Post WWII Commercially Manufactured M1 Carbines (U.S.A.)


Photo courtesy of Robert Beeman Ph.D., Airgun Information Int'l

Tiroler Sportwaffenfabrik und Apparatenbau GmbH

(TyROL Sport Weapon Makers and Apparatus Factory)

Kufstein, Austria
1950's-1970's

Introduction

Bundesheer troops with U.S. M1 Carbines

Like many weapons, the Tyrol air rifle was born of a need for the military and police, but later offered to the civilian market. This rifle is included on this website as it was eventually offered for sale to the civilian market in America.

Background

In Europe, and to a lesser extent in America, it has been common for the military and/or police to acquire an air rifle or .22 rimfire caliber rifle configured to the dimensions, appearance, and operation of a service rifle for the purpose of practice and orientation training. The air rifle and .22 rimfire rifles are less expensive to shoot, make far less noise, and the projectiles have a limited range.

In May 1955 the Allied Forces Occupation of Austria ended. During the latter part of 1955 and early 1956, Austria was provided with aid from the U.S. Military Assistance Program that included 24,500 U.S. .30 caliber M1 carbines with spare parts and ammunition. The carbines were divided up amongst the Austrian Bundespolizei, Austrian Gendarmerie, Austrian Bundesheer (security forces aka military), and Austrian Customs (Zoll).

In the 1950's the Austrian company TYROL (now VOERE, Austria) manufactured a C02 rifle known as the COMATIK. The dimensions of the COMATIK were similar to those of the U.S. M1 carbine. The government of Austria contracted with TYROL of Austria to modify the COMATIK to handle and operate like an M1 carbine.


The Design


Diagram courtesy of The Carbine Club
Carbine Club Newsletter 264-1 October 1998


TYROL replaced the COMATIK trigger housing with an aluminum housing that operated like the trigger housing on an M1 carbine, including use of the genuine M1 carbine 15 round magazines. The only original M1 carbine part on the housing was the rotary safety.



The wood stock was altered to accommodate the M1 carbine oiler and sling. The front sight was designed to appear and work like the original carbine front sight. For the rear sight TYROL used a genuine M1 carbine type 1 flip sight.


The rifle was fed by spring tension in a tube under the barrel that held thirty 4.5mm metal balls. When filled with C02 it would fire approximately 200 balls before it needed to be refilled with CO2. The chamber that held the ammunition was designed to stop the feeding mechanism every 15 rounds. Before the rifle would fire again, the magazine had to be removed and replaced then the slide pulled back and released.


Loaded magazine tube holds 30 rounds under spring tension, after 15 rounds the weapon will not fire until the magazine is replaced and slide operated


cap covering access to gas port


exposed gas port with cap removed


feed tube attaches refill container to gas port


ammunition: 4.5mm metal balls


The Rifle

TYROL manufactured two models that differed only in name. The CM1 (C02-M1) for the Austrian Bundespolizei and the ÜbGer.KM1 for the Austrian Bundesheer. Both models looked and functioned the same. The Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI) received a total of 500 CM1's & ÜbGer.KM1's from TYROL by 1960. The Bundesheer received a total of 342 ÜbGer.KM1's. The remaining CM1's went to the Bundespolizei. The Gendarmerie did not use these air rifles, they opted for the ERMA Werke E M1 .22 instead.


Photo courtesy of Robert Beeman Ph.D., Airgun Information Int'l


Photo courtesy of Robert Beeman Ph.D., Airgun Information Int'l


Photo courtesy of Robert Beeman Ph.D., Airgun Information Int'l

Twenty of the ÜbGer.KMl's were converted by the Bundesheer to artillery training units. One rifle was mounted on an 106mm anti tank gun and had a range of about 15 meters. This variation does not use a handguard.


ÜbGer.KMl with mounting bracket for training use as 106mm anti tank gun

For anti-aircraft weapon training two of these rifles were mounted on an anti-aircraft weapon platform, in place of the two normal barrels. The sights of the anti-aircraft weapon were left in place.

Unofficial indoor practice with these CO2 carbines earned them the nickname "moth rifle".

With the retirement from service of the M1 carbine by the Bundesheer in the 1970's, the ÜbGer.KMl was placed in storage. Some of the Bundesheer ÜbGer.KMl's were sold to West Germany in the 1960's. In 1989 the ÜbGer.KMl was brought out of storage by the Bundesheer for one final sport shooting competition.

[Information regarding use in Austria provided by Wolfdieter Hufnagl of Vienna, author of U.S. Karabiner .30 M1, Waffe und Zubehor 1994 Motorbuch Verlag ISBN 3-613-01635-4]


The Commercial Rifles

The American Rifleman September 1959 pp. 62-63 indicates the TYROL Comatik and CM1 Army Training Rifle were being offered commercially.


It is not known how many of these rifles made their way into the U.S.A., but I am aware of at least two that did. The Austrian military and police versions of this rifle are highly collectable, especially in Europe. The Blue Book of Airguns, 6th Edition, published in 2007, includes these rifles on pp. 410-412. In Europe, DWJ Magazine (Deutsch Waffen Journal) March 1992 pp. 401-403 has an article devoted to the significance and rarity of these carbines.