The U.S. Caliber .30 Carbine Manufacturers


The U.S. Carbine Caliber .30


Manufacturers
















Overview of the Primary M1 Carbine Contractors

The information that follows on this page is a basic summary for each of the manufacturers. Should you wish more detailed information
you may wish to obtain a copy of Larry Ruth's War Baby!, Volume I.

Interesting Facts & Helpful Information
  • Early in 1942 an advisory and oversight committee was created, consisting of personnel from U.S. Army Ordnance and each of the prime contractors. The committee changed names several times but is commonly referred to as the Carbine Committee.

  • Out of ten primary contractors that manufactured .30 Caliber Carbines, Winchester was the only one with prior experience manufacturing weapons.

  • When receiving their contract(s), not even one primary contractor had all the tooling necessary to build carbines. The date of the initial contract is not the date actual production started.

  • None of the ten primary contractors manufactured all of the parts that went on their carbines. The majority of parts were manufactured by hundreds of companies that served as subcontractors to each prime contractor.

  • Each prime contractor had to provide spare parts in addition to the completed carbines. The amount of spare parts varied. As an example, for every 100 complete carbines NPM supplied 4 trigger housings (4% extra) and 40 firing pins (40% extra).

  • For quality control purposes, all of the prime contractors and many of the subcontractors were assigned a letter code (manufacturer's mark) to place on their parts (discussed further on page regarding part markings)


Inland Manufacturing Division
General Motors Corporation

Dayton, Ohio

Common Moniker

Inland

    Information of Interest:

  • First to start production of the Ordnance approved Winchester design, as Winchester had other weapon commitments

  • Manufactured 3-10x more carbines than all the other primary contractors

  • Was the only manufacturer of the M1A1

  • Was one of only two primary manufacturers that made the M2

Overview Model Production
June 1942 - August 1945
   Background prior to WWII: automotive products     M1 1,954,114
   Date of 1st Contract: November 14, 1941     M1A1 140,882
   Manufacturers Mark: I     M2 537,101
   Parts made in-house: 9 (included receiver)     Total 2,632,097
Notes:
  • the total production above included carbines produced for U.S. Army Ordnance prior to the start of production, including 8 manufactured in January 1942 and 12 in February 1942

  • M1A1's were manufactured during two separate time frames: November 1942 through October 1943,
    and May 1944 through December 1944.


Winchester Repeating Arms Company

New Haven, Connecticut

Common Moniker

Winchester

    Information of Interest:

  • Winchester's production of the .30 Caliber Carbine was overshadowed by the production of many of the other companies as Winchester was unable to devote their full resources to the carbines alone. The Winchester name alone has increased the value of their carbines to be on a par with the company that made the fewest carbines, Rock-Ola.

  • Was one of only two primary manufacturers that made the M2

Overview ModelProduction
September 1942-August 1945
   Background prior to WWII: small arms and
ammunition production
    M1 810,559
   Date of 1st Contract: November 24, 1941     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: W     M2 17,500
   Parts made in-house: 15 (included receiver)     Total 828,059
Notes:
  • the total production above included carbines produced for U.S. Army Ordnance prior to the start of production


Underwood Elliott Fisher Company

Hartford, Connecticut

Common Moniker

Underwood

    Information of Interest:

  • Manufactured more of their own parts than any other prime contractor

  • Manufactured 1,706,436 carbine barrels; Enough for their own carbines, even more for other prime contractors and providing over 400,000 replacement barrel assemblies

  • Received the annual Army-Navy Production Award for high achievement in the production of war material for their .30 caliber Carbine Model M1, in 1942, 1943, and 1944.

Overview ModelProduction
November 1942-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII: typewriters, adding machines, cash registers, office equipment     M1 545,616
   Date of 1st Contract:March 25, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: U     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 35 (included receiver)     Total 545,616
Notes:
  • many of the Underwood parts were built at their Bridgeport, Connecticut facility

  • opened a third facility in New Hartford, Connecticut, to help with the machining of parts


Rock-Ola Manufacturing Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

Common Moniker

Rock-Ola

    Information of Interest:

  • In August 1943 U.S. Ordnance personnel temporarily took over Rock-Ola management to reverse management problems that had resulted in unacceptable low production numbers the three months prior. As a result, management/employee relations improved significantly, resulting in increased performance that allowed Rock-Ola to continue carbine production.

  • Produced the least number of carbines of any of the prime contractors, securing a higher value for their carbines in the future

  • Stocks and handguards manufactured by Rock-Ola have been considered some of the best looking stocks and handguards made.

Overview ModelProduction
November 1942-May 1944
   Background prior to WWII:coin operated phonographs,
pinball games, parking meters...
    M1 228,500
   Date of 1st Contract:June 22, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: R, RMC     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 13 (included receiver)     Total 228,500


Quality Hardware and Machine Corporation

Chicago, Illinois

Common Monikers

QHMC, Quality Hardware

    Information of Interest:

  • The one and only part manufactured by Quality Hardware was their receiver. All other parts were provided by subcontractors and other prime contractors.

