Why You Won’t Buy a 1911 Pistol From the CMP Any Time Soon


Why You Won’t Buy a 1911 Pistol From the CMP Any Time Soon

The rumor that the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will “soon” be selling military surplus 1911A1 pistols is floating around again. Unfortunately, it’s not true.

As is explained on the CMP website: “The federal law that established the new CMP authorizes the Corporation to sell surplus .30 and.22 caliber military rifles, parts, and ammunition to qualified U.S. citizens “for marksmanship.” Accordingly, the CMP sells government-surplus M1 Garands, .22 caliber target rifles, and small quantities of other rifles to qualified purchasers.”

This means that it literally takes an Act of Congress (i.e., a new law) to allow the CMP to sell handguns.

The latest version of the rumor of CMP 1911 sales comes from a blog report that Congress passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) back in May to change the CMP’s charter to allow handgun sales. The amendment would also have authorized the transfer of surplus handguns, primarily 1911A1 pistols, to the CMP for sale.

Unfortunately, as the Garand Thumb Blog pointed out, this info is outdated: While the House version of the NDAA did include this amendment, the Obama administration opposed it, and it is NOT in the current version of the bill. While the final version of the NDAA has yet to pass, the odds of the language allowing the CMP to sell handguns being reintroduced, and then passing, and then being signed by Obama, seem slim to none.

For now, the CMP continues its mission of promoting marksmanship through its training and competition programs, its involvement in the National Matches and other events, and its rifle sales programs. As far as the future of any 1911 sales, while “never say never,” remember that Congress has to pass a law allowing and the President has to sign it before it could happen.


I had a call and e-mail into the CMP, but when they didn’t get back to me, I put up the post. It turns out their phone system had changed and no one got my call. When they saw my e-mail they responded. Here’s their official statement:

“While the recent published article has some truths, the National Defense Appropriations Act has not passed the Senate as of yet. It is in committee to determine its final form. The House and Senate are not in session, nor will they be until September 8. We have no further knowledge on this matter.

Mark Johnson
Chief Operating Officer
Civilian Marksmanship Program”

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Rob Reed is a firearms instructor, collector and all around "projectile launcher enthusiast" in the Metro Detroit area. He also writes as the Michigan Firearms Examiner.

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