A reader emails:
i saw your webpage about the commandos, and as you seem to know alot about them, i thought id try to find out something about a rifle i picked up years ago.
its an m1 carbine in a nice machined tommy-gun style stock, and its marked COMMANDO MARK I. it looks like it may have been some kind of prototype, but i have no idea who to contact to find out.
can you help at all? thanks.
I’ve had a post about Commando stocks for M1 carbines in the drafts folder for a long time. I first heard of them in this comment at Michael Silence’s blog:
This may be a bit off topic but…I recently bought a Volunteer Enterprises Commando Mark I, in .30 cal with a fixed shoulder stock and two hand grips. The stock is aluminum. The receiver was made by Plainfield and the barrel is unmarked. Anyone have or know where I can find a manual for this? History of this Mark?
I’m pretty sure what Phil’s got is an M1 Carbine, which is .30 caliber. During WWII they were made by a large variety of companies to meet the war effort. Plainfield wasn’t one of the WWII suppliers. They were a post-war commercial manufacturer who used a mix of surplus parts and new parts. Some of the parts are GI spec that are interchangeable with war-era M1 Carbines and some aren’t.
There was a Commando Mark I stock made for the M1 as an aftermarket part. There was one in this (now expired) listing at Guns America, which also happens to be a Plainfield M1 Carbine with a Commando Mark I stock:
This thread on The High Road has some history of the stock and M1 compatibility:
Most stock makers make different stocks for the US GI M1 and the Universal M1. Volunteer Arms Knoxville made tommy-gun look-alike stocks for the M1 carbine and their literature says the stock will fit the US GI M1 and the Plainfield M1 but NOT the Universal M1. (Volunteer Commando I had a fixed Thompson wood butt; Commando II had no butt; Commando IV had a detachable butt; Commando I II and IV were actually just stocks for M1 carbines. Commando III and V were sheetmetal .45 tommy-gun replicas
Those were pretty fascinating old guns. A Hawkins County deputy let my son fire his (he was carrying it as a patrol rifle). Here attached are some pages from a 1970s sales brochure, which includes the Mark I Mark II and Mark IV stocks. (Mark III was the .45 tommy-gun look-alike that used grease gun magazines and the Mark V was the one that used the Thompson magazines.)
Larry Ruth in his book on M1 carbines ”M1 Carbine: Design, Development & Production” Gun Room Press, 1979, Chapter 9 Post-War Manufacturers, page 220 shows a Plainfield Machine Co. M1 Carbine in a “Commando Mark II” stock, apparently came from the factory that way, but Ruth wrote that PMC never answered his letters inquiring
about their products.
Hope this helps, Carl
More Commando catalog pictures after the jump.