  • The production of 28,949 receivers used by Quality Hardware was subcontracted to Union Switch & Signal. The subcontractor code assigned to Union Switch & Signal was UN. In a rare play with manufacturers markings, Union Switch & Signal placed the manufacturer name UN-QUALITY on the receivers, then sent them to Quality Hardware.

Overview ModelProduction
February 1943-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII:manufacturing tools, dies,
machinery, stampings
    M1 359,666
   Date of 1st Contract:May 13, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: Q     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: receiver only     Total 359,666
Notes:
  • Manufactured 4 carbines in December 1942 but production didn't start until February 1943

  • All Quality Hardware manufacturerd receivers used the detachable recoil spring tube

  • Receivers manufactured by Union Switch & Signal (UN-QUALITY) used an integral recol spring housing instead of the detachable tube


Irwin-Pedersen Arms Company

Grand Rapids, MI

Common Monikers

Irwin-Pedersen, IP

    Information of Interest:

  • Produced 3,542 M1 Carbines, none of which were accepted by the government. The Irwin-Pedersen contract was given to Saginaw Steering Gear, who moved into the Irwin-Pedersen facility in Grand Rapids, took possession of everything Irwin-Pedersen and their subcontractors had produced, then inspected it all and integrated these parts with parts made by or for the carbines produced by Saginaw at the Grand Rapids facility.

  • Irwin-Pedersen receivers and parts are some of the most sought after by collectors due to their limited production. Dishonest individuals have been known to place IP markings on non IP parts. Any carbine made up of all IP parts was very likely reconstructed into that configuration.

Overview ModelProduction
January 1943-March 1943
   Background prior to WWII:new company specifically formed
to manufacture M1 Carbines
    M1 3,542*
   Date of 1st Contract:March 21, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: IP     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 7 (included receiver)     Total 3,542*
Notes:
  • *The quantity of Irwin-Pedersen receivers assembled into M1 Carbines by Saginaw Grand Rapids is unknown.

  • made no barrels


National Postal Meter Company, Inc.

Rochester, New York

Common Moniker

NPM

    Information of Interest:

  • A week after America's entry into WWII, National Postal Meter and the Todd Corporation partnered to start the Rochester Defense Corporation. It was this company that negotiated for the contract to produce M1 Carbines. Shortly after the approval of their 2nd contract, but before production started, Rochester Defense Corporation was dissolved and its assets merged into National Postal Meter.

  • At the time of their first contract, the company had no tools, no employees, and no location for building carbines.

  • National Postal Meter's test fire range was built by raising the floor of the carbine manufacturing plant three feet above the buildings concrete floor and literally shooting under the feet of the production line.

Overview ModelProduction
February 1943-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII: metered mailing machines, postal scales, postal equipment     M1 413,017
   Date of 1st Contract:July 16, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: N     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 4 (included receiver)     Total 413,017
Notes:
  • Had some of the finest walnut. Performance testing gave them the highest rating in adverse conditions.

  • made no barrels

  • On April 26, 1944, National Postal Meter Company became Commercial Controls Corporation

Commercial Controls Corporation

Rochester, New York

Overview ModelProduction
July 1944
   Background prior to WWII: metered mailing machines, postal scales, postal equipment     M1 239
   Date of 1st Contract:NPM contract     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: ?     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: used NPM parts     Total 239
Notes:
  • National Postal Meter Company changed the name of their company to Commercial Controls Corporation on April 26, 1944. The same month they ceased carbine production. The 239 Commercial Controls M1 Carbines were assembled from leftover parts and provided to U.S. Army Ordnance in August 1945.

  • The Commercial Controls M1 Carbines are the rarest of all manufacturers. Researchers have been trying to locate them to examine and document exactly what they were, leading many to form unsubstantiated conclusions as to their existence. Their rarity has led to the forgery of their markings, requiring close examination by a group of experts to verify authenticity.


The Standard Products Company

Port Clinton, Ohio

Common Moniker

Standard Products

    Information of Interest:

  • One of the many challenges facing Standard Products was where to obtain the personnel necessary to manufacture their M1 Carbines. Port Clinton, Ohio was a rural area with other wartime industries competing for a workforce.

    Early in WWII units were commonly made up of enlisted personnel from the same towns and counties. At the Battle of Bataan units made up of male residents of the Port Clinton area were wiped out by the Japanese. The few survivors became POW's whose next challenge was the Bataan Death March and all that followed.

    When Standard Products announced they needed employees to manufacture M1 Carbines, the call was answered by the wives, parents, grandparents and siblings who had lost loved ones at Bataan. Many of these workers already had jobs elsewhere. When an evening shift was started to boost carbine production, many residents stepped forward and took on the second job.

