Airing out history Part 2
The generational gap between the M1 and M16
By Dennis Adler
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.
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 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.
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.
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.