No matter what your political or philosophical view on firearms, I'm sure we all can appreciate the history and beauty of important rifles of the past, such as the WW2 American M-1 Garand (named after its inventor). In this post, we will give this rifle a quick look.
The M-1 Garand was so important during the Second World War because it was a semi-automatic in a war dominated by bolt-action rifles. It was the first semi-automatic battle rifle ever put into major use by a world power.
Bolt-action rifles like the German K98 Mauser, the British Lee Enfield, the Russian Mosin Nagant and the Japanese Type 99 needed to have the bolt manually operated before each round could be fired, giving soldiers decent firepower compared to weapons of the past. But next to the semi-automatic M-1, the bolt-action rifles could not compare. With the M-1, each pull of the trigger released one .30 caliber round without the bolt having to be operated manually. Not only that, but the internal magazine could hold 8 rounds before needing to be reloaded. This gave the American soldier a huge amount of firepower.
To do this the bolt was locked open. While the clip was inserted the bolt would unlock, stripping the first round off the clip. This unlocking, though, created a bit of a problem for the soldier. If the soldier did not get his thumb out of the way of the bolt, it would get slammed and pinched between the bolt and the reciever. This caused excruciating pain, swell the thumb and perhaps make the thumbnail fall off. This badge of honor was called "M-1 thumb" and was in a way a rite of passage. Anyone who 'earned' this experience quickly learned how to avoid it in the future.