How to Load an M1 Garand – Avoid Garand Thumb!

9-Hole Reviews • July 09, 2023

Let's talk about reloading the Garand. The M1 is feared by many who don't use it very frequently, as they think it will eat your thumb if you don't load it correctly. For many who have fired it frequently, say in match competition or in military service, that's really not a huge concern. The correct process for reloading the Garand is ingrained into their mind. The M1 Garand feeds from en bloc clips and each clip holds eight rounds of ammunition. As you take your ammunition and load it from the top, there is a dimple on the back that helps guide the clip in the correct position as you press it down. As you press the clip down, I recommend using the back of your hand to hold your charging handle back while you press downwards with your thumb.

As long as you don't remove your thumb and/or the back of your hand from holding the charging handle back, the bolt is not going to come forward. Once you remove your thumb and hand, sometimes the bolt will then fly forward on its own. Sometimes it will require a little bit of assistance to fly forward.

Now that the rifle is loaded, another concern some may have is how to unload it without firing it. It's very simple: you pull the op rod back via the charging handle, retain the topmost cartridge before it flies out, and then press the release button on the side. That release button causes the clip to fly out, without you having to fire any rounds. At that point, your rifle is completely unloaded, and you can check for rounds in the chamber.

There you have it; a couple of quick tips and tricks on how to load and unload the M1 Garand without the infamous Garand Thumb!

--9-Hole Reviews