M1911A1: Coming Soon to the Civilian Marksmanship Program?

Col. John D. “Jeff” cooper with M1911A1. Photo credit: jeffcooperbooks.com.

I’d been meaning to buy an AR-15 for quite a while. In 2012, clever lad that I am, I said to myself, “I’ll just wait until after the election and the Christmas rush blow over, and then I’ll buy something in 2013 after demand has fallen a little.” Ah, the best laid schemes of mice an’ men gang aft agley . . .

With cash burning a hole in my pocket, but not being foolish enough to spend it on an AR during the post-Newtown panic (and willing to bet that, politically, Feinstein and Obama wouldn’t be able to resurrect the Clinton-era ban no matter what), I looked for something else to spend my money on. As luck would have it, I ran across an article Nick wrote about the Civilian Marksmanship Program. I spent the money I’d been saving for an AR, and two months later, I received an M1 Garand plus a proverbial metric ton of ammo.

The CMP is a great program. It’s specifically authorized by an act of Congress to sell surplus military firearms, ammunition, parts and other items via direct mail order (without the need for an FFL) to U.S. citizens who meet the eligibility requirements (must be at least18 years of age, legally able to purchase a firearm, be a member of a CMP club, and be involved in a marksmanship-related activity, which includes people who have a license to carry firearms. The funds from the firearms sales help fund various CMP marksmanship training and shooting events. It is a great program.

One thing the CMP isn’t authorized to do, however, is sell pistols. Congressman Mike Rogers (R-AL), is proposing to change that. A press release from his office stated:

“As a gun owner and strong believer in the Second Amendment, my proposal is a common-sense approach to eliminating an unnecessary cost to the Federal government while allowing the very capable CMP to handle the sale of these vintage firearms that otherwise would just sit in storage. This amendment is a win – win for the taxpayer. I was pleased the amendment passed the committee and appreciate the support my colleagues on this proposal,” Rogers said.

Currently, the Army stores excess M1911A1 pistols, which used to be the standard U.S. Armed Forces sidearm, until it was replace[d] by the Berretta 9mm pistol. Besides the 8,300 pistols that have been sold to law enforcement and transferred to foreign countries for a small price, the rest of the M1911A1 pistols are now being held in storage costing the taxpayer around $200,000 a year.

The amendment Rogers drafted was included with the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which cleared the House Armed Services Committee on April 29.

In an article by WVTM News, Congressman Rogers remarked, “I’m sure a lot of collectors around the country are going to be happy that these are going to be available to them.”

Darned right we are, Congressman. I’ve been wanting a vintage 1911 for quite some time!


  1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    So how do I get one?

    1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

      Tagging to see followups

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      You wait to see if this amendment survives the rest of the “how a bill becomes a law” sausage-making exercise, then wait for the slow tide of government bureaucracy to transfer the guns to the CMP, and for them to set up a process to handle sales of them. In other words, if it happens, it’s probably gonna be a while.

      But for now, you can follow the links in the article above to see how the process works when buying a rifle from the CMP. It’ll probably be pretty similar.

    3. avatar Heretical Politik says:

      It will be very interesting to see if this survives the legislative process. I’ve heard the military has been aching to unload it’s surplus 1911s onto the CMP. I sure would love to have one. Do check out the links on eligibility, it’s somewhat involved, but once you are in the system, you are good as long as you’re a member of a CMP affiliated club. As stated, this one will probably take a while, but I think I will renew my Garand Collector’s Association membership just in case.

  2. avatar Yogi B says:

    Hell yes!!!! Now replace the m9 so i can get a surplus one of those too. Does pretty please help? What if I toss in some sugar on top?

  3. avatar Thomas says:

    How much are we talking? $300? $500? $1000?

    1. avatar Craig says:

      A basic CMP Garand costs $650 to $1000 or so and they usually go for sale at gun stores and online for $1000+. I’d say probably $500 to $750, depending on condition.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        The ‘condition’ is one thing I’m concerned about on a mail-order CMP gun.

        About 2 years back Tyler did an article here on TTTAG on a CMP Garand. He was fortunate to have someone help him pick out a decent one.

        I’m just worried about one pulled out of a pile.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          Does it matter? Even if it is shot out, a barrel and bushing change will put right back in business.

        2. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Just order a Service grade or better, and you should be all right. The CMP folks are pretty good about their grading system, and all the rifles are gauged (throat erosion and muzzle) as part of that process. It’s unlikely you’ll get a shot-out specimen with a Service grade rifle. It’s only $100 more than the Field grade, and it takes a lot of the gambling out of the process.

