Tag Archives: CMP

Post-9/11 M1911s Downrange

Other than a couple of heirlooms that are steeped in family history, the most cherished firearm in my collection is the Colt M1911A1 mixmaster that I received through the Civilian Marksmanship Program via the “Army’s attic” at Anniston Army Depot.

I just refer to it as “No.24” for obvious reasons. Gotta love the 19-year old PFC that probably put the dummy mark on it…

So far about 20,000 of these veteran pistols have been transferred to the CMP over the past few years from the Army’s stockpile of about 100K held in long-term arsenal storage at Anniston. The guns, remnants of more than two million produced for the Army between 1912 and 1945, were withdrawn from front-line duty in the mid-1980s, replaced by the M9 Beretta.

However, to be clear, some of these guns were very much in recent 21st-century martial service.

Retired Green Beret Jeff Gurwitch covers the “re-adoption” of the M1911A1 by U.S. Special Forces after 9/11 in the below very interesting video. The half-hour piece covers the timeline, how it was employed, accessories, and its performance in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Meet No. 24

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but back in 2015, I was one of the first people in gun media– or any media for that matter– to cover the story of Alabama Congressman Mike Rogers’s effort to include an amendment to the NDAA while the Pentagon spending policy bill was in the House Armed Service Committee. Rogers, who represented the district of Northern Alabama that included the Annison Army Depot and CMP’s headquarters operations, found out that the Army had 100,000 surplus World War II-era M1911s in long-term storage at a cost of $200,000 per year, or about $2 per gun.

The amendment: save Uncle Sam the cash by transferring the guns to the CMP for sale to qualified members of the public, with the funds generated used to support worthwhile marksmanship projects ranging from JROTC to 4H and the National Matches.

I continued to cover the story, which grew legs and captured the imagination of– no joke– millions according to the analytics. Over the course of the next half-decade, I would file at least a dozen updates for a couple different publications. In 2017, after an initial batch had been greenlighted for transfer by the Obama administration (!) on a visit to the “Army’s attic” the Army Museum Support Center at Anniston Army Depot, I was shown crates packed and filled with M1911s pulled from the military’s museum stocks that were in excess of the service’s needs, pending shipment to the CMP once the handgun program got underway.

The thing is, 19,000 people got excited enough about the first round of M1911 sales from CMP and submitted packets for the first 8,000 guns transferred. With that, I felt I had little to no chance of getting one for myself, so I did not wade into the deep waters of trying to get one of these old warhorses through the program.

C’est la vie, right?

However, as CMP announced their Round 2 of the M1911 program earlier this year, I cautiously allowed myself to get optimistic that, perhaps, my chance had come as the really rabid collectors had already shot their bolt– CMP only allows an applicant to get one of these pistols– in the initial go-round.

So I spent a day getting my packet together, sent it in during the open window (January 4 to March 4, 2021), and sat back to wait. On 6 April, I got an email saying I had a randomly generated number (20581) and found out that the current batch of orders was going to start at 20,000.

Nice.

Then, on 20 April, I got the call. All three grades (Service, Field, Rack) were available, so I selected Service– the best– and asked politely for a Colt.

The very next day (after a mandatory two NICS checks!) I walked away from my FFL with this:

The M1911A1 has a Colt GI Military frame, SN 904594, of 1943 production with GHD inspector’s stamp (left) complete with a dummy mark (!) and ordnance wheel/US Property/M1911A1 US Army stamps on the right.

Rather than the original slide, it has a “hard” GI replacement slide with FSN (Federal Stock Number) #7790314 M (magnaflux inspection) TZ (IMI Israeli, who supplied such slides under contract to the U.S.) with a minty chrome-lined barrel marked with FSN #7791193 91. The plastic grips have “24” rack number.

Although I could find no arsenal rebuild stamps, I am theorizing that the gun was reworked at Anniston late in its life, probably in the 1980s, then put back in storage.

I’m totally happy. It was worth the wait.

The 7791193 series barrels have a good reputation for accuracy. I’ll let you know…

New to the Gun Circuit: The Shooting Sports Showcase

So I am back from a brand-new firearm industry event, this year’s inaugural Shooting Sports Showcase. In a year where SHOT Show was canceled, the SSS was like a breath of fresh air.

The event was put on by the Professional Outdoor Media Association, the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association, and the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers and held at the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s superb 500-acre Talladega Marksmanship Park on Monday.

Like you really need an excuse to hit the CMP Range…

While small compared to SHOT– there were only about 60 exhibitors– you still got to spend lots of quality time with the big boys like HK, Glock, and Sig Sauer, but also with the smaller guys like Sol Invictus, Century, and Taylor’s.

And they all had lots of interesting stuff on hand.

Looking forward to next year’s Showcase already.

Rifle Shooting a lost art…in 1913

Sailors and Marines from the ship’s crew at the rifle range, Auckland, New Zealand, circa 1904-1906. Copied from the USS Baltimore album, page 47. NH 101377

A full-page feature in the May 18, 1913 edition of the New York Sun, entitled, “Rifle Shooting Becoming a Lost Art in America” decried the poor state of American marksmanship just less than 15 months before the start of the Great War and slightly under four years from U.S. involvement in said conflict. The lack of American riflemen at the time seemed apparent, despite the best efforts of the nascent Department of Civilian Marksmanship, today’s CMP, established by the Army in 1903.

