How to buy surplus 1911 pistols from the Civilian Marksmanship Program

Lee’s note: The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is ready to sell thousands of surplus World War II-era 1911 pistols, assuming President Trump signs the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA),  which Congress recently passed.

Here’s an update from CMP dated 10/11/17:

We are waiting patiently and quietly to see how the NDAA 2018 turns out. All prescribed steps have been taken by CMP to fulfill the mandated requirements for receipt of the 1911s from the United States Army. CMP is in a constant state of readiness. The CMP has no further information at this time.

Thank you,
Mark Johnson
Chief Operating Officer

An amendment in the NDAA authorizes the CMP to sell between 8,000 to 10,000 surplus handguns during a two-year test period.

The pistols will be sold to the public through the Civilian Marksmanship Program to “qualified purchasers.”

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about what’s needed to become a qualified purchaser. The fact is, it’s a very simple process.

For example, if you’re a U.S. Citizen and able to pass a background check, possess a CCW permit and are a member of a CMP-affiliated club or willing to join one online, you’re qualified.

Here are the CMP’s requirements to purchase either a 1911 or an M-1 Garand. As you’ll see, many shooters are already qualified.


By law, the CMP can sell surplus military firearms, ammunition, parts and other items only to members of CMP affiliated clubs who are also U.S. citizens, over 18 years of age and who are legally eligible to purchase a firearm.


You must provide a copy of a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government document (When using a military ID to prove citizenship, must be an E5 or above) that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S.


You must provide proof of age. Usually proof of citizenship also provides proof of age. In those cases where it may not, a driver’s license is sufficient.


You must provide a copy of your current membership card or other proof of membership. This requirement cannot be waived. The CMP currently has over 2,000 affiliated organizations located in many parts of the country. CMP Club Member Certification Form- If your CMP affiliated club does not issue individual membership cards, please have the club fill out the CMP Club Member Certification Form and return it with your order.

Membership in many of these organizations costs $25.00 or less and can be accomplished online. A listing of affiliated organizations can be found by clicking on our Club Search web page at If you have any difficulty in locating a club, please contact the CMP at 256-835-8455 or by emailing CMP Customer Service. We will find one for you. In addition to shooting clubs, the CMP also has several special affiliates. Membership in these organizations satisfies our requirement for purchase. These special affiliates include: Congressionally chartered veterans’ organizations such as the VFW, AL, DAV, MCL, etc. U.S. Military services (active or reserves), National Guard, to include retirees. Professional 501(c)3 law enforcement organizations and associations such as the FOP, NAPO, NSA, etc. The Garand Collector’s Association is a CMP Affiliated Club. You can download a Garand Collector’s Association Application Form.

Note: Club membership IS required for purchase of rifles, parts, and ammunition.

Club membership is NOT required for instructional publications or videos or CMP memorabilia.


You must provide proof of participation in a marksmanship related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures. Your marksmanship related activity does not have to be with highpower rifles; it can be with smallbore rifles, pistols, air guns or shotguns. Proof of marksmanship participation can be provided by documenting any of the following:

  • Current or past military service.
  • Current or past law enforcement service
  • Participation in a rifle, pistol, air gun or shotgun competition (provide copy of results bulletin).
  • Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (provide a copy of the certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor).
  • Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status.
  • Concealed Carry License.
  • Firearms Owner Identification Cards that included live fire training. – FFL or C&R license.
  • Completion of a Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training.
  • Certification from range or club official or law enforcement officer witnessing shooting activity. Complete the CMP Marksmanship Form to certify your range firing and the required marksmanship related activity for an individual to purchase from the CMP.

No proof of marksmanship required if over age 60. Proof of club membership and citizenship required for all ages. NOTE: Proof of marksmanship activity is not required for purchase of ammunition, parts, publications or memorabilia.


The information you supply on your application will be submitted by the CMP to the FBI National Instant Criminal Check System (NICS) to verify you are not prohibited by Federal, State or Local law from acquiring or possessing a rifle. Your signature on the Purchaser Certification portion of the purchase application authorizes the CMP to initiate the NICS check and authorizes the FBI to inform CMP of the result. IMPORTANT: If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your license, permit, or card with the application for purchase.


