As a special Memorial Day themed post, I thought I’d give a rundown of cheapest way to get yourself the rifle you’ve seen in at least one movie today, if you do Memorial Day correctly.
There are, of course, easier ways to get your hand on an M1, simply purchasing at a gun show, or an LGS if they have one would be easy enough, and ordering online from gunbroker or a builder such as Fulton Armory would take just slightly more effort.
But if you want both the benefit of paying as little as $650 for an M1 that’s in guaranteed usable condition, the novelty of legally ordering a battle rifle direct to your door without going through an FFL, the Civilian Marksmanship Program is the only way to go. As an added bonus, you get to support a really great organization that was legislated into existence with a really great goal – getting surplus military arms into the hands of qualified US citizens in order to ensure the future of marksmanship and gun safety. Or, I guess, you can check out their actual mission statement. I was close enough.
Enough babbling. So, in order to make the cut, you need to meet similar requirements that you’d need to make any 4473 purchase, with 3 additional reqs:
- Be a US Citizen, Over 18 Years of Age
- Be a member of a CMP Affiliated Organization
- Show proof of Marksmanship or Firearms Related Activity
A lot of folks see the $650-750 M1s and love the idea, but balk at the effort needed to order. But – it’s not really that hard, here’s the easiest path:
- Download an order packet here.
You’ll want to fill as much of this as you can as a fillable form, then print the whole thing. Pro-tip: Use the checklist page as you go.
- Easiest way to take care of the Citizenship and Date of Birth proof, is with a US Passport or Passport Card. Make a copy of it on a copy machine, print, and put that in with the packet. Done.
- CMP Affiliated club – you may a member of one, and not even know it, esp. if you’re a member of a shooting range or club, double especially if they do any NRA High Power / Service Rifle or CMP matches.
If NOT, which will still be the case for most people, there’s a quick and easy to this, and it’ll only cost you $25. Join the Garand Collectors Association here. Even spending $25, you’re still getting a great deal. Heck, you’re even going to get 2nd Day FedEx shipping on that rifle for no cost.
In any case, once you’ve confirmed you’re in an affiliated club, or made it so, either print a copy of your membership card, or just the membership page of the website (they’re not too picky), and throw it in your order packet.
- Marksmanship or other Firearms Related Activity.
Note: Exempt from this requirement if over 60 years old.
Alright, so this may either be the easy one, or the involved one, depending on your situation. If you’ve got a CHL / License to Carry, you’re good to go. Copy and print it, shuffle into the order packet, and you’re done.
If you do not have a CHL / LTC, you’ll have to meet this one some other way. Current or past Military or LE service meets this requirement. Copy a relevant ID card or DD214 and you’re good to go.
Otherwise, there are a few other options, but the easiest is to print one of these, head to your local range, and get an RSO to sign off for you. Congrats, the hardest part is over.
- Have that form all together, make sure you didn’t accidentally leave any original items in there (they don’t want your passport), get it an a document mailer, and take it somewhere with a notary. UPS stores are a good bet because you can just send from there, but any kind of shipping / postal shop is a good bet so you can get page 2 notarized and then get the whole thing shipped in one go.
- Send to:
1401 COMMERCE BLVD
ANNISTON, AL 36207
- Wait. Okay, actually this is the hard part. They’re pretty full up on orders, so much so, that I’m always astounded they even HAVE any surplus Garands left. If you don’t want to wait *that* long, get a Field Grade or buck up and get a Special Grade. Service Grades, the current “best” condition USGI barreled rifles you can get, currently have ~ 2 month wait.
The neat part: once you’ve done the above, if you decide to make another order from the CMP in the following 3 years, you don’t need to do any of the above again. You can just give ’em a call, tell them which grade rifle you want, and read them your credit card number. You will also be “in the system” for things other than M1s. More on that below.
The CMP is currently processing a has just started selling a big batch of rifles that we recovered from the Philippines. Here’s a really interesting video on all that went into that:
Stay tuned for later posts about finishing / oiling that new production CMP marked stock you’re very likely to get.
Additionally, starting next month, surplus 1911s will be a thing, but expect a pretty long wait and possibility you wont make the cut, as they’ve only been authorized to sell a relatively small number of these per year, at least at first. Maybe that will be increased in a later NDAA, depending on what congress looks like next year.