M1 Garand for SHTF?

Folks laughed at me when I told them a good choice for SHTF guns were older guns like the M1 Garand and M1 Carbine.  Everyone said ‘get and AR.’  The M1 Garand was first adopted by the U.S. military in 1936.  People thought I was crazy for even suggesting such an old weapon.  Well, there seems to be a shortage of ammo these days.  Very few people are finding ammo for their ARs.  All the .223 and 5.56mm seem to have disappeared.  Maybe I wasn’t so crazy.

I stocked up on surplus .30-06 and .30 carbine a while back, but today I can go to Cabela’s and buy both calibers.  In fact, they have more ammo there than I can afford.  However, they have no .223 at all (no 9mm either).  Go into almost any store that sells ammunition and you can almost always find a box or two of .30-06.

Ammunition availability aside, the Garand would still be a great choice for a long gun.  First of all, the Garand rifle doesn’t look threatening.  Its just wood and steel.  Its not one of those ‘ugly’ black guns so many people fear and are trying to ban.

Second, it only holds 8 rounds.  If high capacity magazines are an issue, the Garand should be immune to any magazine bans.

Third, the .30-06 round has tremendous power and can be found in AP (armor piercing), match, ball and tracer.  The M1 Garand with its .30-06 rounds can turn cover into concealment unless your target is in a tank.

Forth, the reliability of the M1 can not be denied.  It fought in WWII and Korea and was still in use right up until the Vietnam War.  The rifle proved itself in combat in the desert, jungle and snow.

Fifth, the en-bloc clip.  When you’ve fired your 8 rounds, you don’t have to fumble with removing an empty magazine.  The clip ejects all by itself and the action locks open ready for a fresh clip to be inserted.  Speedy reloads.

Lastly, if you need to knock a door in or butt stroke a bad guy, there’s that nice solid hard walnut stock and a steel butt plate.  Try busting a door down with a plastic rifle.

I’m not saying the M1 Garand is better than an AR, I’m just saying when the SHTF you’ll be doing pretty well if you have that big heavy rifle close by.


M1 Garand with en-bloc clips and pouches

With a good supply of loaded en-bloc clips, the M1 Garand stands ready.

A couple of ALICE ammo pouches will carry almost twice as many rounds as soldiers carried into battle in WWII.  Instead of three M-16 magazines I carry 8 loaded clips in each pouch.  Add a pistol belt and suspenders and you can comfortably carry all that ammo.

The M1 Carbine can also be a great choice for a gun to add to your collection.  I’ll save the M1 Carbine for another post.

If you are a prepper, you might want to have a gun like the M1 Garand in your arsenal.  Just maybe there is some validity in having a gun you can find ammo for.


About krasinsk1 Big John Tutorials

I've been an active shooter, reloader and gunsmith for 30+ years. I hold a Bachelor's degree from Montana State University and a Master's degree from the University of Oregon. I enjoy studying, collecting and shooting just about every type and kind of firearm.
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12 Responses to M1 Garand for SHTF?

  1. ted says:

    are you sure it is safe to use that modern commercial ammo in your garand? I have seen evidence to the contrary. That would perhaps invalidate your argument.

    • bigjohnk99 says:

      There are several manufacturers who make ammo specifically for the Garand. Some high pressure ammo has been know to bend the op rod. The Garand ammo keeps the pressure down at the gas port to avoid ant problems.

      • GSP says:

        I think Ted’s point was that in a SHTF scenario, you have to make do with what you find and if all you can find is high pressure hunting ammo, then your M1 Garand may be boned.

  2. Gaston says:

    A $50 adjustable gas plug allows the Garand to be fired with pretty much any modern ammo.

  3. Chris says:

    Change the gas plug and you can use all standard ammo.

    • Ramon says:

      How can we change the gas plug? Isn’t the M1 Set up for 150-165 grain ammo? X

      • bigjohnk99 says:

        Midway USA sells an adjustable gas plug made by Schuster. It comes with a wrench. With the adjustable plug you and adjust the amount of pressure that drive the op rod back. This will allow you to use any .30-06 ammo regardless of bullet weight and power.

  4. Chris says:

    30 06 has twice the energy as a AR at the muzzle and three times at 300 yards. No double taps required.

  5. Nicholas Branch says:

    Hey man, just curious where to get the pouch you have on the but stock of the gun. I’d really like one for mine. Thanks

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