U.S. To Import 87,310 M1 Garand Rifles from Korea

The supplies of M1 Garand rifles are slowly but surely dwindling from the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s shelves. That’s the government-run organization that distributes WWII era firearms to the population, promoting civilian marksmanship through its games as well as its cheap firearms. A stockpile of South Korean M1 Garand rifles have been sitting awaiting approval for U.S. importation. The State Department has finally gotten off its rear end and green-lighted their re-entry into The Land of the Free. The rifles had been in political limbo for decades . . .

Uncle Sam sold most of the M1s to the Korean government to help with the Korean War. Our own G.I.s left some of them behind when we pulled out. Obviously, the M1 Garands are woefully obsolete on the modern battlefield. Korea had been looking to unload these rifles on the U.S. market to pay for a much needed upgrade to their armed forces’ armories.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration blocked their importation, saying they could “potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes.” You could say the same thing about a Blackberry mobile phone but tons of those come in from China every year.

The Korean Times reports that new legislation passed by the U.S. has cleared the way for these guns to be imported into the United States via third party importers such as CAI. And here’s the kicker: they’re going to be sold as low as $220.

The sad part of the story: the 770,000 M1 Carbines also available for sale in Korea are still banned due to their ability to accept “high capacity detachable magazines.” Which is ridiculous; the CMP has been selling those exact same guns and magazines for decades and shipping them directly to U.S. Citizens without an FFL in between. Not even 922(r) should apply. The guns were made in the United States in the first place.

Such is the state of gun laws in the United States. At least we’ll soon see some cheap (well used) M1 Garand rifles on the market. I hope.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

54 Responses to U.S. To Import 87,310 M1 Garand Rifles from Korea

  1. avatarRichard says:

    I well beleave this story soon I see rifles for sale here.

  2. avatarDrewR55 says:

    If they show up I will likely buy one.

  3. avatarGaryinVT says:

    I drive by the Century warehouse every week. They are usually hiring assemblers. Hmmm….

  4. avatarDrew says:

    Too bad about the carbines. 770k hitting the market would surely drive the price down quite a bit!

  5. avatarJohnny says:

    Excellent. Hopefully these M1s find their way up North as well.

  6. avatarGeoff says:

    Too bad about the M1 carbines. I’d love to buy an old one of those, especially if it was an old folding stock version.

  7. avatarChuck says:

    It’s a bit of a stretch to say “the greatest battle instrument ever devised” is woefully obsolete on the battlefield.

    • avatarJoe Grine says:

      No, its not. And besides what Patton may have said, it isn’t “the greatest implement of battle ever devised.” Not even close. If we are talking World-war II weapons, the title probably would go to weapons such as the T-34, the B-17, the P-51, any number of 105 and 155mm howizers, the aircraft carrier, the submarine, or the atomic bomb. In terms of infantry weapons, I’m sure the MG-34/42 accounted for a much bigger body count than the M-1 Garand. Yeah, teh M-1 was a nice gun. I’d certainly rather have an M-1 Garand than a Mauser K-98, a 1903A3, a SMLE, or a Moisan Nagant. But how much difference did the M-1 really make on the World War II battlefield? Not much, when compared to weapons listed above.

      • avatarGraybeard says:

        For our GI’s in Europe in WWII, they had some strong opinions about the Germans’ 88s. It was also an effective weapon – if on the wrong side of the firing line.

      • avatarTom says:

        M1 Garand was a good bread and butter Infantry weapon which was the best really mass produced rifle in the war. Probably why Patton liked it. Friend will probably buy one sooner or later. Dad and I always liked the M1 Garand for what it was.

      • avatarMike OFWG says:

        The old man (37th Division, field artillery) sure liked it when it replaced the bolt guns they were using in the Pacific in 1942. I’d like one. Hope TTAG keeps us informed about them.

      • avatarjuan says:

        we need those m1′s in the states. When is the government going to stop this nonsense, against our rights to bare arms and what types of riffles we want and need?

    • avatarRalph says:

      The M1 Garand was the best battle rifle of WW2.

      German infantry doctine was organized around the MG34 and later the MG4. The guys humping the rifles were basically there to support the MG. So the Jerrys never did develop a semiauto battle rifle, although they certainly had the technology.

