Well it looks like those Korean M1 Garands may be coming home after all (now how ‘bout them carbines?). That news is what came to mind when I read that Texas Ranchers are arming themselves with semi-auto AK47 variants and AR15s to defend themselves from increasingly violent criminals crossing the borders and threatening them on their property. While many may consider the M1 to be a seriously outdated weapon, in my opinion and others (part of the inspiration for this article) it is still more than qualified for defending oneself under circumstances a rancher may encounter.
When I was a bit younger I was working my way through college at the retail sales counter for a Firearms Importer/Distributor in the Los Angeles area. While we stopped a lot of sales at the counter I was still able to get a feel for what the criminal element favored in long gun technology. Anything Com-bloc in 7.62×39 was preferred, with the SKS carbine topping the list because one could buy two or three for the price of one AK variant. As I spent my weekends in the Mojave Desert either participating in shooting matches or exploring in four wheel drive vehicles I knew all too well that I could encounter the business end of one of those firearms in the hands of someone running a drug lab in the remote areas we went. I used to have a tent with two patches on it that proved my concerns were not unfounded, but that is another story.
Looking at my defensive options one lesson stood out. In a defensive encounter range is your friend. A battle rifle like the M1 shoots farther, flatter and harder than anything in the carbine class. Besides having range the 30-06 is capable of turning a lot of cover into concealment. The bad guys don’t like to stick around when the heavy stuff starts coming their way.
Fast forward to today and the Garand has been given an update of sorts that the Texas Ranchers are sure to appreciate. First up there are replacement handguards that allow you to mount either the very fast Aimpoint Micro t1 or a regular Scout scope if magnification is desired. For the alleged shortcomings of the Garand en bloc clip one can install a Holbrook Device that eliminates the distinctive ping as the empty clip ejects, helps prevent M1 thumb, and allows you to top off without ejecting a clip or dumping your remaining rounds. Once I get the new bolt installed in my Garand I plan to pick one of these up so stay tuned. Finally to avoid issues with ammunition there are now adjustable gas plugs that allow you to tune the gas to fit the ammunition you are using.
Improving further on the Tacticool M1 one could add an offset mount for a light and have day/night capability. Though like the T1 I would use a QD mount from the good folks at LaRue Tactical so I don’t have to lug around the light on the gun when I don’t need it. To this load add a number of fully loaded en bloc clips along with a serviceable handgun and any rancher would be good to go if they needed to defend themselves or their loved ones.