If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a certificate, license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your certificate, license, permit, or card with the application for purchase. Rifle shipments to NY and NJ must be made to a state licensed dealer. You must provide a copy of the dealer’s license with your order form. Rifle shipments to CA must be made to a State licensed dealer or may be made to individual homes, providing that a CA Certificate of Eligibility and a Curio and Relic License are provided. Rifle shipments to CT must be made to licensed or dealer or may be shipped directly to the customer if a C&R license is provided.

As a result of CT Bill 1160 and Bill 13-220 , which revised CT Bill 1160, all CT customers purchasing rifles to be delivered in CT must have the rifle shipped to a CT licensed dealer or must provide us with a copy of their current Type 3 (C&R) FFL license. We can ship directly to a customer’s home if they possess a C&R license.

NY, NJ and CT customers who have already mailed their rifle orders to CMP should provide with dealer information or order cancellation instructions. Information can also be faxed to 256-835-3527 or mailed to CMP Customer Service, (Attn: FFL Order), 1401 Commerce Blvd., Anniston, AL 36207.




About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. No one should have to provide anything other than proof they are a citizen if the buy one. The government should do all the research for criminal backgrounds and mental health issues.

    If we did it right, every adult Black head of household would be trained and issued one in NYC, LA, Baltimore, and Chicago so they could stop the hordes of robbers, rapists, and murderers who are armed gangsters. I do not trust our rights to agents of the US government.

    Personally, I need another .45 ACP like I need another screw driver and I hate to see these firearms going from one useless stack of guns to another. I’d rather they have a .38 revolver, but these are the simplest most reliable firearms in history.

    • If you have so many I’ll be glad to help you out with getting rid of one I’ll trade you a regular screw driver for one

  2. Why am I not surprised that you have to be a member of CMP in order to buy one. Here are a bunch of old worn out craptastic rattle guns for sale at $1700 each oh and btw you have to be a paying member to buy one…Enjoy your gun….

    unless it was the one I carried for all 8 years I was carrying one I wouldn’t want any of those things. I wouldn’t pay more than #500 for one is great condition (for an old worn out gun).

    (que the ban hammer)

    • $1700 each! With all the great handguns out there for much less money, can’t imagine spending this on an old mediocre one. I didn’t see the price anywhere. I expected them to be surplus priced.

    • Eugene Pantano on

      Sad you feel that way. My job was to take our issue rattle traps….and rebuild them……every single piece of them……re-finish them…and, when finished….they could not be told from a newly issued piece. I will take yours…since I can only buy 1….😇

      • Hi Mr. Pantano:
        I am a CMP member and belong to an affiliated club. I am applying for a GARAND (RM 1 Service Grade $730).
        I’d like to acquire one of the 1911s, (provided NDAA 2018 authorization).
        The only info I have about them is from “comments” and the stated cost of $1700.
        Can you provide an update re: NDAA, CONDITION and COST (as of 01/22/18)?

    • Where “exactly” did it say they were selling for $1,700. EACH? It also said if you are a member of the VFW, American Legion, DAV, (Disabled American Veterans), you can buy one. It’s NOT EXCLUSIVE to CMP members only.

    • Emperor James on

      Nobody in the U.S. makes enough money to pay for a gun club and a gun, any how. All paycheck to paycheck, here.

  3. I keep hearing 1700.00 bucks. I went out to my local gun shop, and wow, what 1700 will buy. If you’re lucky enough to find a gently used .45, you can really maximize your 1700.00 and get into a Colt, Kimber, SIG, or other high end .45. Why in the world would anyone pay 1700.00 bucks, sight unseen, for a rusted out old POS?

  4. I would like more information on the 1911. The price I’ve seen is not very appealing. I am qualified. Life member of affiliate club three years in USMC. CPL. I should be in your records as I have purchased a M1 from you
    Thanks Robert Slais

  5. So, you think a U.S.A. veteran should buy one of these old surplus fire arms for an outrages price . Shame on you and your company for trying to cheat a 70 yr. old on SS.