      The Sturmgewehr 44 is a true assault rifle chambered for an intermediate round, not a full-power rifle round like the .30-06. It was issued to selected infantry and other troops late in the war, when it was already lost.

      The British and Japanese platoons were built around riflemen, like the US, but those soldier carried bolt-action rifles. The Garand was general issue for the front line US infantry, with the carbine issued in lieu of a pistol to second line troops, support and logistics personnel and certain officers.

      The Garand is a big hitter, but with it’s low capacity, low rate of fire, heavy weight, complexity and cost, it is truly obsolete. And don’t even ask about Garand thumb! Ouch.

  8. avatarRalph says:

    That’s the government-run organization that distributes WWII era firearms to the population

    The CMP was administered by the US Army prior to 1996. Then, someone in the White House decided that it would be wrong, wrong, wrong for the government to place guns in the hands of civilians.

    Since 1996, the CMP has been a 501(c)(3). It is no longer affiliated with any government agency and doesn’t receive any federal funding. In other words, it’s a private not-for-profit. Which is one of the reasons why it doesn’t have very many guns.

    CMP guns include WW1, WW2 and Korean War rifles. Anyone who hasn’t been legally disenfranchised can buy rifles from the CMP if the buyer is a member of one of the organizations recognized by the CMP. It’s a low threshold. A bigger threshold is that CMP is just about out of rifles.

    CMP also runs the famous Camp Perry matches, where the best shooters in the country show off their skills in various shooting disciplines.

    • avatarJohn D says:

      Ralph’s correct- the previous program was The Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM). My M1 Garand hit my doorstep in 1978 at a “Garand” total of $165.00, shipped U.S. mail direct from Anniston Army Depot. The entire process took just over a year, from initial application to delivery…
      One of the VERY few advantages to being one of the old guys!

    • avatarRichard Zimmerman says:

      The CMP wont be getting those M1 ‘s, we bought em’ and they are swimming with the fishes right now (post from guns America who’s son is stationed on the ship , said they were ordered to dump them, real nice eh, mmmh wonder who gave that call?

  9. avatarWill Litten says:

    Apparently they are mostly in good condition. I’ve been told that they were mostly used by reservists in training and after that they sat in storage for decades.

  10. avatareliska says:

    The story as reported by the Korea Times is not very credible. First, the legislation was referred to Committee in February 2011 and has not advanced from there. Second, it is not at all clear that the legislation would even apply to the rifles held by Korea. Third, the Korean defense official concedes that the negotiations with Washington have not been finalized. Finally, the market price for M1′s is certainly not $220 (at least not in the US). In short, I will believe it when I see it.

  11. avatarBen Eli says:

    It is great when military surplus coincides with my wallet’s surplus. This is not one of those times.
    Maybe TTAG could raffle one of these bad boys off?

  12. avatarFrank says:

    Always could use another rifle, especially if it’s a Garand.

  13. avatarSean says:

    I already have my Garand. I got a very nice CMP one years ago.

    My godson wants it. I told him I would buy him one when he graduates high school. Given his math grades lately, looks like I might not have to follow thru on that.

  14. avatarJustin says:

    “And here’s the kicker: they’re going to be sold as low as $220.”

    I will buy the first one I see at that price! I’ve always wanted a Garand!

    • avatarRalph says:

      At $220, they’re talking about de-milled parade rifles. Good Garands that have been arsenal refurbed with replacement parts sell for a grand or more. Rifles in “correct” condition are more.

      • avatarGS650G says:

        I saw one in a shop last week for 5000.00. Supposedly as perfect as can be, papers, yayaya.

      • avatarTyler says:

        Ralph, perhaps they are talking about what the surge of 90k rifles will do to the price of these on the market. Simple supply and demand economics dictates that when supply increases price decreases. I am sure these will be had at $500 or less.

  15. avatarThe Knight says:

    Anyone who knows the shortcuts, including links, we’d appreciate your tips here.

  16. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    “The State Department has finally gotten off its rear end and green-lighted their re-entry into The Land of the Free.” I can only think of a handfull of states that qualify as “LAND OF THE FREE” because the rest of them are either socialist P@@@@S or no good COMMIES.

  17. avatarRalph says:

    The Garand Collectors Association has a wealth of info about Garands and publishes an informative quarterly glossy magazine. The annual membership is cheap and qualifies buyers to purchase from the CMP.

