Stanley Rickard, the great-grandfather of Troy Rickard, worked at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts. While working there, he began designing a new semi-automatic rifle to replace the bolt-action M1903 and later on, after being sidetracked one day, began designing a new submachine gun that would be cheaper than the Thompson. However, Stanley was then involved in a fight between himself and some of John C. Garand's loyal friends, which ended up getting Stanley removed from working at the Armory. After suffering a short depression and fits of rage, he created his own armory, known as the Rickard Armory, and decided to finish his two designs. The M1930, which was finished first, was sent to testing for the U.S. Army, but it was rejected from use. However, it was adopted by some Marine Corps (which later saw usage in the Pacific Theater alongside the M1903, M1G, and the M1941 Johnson). The weapon was also selected as one of the weapons for the Lend-Lease Act, and he added the new M1944 LMG to his armory collection.
However, towards the end of World War II, the German StG-44 started a new era of weaponry - select-fire rifles. After hearing about the new weapon in combat, Rickard decided to make a select-fire variant of the M1930 starting in early 1944, and was dubbed the M44. Because he rushed to have it finished, his finalized design appeared in December 1944, and entered testing in the U.S. Army that month. The results were good, and by January of 1945, his rifle entered in limited service by the U.S. Army. Despite the fact that the rifle was surprisingly comfortable to shoot with a full-power rifle cartridge, it wasn't as good as the StG-44 (but WAY better than an AVS-36). After World War II, the M1930's production stopped in 1945, but both remained in service until 1953, when the M1930 was withdrawn from USMC usage after seeing its final use in the Korean War. In 1957, with the introduction of the M14, which was less jam-prone and more accurate, it began to replace the M44 and the M1 Garand in service, and eventually, in 1960, the M44 was retired from use altogether, although the M1 Garand still remained in service until 1971. With both versions combined together, the rifle served 23 years in service.
Today, the M1930 remains a popular rifle in the firearms market, alongside the M1 Garand, and other semi-automatic rifles, like the SKS. 2 million were made, so they aren't quite rare in gun stores and websites like Gunbroker, and is still used by several honor guards around the world. As for the M44, they are much more expensive when compared to the M1930 due to their select-fire ability and the fact that they were produced in less numbers than its semi-auto counterpart. They are usually obtained through firearms auctions only.
- Chambered for the .30-06 cartridge, and is fed via a 10-round clip, while the M44 variant is fed via a proprietary 25-round magazine.
- Designed in 1930, produced from 1935 to 1946 (M1930), 1945 to 1960.
- Effective range is around 450 meters.
- Has a 22 inch barrel.
- Rate of fire: Around 200-250 RPM (M1930), 460 RPM (M44).
- 2 million produced.
- Weighs 10.2 pounds (unloaded), 11.2 pounds (loaded)