The Hezi SM1 PDW – An Evolution of the M1 Carbine

The creation of Israel brought with it a smorgasbord of firearms. The early version of the Israeli Army was fielding everything from British Enfield rifles to AKMs. The handguns were a variety of guns from the ultra-modern to some WWI survivors. Most of their weapons came from Western Europe and the United States. One of the more beloved weapons of the early IDF was the M1 and M2 Carbines. The light handling, low recoiling, and auto-loading design made them well-loved by soldiers. Unsurprisingly, it would be an Israeli company that created the Hezi SM1 PDW. 

Small Arms Journal

The Hezi SM1 PDW reimagines the M1 Carbine as a modern bullpup PDW. Go read the reasoning for creating the M1 Carbine and the reason for creating the NATO PDW concept. They have an almost identical mindset and reasoning. A lightweight, easy-to-shoot weapon that offered more range and penetration than a submachine gun but would be lighter and shorter than a rifle. They designed these guns for rear-echelon soldiers who might otherwise be armed with a pistol. 

Like the STG 44, which established the first assault rifle, the M1 Carbine is arguably the first PDW. An Israeli company, Advanced Combat Systems of Even Yehuda Israel, decided that the 82-year-old gun could still rock and roll with the best of them. To this day, the platform is used by the Civil Guard, private security, and even tour guide services. 

The Hezi SM1 In Living Color 

The Hezi SM1 doesn’t just use an M1 action in its design. This upgrade kit converts existing M1 and M2 Carbine rifles to a bullpup platform. The Hezi SM1 isn’t a firearm per se as much as an upgrade kit for an existing platform. The Israeli military and police tend to prefer their bullpup designs, as we’ve seen with the Tavor series of rifles, so it’s not a big surprise they decided to take that route. 

Advanced Combat Systems

The Hezi SM1 kit uses a synthetic polymer stock system. The design found a way to make all of the controls ambidextrous and accessible by the non-firing hand. That’s not a feat the classic M1 Carbine would claim. The gun uses a top-mounted, nonreciprocating charging handle. 

Bullpupping the rifle trims a significant amount of size. The gun is 30% shorter and measures out to 26 inches or so overall. This makes the gun roughly the size of your typical SMG but still packs the .30 carbine cartridge. Weight-wise, it still comes in at 6.4 pounds, which keeps it nice and light. 

Advanced Combat Systems

The rifle features an integrated carry handle design. It has a set of iron sights and a rail to mount an optic. Upfront, the chassis wears a rail that makes it easy to mount a light or other accessory. The Hezi SM1 can use the 30 and 15-round magazines and, reportedly, work with the select-fire M2 Carbine. 

Worth the Trouble 

Replacing the classic wood stock and using a shell-like upgrade kit offers its advantages and challenges. One advantage is the ability to easily mount modern accessories. It’s much easier to scope the Hezi SM1 kit with optics, lights, lasers, and the like than to rig a system to work on the M1 Carbine. 

It’s much smaller than the standard M1 Carbine, making it easier to carry and use in urban environments. Advanced Combat Systems claims the weapon is 50% faster on target than the standard M1 Carbine. Shorter guns are typically faster and easier to get on target, but 50% faster seems like a bit of a stretch. 

Advanced Combat Systems

One of the concerns of this platform is ensuring reliability. This system requires an integrated ejection port much smaller than the M1 Carbine’s open design. It needs to lock down to the gun to ensure accuracy and that the optic can even be zeroed. Unfortunately, these kits aren’t in the US to be examined and dissected. Let’s not forget the trigger will most certainly suffer. 

If the concerns can be addressed, this would seem to be an excellent upgrade to existing M1 Carbines. It keeps the gun lightweight and increases its maneuverability. If I were a police officer in Israel carrying an M1 Carbine, the bullpup kit would make the system easier to carry and much easier to use in and out of vehicles. Likewise, these kinds of kits tend to extend the service life of the weapon. 

With that said, the Hezi SM1 doesn’t seem to have been fielded. The information on the platform is scarce, and it doesn’t seem like the Israeli government and Civil Guard felt undergunned with their current crop of M1 Carbines. 

Travis Pike
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.