The .30 Carbine cartridge and the M1 Carbine were developed by Winchester to provide assault troops and rear area units more firepower and accuracy than the standard issue M1911A1.45 ACP caliber handgun and .45 Thompson submachine gun. The weapon was originally issued with a straight 15-round detachable magazine. The cartridge itself is basically a rimless .308 caliber version of the much older .32 Winchester Self-Loading cartridge of 1906. However, the propellant was much newer, taking advantage of chemistry advances.
While its straight case (it is not a straight case, it is tapered for easy extraction and problematic to reload-see specifications below) and round-nosed bullet (the bullet has a pronounced ogive, again-see below) lead some to believe it was designed for use in pistols, tank crews, drivers, artillery crews, mortar crews, paratroopers and other line-of-communications personnel were issued the M1 Carbine in lieu of the larger, heavier M1 Garand. The M1 Carbine and its reduced-power .30 cartridge was never intended to serve as a primary infantry weapon, nor was it comparable to more powerful assault rifles developed late in the war. Nevertheless, the carbine was soon issued to infantry officers, machine-gun crews, paratroops, and other front line soldiers.
Its reputation in combat was mixed. Some infantrymen and Marines, especially those who did not use a rifle as their primary weapon, preferred the carbine over the M1 Garand because of the weapon's small size and light weight. Other soldiers found the weapon to have insufficient stopping power and penetration. Reports of Japanese and German soldiers being shot multiple times in chest and body without immediate effect began to surface, and like the .45 ACP used in the Thompson submachine gun and M1911 Colt pistol, some troops found the .30 Carbine cartridge incapable of penetrating small trees and other light cover.
The M1 Carbine and its replacement the M2 Carbine continued in use during the Korean War. The M2 Carbine featured a selective-fire switch allowing optional fully-automatic fire at a rather high rate (850–900 rpm) and a 30-round magazine. Both versions acquired a poor reputation for jamming in extreme cold weather conditions, eventually traced to inadequate recoil impulse and weak recoil springs.
A postwar U.S. Army evaluation reported on the weapon's cold-weather shortcomings, and noted complaints of failure to stop heavily-clothed North Korean and Chinese troops at close range after multiple hits. Recent test have shown however that the round in fact has significant penetrative capabilities, and the reports contrary should be considered hyperbole.  Despite this record, the carbine was again issued to some U.S. troops in Vietnam, particularly reconnaissance units (LRRP) and advisors as a substitute standard weapon. Reports of stopping ineffectiveness in close combat continued to dog the M1/M2 carbine until it was finally withdrawn from U.S. service.
In 1994, Israel introduced the Magal, a compact weapon based on the Galil MAR using the .30 Carbine cartridge. After complaints of overheating and other malfunctions, the Magal was withdrawn from service in 2001. The M1 Carbine is still issued to the Israel Police and Civil Guard.
Today the .30 Carbine cartridge is used by civilians who have an M1 Carbine or other firearm chambered for that cartridge. It is considered a small-game cartridge, of marginal power for deer-size game. A number of handguns are chambered for .30 Carbine ammunition, such as the AMT AutoMag III pistol and the Ruger Blackhawk revolver. Full-jacketed .30 Carbine ammunition is considered an ineffective self-defense cartridge in pistols, as their short barrel length robs the round of much of its power. Even in longer-barreled carbines, the high sectional density of the projectile causes the bullet to overpenetrate, causing little tissue damage. On the other hand, hollowpoint cartridges, offered by only a few manufacturers, are considered reasonably effective as a self-defense cartridge, even in pistols. While its heyday in the Second World War and Korean War has passed (as well as in the Vietnam War), the popularity of the M1 Carbine for collecting, sporting and re-enactment use has resulted in continued popularity of the .30 Carbine cartridge.
This cartridge has a tapered case for reliable feeding and should be full length resized when reloading.
A standard .30 caliber ball round weighs 110 grains (7.1 g) m and has a muzzle velocity of 1,900 ft/s, (580 m/s) giving it 880 foot-pounds (1,190 joules) of energy. By comparison, a .357 Magnum revolver fires the same weight bullet at about 1,300 ft/s (396 m/s) for about 410 foot-pounds (560 J) of energy, though it is important to note that the .357 bullet is larger in diameter (caliber) and is normally an expanding or hollow-point design.