Had we built the Mauser 98(in a sense we did with the M1903, to the point Mauser sued for royalties)
But anyway, had we been producing M98's we still would have produced them faster and in greater quantity due to a greater number of factories and subcontractors that could have been brought to bear. We are bigger than Germany and have far greater industial capacity when fully ramped up.
The semi auto ment not having your sight picture disturbed for 8 shots, which is important with fleeting targets that bolt and dive and zigzag.
While the enblock clip was seen as the weak point of the rifle,with trained men, it was faster to reload than a Mauser when both went empty at the same time. While it was a difficult to do on the run, a enblock clip could be topped off while in the rifle, If of course there was no time you banged out 8 and took the approx 2 seconds to put another in.
There were a Few "Gas Trap Garands" used in the Battle of Corregidor, and yes they were a nasty shock to Arisaka Type 38 users...so much so that the captured ones went straight to Japan for testing, as well as trying to reverse engineer
the rifle at one point.
A few were still carried by choice by Advisors in Viet Nam ..alot of whom had seen combat in WWII or Korea a few years before.
While the technology of warplanes have made great leeps since WW1...and a Sopwith Camel would be no match for a F16, Small arms hasnt made that same leep. A Person with a WW1 infantry rifle can still easily kill a M16 armed soldier at an extended range.
There is really nothing that a M1 would face today that it didnt face in WW2,
Submachineguns, assault rifles, full power bolt actions, belt feds..they were all there. But yet most of the time our soldiers still bested thiers....some was luck, some was good equipment, and as today...a lot of it was the man behind that rifle that won the day.
So the M1's adversaries hasnt changed much, except in brand name and the use of more plastics, nor has a ememy combatant holding them.
So yes if you had to protect yourself with one, it would do just as good of a job as when it was THE issue rifle..the rest is up to you.