Free Markets, Free People

Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine Review

For Chris’ last birthday, I purchased her a brand new Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine.  And, for good measure, bought one for myself.  Auto-Ordnance is a brand of Kahr Firearms, and their M1 Carbine is an exact reproduction of the first-gen M1 Carbines produced in World War II.

Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine

Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine

Well, almost an exact replica.  The only difference between the Auto-Ordnance product and the original GI M1 Carbines is that the original rifles worked.

I ordered the rifles brand new through Turner’s Outdoorsman.  On my initial look at the rifles when I picked them up, they looked fine.  When I got them home, however, I noticed that one of the rifles had been improperly stained, with the cutout in the stock for the sling completely unstained, except for a big drip line of stain that had bled down.

This was a disappointment in terms of quality control, but not as big as the disappointment that followed.

When I ordered the rifles, I also ordered 1,000 rounds of .30 carbine FMJ milspec ammo from Georgia Arms.  When I had both ammo and rifle in hand, Chris and I took them to the local shooting club where we are members.  Along with the ammo, we also had both the factory 10-round magazines from Auto-Ordnance, as well as several surplus GI magazines.

The first problem we noticed that on one of the rifles, none of the magazines would seat properly, without slamming the bottom of the magazine with a lot of effort.  The magazine release catch was slightly improperly placed, another quality control glitch, and one that was more serious than improperly staining the stock.

Once we began shooting, we quickly learned that neither rifle could be depended upon to shoot a single 10-round magazine without jamming, stovepiping, or other feeding problems.  The GI magazines were hopeless, and the factory Auto-Ordnance were only slightly less so.  The main difference seemed to be that both rifles would jam every two or three rounds with the GI magazines, while the factory mags jammed every 4 or 5 rounds.

In short, from the example of both brand-new rifles and factory mags, I concluded that the Auto-Ordance M1 Carbine is the most shoddily produced, unreliable rip-off of a firearm that it has ever been my misfortune to shoot.

I called Auto-Ordance to complain about the rifles, which were still under warranty, and telling them that I thought their products were completely useless.  They offered to ship me two new factory magazines to see if that would fix the feed problems.  And they told me not to use any GI magazines in them.  I didn’t want the new magazines, I wanted to get rid of the rifles, which is not something they were interested in helping me with.

In view of my experience, the Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine is a complete waste of money, and I strongly urge anyone interested to avoid them like the plague.  They are utterly worthless for any purpose I can imagine.  Kahr should be ashamed to produce these useless hunks of crap, and I will never, ever buy any product from Kahr again.

Now, I’m out 1400 bucks, and I’m stuck with two rifles that I despise utterly, and 750 remaining rounds that I don’t want to shoot through these non-feeding excretions from Auto-Ordnance.


By the way, apparently I’m not alone in complaining about the disgustingly poor quality and hideous feed problems of the Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine.  I ran across this thread at the Firearms Blog, where nearly every commenter has similarly bad opinions of the rifle’s quality, and Kahr’s poor customer service.

This really reinforces my opinion to steer clear of any Kahr product in the future.

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19 Responses to Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine Review

  • Can’t help you with the clunkers, but I do have a hungry M1 (original) of my own if you’re looking for someone to take the ammo off your hands.

  • Have you tried contacting Kahr to complain, instead of Auto-Ordnance?

    A shame they are crap weapons, though…

    And wtf kind of reproduction are they that they can’t take surplus GI mags? I mean, come on. Could you fail any little harder, Auto-Ord?

  • I buy military surplus from most countries. They were made better back then and were made to function under undesirable conditions. Many people look down on the weapons I own but those weapons will function when many newly manufactured ones will not.

  • Thanks for the review. I’ve heard little but good things about Kahr; I hope they can get their act together with their carbines.

  • Another shining example of why i spend so much time at flea markets and antique stores. Doesn’t matter where it was made, USA or abroad, most modern stuff is crap.

  • Today Yahoo had a story about M-4 failing in Afghan firefights…sounds like you’re just living the US military experience. Could be worse. Could be 1942 and you’re in a sub with all torpedos malfunctioning.

    • I know this isn’t a thread about the M-16 / M-4, but I can’t help going for this topic like a trout going after a fly.

      HOW is the M-4 failing? Is their objective, statistical evidence of this? I realize that the M-16 / M-4 has been controversial since the day it was first adopted more than forty years ago; that the basic operating system is despised among shooting aficiandos for being too dirty; that the 5.56mm cartridge is considered underpowered; and that the weapon is thought to be too fragile, unreliable, high-maintenance, etc.

      However, I recently started reading Marshall’s Pork Chop Hill and I have been shocked at the number of references to hopelessly jammed M-1 carbines and Garand rifles. Even if we assume that the troops in question were a pack of lazy fools who never bothered to do even the slightest maintenance on their rifles, the M-1 and the Garand are LEGENDARY for their reliability under even the most adverse conditions.

      But that’s the key word: “legendary”.

      Is it possible that the poor reputation of the M-4 is as much “legend” as the great reputation of the Garand?

      Put another way, is it possible that even our idiot politicians and defense officials – two generations of them! – are and have been arming our troops with a rifle that they KNOW is a POS?

      • DocJim,

        The cleaning requirements for the M-16/4 is a feature…gives you something to do.

  • Gold, M1 Carbine, …

    Are bulk stores of non-perishable food next?

    j/k. I think…

  • Your bad for not doing some research on the numerous firearms web sites, that could have saved you the headache of your carbine purchases.

  • Well gun-clingiong God-Bag Mouf-Breather I can but laugh…*HA*HA*HA (See I laugh)…any hoo, you spent $1,400 on two devices of death and destruction rather than donating the money to help poor undocumented People of Colour get health insurance or donating it to a worthy non-profit like ACORN. Well Like Our Lord Obama said, the Wages of Sin are Death…or in this case two worthless fire-arms (really a redundancy, as NO fire arm is worthwhile). I think it is a sign from Heaven…..

  • I have one and its lovely – none of these probs.
    However, there are a lot of junk mags around…

  • Check each of your magazines for improperly rounded catches. I had the same problem at first, but after just a little work I got all but one of my seven mags to work just fine. Other than that, I’ve had no problems with my Auto Ordinance carbine. OK, one – the pin that latches the bolt open holds only if I do not touch anything after it is pressed in. The slightest bump will cause the bolt to close. I suspect I should be able to fix that as soon as I can get a round toit.

  • I have an Auto-Ordnance M1 Carbine that had some problems at first, but after break-in and good mags, it works fine. I do find it hard to believe you are having problems with their customer service. I worked with Ian Burr up there at their factory and he was extremely helpful and remedied the problem. Sometimes I think other gun manufacturers hire hacks to get on these sites to just run the competition down. If you trul have a problem, contact Ian Burr, He’ll take care of you.

  • Also, check out your ammo. Georgia Arms? Is this new ammo loaded hot or is this remanufactured? Weak ammo will stove-pipe.

  • TexasJack, that’s common on originals, too; my GI carbine shoots great, and the bolt latch works, but if you jar it when it’s locked back…

    I think it was intended to lock it back just for inspection- “Is the chamber empty?”- and so it’s not a real positive lock.