone the rebuild process are therefore markedly more rare and more valuable than the rebuilt sort.

Early carbines had high wood stocks, stubby Type 1 barrel bands, L-shaped flip sights and pushbutton safeties. High wood stocks differ from the later sort in that they have an elevated strip of walnut along the raceway for the slide. Early barrel bands were thin where later versions were slightly wider. The latest Type 3 bands also included a bayonet lug not found on the previous sort. The simple flip sight was later upgraded to a nice adjustable version. Having the pushbutton safety and pushbutton magazine release side-by-side was a recipe for disaster, so subsequent upgrades included a rotating safety lever instead.