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How to Get a Historic M1 Rifle and Other Military Surplus Weapons

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U.S. Marine Corps Col. Randall Hoffman, Commanding Officer of MCRD Parris Island Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Fires the M1 Garand rifle during the Hearst Doubles Match at Camp Perry Ohio July 31, 2018. (Yamil Cassareal/Marine Corps)
U.S. Marine Corps Col. Randall Hoffman, Commanding Officer of MCRD Parris Island Weapons and Field Training Battalion, Fires the M1 Garand rifle during the Hearst Doubles Match at Camp Perry Ohio July 31, 2018. (Yamil Cassareal/Marine Corps)

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is sold out of surplus 1911 .45 caliber pistols for this year, but the nonprofit still has M1 rifles to sell.

The U.S. Army allowed 8,000 1911s to be transferred to the CMP for sale and distribution as part of the Fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The program caps the number of 1911 transfers at 10,000 each year, and the CMP has already received 19,000 orders.

As of Jan. 8, the CMP is "sold out -- no longer accepting orders!" according to its surplus 1911 information page. "The CMP does not know what next year's allotment might be."

But the program sells more than surplus 1911s. Over the past decade, the government-chartered organization has brought in nearly $200 million in revenue selling surplus M1 Garand rifles, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.

Military.com has been flooded with emails from readers asking for information about the CMP and how to buy military surplus firearms since it ran a Feb. 19 story on the program.

Here is some information you might find useful:

The fiscal 1996 NDAA authorized the CMP to sell certain types of surplus Army firearms to U.S. citizens, including M1 .30 caliber rifles.

"In the past several years, the M1 Garand, regardless of condition, has become a very hot collectors' item and sound financial investment," according to the CMP's M1 Garand information page.

"The popularity of the M1 Garand continues to grow as hundreds of new Garand 'Fun' Matches are being held all across the USA each year. ... Most M1 rifles have been arsenal rebuilt, refinished, re-barreled or repaired at least once and often several times. Most will show signs of service (often considerable) and replacement of various parts. They are seldom encountered with all original parts and original finish as delivered from the manufacturer," the site states.

Over the years, the CMP has offered several different grades of M1 rifles, from serviceable to excellent condition. While many grades are no longer available, the CMP is currently selling M1s ranging from $650 to $3,055, according to its M1 info page.

Ordering information can be found on the CMP's M1 info page.

The CMP at one time sold surplus M1 carbines, but the carbine inventory "has been exhausted and we do not expect to receive any additional shipments," according to the website.

The CMP is assigning random numbers to those who have gone through tedious process to order a surplus 1911 .45 pistol, so the orders can "be filled in the … established sequence," according to its 1911 info page.

"We are working on assigning the random numbers to the 19,000 packets we have received and notifying every one of their number," the 1911 page states. "Due to software issues and technical difficulties, this is taking longer than anticipated. PLEASE BE PATIENT! It may be March before everyone is notified of their random number."

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

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