Real Rifles at Parris Island

Real Rifles at Parris Island

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the “REAL” rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a “teepee”. The second was as a motivator as in “All right girls, gettum’ out by the stacking swivels”, which was used by our Drill Instructors when somebody was out of step in the platoon. On this command we had to hold the 9.5 pound weapon straight out from the body by the stacking swivel between the thumb and forefingers of both hands. On a hot August Parris Island grinder, it wasn’t long before the strongest among us was in serious pain trying to stay in an upright position. The stacking swivel was indeed a very important part of Marine Corps lore and the source of sea stories. I hated to see it go.

Cpl Norm Spilleth
’60 – ’64

Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!


  • gregory m switzer

    Used this on my sons, keep it up GD and I’ll grab you up by the stack and swivel! Qualified with and Loved the M-1. Like wise for the 14. Coached at PI

  • Harry

    You can buy a version of the M-14 called the M1A1 at all of the major sports dealers but, it is not cheap! I bought a mini 14 back in the mid 80s (223 cal) lots of fun to shoot!Harry

  • Buzz Alpert 1960-66 E-5

    I arrived at PI in June of 1960 for boot camp and Camp Geiger and we only had the M1. I was in platoon 152, 1st Bn and loved the M1. A few years after completing my tour I purchased one from the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) and still enjoy shooting it. It cost me $400 buck in the 1980’s and it is in pretty good shape. When I fire that rifle I feel like I have a cannon in my hands. Once when marching back from the 3rd BN rifle range (as best I can recall) we got caught in a bad storm. The M1’s had no finish on them and they literally turned red with rust. We were told to turn to on cleaning them before we did anything else. I have read that the M1 would continue to fire under the worst of conditions. That said I would really like to own an M-14, but no luck so far. They are quite costly. Anyone has any advice on that please reach out to me. My email is God bless the Maine Corps and all the men and women who make the Corps what it is, year after year. Semper Fi.

  • Harold Weist

    There is the Old Saying, “Grab them by the stacking swivel, jar their butt plate lose, and blacken their peep sights.”

  • Tony Schlueter

    Went through PI in 1982. 1st Bn, Plat 1041. My Drill Instructors used to make us stand on line holding our M16 rifles straight out in front by the barrel between the front sight and flash supressors with our right hand. After a few minutes, it was just like the guys with the M1. No matter how strong you were, you couldn’t hod the rifle for very long. Techniques have changed little troughout the years.

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