  6. Would like a bit more information . I’m a retired Navy Gunners Mate Guns Chief Petty Officer. Served 1967-1987. Had the 1911 the whole time I was Active duty, Changed over to the M-14 mid way through. Liked the M-1 MUCH better. These Prices I’m hearing seems OUTRAGIOUS ! Remember you could buy the M-1’s for $84.00 at the time of phase out. I was at a school command didn’t find out about it till after. Was at three commands where I was the Person in charge of the ships small arms. Never had a “GOOD” 1911. Bought a LLAMA 1911for $400.00 that was in a hell of a lot shape than I ever had during Active duty and you are thinking $1500.00……NOT WANTING to sell very many are you.
    Paul Chapman , GMGC,USN,Retired

    • The CMP is auctioning off the very best ones. The rest are broke down in three different categories, each category has different prices. They are still to high priced . You can do on the CMP website and they explain it there.

  7. $1700 !!… for a well-used/worn 1911?? Who’s getting the kick-back off that price?…Anything, Uncle Sam, ie. the NDAA offers, in this case, …cast a jaundiced eye on it. No deal here. Can purchase a lot of handgun, for less and in all-likelihood, in better condition. This is not to say the civilian affiliate, the CMP isn’t a reputable org. Just the opposite. I believe their doing a good job, in what they do. I just think the price and proposed filings can be modified, to fit citizens pocketbooks and Our ‘existing Rights’ Better.

  8. The 1911 is a POS. I am fully qualified to buy a 1911, but would not consider it for 1700.00. I retired from the US Army, MOS 11B40. Anyone in the Army should know what a 11B is. I have a new 1911 and it cost me under $900.00, why would I pay 1700.00 for a piece of worn out crap.

    • I have a pair of Remington Enhanced R-1, .45 1911’s that didn’t cost near $1700 for both of them…

  9. I have been shooting guns since I was 14 yrs. old. I am 59 yrs. now. I have paid $1,250.00 for a stainless steel 257 Roberts top of the line, Ruger model with a very high-quality scope. But I would never buy a 1911 .45 cal pistol ( $1,700.00 ) unless someone famous had it with papers to verify that. Are you sure that Democrat is trying to sell these to cover for his/her campaign cost? HA HA HA HA.

  10. This is what gun control looks like, so basically the average American is ineligible to purchase a firearm. Way to go from bad to worse.

    • Emperor James on

      Yep, the cost is another way to control who can purchase it. Not that any one with that kind of money should, any how!
      This is a soft roll out of english-style “gun-clubs-only” gun control.
      Avoid and shame! Avoid and shame.

  11. Start a petition to sell these at a pawn shop loan price. As a taxpayer and 5th generation US citizen: my grandfather already paid for his fair share when they were originally purchased.

  12. I have my fathers service 1911…he taught me to shoot with it. One thing he said that sticks in my memory was his the accuracy issue. He said that you could hit more enemies with it if you just through it at them!

  13. Emperor James on

    Sounds like a way for trump to implement his democrat agenda english-style “gun-clubs only” gun control.
    I wouldn’t sign up for a club, it puts you on an easy list for any one to collect and use against you.
    This is the same thing as national gun registration, just from a different angle.
    Don’t trust the U.S. government.
    Don’t trust the U.S. military.
    Don’t trust the United States(United Hates), period!

    Don’t want your old junk, anyway. They’ll probably overcharge and they require too much to purchase any how. I can go buy an old WW2 takeback garand in much better condition than these old junkers which have probably not seen a hand in decades and have been improperly stored. Enjoy your rusty old junk and hope it doesn’t blow up on you like all the other junk from the U.S., HAHA!

    • First off Trump has nothing to do with this truthfully other than allowing them to be released from the military weapons stock so take the political garbage elsewhere…secondly this organization has been around since 1903, so it is not some new take on “English” gun clubs. Learn what you are talking about before spewing garbage with no facts. Do I agree with the pricing and would I buy one? No…I own a Kimber 1911 that is extremely accurate and has never failed me in shooting and I paid a lot less for it than what they are asking for a used Govt M1911.

