JAWS and the M1 Garand

Posted 4/18/23

In the 1970’s blockbuster movie Jaws , arguably the most colorful character was the grizzled fisherman, shark hunter, and U.S. Navy veteran Sam Quint. In the film, Quint is portrayed by the …

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JAWS and the M1 Garand


In the 1970’s blockbuster movie Jaws, arguably the most colorful character was the grizzled fisherman, shark hunter, and U.S. Navy veteran Sam Quint. In the film, Quint is portrayed by the late Scottish actor Robert Shaw, and his character is famous for his intimidating demeanor, singing old sea shanties, and guzzling a beer before crushing the can. In one scene, he holds his listeners spellbound as he relates his harrowing experiences aboard the USS Indianapolis when it was sunk during the Second World War. Nearly 50 years after the premier of Jaws, Quint is still often quoted in jest and parodied in television skits and cartoons.

Apart from Quint’s boat, the Orca, and his deep-sea fishing gear, Quint produces a rifle which he utilizes in a couple of scenes. Later, this very rifle is put to use in the climax of the film by Police Chief Martin Brody, played by Roy Scheider. This firearm is none other than the M1 Garand Rifle. This choice of weapon for the character of World War Two veteran Quint is somewhat fitting. Let us take a closer look at this important piece of military history.

The U.S. Rifle .30 Caliber M1, commonly referred to as the “M1 Garand,” is named for its Canadian American designer John Garand. The Garand is the iconic American rifle of World War Two. None other than General George S. Patton stated that the M1 Garand is “The greatest battle implement ever devised.” It can be seen in countless movies, television shows, and documentaries… including the film, Jaws.

Designed in 1928 and developed over the next few years, the M1 Garand was the standard U.S. service rifle from 1936 to 1957. The Garand replaced the standard M1903 bolt action rifle, and was the first standard issue autoloading rifle. This means it had an action that utilized a portion of the energy of each cartridge fired to load another cartridge. This innovation was unique when you consider that most of the soldiers of the enemy opposition were armed with slower-firing bolt-action rifles.

To geek out for a minute…. the M1 Garand is 43.5 inches long and weighs 9.5 lbs. It was chambered to accept an 8-round clip of the standard .30-06 cartridge used in both the M1903 rifle, which it replaced, and .30 caliber Browning machine guns. Its rate of fire is 40-50 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,800 feet per second and an effective firing range of 500 yards!

The M1 Garand Rifle would be issued to virtually every branch of the U.S. military. Over 5,400,000 were produced and saw wide use during both World War 2 and the Korean War. Although replaced in 1958 by the U.S. M14 Rifle, the Garand was still in limited use during the Vietnam War and continued to be utilized by several countries in many conflicts around the globe for many years afterward. Today, the M1 Garand is still a popular rifle for collectors and military buffs alike.


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