          Or spend another $300 and get a completely rebuilt “Special” grade rifle, with a new barrel and wood furniture.

          I assume they’ll use a similar system to rate any pistols they get to sell.

      2. avatar Geoff PR says:

        @ Mark N –

        “Does it matter? Even if it is shot out, a barrel and bushing change will put right back in business.”

        A barrel and a bushing should be no biggie, but what about slide-to-rail wear?

        I’m hoping Dyspeptic or other 1911 geeks can chime in on this…

  4. avatar Tile floor says:

    I’d probably get one, depending on the price. I Want to get an M1 but keep putting it off

    1. avatar NotoriousAPP says:

      M1 prices have been skyrocketing. Don’t wait too much longer. I’ve seen them go up quite a bit in just the last few years. I absolutely love my Garands from the CMP.

    2. avatar bontai Joe says:

      Don’t keep putting it off! They won’t be getting cheaper and they will eventually run out of them. I got mine some 25 years ago back when they sold for around $130. Got delivered by my postal carrier with my regular mail in NJ no less. And if you don’t think that they will ever run out of them, I remember when the CMP (was the DCM back in the day) used to have Krag rifles and ’03 Springfields. No more of those available.

    3. avatar Heretical Politik says:

      As others said, I would definitely not wait. Orest stated in the CMP forums in January 2013 that he estimated there was 2-3 years worth of inventory left in stock. That might have been just to keep up their brisk sales, but honestly the CMP does not want to keep selling rifles. The main reason for their existence is marksmanship, especially youth marksmanship, and they just want to get rid of the rifles so they can focus on that. Buy one. You will not regret it, and it appreciates in value the moment you receive it.

      1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

        I bought my first CMP Garand in 1997. Orest gave out the 2-3 years of Garands left every year. He was the master of the non-answer. He did that to avoid runs and spikes. The new CEO, Mike, knows how many are left and he isn’t saying either.

  5. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Sign me up!

  6. avatar ST says:

    Behold, Obama’s next veto……

  7. avatar Brian in Seattle says:

    Don’t hold your breath. Sammy will find a way to stifle this the same way he killed the M1/M1 carbine repatriation from Korea.

  8. avatar Brian in Seattle says:

    Damned auto correct. It should say Bammy.

    1. avatar Mike Crognale says:

      That’s OK, we all understood the reference.

  9. avatar Gregolas says:

    This would be great! I wonder if there would be revolvers for sale too?

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      You may not want one. My pop was telling me about some of the guns he got to shoot in ‘Nam.

      He said the .38 revolvers they had were clapped-out. He also mentioned the Thompsons were surprisingly heavy and soft-shooting and a whole ‘lotta fun…

      1. avatar int19h says:

        If you look at the specs, Thompson is actually more than a pound heavier than Garand, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Most WW2-era SMGs were pretty damn heavy for what they were – heavier than either the bolt action rifles in use at the time, or the assault rifles that would replace them both.

        1. avatar JWM says:

          Exactly. I’ve heard horror stories about the hard kicking .45 tommy gun. Really? I was shooting one when I was 10. With a full stick mag it weighs about 11 pounds. With a shoulder stock.

          My .30-06 03 springfield probably wighed a pound and a half less. And .30-06.

        2. avatar DMB says:

          An uncle of mine carried one during the Korean war. He told me he cursed having to carry it and the ammo even more. But he said he never loved a gun more than the Thompson when the Chinese attacked his position because when he cut down on them the few people he didnt hit never stuck their heads up again to see where the shots came from.

  10. avatar pbshooter1217 says:

    I wonder if they will sell them at collector prices or surplus prices.

  11. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

    ***breathes heavilly****

    1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

      That too….

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        Back already?

        There you were, in darkest Africa, deep in the bush, the sounds of animals you haven’t yet killed, at night looking up at a brilliant blaze of stars and the faint streak of the Milky Way with a bourbon in hand…

        And you were posting to TTAG.

        You know how to rough it, Tom…


  12. avatar DBM says:

    Back in the 80’s the Military had about 250,000 mostly new 1911’s in storage but refused to release them to replace the worn out pistols we were forced to use. Reason probably was someone wanted an all new pistol and if they released new or serviceable 1911’s congress wouldnt allow them to buy an all new pistol.

