Civilian Marksmanship Program

Here's How to Buy a Surplus 1911 From the CMP

The wait is over, so here's how you can get your very own CMP 1911 pistol. 

The ball started rolling when President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2017. The bill contained an amendment authorizing the sale of thousands of surplus 1911 pistols through the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

With more than a century of history of service with the US military, shooters also prize them for their reliability, power and accuracy. For these reasons, the CMP expects demand for this first batch of surplus 1911s to far outstrip the supply of approximately 8,000 pistols.

With this in mind, the CMP has established a limit of one 1911 per buyer. To determine who gets to buy one, officials will enter all qualified, interested people into a random draw Oct. 5, 2018.

So, how do you enter into the draw? The CMP has published a detailed ordering packet containing everything you need to know on their website.

Basically, you need to provide the following:

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship and age (21 or older)
  • Proof of current membership in a CMP-affiliated organization (more details here)
  • Proof of participation in a marksmanship or other firearm-related activity
  • Your state or locality requirements laws: Firearm Owners Identification Card (FOID) required for New Jersey and Illinois
  • Signed copy of a current 01, 02 or 07 Federal Firearms License, which the 1911 will be transferred to
  • Completed, signed and notarized pages of the 1911 order form

The CMP will only ship these 1911s to an 01 (dealer or gunsmith), 02 (pawn broker) or 07 (firearm manufacturer) FFL holder. This specifically excludes Curio & Relic license holders.

Additionally, you must pass two NICS background checks in order to purchase a CMP 1911: one before the CMP ships to your FFL and another when you pick up your gun.

According to the CMP, the legislation Congress passed to authorize this sale specifies that every purchaser must pass a background check first. FFLs can normally turn over a firearm to a purchaser after 72 hours if they initially receive a "delayed" response or don't hear back from NICS.

In order to satisfy this requirement, the CMP won't ship any 1911s to any FFL until the prospective buyer receives a "proceed" NICS response. This will also minimize the instances of 1911s having to get shipped back because the buyer can't pass a background check.

Furthermore, the CMP is only accepting orders postmarked between Sept. 4 and Oct. 4, 2018. They specifically say they won't accept any orders postmarked before Sept. 4, as well as any orders hand delivered, faxed or emailed to them.

Pay close attention to the instructions in the CMP 1911 order packet, or you may end up disqualifying yourself from purchasing one!

How much will it cost to buy one? The legislation authorizing the sale states that these 1911s must be sold at "fair market value." The CMP will be auctioning off a few 1911s that have "unusual" characteristics. They'll be selling the others at the following prices (shipping included):

Service Grade $1050: Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. The pistol is in issuable condition.

Field Grade $950: Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

Rack Grade $850: Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.

As of the date this article was published, CMP has not released the number of 1911s it will be auctioning off or how many 1911s fall into the three grades.

According to the CMP 1911 order packet:

The Random Number Generator will provide a list of names in sequential order through the random picking process. Customers will be contacted in the sequence provided by the Random Number Generator. The CMP 1911 customers will select their grade of pistol (Service, Field or Rack) from available inventory at the time of order notification. Customers with higher numbers may have fewer grades from which to choose. When this year's allotment of 1911s is exhausted, the remaining orders will be held in the existing sequence for all future allotments of 1911s. The CMP does not know what future allotments might be.

If you're one of the lucky buyers to get selected in the random draw, the CMP will contact you in the order you're drawn and give you the option to purchase one of the remaining 1911s. So, the first guys to get drawn will have the option to pick from all three grades, while those drawn later will get what's left.

However, it does sound like those who submit complete order packets but fail to get drawn for a 1911 this year will be put at the top of the list for future allocations of 1911s.

So, there you have it. If you want a bona fide piece of American history (not to mention a darn-good pistol), you need to move fast (but not too fast) and put your CMP 1911 packet together.

Make sure you carefully follow their instructions, though! Good luck!

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