I want a surplus 1911 from the government! Judging by the overwhelming response we received on our last article on this topic, I’m definitely NOT the only one! I’d venture to guess there are thousands of you out there that feel the same way. After all, it’s not every day that one has the chance to score a WWII-era 1911 that is guaranteed to be 100 percent real, and that has never been on the consumer market.
Okay. The obvious has been stated. We want these surplus 1911s. Now, what? How do we get them? How much are they? When will they become available? How many are available to the public?
How We Got Here
Before I get to those questions, let’s back up for a moment and revisit how we got here. At the end of last month, president Obama signed an omnibus bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, which among other things contained a provision to allow the government to relinquish the Army’s stockpile of surplus M1911 and M1911A1 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, so that they can be sold to the general public.
If you’re not familiar with the Civilian Marksmanship Program, it’s a national organization dedicated to training and educating U. S. citizens in responsible uses of firearms and airguns through gun safety training, marksmanship training, and competitions. It’s a quasi-government, non-profit agency.
For our intents and purposes, the CMP is the intermediary that transfers the Army’s 1911s to us. If you haven’t read our series “Garands from the Government,” now would be the time. Our fearless leader Paul Helinski goes step-by-step through the process, detailing how he purchased surplus military M1 Garands through the CMP. In fact, some of what he wrote regarding getting your ducks in a row to purchase a firearm from the CMP, I’ve reposted below. But I highly recommend you check out that series.
It should also be noted that Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Alabama) is largely responsible for adding the provision to sell the 1911s to the NDAA.
“As a gun owner and strong believer in the Second Amendment, my proposal is a commonsense 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,” said Rogers back in August, who pointed out what it cost taxpayer’s to store the 1911s: $2 per gun, per year. Roughly speaking, $200,000 each year.
Now, to the questions at hand. I reached out to the CMP for answers to the aforementioned questions and here is what they told me, word for word:
“The legislation has passed. We have no further information at this time,” said Mark Johnson, CMP’s Chief Operating Officer.
Needless to say, not very helpful. What we do know, however, is that of the 100,000 or so 1911s available from the Army (the NDAA only authorizes the sale of 1911s belonging to the Army, not the other branches of the military), so far 8,300 have already been sold off to law enforcement officers through the Department of Defense’s 1033 Program, which gives police officers privileged access to purchase these surplus firearms.
The remaining lot, around 90,000 will not be available all at once. The CMP is only allowed to sell 10,000 per year, per the language of the bill. Each transaction will be closely monitored by the Pentagon, which will report to Congress the number of firearms sold and any crimes committed using them.
Buying a firearm from the CMP is not like buying a firearm from your local gun dealer. The CMP requires all of the following (this is an excerpt from Paul’s article on “Garands from the Government”):
- Club Membership – If you are a member of a gun club, check the list at http://www.odcmp.com/clubs/searchclubs.htm to see if your club is a CMP member. Mine was, so I just send a photocopy of my membership card. if you aren’t a member of a club that is on the list, or if you aren’t in an affiliated veteran, law enforcement or community group, all on those state lists, you can join the Garand Collectors Association for $25 and that will cover you.
- Proof of Age – A drivers license photocopy is fine for this.
- Proof of Citizenship – But a drivers license is not fine for this. It was my mistake, and I returned the email request from customer service with a photocopy of my passport, which was fine. it says any birth certificate kind of government document works, and they apparently will not be involving Sherriff Joe.
- Proof of Marksmanship or Other Firearms Related Activity – Any NRA course form, probably including a basic hunter safety certificate, looks to be ok for this, though it says it must include life fire training. I sent my CCW license which it specifically lists as OK. Any law enforcement or military history is proof as well. There is also a PDF you can have a range officer sign on the eligibility page.
- **NOTARIZED** NICS Form – I am sure a lot of people get caught up with this. They run a NICS check for every order and part of the form you download and print is a standard list of questions from the BATFE Form 4473. But unlike filling out a 4473 in a gun shop, you have to **WAIT TO SIGN THIS** until you take it to a notary public in your state. They will take your driver’s license and you sign the form in front of them. They then stamp your form to certify that it is in fact you who signed it. You can find a notary at most banks for free, and for a nominal fee at town hall, and even at pack and ship places. The notary will not stamp it unless you sign it in front of them.
- Your order form. – This includes all of your payment information and the details of your order.
- Firearm Owner ID Card – If you live in a state like Massachusetts, where state laws, in violation of the US Constitution, forbid you to possess a firearm without a special permit called a Firearm Owners ID card, YOU MUST SEND CMP A COPY OF THE CARD WITH YOUR APPLICATION. I am sure that there are states where individual guns must be registered as well, and it is impossible for us to keep this article fresh with information over the years it will be up, so if you live in MA, CA, NY, CT,NJ, HI, IL, or any of the other bad gun law states, check with CMP before placing your order. Their phone number is 256-835-8455. If you are in a flyover state, or Florida, you should be fine with just the CMP stuff.
The bill authorizing the sale of the Army’s surplus 1911 has been signed by president Obama. We don’t know as of yet when CMP will begin taking orders for the 1911s. However, we’ll be damn sure to keep you posted.
We don’t know how much they’ll cost. We do know that the CMP is only allowed to sell 10,000 1911s each year. We also know what CMP requires potential buyers to submit (see above) in order to purchase a firearm. So, if you want one, get your credentials in order.
(Freelance writer Mike Doran contributed to this article)