The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) said it has received shipment of nearly 100,000 repatriated M1 Garand rifles to replenish nearly depleted stocks of U.S. military surplus rifles sold the past two decades to eligible American citizens. In addition, the Secretary of the Army recently released approximately 8,000 much-anticipated milsurp M1911/M1911A1 pistols to CMP.
“We’re excited to have the guns,” CMP Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson said. “We’ve been working on getting them for several years, and it’s the first shipment of guns we’ve received in quite some time.”
Loaners come home The repatriated M1 Garands―about 86,000 from the Philippines and 13,000 from Turkey―went on loan to those countries following WWII under the Military Assistance Program (MAP). Because the rifles technically belong to the U.S. Army, it was up to that organization, not CMP, to seek repatriation. Under the anti-civil rights Obama administration, repatriation was never on the table; during those years CMP worked quietly with the U.S. Army, preparing to eventually receive the repatriated rifles and milsurp pistols. Last week’s receipt of the firearms is the culmination of long effort while adopting a wait-and-see attitude by CMP.
Today, the semi-automatic Garands with a fixed capacity of eight rounds are obsolete for military purposes, and they now enjoy collector and “collector-shooter” status among American riflemen, especially for those who participate in CMP As-issued John C. Garand competitions. The U.S. Army, having no use for the repatriated rifles, has turned them over to CMP for subsequent sale to eligible individuals. The practice at CMP is to clean, carefully inspect, and test fire every salable firearm to ensure safe and proper operation. Then, a price is set based upon its overall condition, with a few select rifles garnering higher, collector-status prices.
“We’ve already begun on the Turkish rifles,” Johnson said. “They’re already filtering into the system and there are some on the racks for sale now.” Of note to collectors, he said the Turk and Filipino Garands are indistinguishable from any other M1 Garand. “We haven’t seen any kind of markings thus far, nothing to identify what country has had them,” he said.
Pistols, too The milsurp M1911/M1911A1 pistols will also go to eligible citizens through CMP sales on a lottery basis. CMP posts eligibility requirements for pistol and rifle purchases on its website; those requirements include proof of U.S. citizenship, participation in marksmanship activities and membership in a CMP affiliated club, as well as passing an FBI NICS criminal background check. In the case of the M1911/M1911A1 pistols, buyers must pass two NICS checks, one at CMP and a second at the Federal Firearms License dealer where they pick up the shipped handgun.
Sales of milsurp arms was historically through the U.S. Army Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) via the NRA. In 1996, Congress closed DCM and chartered the non-profit Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety (now called the CMP). At that time the Army transferred remaining stocks of surplus firearms and ammunition to CMP to sell for income in supporting itself. Late last year, Johnson said CMP expected to sell the last of those remaining milsurp M1 Garands by 2019; this eleventh-hour receipt of the Garands and M1911/M1911A1 pistols is a big financial shot in the arm for CMP.
More to come? And while the present 107,000 milsurp rifles and pistols are good news for CMP, collectors and competitors, there is more on the horizon. South Korea has approximately 80,000 M1 Garands and about 600,000 M1 Carbines loaned to that country under MAP. South Korea aborted an attempt to sell those loaned firearms to U.S. importers a few years ago. CMP is hopeful that these will also eventually be repatriated and passed on to the American citizen.