Let me start off by saying that this is one of those surplus firearms that I have had multiple chances over the years to buy, but didn’t, oh well, my bad. In the past, I’ve seen these weapons on sale for under $200.00, but those days are long gone.
If you are a first time gun owner and just want a fun little plinker to shoot at the range, or you are looking for a medium sized rifle for home defense, the M-1 Carbine would be just perfect for you. They are still available for sale, but like any firearm today, they are going to cost more than they used to back in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s.
You would have more luck searching your local pawn shops, but you could probably find one in a gun store and they are available at gun brokers online like J&G Sales.
Really, you could buy an new AR-15 for a lot less money, but it all depends on your state laws regarding semi-auto rifles.
According to a piece at thecmp.org:
The M1 Carbine was designed primarily to offer noncombat and line-of-communications troops a better defensive weapon than a pistol or submachine gun, with greater accuracy and range, but without the recoil, cost, or weight of a full-power infantry rifle. The carbine was also easier for less experienced soldiers and smaller-framed people to fire than the .30 caliber infantry rifles of the day. The carbine was more convenient to carry for officers, NCOs, or specialists encumbered with weapons, field glasses, radios, or other gear. Tankers, drivers, artillery crews, mortar crews, and other personnel were also issued the M1 Carbine in lieu of the larger, heavier M1 Garand. Belatedly, a folding-stock version of the M1 Carbine was developed, after a request was made for a compact and light infantry arm for airborne troops. The first M1 Carbines were delivered in mid-1942, with initial priority given to troops in the European theatre of war.
Once again, these rifles are out there to buy, but sadly, they aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but they are fun to shoot. They are supposed to have a range of 300 yards, but I wouldn’t push that envelope.
Under the right conditions, and with proper shot placement, the . 30 Carbine can be an absolutely deadly round for small to medium sized game. Hunters have been cleanly hunting whitetail deer, hogs, coyotes, and foxes with the . 30 Carbine since the end of WWII.