Not even sure if designation is the correct term. I have no military experience, and little education. I'm researching the mater myself, but figured I would throw my inquiry out there. I don't understand how an M1 Garand, and an M1 Carbine would have the same M1 name. Then there's the M1a, M14, and Mini 14. I believe the Mini 14 is not a military weapon. I hear a lot of people use the names loosely, and sometimes refer to what I thought was strictly a full auto weapon, when they're really talking about a semi-auto weapon.
Is there any kind of organization to this? Please enlighten me to any of your knowledge.