No this isn’t Photoshop, that actually is a giant M1 Garand! It is an M24, a 2x scaled up demonstration model used to show Marines and soldiers during training.

Kane Khanh | History
May 7, 2024

How do you show lots of people the intricacies of a firearm all at once? You make a GIANT gun of course! That way, everyone in training can see what you are discussing, and better grasp the purposes of the tiny components.

Có thể là hình ảnh về 2 người

So how big are we talking? Well, if you’ve ever built models, you’ll likely be familiar with 1/35 scale, or perhaps even 1/16 scale, which is considered quite large. Some of you tank or car enthusiasts may have even dabbled with 1/6th scale.

But that’s nothing compared to these guns; try 2/1 scale! That’s right, these guns were double-sized for maximum training efficiency.

Double Sized Guns

The inception of oversized training guns can be traced back to the US Navy during the Second World War, who wanted a clearer and more useful way to train large volumes of troops entering the service.

Traditional training methods often relied on the use of actual firearms, infographics, films and even cartoons. While effective to a degree, these are limited in how much they can teach trainees in a short amount of time.

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The urgency of war necessitated training large numbers of civilians into firearm aficionados very quickly.

Supersized Training Weapons -Training with normal sized weapons at Camp Chaffee in 1948.

The development of oversized training guns emerged as a solution to these challenges, providing a novel approach to military training with hands-on interaction and the accurate replication of firearm mechanisms.

The US’s Second World War training guns were built in double scale, so every component was twice the size of the real thing. For these firearms, some of which are already large in their standard size, this made for a HUGE piece.

Oversized training guns are designed to perfectly reproduce the proportions and mechanisms of real firearms but at a significantly larger in size. They typically have portions removed to make “cut aways”, so trainees can peer directly inside the weapon and watch its internal components move and interact.

Supersized Training Weapons -Aside from their practical uses, a giant gun makes for fun photo opportunities.

Inside, components were weighted to act within scale. For example, springs were intentionally weakened to ensure the weapons’ functions actually worked.

Of course, they couldn’t actually fire; they were for demonstrations only.

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The exaggerated dimensions of these training aids make it easier for instructors to demonstrate, especially to a large class. It also helps trainees to observe and understand the complex workings of firearms, including loading, aiming, and firing mechanisms, as well as maintenance and safety procedures.

Supersized Training Weapons -An instructor teaching Marines with a double-size training aid.

The components in firearms are often small, and it is therefore difficult to fully grasp their purpose. If time is not a concern, trainees can simply learn over a longer duration. However with a war on, this process had to be reduced significantly.

Giant versions of the major US firearms were made, including the M2 Carbine, the M1919 .30 caliber machine gun, the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, the M1 Garand and even the M2 Browning!

Something lesser known is that the US also produced enlarged versions of gun components, like iron sites, to help with training.

Supersized Training Weapons -No, this isn’t photoshop, those really are double-sized BARs.


These training guns were meticulously crafted to replicate the external and internal mechanisms of actual firearms, albeit at a larger scale. They were constructed mostly from aluminium to keep the weight down (a full weight, double scale BAR is not something I’d want to carry!), although they also had steel, zinc and wooden components.

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The materials were colored to replicate the real thing, and cut aways were marked with red paint.

The oversized guns were differentiated with unique designations (image the shock on an armorer’s face if one of these arrived, instead of the standard weapon he ordered).


At the bottom of the pack is the Training Aid M21, the double-scale model of the M2 Carbine. It was 72 inches long, compared to its standard length of 36 inches.

Each example came with 24 plastic cartridges and two magazines, in which the cartridges could be loaded.

All of these training aids came in a large box that also contained other items useful for instructors, such as cartridges, disassembly mats and manuals. The lids of the boxes cleverly doubled as a display stand for the models.

Next is the Training Aid M22, replicating the Browning M1919 belt-fed machine gun. Already a hefty weapon in standard size, the M22 was 19 inches tall.

Supersized Training Weapons -The M22 double-sized M1919 .30 caliber machine gun. This is example is sitting on its transport box lid that doubles as a stand. To store it, the barrel would be removed and the weapon would be placed in the box upside down, with its base forming the lid. Image courtesy of Rock Island Auction.

It came with two cloth ammunition belts and 24 giant .30-06 cartridges.

Perhaps the most well known of these weapons is the example created for the M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), the Training Aid M23.

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This monster of a “weapon” was 93 inches long! For comparison, that is longer than a Lahti L-39 20 mm anti-tank rifle, or 50 percent longer than an M2 Browning.

Supersized Training Weapons -The M23 training aid, showing its cutaways. Image courtesy of Morphy Auctions.

Of course, the M1 Garand received a huge counterpart too, the Training Aid M24.

At 86 inches in length it isn’t quite as large as the M23, but its still a very big toy! The M24 and its box weighed 86 lbs all in.

And yes, it did come with a super-sized en bloc clip, but to disappoint you, it was made of plastic, so no “ping” here unfortunately.

Supersized Training Weapons -An instructor conducts a demonstration to a class with an M23 training aid.

All of the actions and functions of these weapons were workable. The magazines could be removed and loaded with fake rounds, the charging handles could be pulled, safeties could be switched on and off, and the parts could be stripped.

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This hands-on approach is a fantastic way to convey information, especially to learners who benefit from physically manipulating things to fully grasp the functionalities and procedures associated with firearm operation.

Post War Training Aids

The need for double-scale weapons as training aids reduced after the Second World War as the quantity of troops needing to be trained subsided, however they were still made for newer weapons.

These versions did not receive an “M” designation, instead being categorised as “DVCs” (Training Devices) and then given a number.

There was one made for the M16A1, which weighed 130 lbs in total, which includes its transport box/display board. This was designated DVC 9-19.

Supersized Training Weapons -The aids were used until the weapons they replicated were retired from service. They sure make for some interesting photos!

The M60 received one too, designated DVC 23-5.

However the biggest, most absurd and most comical is the DVC 23-3 – a double scale training aid for the M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun. This monster was 120 inches long, which is actually longer than a Sherman tank’s 75 mm gun!

Due to the size of this beast it was not operated by hand. A small electric motor slowly cycled the gun instead. Plastic cartridges were ejected into a container inside its display stand.


These training aids were used for years, including through the Vietnam War, and were extremely useful in the teaching process, from basic training all the way to armorers.

An entire parts supply chain was developed to keep them functional. Due to their lightweight construction they were rather delicate and frequently broken, so spares were important.

They gradually fell out of use as the weapons they were imitating were removed from service and spare parts ran out.y.