Trove of M1 Carbines from Ethiopia to Sell in US


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The M1 Carbine was the most produced infantry weapon manufactured by the United States for World War II. It was developed by Winchester for the troops that needed something more powerful than a pistol but easier to manage than a rifle.

It was intended for noncombat and line-of-communications troops. It became popular with officers, non-commissioned officers, and specialists who were already carrying a multitude of gear.

The M1 Carbine spread to tankers, artillery crews and mortar crews. Eventually, an updated version with a folding stock was created for airborne soldiers.

An M1 Carbine.
An M1 Carbine.

Delivery of the M1 Carbine began in 1942. Soldiers in the European theater were the first to receive the new weapon. By the end of the war, five million had been produced. They were manufactured so quickly and in such quantities that the government cancelled all contracts by the end of the war and the factories had to lay off the workers.

The haul of rifles in Ethiopia.
The haul of rifles in Ethiopia.

The M1 Carbine remained very popular after the war. It was still used by the US Army in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Ironically, the Viet Cong had obtained M1 Carbines from some of the countries that the US had sold their surplus, meaning US forces were facing enemies using weapons produced in America.

Into the 1960s, the US government would sometimes release a quantity of stockpiled M1 Carbines for purchase by the American public. After that point, stockpiles would be located around the world and liquidated to the public. But lately, collectors and enthusiasts have had a harder time tracking down an authentic WWII M1 Carbine.

Welgand with two Carbines. Behind him can be seen stacks of more rifles.
Welgand with two Carbines. Behind him can be seen stacks of more rifles.

Now, Royal Tiger Imports has announced that they have located a trove of M1 Carbines in Ethiopia. The M1 Carbine was manufactured by a number of manufacturers during WWII and Royal Tiger has obtained models from every one of them except Irwin-Pederson and Quality Hardware Manufacturing Corp.

The weapons were part of the stockpile the Ethiopian government obtained from various governments around the world.

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  1. I have lusted after an M1 Carbine ever since reading (the late) famed lawman Jim Cirillo’s opinion that the .30 Carbine cartridge (with a hollowpoint bullet) came closest to being a true one-shot stopper of any cartridge he had ever seen used. Even better than .44 Magnum or a 12-ga (00 or slugs).

    Cirillo averaged about one shoot-out a year over the 22 years he was an NYC cop. His coup stick had so many notches it was whittled down to little more than an orchestra conductor’s baton, so it stands to reason he was speaking from direct personal experience.

    But the problem always has been cost, which I found needlessly inflated. Even surplus M1 Carbines usually cost more than some truly excellent entry-level AR-15s, like the S&W MP15. Hopefully, this increase in the supply will burst the cost bubble.

  2. That’s a ton of Enfields and “Jungle” Enfields in that first picture. Always thought that jungle version was pretty slick even if it wasn’t the most accurate.

    An old M1 was the first real rifle I bought. $150 beat to hell and back 1943 Inland and bought with lawn mowing money. Still with the folks as a groundhog dispatcher. That 5mm Johnson conversion would’ve gained some ground in the early market if it weren’t for the AR I think.

    Hornady makes a modern JHP style defensive bullet for it but I’d like to see a .30 cal version of their XTP bullet instead. Feeding would be smoother I believe, a slightly lighter projectile would increase velocity and the truncated meplat and soft core would conceivably increase terminal performance over the standard RN fodder.

  3. Price will not go down. CMP will keep the best for themselves and sell the junk at outrageous prices.
    That’s how they do the M1 Garand.
    Just try to find a Collector Grade or Correct Grade Garand at CMP. They only auction those.
    I bought one from Collectors Firearms a few years ago because CMP never had any that were worth it.
    Springfield Armory 1955 M1 Garand excellent condition, minor handling marks on the stock, included the sling. I had a FFL03 at the time and I got a Veteran discount and free shipping. $1525 to my door. I changed the gas plug to one for modern ammo. Apparently un-issued and never fired as I had to zero it.

  4. I find it incredibly that these weapons were allowed to leave Ethiopia. I can understand why collectors or sportsmen would want these fine Carbines but I understand that Haile Selassie’s personal weapons were taken and firearms marked Taitu. Possibly Menelek II also.
    Purchases are excited but most don’t know the history of Ethiopia and consider how these weapons got out of Ethiopia. If I’m missing something please let me know.


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