The best firearms bargain currently available are the M-1 Garand rifles available through the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). These M-1 rifles are authentic U.S. military surplus rifles turned over from the government to the CMP for eventual distribution to qualified U.S. citizens.
One of the best things about buying a rifle from the CMP is that it is shipped right to your door! Unlike all other interstate firearms sales, the CMP is allowed to ship rifles directly to the purchaser after the NICS background check has been completed.
The CMP was chartered by Congress as a private entity in 1996 to replace the old Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) program that had previously been operated by the U.S. government. This program had been in existence since the early 20th Century.
The mission of the CMP, as outlined in Title 36, U.S. Code, 0701-40733 is to:
(1) To instruct citizens of the United States in marksmanship;
(2) To promote practice and safety in the use of firearms;
(3) To conduct competitions in the use of firearms and to award trophies, prizes, badges, and other insignia to competitors
As part of that mission the CMP is authorized to receive surplus .30 and .22 LR rifles from the U.S. military for redistribution to qualified U.S. citizens. These rifles have included the M-1 Garand, Springfield 1903, Model 1917, M-1 Carbine, Krag, and various .22 LR rifles.
The CMP is not authorized to receive or distribute any rifles capable of fully automatic fire, such as the M-14 or M-16, or any handguns. These items will NEVER be distributed through the CMP.
Currently the CMP has M-1 Garands in various grades available for purchase. The prices start at $495 for a “Field Grade,” rifle, go to $595 for a “Service Grade” Garand, and up to $995 for a “Special Grade” rifle. (I discuss what grade to purchase in my article, “A look at the best CMP M-1 Garand choices available.” )
The CMP is only allowed to sell rifles to U.S. citizens who meet certain qualifications. The current CMP eligibility requirements are:
1. Be a U.S. citizen over 18 years of age who can legally own firearms.
2. Be a member of a CMP affilated organization
3. Show proof of marksmanship or other firearms related activity (not required for those over age 60
Meeting these requirments is pretty straightforward:
In order to show proof of citizenship you must provide a copy of your U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or other official government document that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S.
The affiliated club membership requirement requires you be a member of one of the over 2,000 affiliated organizations in the U.S. There are many affialiated clubs and organizations in Michigan, so you may already be a member of an affiliated club without realizing it. The CMP provides a list of affiliated organizations at http://clubs.odcmp.com/cgi-bin/clubSearch.cgi
If you are not a current member of any affiliated organization one easy way to meet the requirement is to join the Garand Collector’s Association (GCA) for $25 a year.
To show proof of marksmanship or other firearms related activity documentation of any of the following qualify:
Current or past military service or law enforcement service
Participation in a rifle, pistol, airgun or shotgun competition. (Provide copy of results bulletin)
Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (Provide copy of certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor)
Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status (NRA)
Concealed Carry License (A Michigan Concealed Pistol License counts for this)
Firearms Owner Identification Cards that included live fire training
FFL or C&R license
Completion of Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training
Certification from range or club official or law enforcement officer witnessing shooting activity. A form for this is available at http://clubs.odcmp.com/cgi-bin/clubSearch.cgi
By buying a CMP rifle you are receiving a piece of history and supporting a program that promotes civilian marksmanship with a special emphasis on youth marksmanship programs. Without the CMP program these rifles would instead be destroyed.
Be sure to read my other articles on the M-1 Garand:
The M-1 Garand brought semi-auto firepower to U.S. troops in WWII
Tips and tricks for the M-1 Garand
M-1 Garand tips & tricks: Part 2 – Cleaning, lubrication, ammo & spare parts
M-1 Garand tips & tricks: Part 2 – Malfunctions & accuracy improvements
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