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Thread: Reload practices in the field without slide lock

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    Member Matt_X's Avatar
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    Reload practices in the field without slide lock

    I'm interested what practices were taught or developed to avoid pulling the trigger with no cartridge in the chamber?

    Apparently incorporating a slide lock follower in the magazines wasn't considered worth the drawbacks when the carbine was only a semi-automatic.
    Now I know plenty of other firearms have no 'out of ammo' feature including revolvers and bolt action rifles used by the militaries. But I'm curious as to what was taught and what guys actually did so as not to hear a 'click' in a critical situation.

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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    Even with bolts being held open when empty there are times you try to fire and are actually out of rounds. Only thing you really can do is count rounds, or periodically check when possible.

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt_X View Post
    what guys actually did so as not to hear a 'click' in a critical situation.
    Trust me, you don't have enough focus to be that aware under critical stress. You shoot, it goes empty and you change mags. If you're in doubt then you change before you engage to be sure you have a full load.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member firstflabn's Avatar
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    A frequently mentioned basic load for carbine in WWII is 45 rounds - 3 magazines. In that instance, you're only gonna be out twice before you are really out.

    No way to measure it, and personal accounts are unreliable due to the stress level being off the chart, but it's a good guess that firefights were brief in most cases. If they were longer, basic load planning would have adjusted quantities higher.
    Pushing back the frontiers of ignorance, one post at a time.

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    Really Senior Member DaveHH's Avatar
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    A hold open device is essential in a battle rifle. I wonder how many guy were killed by the lousy Carbine magazines. If you look at the Marine films of Tarawa, you'll see a carbine shooter have a squad of Japaneseicon take off right in front of him and he has an empty rifle. It is sad. Later you'll see the same guy shooting and another guy loading as fast as he can shoot. I'd hate to have a carbine in a shootout just because of that issue. The magazines were small and hard to recharge in a fight. In Vietnam in my truck there was usually two full auto M14s locked down on the dash fasteners and always a laundry bag with 20-40 20 rd magazines loaded+ 1 in each rifle and 4 in your web gear. Imagine in Korea where you may have to hit a Chinese guy with a carbine 2-3 times to get him down vs an M1icon rifle where 1 round puts him down regardless of where. And you have maybe 6 carbine magazines about your person. In SLA Marshall's Books like "River and the Gauntlet", M2 shooters would be out of ammunition in about 10 minutes. It was ridiculous. The Army knew about the hold open follower well before the end of the war and didn't do anything about it. I wouldn't care if the weapon was hard to recharge and chamber, At least I would know.

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    Contributing Member Eaglelord17's Avatar
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    You are completely overstating the advantages of a hold open. Unless you physically look at action you can't tell.

    In WWII the carbine was a excellent choice, your complaining about only having 15rds of semi-auto in a 6lb package, meanwhile the people they are fighting are armed with a 5rd bolt action weighing at least 8lbs. Literally enough firepower to take out a whole section without even a reload if everything lined up perfectly.

    In Korea it was still one hit to get them down, just like the M1icon Garand and in both cases it depends on where you hit the person. The only difference being many people were missing with M2s because they were choosing to use full auto instead of semi-auto and effectively aimed shots.

    The M1 Carbine saw effective use in many countries for many years, something like that doesn't stay in service that long unless it was a good choice. It was extremely effective for the intended role as well, as I doubt you would be better off with a 1911 pistol in any combat situation.

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    Member Matt_X's Avatar
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    I was really looking for what was in the training. From there was there any general practices that developed.
    Yes the carbines were delivered with 2 magazines plus the one with the gun. When the carbine mission was expanded beyond a defensive weapon, clearly those troops carried far more magazines.

    There's no question that in high stress situations theory and even training doesn't always work out as planned. The decision not to incorporate the hold open in the follower is a given. I haven't seen the reason for that documented. The fact that its not easily observable and the reportedly increased stress and wear are two reasonable factors that may have weighed on that decision. It's hard to imagine there was not some thought given to tactics.

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    Really Senior Member old tanker's Avatar
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    You would think a single shot musket would making "counting" how many rounds you have fired until you needed to reload a "no brainer." The stress of a firefight affects soldiers in different ways. Even having been under fire before, there's no guarantee you will always keep your head. Sometimes, the best you can hope for is your training will elicit an automatic and correct response before your brain has time to register how scary the situation is.

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    Old tanker, That was one of the examples I was specifically thinking of.
    Another is post I saw either here on on the CC forum where only many years later did a serviceman (I think it was the writer's father) learn something fairly basic about the M1icon carbine assembly. My recollection was that he didn't know the barrel band screw was designed to be tightened with a cartidge case.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Eaglelord17 View Post
    You are completely overstating the advantages of a hold open. Unless you physically look at action you can't tell.

    Trust me, when the bolt is open you can tell. The bolt will be unlocked and the op rod handle will be short of closing. The M14icon used the same hold open feature and you definitely knew that you were empty. The M14 could be recharged through to top with stripper clips straight into the magazine. It isn't how, it is the message. I said "MAY have to hit the guy 2 or 3 times". Most fighting in Korea was at night. Hits decrease to ridiculous shooting at night. Even with flares, it is more difficult. When I was young, I worked with many WW2 Marines (This was in 1964, 19-20 years after the war), not many were impressed with the killing power of the carbine. I'm not so much knocking the carbine as I am knocking the lack of a hold open feature on the magazines. The Tarawa films show how the Marines were fooled by the magazines. Reading War Baby the ordnance dept modified 15 round magazines to use the hold open feature, I suspect to just let people know that it was an easy fix, but I suspect that as millions of magazines were being made, stopping production to await the new followers was just not in the plan.
    Last edited by DaveHH; 02-01-2021 at 12:51 PM.

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