The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has an ongoing process to sell some 8,000 U.S. Government 1911 and 1911a1 .45 ACP pistols to the “qualifying” public. They first leaked news of their intention to sell the guns which came from the Army Museum System and the Defense Logistics Agency Long Term Reserve way back in 2016. It took two years for them to actually offer the pistols for sale to the public at somewhat inflated prices. They are now in their “third phase” and are accepting applications to purchase the pistols (one to a customer thank you very much) from 01-30 September 2022. BTW, if you previously purchased one of these pistols from the CMP in the last four years… forget about it. You are all done. They got a lot of rules, don’t they?

Collectors hoping for WWII guns and Remington Rands have been successful, but no specific requests are accepted for manufacturer or date of manufacture etc.  Also, they all should have been routed through the arsenal re-work system between 1978-1982 and packaged for long term storage. So, chances of getting a pristine World War Two (or WW One) pistol are pretty rare.

You get what they send you after you meet the extensive qualifications to offer to buy one through the CMP system.  You must qualify to purchase (including documentation proving your worthiness to hold the holy grail of pistols), submit your application and money and then be put into a random number generator ostensibly on 01 October 2022 and if deemed to have met all the qualifications will be assigned a random number for sales/delivery.  Oh, and as for delivery, you can’t get the 1911 sent straight to your door like the CMP M-1 Garands, M-1 Carbines and 1917 Enfield’s and 1903 Springfields- and you can’t walk in and purchase the pistol at the CMP stores in Ohio and Alabama like you can with the rifles. All successful 1911 purchases have to be routed through your local FFL. 

The rules set forth to qualify to bid may seem pretty onerous, but they are not impossible to satisfy.  Rather than print them all here, let’s just bend the military moniker RTFM to RTFR- READ THE FRIGGIN RULES posted on the CMP website to insure your best chance for success- by 30 September 2022.

Here is current pricing from the CMP website:

“Service Grade $1250. Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition. Pistols may contain commercial parts.

Field Grade $1150. 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. Pistols may contain commercial parts.

Rack Grade $1050. 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 but is functional. Pistols may contain commercial parts.

Range Grade $1100. These are 1911 pistols for those that want a part of history and a shooter, not a collectable. These are 1911s that have been modified in some way and may have some commercial parts.  No two (2) pistols are alike, the modifications / parts could be any of the following: Night Sights, extended Beaver Tail, Rubber Grips, Barrels, Oversized Slide Release, Target Triggers, Adjustable Rear Sights, Tactical Match Hammer, Competition Grip Safety, Sight Rib, Slides, Checkered Front Strap, Ambidextrous Safety, Different Finishes. Some of the manufactures of these parts are: Bar-Sto, Wilson, Ed Brown, Pachmayer, Hogue, Caspian and Bomar.  

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. Pistols may contain commercial parts.

All pistols are inspected, and test fired by the CMP. The shipping cost is included in the price.”

There ya go- free shipping. Now who’s got the bargain for what the CMP calls a piece of history…that seems overpriced…and went through the arsenal refit process to replace worn parts and springs.  You can get name brand 1911’s on the market now with better metallurgy, designs and especially better sights and beaver tail safeties already built in for less than a thousand dollars. But if you want a real deal Army surplus .45, and it makes you happy, then good luck in the random draw!