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  • Writer's pictureT. Logan Metesh

John Garand's Garand

Updated: Oct 10, 2020

It is said that General George S. Patton called the M1 Garand rifle "the greatest battle implement ever devised."

That may be true; if it is, then M1 Garand rifle serial number 1,000,000 should be considered "THE greatest battle implement ever devised." Why the emphasis? Simple: that gun personally belonged to the inventor himself - John Garand. (Incidentally, all of us may or may not have been pronouncing his name incorrectly for decades. The article below is from 1943. However, Garand's son noted a different - more common - pronunciation in 1999. You decide!)

John Garand, Garand, M1, rifle, Patton
Garand sets the pronunciation record straight in September 1943.

When Garand retired on April 30, 1953, he received one heck of a retirement present. No gold watch here - no, sir! Instead, he received the most important landmark example of his life's work, of which 5,468,722 were made over a 20-year span.

Garand, rifle, M1, retirement
Garand's retirement ceremony, April 30, 1953

Made in November 1942, the serial number on what would become Garand's retirement gift was just the beginning of what made this rifle so special.

Garand, M1, rifle, presentation
Serial number 1,000,000 before being assembled

The stock is the most remarkable piece of fiddleback walnut wood I've ever seen on a Garand.

Garand, rifle, M1, presentation, rock island auction
Courtesy of Rock Island Auction

Housed in a custom-engraved, felt-lined wooden case, the gun was presented with a silver-plated en bloc clip containing gold-plated dummy cartridges.

Garand passed away in 1974. His family began searching for a buyer in 1999. Enter NRA Past President Allan Cors.

Garand, rifle, M1, Allan Cors, NRA
NRA Past President Allan Cors with John Garand's rifle, s/n 1,000,000

After reviewing multiple personal resumes from potential buyers, the Garand family arranged for a sit-down interview with Cors before agreeing to sell the rifle to him in November 1999.

Last fall, I had a rare opportunity to handle the gun myself. Given its incredible history and provenance, it was a privilege to handle such an important piece of American history.

Garand, rifle, M1, Allan Cors, NRA, Logan Metesh
Logan Metesh holding Garand s/n 1,000,000

In just a few days, this impressive rifle will be sold at public auction by Rock Island Auction Company. The estimated price is $225,000 - 375,000. Someone with far deeper pockets than me will take it home, where it will begin a new chapter in its storied history.

UPDATE: It sold for $287,500 - a new world record for the price of an M1 Garand!

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