The M1 Garand was the standard US rifle in World War II. Designed to replace the old M1903 Springfield, the M1 was semi-automatic and held 8 rounds of the same ammo the Springfield used (.30-06). The rifle served until the beginning of the Vietnam War. It is quoted by General George S. Patton that "the M1 Garand is the greatest battle implement ever devised."
The M1 Garand is a gas operated, semi-automatic rifle. It was designed by Springfield Armory worker, John Garand. The military was looking for a semi-automatic rifle to replace the bolt-action M1903 "Springfield" series. Garand competed with most notably, John Browning (who designed a series of key machine guns and shotguns used in both World Wars), and John Thompson (who designed the Thompson Sub-machine Gun).
Garand's first prototype was designed in 1922, but still didn't meet military specifications. Originally, Garand's design was to use the .276 Pedersen cartridge and had an internal magazine capacity of 10 rounds. This caliber was rejected for logistic reasons as the Army wanted a single caliber for all its light rifles and machine guns. Nearly a decade later, Garand's product was finalized and was adopted as the U.S. Rifle Cal. 30 M1. It could shoot faster than the Springfield, at the same range and accuracy the Springfield had. By 1943, the M1 Garand was standard issued to the average soldier. The rifle was used all across World War II, from Europe to the Pacific. Different variants of the M1 Garand would come up after World War II. The M1C and M1D "Sniper" Variants are most notable. The M1 Garand snipers were used in Korea. The Sniper Garand was unimpressive, because of the en bloc clip system, the scope couldn't be mounted on top of the gun, unlike the Springfield. Instead the scope was on the left hand side on the gun, even then, the scope could still get damaged by the en bloc clip.
The M1 Garand was later replaced by the M14 rifle. One of the selling points of the M14 was that it would use 85% of the M1 Garand machinery. In reality, very few parts are interchangeable with the M1. Those parts include but are not limited to the rear sight assembly and parts of the trigger assembly. By Vietnam, the M1 Garand was still being used in very low quantities mainly by National Guard units. It was later replaced, but it is still used in training and at ceremonies. The M1 Garand is often called "The Rifle that Won World War II".
The Civilian Marksmanship Program, tasked by Congress to promote marksmanship, currently sells surplus M1s to US citizens who meet a few basic requirements.
The M1 Garand is seen throughout the series, mostly in the hands of Major Winters, Frank Perconte, Shifty Powers, Joe Leibgott, Skip Muck, and Albert Blithe. The series also features the metallic 'ping' noise the Garand makes when it is out of ammo.
Some cases show the Garand with a bayonet, and a M7 Rifle Grenade Launcher. It appears in every episode of the series. One unusual moment in the series is when (then) Captain Dick Winters takes Leibgott's M1 and takes out his ammo. This is because the Garand's en bloc clip won't pop out like it would if there was no ammo. What Winters does is that he opens the chamber and manually takes out the ammo out of the clip, leaving Leibgott two rounds, in case Liebgott executes the prisoners, having a vengeance against them,