  14. Douglas Huskisson on

    I was in the USMC and qualified expert 4 years in a row with a 45/1911.With that said,I think it should be donated to those of us that went through the hell of defending this country.Plus the tax payers paid out the ass for them when they were purchased.1700 dollars is not only a rip off,but defies market value.Melt them down and make M-14s from them.Or atleast something useful for the military instead of some of the junk they now carry.

  15. I have to agree with most of the crowd here that while it may seem easy to some people, it seems to be geared towards people who are members of the organization or some shooting club which feels a bit exclusive and discriminatory.
    The article is interesting and excited people, but then it’s a real bummer to find out we have to play the paper work and credentials game. Any american citizen should be able to buy anything from government surplus supplies, not just specially qualified individuals or dealers who buy cheap and resell at 5 times what they paid.

    Like a few people here already stated, most of us already paid for these things with our taxes. Most of what is surplus has already been paid for through taxes and has been written off. The only expense it creates is the cost and inconvenience of storage. Seems to me if the government really wants to move the surplus and allow everybody a fair shot, they should make it simpler.

    And while there are hundreds if not thousands of old hummers collected and they need to discard, Obama placed a limitation on them where buyers could only purchase one if they promised it would only be used as an off road vehicle,meaning not made street legal. Then I think of all those people who’d like a low priced, well built vehicle and yet only those who can afford the luxury of a vehicle that they can ONLY place on a trailer and take to a place where they’re legally allowed to use them would be able to purchase one. Again, money seems to be the issue not really an even playing field for US citizens.

  16. well ,…gee whiz…another Gov’t program that makes no sense……Am I surprised?…not at all. I gave up on the gov’t when the Clintons escaped the White Water investigations. All they had to do was keep it going and the witnesses and prosecutors eventually gave up the ghost…..It only cost the clintons $13 million or should I say the Demoncratic Party contributors….The next ” laugh till you need to change your skivvies”… act was Comey saying they had thousands of gov’t emails on Hilary Rottens server,… but could not prove any “intent” on her part to do anything with them….Sure.!!!..NOW,… I laugh at the gov’t wanting to sell worn out 1911s for $1700….when you can get a decent mid priced,… NEW,… 1911 for about $1000….makes no sense but thats our gov’t for you….Wait till the Demoncrats take over,…… it will all go to hell…..!!!

  17. Wil M Taylor on

    This may sound crazy to some BUT if I was gonna pay that much for a weapon I would buy one with no past & memories cause a lot of young men lost their lives holding theis guns
    for our freedom ! So keep your guns CMP ! Crazy sounding yes I know !

  18. Raymond Heichelbech on

    Sure is a lot more complicated than buying a surplus 45 or 30-06 back in the 1960’s. Back then it was fill out a 1 page application to purchase and mail it in along with a money order. If successful, they shipped a gun directly to your home, if not, you got a check.

  19. Bought a 30-06 03a3 back in the 60,s as surplus thru the NRA. Lucked out and got a brand new Remington and the cost was only $17.

  20. CMP 1911 PRICING:

    CMP has priced the 1911 type pistols at fair market value in accordance with CMP’s enabling legislation.

    Service Grade $1050. Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

    Field Grade $950. Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.

    Rack Grade $850. Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.

    Auction Grade (Sales will to be determined by auctioning the pistol). The condition of the auction pistol will be described when posted for auction. Note: If you have already purchased a 1911 from CMP you will not be allowed to purchase an auction 1911. If you purchase an auction 1911, your name will be pulled from the sequenced list. No repeat purchasers are allowed until all orders received have been filled.

  21. In country I carried the following at different times,
    M14, M16m, M1 carbine, M60, .38 spl and 1911A1.
    If you were 100 feet from the broad side of a barn, if you threw it, you would hit the barn.
    If you shot at it, more than often, you would miss.
    I would gladly pay $800.00 for a proven one, than jump hoops for CMP.
    I served from 12/67 – 8/88.
    Why do I have to be a club member, then pay, just to satisfy CMP
    Sounds more like Government – at – LARGE.

  22. If all you guys with too much money just WOULD NOT BUY ONE the price would not be this high. Can only sell an item for what some idiot will pay! RESTRAIN YOURSELVES and these would go for about two hundred apiece…. one per eligible person.

Leave A Reply