    To anyone who has a strong interest in Garands, or who wishes to qualify for CMP purchases, or both, I recommend joining the GCA. You can find more info at http://www.thegca.org/

    • avatarRichard Zimmerman says:

      Does anyone know where to get a real m 1 garand case all I see a copy’s or fake’s?

  18. avatarST says:

    News from the future:

    GUNBROKER AUCTION 1 ROK PRE-OWNED VINTAGE GARAND M1 Rifle
    Bid $899
    Buy it now $1300

    You saw it here first. Ill be looking for a ‘$200″ M1 in the same section as that $700 Ruger 1911 I keep hearing about.

  19. avatarMatt Gregg says:

    The stupidity of the Obama administration(in blocking the carbines) is maddening.

  20. I took a look at the statutes governing these rifles, which were probably sent to S. Korea under the Lend Lease Act or the Foreign Assistance Act. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is probably acting within its authority, and the CMP statutes don’t necessarily trump these decisions on the Garands.

    However, there is an interesting legal question raised by one of the CMP statutes, which authorizes the Secretary of the Army to recover items subject to the Foreign Assistance Act. Assuming some of the S. Korean M1s were/are subject to the FAA, what would happen if the Secretary of the Army tries to obtain these same M1 Carbines? I’m not sure…

    http://minuteoflaw.blogspot.com/2012/01/legal-issues-surrounding-2010-2011-ban.html

  21. So we would just need to put a bunch of American made parts into those carbines right? Lol.

    But seriously, if you take something 100% legal out of the country, is it that hard to bring it back? Ugh…

  22. avatarIdahoPete says:

    Take a close look at these before you buy one. A friend has one of the older “re-imported from S. Korea” Garands (I think the company was Blue Sky Imports), and it was thrashed. Poor maintenance, poor cleaning of corrosive ammo – horribly inaccurate. However, if you are looking for a bit of history and are willing to take a chance on a lousy shooter, the lower price may be attractive. I wouldn’t order one shipped to my FFL dealer unless there is a full refund policy within 5 days of receipt, so you can examine the barrel condition and make sure the rifle works.

    • avatarfrankgon4 says:

      Good to know . Thanks

    • avatarLawrence McConnell says:

      I bought one of the Blue Sky M-1s sometime in the 80s and still have it and it’s still going strong mine was a 2 war rifle. made in 1943 and arsenal rebarreled in 1952 before it was sent to Korea. I paid $325 for it and the dealer let me sort through the 30 of them he had.
      I have the history of the rifle from the Rock Island Arsenal museum, I was stationed there at the time. The RIA Museum still does the history of the serial number for a nominal charge.

  23. avatarXDSTEEL says:

    Where and when are they supposed to hit the market?

  24. avatarchris maldonado says:

    my father is a veteran of the korean war and is intrested in purchasing one.

  25. avatarMegaman! says:

    Man, you guys are awesome about using pictures you don’t own and not attributing it to the owner. At least foghorn didnt drop it on the rocks this time.

  26. avatarAP says:

    Any updated info on this? Thanks.

  27. avatarRODOLFO VILLARREAL says:

    Please let me know the when they are available for sale. I would like to get some.

    Thanks, V/R

    Vietnam Combat Veteran
    USMC Retired

  28. avatarHarold R. Young says:

    I served in Korea and would like to purchase one of these returning rifles. Please let me know when and where I can make that purchase.

  29. avatarPatrick Higgins says:

    I am a Vietnam veteran and would like to buy 1 or 2 M 1 Garand

  30. avatarRichard Zimmerman says:

    I read on Guns America, this father said his son (U.S.Navy) saw those 87,000 m 1′s got dumped in the ocean, FYI

  31. avatarWhere do they come up with these stories says:

    just because someone puts something on the web doesn’t mean it’s true, especially if the site is called “the truth about guns”. time to put up with some references and facts that can be verified and stop telling people stories just to either get them pissed-off or their hopes up for something that will happen in the year ….

  32. I went to Korea July 17,1950 Was loaded on truck and sent to the front lines,which was on Nacton river.I was 17 1/2 years old.I was with Kco.4th patoon 21inf.reg.24 inf.Division.I was in Korea for 14 months I am one of 35 that was left out of K co total in co.255 from hill 99.at my age I could not drink a Beer but was giving a rifel to fight’So why is it so hard for us to buy the M1and Carbine I think we should be able to get them,

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