Overview ModelProduction
April 1943-April 1944
July 1944
   Background prior to WWII: automobile trim accessories     M1 247,160
   Date of 1st Contract:August 6, 1942     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 4 (included receiver)     Total 247,155
Notes:

  • Manufactured 5 carbines in December 1942 but production didn't start until April 1943

  • made no barrels


Saginaw Steering Gear Division
General Motors Corporation

Saginaw, Michigan

Common Moniker

Saginaw

    Information of Interest:

  • In addition to M1 Carbines, during WWII Saginaw Steering Gear manufactured Caliber .30 Browning Machine Guns (i.e. M1919A4), Oerlikon and BOFORS guns, tanks, tank destroyers, vehicle subassemblies, and armor piercing projectiles.

Overview ModelProduction
May 1943-April 1944
   Background prior to WWII:automotive steering gears     M1 293,592
   Date of 1st Contract:February 13, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S.G.     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 17 (included receiver)     Total 293,592
Notes:
  • Receivers manufactured by Saginaw in Saginaw, MI had a wide recoil plate tang, like the receivers made for IBM by Auto Ordnance.

  • For a short period of time in 1943 Saginaw in Saginaw, MI provided receivers to Inland. Some of these receivers were retained and used by S.G. and have the letters SG on the left side of the receiver.


Saginaw Steering Gear Division
General Motors Corporation

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Common Moniker

Saginaw Grand Rapids

    Information of Interest:

  • The facility at Grand Rapids was initially operated by Irwin-Pedersen. When the carbines they produced failed to pass muster with U.S. Army Ordnance, the Irwin-Pedersen carbine contract and Grand Rapids facility was turned over to Saginaw Steering Gear and operated as a second Saginaw M1 Carbine production facility.

  • Saginaw Grand Rapids inherited all of the parts made for, or by, Irwin-Pedersen. Saginaw inspected the IP parts and those that met Ordnance specifications were integrated into the carbines manufactured by Saginaw at Grand Rapids.

Overview ModelProduction
May 1943-January 1944
   Background prior to WWII:automotive steering gears     M1 223,620
   Date of 1st Contract:March 20, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: S'G' or IP     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 7 (included receiver)     Total 223,620
Notes:
  • Irwin-Pedersen parts that passed inspection included an unknown quantity of IP receivers with the IP markings. These were assembled into carbines by Saginaw Grand Rapids and retained their IP markings with no additional S'G' markings. Parts used on these receivers were the parts used by Saginaw Grand Rapids (S'G', IP, subcontracted parts, any of the parts provided to Saginaw Grand Rapids by other primary contractors)

  • The total carbines manufactured includes those Saginaw made using Irwin-Pedersen receivers.

  • Made no barrels


International Business Machines Corporation

Poughkeepsie, New York

Common Moniker

IBM

    Information of Interest:

  • IBM was the last company added to the contacters who produced the U.S. Carbines

  • Auto-Ordnance of Bridgeport, CT, was initially subcontracted to manufacture all of IBM's bolts and slides in addition to 50% of their receivers. Difficulties at Auto Ordnance caused IBM to assume control of the carbine parts program at Auto-Ordnance, with IBM and additional subcontractors filling the void left by Auto-Ordnance.

  • The IBM facility in Endicott, New York, produced 14 of the 19 parts used on the IBM carbines including the trigger housings.

  • The stamped/brazed variation of the carbine trigger housing was developed at IBM's Endicott facility.

Overview ModelProduction
August 1943-May 1944
   Background prior to WWII:business machines     M1 346,500
   Date of 1st Contract:February 16, 1943     M1A1 0
   Manufacturers Mark: B     M2 0
   Parts made in-house: 19 (included receiver)     Total 346,500
Notes:
  • IBM receivers made by Auto Ordnance have a wide recoil plate tang and the letters AO on the bevel below the serial number.


Note

One of the challenges facing researchers in reconstructing the history of the U.S. Carbines Caliber .30 has been the loss and/or destruction of many original records. The quantities included above and the months of manufacture have been reconstructed from the research of many.

Documents used to reconstruct this information have included a variety of U.S. Army Ordnance documents and documents from the various prime contractors. Some of these documents conflict with one another as the original purpose of each document sometimes differed. These documents fall into four basic categories.

  • Quantity and dates Assembled but not inspected
  • Quantities and dates Shipped
  • Quantities and dates Received
  • Quantities and dates Accepted

The documents of various government agencies have been consistent in regards to the final number of carbines accepted by Ordnance from each prime contractor. A total of 6,117,827 +/- of all models accepted by Ordnance can be considered fairly reliable.


Locating the Manufacturer Name & Serial Number on the Receivers

The primary contractor's name was always stamped on top of the receiver behind the rear sight. The serial number was always stamped directly below the primary contractor name.

The adjustable rear sights often obscure part or all of the primary contractor's name. If you don't see the name, look close under both sides of the adjustable sight. You can usually make out the first and last letter or two. Compare the marks you find with the serial number assignments.


Adjustable Rear Sight obscuring
QUALITY H.M.C.

Adjustable Rear Sight partially obscuring
I.B.M. CORP.


Should you have questions, assistance is available on our Discussion Forum.

The Discussion Forum also serves as a reference desk for the more advanced material that could easily overwhelm a website and is often subject to opinions that may vary
due to a lack of original documentation. A number of researchers and authors are present on the forums, helping others and seeking information for various research projects.