The anticipated release of U.S. Army surplus M1911 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program with the recent passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 has prompted CMP to publicize a statement regarding the method and rules under which the organization intends to disseminate the pistols to qualified buyers. Of particular note is CMP’s decision to select purchasers at random from grouped lists of 10,000 candidates, rather than sell the pistols on a first come, first served basis. Buyers are limited to one pistol per calendar year.
“The CMP Board of Directors has discussed at length how the sales of 1911s would be handled, if the CMP were to ever receive them from the United States Army,” CMP Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson said in the statement published in the CMP newsletter emailed to subscribers on December 4, 2017.
The statement lists 14 of the Board’s preliminary decisions regarding the milsurp pistols, the first being CMP will need about 150 days from receipt of the pistols to inspect them and decide on how to grade and price them. The Board has also decided sales will be mail order only, and buyers must pass two NICS background checks, the first at CMP and the second at the FFL that will take delivery of the pistol. Buyers must provide a new set of qualifying documents proving U.S. citizenship, membership in a CMP affiliated club and participation in marksmanship activity. Also required are a signed copy of the recipient’s chosen FFL licensee’s license and a new, notarized CMP Form 2A, which contains essentially the same citizenship and criminal background questions as a Form 4473. Form 2A is included with the order form for ordering the pistol.
CMP will announce dates when they will accept orders; early orders will be rejected. When they receive 10,000 orders, those names will go into a random number generator to be chosen randomly. CMP will then offer the buyer a selection of pistol grades and prices, from which the buyer may select one.
“As CMP proceeds down the sequenced list, less grade and pricing options will be available,” Johnson said in the statement, and emphasized, “Again, this [selecting of buyers’ names is] done completely [at] random.”
Though the U.S. Army has yet to release any of the surplus pistols, NDAA 2017 changed language in NDAA 2017 that only authorized the Secretary of the Army to release pistols to CMP; NDAA 2017 instead directs the release. No release date is mandated in the Act and the Army has not issued any statement regarding expected release of the milsurp M1911s.
CMP worked in the wings to set up compliance with Army regulations and federal laws while quietly―and, like many shooters and collectors, hopefully―awaiting lawmakers’ action. They also had to outwait the previous administration’s hostility to Second Amendment civil rights to realize the release of the milsurp pistols to the citizenry.
The Army and other U.S. military branches replaced the .45 ACP M1911/M1911A1 pistol in 1985 with the Beretta M9 9 mm pistol. This year the modular SIG Sauer P320 pistol, designated the M17/M18, replaced the M9. The last release of milsurp M1911 pistols was decades ago through NRA via the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM).