Airing out history Part 2

Airing out history Part 2

The generational gap between the M1 and M16

By Dennis Adler

The M1 Carbine has a barrel length of 17.25 inches while the DPMS, being an SBR, has a shorter 10.25 inch barrel. The respective overall lengths are 35.8 inches and 30.4 inches, with the stock extended, collapsed, the DPMS is only 26.6 inches in length. (An M1A1 is 25.75 inches with the metal stock folded.)

There is more than a generational gap between the M1 and M16 as rifles, there is an even greater one between the generations that have used them. We are talking WWII-era veterans still living, Korean War veterans and early Vietnam War veterans, versus those who have served post Vietnam in actions around the world over the last four decades. We are talking three generations of American soldiers between the M1 and today’s M16-based Carbines. Updated versions of the later M14 (based on the M1 Garand) are still in use today by the U.S. military for combat missions, as well as being used as a ceremonial rifle, while the M1 Carbine has become more of a sportsman’s rifle (reproductions and originals), with very fine WWII and Korean War examples more in the collectible firearms category. The generational gap among M1 Carbine owners today is often as diverse as the gap between the M1 and the M16 itself. Think of it as the rifle version of choosing between a Colt Model 1911 and a Glock 17. You know what category you fall into.

The DPMS is a small package, at least in length, with the stock collapsed. It is still a big rifle with a height (including magazine) of 10.0 inches.

To make an M1 Carbine as compact as the DPMS, you would need an M1A1 with the metal stock folded. This is a new .30 caliber model of WWII design built today by Inland Manufacturing, the same company (by name) that built the M1A1 Paratrooper model during WWII. Originally, Inland Manufacturing was a division of GM. The new Inland Manufacturing Co. was established in 2013 to produce reproductions of the WWII M1 and M1A1 carbines.

Comparing extremes

When you set aside the 70 year separation between the M1 Carbine the DPMS Panther centerfire models, and look at the two guns in a simply comparative light, it is only the materials used in their construction, difference in calibers and cartridge capacity, and the advantage of select fire (which the M2 Carbine had in 1944) that honestly separates them. Minus the select fire option of the DPMS (only available to military and law enforcement), the two are both semi-auto rifles, and no different than any other semi-auto rifle in general operation and firing capability. This applies equally to the CO2 models, which share the same dimensions and features as their centerfire counterparts.

The M1 Carbine with the wood stock has an elegant look and fine balance in the hand with the weight of the CO2 model very close to that of the .30 caliber WWII model. The modern DPMS is a smaller gun to carry with the stock collapsed, but it’s heavier and with the longer (higher capacity) magazine, and larger receiver, it’s a bigger gun despite its shorter length.

The great advantage the DPMS has over the M1 Carbine, in both cartridge firing and CO2 versions, is the collapsible stock. To make an M1 Carbine that small you hand to have M1A1 Paratrooper model with a folding metal stock. The DPMS with the stock fully extended is only 5.4 inches shorter than the M1 Carbine since it is an SBR.

The magazine release is typical of AR platforms with a large oval button on the right side of the lower receiver and within easy reach of the trigger finger. The left side magazine thumb release on the Crosman is a molded-in, non-functional component, just like the gun’s AR-style forward assist. The latter isn’t necessary for a BB model, but the left side magazine release would have made the gun faster to handle like a centerfire AR.

The magazine release on the M1 Carbine is just ahead of the safety selector, and easy to operate with the trigger finger.

Overall length for the DPMS Panther SBR is 30.4 inches compared to the M1 Carbine at 35.8 inches. Height, however, is one area where these two really differ. Even with the slightly deeper CO2 BB magazine included, the M1 Carbine is 6.125 inches from the top of the rear sight to the base of the magazine. The DPMS, with its much longer magazine, deeper receiver, and tall rear sight, consumes 10.0 inches. And the final factor is overall weight with magazine. The DPMS weighs in at 6.5 pounds, while the M1 CO2 Carbine is a lighter 5.7 pounds. Both guns shoulder and sight quickly, so one has no advantage over the other with iron sights. The option to fit the DPMS with optics, does, however, give it a great advantage. But there are also scope mounts made for the .30 caliber M1 Carbine that should work with the CO2 model. But for now, this is a test of open sights and accuracy fired semi-auto from the shoulder. That is the common denominator that bridges the generation gap.

Two guns generations apart yet with much the same capabilities. Which way do you lean on picking one over the other? Saturday, we’ll find out which handles the best and delivers on accuracy at 10 meters using standard iron sights and semi-auto operation.

In Part 3 the guns go to the range for a 10 meter shoulder fired and bench rested match.

A word about safety

Blowback action air rifles provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.

10 thoughts on “Airing out history Part 2

  1. I have a DPMS SBR. Love it. It’s a great package because u get SBR performance and style without paying Uncle Sugar $200 and waiting a year just to buy it. I put a fake airsoft suppressor on mine and did a rattle can camo job. Looks really close to the HK 416’s they use on “SEAL TEAM”.
    The M1 Carbine with the wood stock looks great, but I don’t think I’m going to pull the trigger on it.(Saving my pennies at the moment for the Cimarron 1860 Transitional Conversion in .45 LC) Now if they would roll out a full scale wood stocked M1 Garand with Colt SAA style cartridges and the Cowboy rifle CO2 system, I would be the first in line. I want a Garand, but prices on them are ridiculous right now!



      • Amen to that! I don’t see why the SAA shells couldn’t be stretched to .30-06 dimensions. The “shell” would look like a blank .30 cal round. And of course use surplus M1 en bloc clips.



    • Can you please tell me what I’d need to know about the ability to add a airsoft mock suppressor or barrel extension to the DPMS? will any airsoft mock suppressors or barrel extension work? (never owned an airsoft) I’m not a fan of the stock stubby muzzle end cap and would like something that at least makes the barrel look longer and hopefully maybe something cool looking.


      • Search ‘airsoft suppressors” on Pyramid Air. Anything with a 14mm thread will work. The end cap on the DPMS is a backwards thread so be aware when you remove it. The suppressor threads on normally. I painted mine tan with no camo pattern for contrast, like the guys use on “SEAL TEAM”. If u want the short stubby look I’d leave the end cap on. The suppressor will give you about the same OAL as a 16 inch barreled AR15.


  2. I had anM1A but sold it rather than register it as an Assault Rifle. One trick is when you fold the metal stock forward you can use the metal butt as a forward hand grip. Would definitely make a nice co2 variant


  3. A factor in favor of the M1 Carbine is the price of spare mags.$35 vs $ 50 for the dual co2 DPMS. Since the DPMS works with a single left sided c02 a fairer shoot off would be a single co2 and loaded with 15 rounds.


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