If you’re excited about the possibility of the U.S. Army transferring its surplus M1911 pistols to the Civilian Marksmanship Program for sale to the general public but find yourself wondering exactly how this is all going to go down, a clearer picture is starting to emerge thanks to a recent CMP email update.
The message starts off by stating that decisions regarding grade and pricing of the milsurp pistols won’t be made until after the CMP has inspected a substantial quantity of them, a process the organization says will take around 150 days after initial receipt.
The CMP then says that the laws pertaining to the sale of the guns will be “strictly obeyed,” meaning potential buyers will have to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, proof that he or she is a member of a CMP-affiliated club and proof of marksmanship activity. Purchasers will also have to successfully pass a NICS background check and provide a signed copy of your dealer’s FFL license where the gun will be transferred to. After that, you’ll have to fill out a 4473 in person and pass a second NICS check done by the FFL holder before you can get your hands on the pistol.
Continuing on, a qualified customer will be allowed to purchase only one surplus M1911 pistol per calendar year, and it’ll be mail-order only. No 1911s will be available in CMP stores or online. The CMP says the date at which it’ll start accepting mail orders will be “posted to the world.”
Once the organization receives 10,000 mail orders, it’ll load the customer names into a “random number generator” which will produce a sequenced list of names to the CMP through a “random picking process.” Customers will then be contacted in that sequence and then be presented with “a list of 1911 grades and pricing options that are available.”
The CMP says the grade and pricing options decrease the further down the list it goes.
Steve Cooper, the GM and marketing manager for CMP North, told The Gun Writer last week that he expects these surplus M1911 pistols—of which there are around 100,000, with 10,000 to be sold annually—to go for between $800-$1,000 each.
“It’s hard to say exactly, but a good guess will be around $1,000 minimum,” he said. “One reason for this is that the 1911 is a very valuable pistol. Even though they may be shot out or busted up, we don’t want them falling into the hands of people who will just leave them in a glove box. We want a perceived value — more of an heirloom. We don’t want them considered a standard sidearm. All we need is to have someone commit a liquor store robbery with one and then we’ll be held accountable.
“Their values might be a little bit less, but we want some sort of threshold to prevent anyone from coming in off the street and plunking down $400,” Cooper continued. “I would guess they’d sell for $800 to $1,000 but they’ll go by grade like our M-1s — service grade to collector grade. The rarer ones — ones with all matching numbers or ones carried by celebrities or heroes with provenance, will go to our auction house.”