Purchase an M1 Garand from the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program)

The M1 Garand along with the Colt M1911 45 ACP have been dreams of mine to own for some time. Those two firearms, to me, are classic pieces of Americana. They were vitally important to our country during World War II and to the design of firearms that came later. It helps that they are also beautiful firearms to look at. Acquiring an M1 Garand, however, has is an easier firearm to get one’s hands on. Unless you are looking for a specific year/serial number, manufacturer, matching parts, etc. you need to look no further than the CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program):

…The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) is a U.S. government-chartered program that promotes firearms safety training and rifle practice for all qualified U.S. citizens with special emphasis on youth. Any U.S. citizen who is legally not prohibited from owning a firearm may purchase a military surplus rifle from the CMP, provided they are a member of a CMP affiliated club….The CMP was created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act….From 1916 until 1996 the CMP was administered by the U.S. Army. Title XVI of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1996 (Public Law 104-106, 10 February 1996) created the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety (CPRPFS) to take over administration and promotion of the CMP. The CPRPFS is a tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that has been Federally chartered by the U.S. Congress, but is not an agency of the U.S. Government (Title 36, United States Code, Section 40701 et seq). Apart from a donation of surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles in the Army’s inventory to the CMP, the CMP receives no Federal funding.

Obtaining a M1 Garand outside of secondary collector’s markets at reasonable prices is near impossible. They typically run $1,000+ minimum. The CMP allows U.S. citizens to purchase a surplus M1 Garand and have it shipped directly to their front door…provided you have all of the required documents (FFL not necessary) and are not located in NY (FFL delivery required). I’ll get into the requirements for purchase a little later.

The CMP takes each surplus M1 Garand rifle and inspects it, repairs it, and then gives it a grade before anyone can purchase it. Due to this process, the wait time with current demand is roughly 30-60 days from receipt of your order form. Their grading scale goes from Rack Grade ($525 as of this article) which is fair condition all the way to Collector Grade which is excellent condition and contains all original parts (starting at $1,595).

If you are excited to get your hands on your M1 Garand surplus rifle there are a few more things you need to know. First and most important is there aren’t many left. There are rumors of the CMP holding stock back for when demand dies down but no one knows for sure. According to the CMP M1 Garand sales page the only M1 Garands available are Field Grade and Service Grade manufactured by Harrington and Richardson. Harrington and Richardson M1 Garands are post war manufacture but you are still getting one of the few remaining Garands before they are gone. In my mind, it’s too late to be picky. I’d love a Springfield that was carried into the front but sadly those are not available.

There is a decent selection of sniper variants but that is out of the scope of what I wanted to cover as they are very expensive and missing parts.

The last thing I wanted to mention was the eligibility requirement. Most are straightforward but I wanted you to be aware of a few things as I list these that most will find helpful. For more details please visit the CMP eligibility page:

  1. Proof of U.S. Citizenship – U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization, or any official government document that shows birth in the U.S. or states citizenship as U.S.
  2. Membership in CMP Affiliated Organization: You must provide a copy of your current membership card or other proof of membership. (The CMP has a nice database to look up affiliated organizations. Being a member of the NRA doesn’t count.)
  3. Marksmanship or other Firearms Related Activity: You must provide proof of participation in a marksmanship related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures. Please read the entire list of what qualifies you for this. There are a lot of options.
  4. Be Legally Eligible to Purchase a Firearm
  5. New York customers have a special section due to new laws but the short of it is you need to ship your M1 Garand to a FFL dealer.
  6. Read over the entire Order form that also acts as Certification and Agreement to various statements. You will need to have a page notarized. You must sign it in front of the Notary.

I hope that helps those of you who are looking to purchase an M1 Garand. The CMP is new to me but everyone has high regard for them so add in a donation to help them out. I’m sure they would appreciate it since everyone there is a volunteer.