  13. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    The NDAA has become something of a “Christmas tree” of legislative issues – anything remotely connected to the DOD gets shoved in there. The reason why is that it is a vehicle for the Congress to get stuff passed that, if put into non-defense legislation, would be vetoed. How would it look for a POTUS to veto the defense authorization bill, effectively freezing the DOD’s spending in place? Not so hot.

    As for prices of 1911’s: It would depend on their condition, just as with the Garands. I’d speculate that the floor on the price will be in the $500 range.

    1. avatar Anon in CT says:

      Why would anyone pay more than $250-300 for a beat up 1911 with rifling optional? The Garands are things of beauty, but there’s at least 100 companies making 1911 variants anew, most for very reasonable prices.

      I totally think that they should do this rather than paying to store the old pistols, but I can’t see them being woth a lot, except for nostanlgia value.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        It’s holding something that someone may have used to save their life while serving this country.

        It’s history, it’s pure Americana.

        (It’s something an utter nitwit like S.Tranny is incapable of understanding)

  14. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    Back in the 80s I shot rebuilt 1911s in the Air Force, assisted the Air Force Gunsmith shop with some equipment testing, and even had an opportunity to inspect some of the pistols being used by the Marine security units we were training at Lackland AFB. Almost all of those firearms were tired old WWII manufactured specimens (a few were Goldcups we’d purchased for our Combat Control Teams). The steel in their slides was considered “soft”, meaning the hardening process was limited, so cracks can appear after only a few thousand rounds of shooting (it happened in my old 1911 Commercial made in 1914). In WWI and WWII the original intention had been to build them as fast as possible, rather than plan on using them for the next century. While decades of postwar storage won’t hurt them, they probably aren’t the best platforms for modern competitive shooting. If they ever are released to the CMP, and you are lucky enough to get one that isn’t worn out, I suggest you treat it gingerly, or consider having it inspected and possibly heat treated before doing any heavy shooting, and limit yourself to target loads for longevity .

  15. avatar tdiinva says:

    I am a 1911 fanboy but I don’t see the magic in buying surplus A1. What makes the Garand and the M-1 carbine a gem is that nobody makes them anymore. Everybody and his mother makes M1911A1 pistols.

    1. avatar John Hope says:

      Auto Ordinance makes the M1 Carbine new.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I stand corrected. Springfield Armory made a limited run of Garands in the 1980s. Some had odd chamberings like 243 and 308. There is something special about an M-1 that has been in combat that makes it a desired item that a beat up M1911A1 does not have.

        1. avatar Skyler says:

          Sure it does. No one is going to buy an M1911 for competition shooting or even (with rare exceptions) for home or self-defense. They will be collector pieces that get shot from time to time. The M1911 is simply not a very good pistol compared to what is available today.

          I remember having to qualify with junky M1911’s back in the 1980’s and they were junk. I was so glad to get the M9 as a replacement. Now if we could only have an M9 pistol that shoots in .45 . . .

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Well I guess we agree to disagree. There is fundamentally no difference between a Springfield Milspec and a surplus M1911 except the Springfield is in better shape. Just because the surplus version may have been used to kill a Kraut, Jap or Commie doesn’t make it special like Garand used for the same purpose. Nobody uses a Garand anymore for its intended purpose. And there are lots of people on TTAG who still use a 1911 for self defense. What makes the 1911 a classic and must have for any serious gun guy is not that it served its country but that it is as good today as it was 100 years ago.

      2. avatar Mark N. says:

        Several companies, actually. Fulton Armory produces one that has been well received as reliable, unlike the Auto Ordinance, but has a matching price ($1500). Century makes one (cheap) that has a horrible reputation, and there is a new company named Inland coming on the scene (MKS Supply is the distributor), from the (former?) Chiappa plant in Ohio that is supposed to be an exact Inland replica, but other than their press release I have seen and heard nothing further since last October. MSRP is supposed to be $1050.

  16. avatar KCK says:

    How many are in storage?
    Any body have access to that number?

    1. avatar Heretical Politik says:

      A team member on AR15.com stated (so take it with a grain of salt) that there were approximately 400,000+ 1911s still in inventory. Of those about 116,000 were unserviceable. Seemed like he knew what he was talking about, so figure around 270,000. He also stated that there were a lot of .38 revolvers still in inventory.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        If the .38s were anything like the one my pop was issued in ‘Nam, you may not want it. Clapped-out was his description of it.

