M1 carbine is often called the “girlfriend gun” for its compact size and low recoil. It’s as often derided for the perceived lack of stopping power. We decided to test it side by side with .223, 9×19 and 10mm Auto.
(Photo by Heather Cernik)
1/4″ doesn’t sound like much until you actually handle the plate. Aluminum doesn’t sound like much either, until you look at the cross-section to see surface hardening to the depth of about 1.5mm and also look at the lack of penetration by the pistol rounds. In addition to firing at extended range, I also shot 9×19 at 25 yards and the bullets left only slightly deeper dents.
As you can see, the accuracy of the carbine (used here with the discontinued 2x Aimpoint CompC3 on an Ultimak mount) is plenty accurate to hit a hostile human past 250 yards. The effective accurate range isn’t that much less with unmagnified optics.
Front and back of the plate up close.
The Box O’ Truth tested .30 Carbine ball as well and found it quite adequate in penetration. Using soft point defensive ammunition would reduce penetration slightly but increase the wound channel size. In truth, .30 carbine is only slightly behind 7.92 Kurtz, 300 Blackout and 7.62×39 in energy and suffers mostly from the use of stubby pistol-like bullets that lose velocity quicker and don’t tumble on impact. For personal self-defense, long range matters seldom. Better terminal performance can be had with properly picked ammunition. Penetration, as the plate photos above show, is sufficient to defeat auto bodies and other light cover — and, not being a spitzer bullet, .30 carbine projectile doesn’t destabilize as drastically upon impact. So it’s a useful round, and it far outperforms most of the pistol cartridges used in submachine guns and light carbines.