Originating from the French word carabine, a carbine is a firearm that resembles a rifle, although it has a lower power and a shorter length. It can be said that a carbine is a kind of short rifle, since it even uses the same ammunition many times.
The carbines arose to be used by the members of the cavalry. These soldiers, being mounted, could not use muskets or rifles. Therefore, in the 19th century, the members of the cavalry began to carry carbines, leaving the rifles for the soldiers who moved on foot.
The ease of use was the main advantage afforded carbines; instead, the lack of aim and range were its most notorious shortcomings. When the cavalries lost their preponderance and different motor vehicles began to become popular, the carbines still maintained their validity thanks to those who were looking for short and light weapons. Over the years the carbines showed various advances and that is why they never stopped being used.
In Chile, a police institution created in 1927 is known as Carabineros. The name comes from the carbines that those first members used. These weapons even appear on the entity’s shield.
The Arma de Carabinieri, on the other hand, is a force of the Italian state. It was founded in 1814 and among its functions is the care of the borders.
In the same way, it should not be overlooked that carbine is also a genus of insects, it is exactly a subtribe of coleopterans that are predatory and nocturnal. As a general rule they feed on caterpillars and earthworms.
We must not forget either that there is an expression that uses the term that we are dealing with now. We are referring to “Ambrosio’s carbine” which is used to refer to an object that is useless or that, at least, does not perform well the function for which it was created.
The origin of this expression is not known with certainty, but what is known is that it was widely used in the 19th century. However, it is true that there is a theory that establishes that perhaps its origin lies in the legend of a bandit from the 19th century who did not hesitate to assault those who passed by the roads using a carbine that did not have gunpowder but was loaded with seeds. Hence, the following expression began to become popular: “to be like Ambrosio’s carbine.”
According to DigoPaul, an adult woman who acted as a companion to young women was also called a carbine in certain circumstances, such as during a courtship situation.
Thus, for example, in the first decades of the 20th century in Spain the figure of these women, who were called carbines, became very important. Its function was to prevent a wedding couple from being left alone and being able to strengthen emotional ties. Therefore, he had to go out with them to ensure that they could not have a more affectionate and intimate approach.