        He did also say the Thompsons were fun to shoot… 🙂

  17. avatar Vitsaus says:

    They’ll sell out in a day.

  18. avatar DisThunder says:

    That would be excellent. My Inland M1 needs some company, and I’ve got a gorgeous vintage leather M1916 holster that’s been waiting for a mate of an appropriate age- all my 1911s are practically jailbait.

  19. avatar Grindstone says:

    Yes, please.

  20. avatar E_chin says:

    when do the parentheses close? WHEN DO THEY CLOSE!?

    1. avatar Grindstone says:



  21. avatar JJ48 says:

    I’ve been wanting to get a surplus M1911 for some time now! I believe CMP has a physical store here in Ohio. If this passes, I may just have to head up there…

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      I am heading to up to Ohio in a month. Where is this store?

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        Port Clinton, OH.

      2. avatar JJ48 says:

        I believe it’s near Sandusky, on the coast of Lake Erie.

        2500 Davey Rd, Port Clinton, OH 43452

        It says it’s located at Camp Perry, and I have not yet been, so I don’t know if you need base access, or if it’s in a part of the base open to the public.

  22. avatar Last Marine out says:

    You can still get new, reworked M1,M1 Carbines, and M14 (semi-auto) and some Springfield rifles …check the shotgun news add …I think one company is Fulton armory ….cost is up.

    1. avatar DBM says:

      I’d like to get an M-14. I live in Maryland and they outlawed buying M-1A’s but you can buy an M-14. Yeah I know its the same rifle but to liberals who passed that stupid law its a different rifle because it has a different name.

      1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

        You can buy a Polytech M14. Not on the ban list even says so on the MSP website that they are legal. I prefer them to the hit-or-miss quality of what “Springfield” is putting out these days.

    2. avatar R. GALLAGHER says:

      The Fulton Armory “M-14s” have always been knock-offs….not issue M-14s. Same with Polytech. Even the Federal Ordnance receivers were after-market. The government is still holding uncountable issue M14s. These will probably never be sold due to the ease of inserting the “selector” key for full automatic. All of these other aftermarket guns lack the insert hole on the starboard side of the receiver. They will no doubt be “crunched” and sold as scrap. The receivers will probably never see the light of day. Just a few years ago, you could buy a complete (issue) M-14 kit (minus receiver) for $99! Orest has performed a great service guiding the CMP.

  23. avatar Tom W. says:

    CMP has been out of M1 Carbines for a couple years or more now.
    The Garands left are increasing in price, and the wait list is a bit longer than when I bought mine in 2011.
    I have the Springfield Armory Korean War Era. (And I love it, and it’s sexy, elegant, accurate)
    Ok enough of that.

    Still sell the Greek Milsurp 30-06 by the can. Manufactured in the 70’s.

    If they had or get 1911’s, like the Garands, they would be given a grade, and retooled or refurbished to avoid Kabooms.

    There are 800,000+ Carbines and Garands in S. Korea. Some will be worn out wall hangers, but I would love the “little brother” to my Garand with a 1911 to just have piece of history.

    1. avatar Ragnar says:

      CMP still has carbines. They put them on the auction block every week.

  24. avatar JSF01 says:

    I am not holding my breath that this will happen atleast for the remainder of this current administration. If it does happen I’ll buy a few. So what about shootgun? the CMP should be ussed for selling off all our surplus firearms to the public since demiling costs money. If it is leagle for a citizen to buy the CMP should sell it off. Hell even if the firearm in question is not legal for the public to buy (for stupid reason) the CMP should still sell of the parts of the rifle that are (Like M-16 uppers) or better yet rebuild them to be legal, then sell them.

  25. avatar Joe T says:

    Great, now another gun to add to the list, and I still have to get my M1 lol

  26. avatar Michael says:

    I’d love one but I’m not a member of an authorized club. sigh. only one around here, and it requires two references to join. I don’t know any members so I’m out of luck.

    1. avatar R. GALLAGHER says:

      Be a man F-C-S! Call the club, find out when their membership night or admin night is scheduled. Go on out and meet a few members. If you’re not an obvious jerk, they’ll welcome you as a new member. What are you scared of?

    2. avatar Mike Macon says:

      Michael, it would not hurt for you to give a call to the nearest CMP location and ask them about who is qualified to purchase from them. I know for a fact, if you are a military veteran all you have to do is show proof and can walk out the same day with the M1 Garand of you dreams. The Garand I got was made by HR and is a tack driver. Hope this helps.

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