If Congress does nothing else this year (which is possible), at least they’ll have helped thousands of government-issued M1911s find good homes.
Congress approved last week the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Currently awaiting the President’s signature, the Act outlines $700 billion in overall defense spending. It also mandates the sale of at least 8,000 surplus .45 ACP M1911A1 pistols. The mandate was included as an amendment to the bill during debate in the House Armed Service Committee.
“I call upon the President to sign this important legislation into law—and in doing so acknowledge that this is the level of defense spending necessary to meet current threats, prepare for the challenges of an increasingly dangerous world, and keep faith with our men and women in uniform,” said U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Armed Services Committee chairman.
The bill instructs the Secretary of the Army to transfer between eight and ten thousand surplus M1911s per year over the next two years. The Army will transfer these firearms to the Civilian Marksmanship Program, a federally chartered corporation that seeks to educate the public about firearm training and safety. The CMP generates income in part from selling surplus Army firearms like the M1 Garand.
The transfer program will be reviewed by Congress each year, but if it continues it could move the entirety of the Army’s 100,000-M1911 collection. In 2015 Congressman Mike Rogers disclosed that each pistol costs the government about $2 per year to store. Transferring these firearms to the public would save the government money and allow gun enthusiasts to own an iconic piece of history.
To purchase a firearm from the CMP, an individual must be a member of a CMP-affiliated organization. Additionally, one must be a U.S. citizen and must prove marksmanship-related activity. Don’t fret. CMP is affiliated with thousands of shooting organizations around the country. And proving marksmanship can be done with a concealed carry permit.
Unfortunately, the normal sales procedure may not apply to the newly-transferred M1911s. The CMP posted the following note on their website on November 22:
Because of the limited number and the exceedingly high demand for the pistol, and the great level of Congressional scrutiny, the Board of Directors will make a decision regarding how sales will be handled. We have no further information at this time.
– Mrs. Judith Legerski, Chairman, CMP Board of Directors
However the CMP decides to sell these firearms, they will likely be priced on a sliding scale. The scale will be based on their condition grade (e.g. rack-field-service-special-correct-collector).
As soon as we have info on how CMP will be selling these guns, we’ll let you know. Stay tuned. And good luck!