MKS, the muscle behind Hi Point, has had so much success with their Ohio-made polymer stocked carbines in the past twenty years that they are reaching back into the old historical archives to bring out a classic rifle of the U.S. military. Yup, MKS is going to be selling M1 Carbines.


(Photo by Inland)

The "War Baby"

In 1937, the U.S. Army adopted the beautiful and efficient M-1 Rifle of Mr. John Garand as the standard combat arm of the country's solders, replacing the Springfield 1903 bolt-action rifle that had served since before the First World War. The Garand was the best battle rifle of its day. Semi-automatic, it held 8-rounds of hard-hitting 30.06 in an enbloc clip and could spit them out as fast as the soldier armed with it could pull the trigger. It could be fitted with a bayonet, a rifle grenade launcher, and was accurate out to 800-yards or better. However, it was huge and heavy at well over 9-pounds and over 43-inches long due to its 24-inch barrel. This led the military to search for a compact rifle that could be used by non-combat types such as truck drivers, cooks, and clerks, who didn't need to lug around a 30.06 rifle that they likely would rarely use, but still needed more firepower than what a pistol allowed.

In the end this search produced the M1 Carbine, with, as you know, the term 'carbine' being a designation for a short-rifle. This handy little semi-auto, since it used a 18-inch barrel and a miniaturized action due to its shorter 7.62x32mm (.30 Cal carbine) round, gave a gun that was just under a yardstick in length. Weight was a comfortable 5-ish pounds. Fed by detachable 15 or 30 shot magazines, these little carbines were very popular and were soon used by tank crews, paratroopers, NCO's and others who rather a shorter rifle than the M1 Garand, while still able to hit reliable targets out to 100-yards or so.


(Photo by Inland)

Between 1941-45, over 6 million carbines were made by companies as diverse as Rock Ola (the jukebox people), Underwood (the typewriter guys), IBM (see Underwood), and Inland who made car parts for GM (more about this in a minute). This latter company churned out nearly 3-million by themselves.


(A U.S.Marine with his trusty M1 Carbine in WWII, odds are, it was made by Inland)

Popular throughout WWII, Korea and the early part of Vietnam, the M1 Carbine was only fully replaced in U.S. service by the M16 in the late 1960s.

After the war a number of makers like Universal and Plainfield jumped on the huge stash of GI surplus parts to produce new (well, new-ish) M1 Carbines for the civilian market. Recently the born-again Auto Ordnance Company (owned by Kahr) started making all-new M1s here in the states.

Now they have some competition.

MKS's offering

Based in Dayton, Ohio, MKS Supply is the company behind Hi Point and Chiappa. Now they have teamed up with a reborn Inland Manufacturing (Facebook) to market a series of M1 Carbines that are almost identical to the ones carried by the GI's of WWII. Like the war babies, they are 100 percent U.S. built from U.S. parts (just like Hi-Points are). They even contain the same arsenal-stamped cartouches stock markings and 1944-style battle sights.

These guns, in fact, are so near to their predecessor that the press release from the company states, "The new Inland carbines are so precisely copied from the original specifications that the company marks the underside of the barrel and the inside of the stock of these current models to prevent potential fraudsters from passing these new carbines as mint WWII originals."


(Photo by Inland)

These guns will come in three variants:


(Photo by Inland)

M1 1944 wood stocked original design without bayonet lug - MSRP $1049.00
M1 1945 wood stocked original design with bayonet lug - MSRP $1049.00
M1A1 Paratrooper original design with folding heavy wire buttstock - MSRP $1179.00


(Photo by Inland)

How they compare to Hi Point carbines

The good old Hi Point carbine will continue in popular production, after all, MKS is a distributor and Inland is apparently a new player on their roster. Side by side, the two guns are vastly different. The Hi Point 995, 4045, and 4595 are all pistol-caliber short rifles with 10-shot magazines inside their pistol grips in 9mm, 40S&W and .45ACP respectively. Using a blowback action, the Hi Point is uber-simple while the polymer stock makes it lightweight at about the same weight (5.75-pounds) as the M1 Carbine, but is slightly shorter at about 32-inches long than the old war baby.

The M1 Carbine has a few advantages over the Hi-Point, such as a harder-hitting caliber, 30 round detachable magazines, options for a folding stock and a bayonet lug. However, the gun is also a bit more in price than the polymer Hi Point.

In the end though, there is enough room in the world for both of them, especially if production and competition from Auto Ordnance, drops the MSRP of these new M1s down to a more affordable figure.