From the article:

Records of the War Department show that in 1910, 29,230 members of the regular army, exclusive of those in the Philippines, received rifle Instruction, of whom 17,473 failed to make the qualifying score. In the organized militia, 51,749 received rifle Instruction, of whom 20,630 failed to qualify as marksmen.

There were also 40,000 National Guardsmen who were not even taken to a range. Out of the 25,320 students of colleges and universities supporting military departments only 7,710 received instruction In rifle practice, during the year. Including 39,400 sailors and marine sand 3,000 members of civilian rifle clubs, the aggregate number of men between the ages of 18 and 45 who practiced with the service arm during one year was 131,089, out of a male population within the enlistment ages of 16,000,000, or less than 1 percent.

I wonder what the author would think today?

CMP, Sponsors Support Junior Marksmanship Through Affiliate Discount Purchase Program

Via CMP:

“The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has teamed up with other marksmanship organizations to create an opportunity for Affiliated Clubs and individuals to receive third-party rifles and pistols (many at discounted prices) to help jumpstart programs for schools, junior clubs, teams, and camps.

The CMP Affiliate Purchase Program accommodates .177 caliber precision and sporter air rifles and .22 caliber smallbore rifles, along with a selection of air pistols. The products are intended for junior athletes in target training and competition preparation at the beginning and intermediate levels.

Equipment now available includes:

  • .22 Target Rifles     

Savage Arms offers .22 rifles at a significant discount:

  • Savage Mark I-FVT, single shot, in right and left hand for $257.00 each (regular price $480.00)
  • Savage Mark II-FVT, 5-round magazine, in right and left hand for $257.00 each (regular price $479.00)

(These rifles may be purchased by clubs only, not offered to individuals, but are an excellent deal.)

Additionally, Creedmoor offers the Anschutz 1903 right-hand target rifle in .22 for $1595.00, though there is no discount for CMP clubs or individuals.

  • Air Pistols

 Pyramyd Air offers two air pistols:

  • Alfa Proj Competition PCP Pistol, .177 for $749.99 (regular price $799.99)
  • Air Venturi V10 Match Air Pistol, .177 for $239.99 (regular price $264.99)
  • Sporter Air Rifles

Daisy offers three different rifles, one at regular price and two at significant discounts:

  • Daisy 599 10 meter competition air rifle, $595.00 (no club or individual discount)
  • Daisy M887 Gold Medalist CO2 air rifle – Club and individual price, $305.00 (regular price $499.99)
  • Daisy Elite 753W, wood stock, pump air rifle –  Club and individual price $257.00 (regular price $449.99)
  • Daisy Elite 753S, black synthetic stock, pump air rifle – Club and individual price $194.00 (regular price 449.99)

Also, Pyramyd Air offers the Air Arms T200, .177 air rifle, for clubs and individuals for $525.00 (regular price $579.99).

  • Precision Air Rifles

Pyramyd Air offers three precision rifles, all available to both clubs and individuals at varying discounts.

  • FEINWERKBAU 500 10-meter air rifle, .177 –  Club and individuals price $1275.00 (regular price $1295.95)
  • Air Arms MPR .177 Air Rifle – Club and individual price $850.00 (regular price $999.49)
  • Anschutz 9015 Club Rifle – Club and individual price $1895.95 (regular price $2199.99)

UMAREX/Hammerli

  • Hammerli AR20 Air Rifle – Restricted to club sales, only $840.00 (regular price $969.99)

Delayed payment plans (with the exception of the Savage Mark I-FVT and the Savage Mark II-FVT) are available that allow payments for clubs over a two-year span (not open to individuals). Purchaser must have ordered over $500-worth of items in order to qualify for the delayed payment program.

With the boost from the Affiliate Purchase Program, the CMP hopes to provide suitable equipment for instructors and new marksmen, attract more interest by allowing others the chance to provide loaner guns, as well as assist others in overcoming the financial challenges that arise with starter programs.

Learn more about these rifles and pistols on each of our third-party supporter’s websites. Thank you to all of our sponsors for making it possible for more youth to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship skill and safety.

To place an order or to learn more, visit the CMP website at https://thecmp.org/clubs/cmp-affiliate-rifle-purchase/. You may also contact the CMP Club Sales Department at (419) 635-2141 ext. 753 or email clubrifle@thecmp.org. “

Looking to scratch that Garand itch?

CMP is offering their semi-rebuilt Special Rack Grade M1 for $650 with free shipping.

“The CMP Special Rack Grade (.30-06) M1 Garand, is a partially refurbished rifle with a refinished M1 receiver, new production Criterion barrel, new production American Walnut stock and handguards, and new web sling. The receiver is the only part of the rifle that has been refinished. The remainder of the other parts have NOT been refinished. The receiver will have heavy pitting above the wood line.”

Still, it is a tested and functional Garand with WWII/Korean War vintage GI parts and a new barrel, from about the only people who know what they are doing in the M1 world and makes a good shooter-grade rifle, something that is getting increasingly hard to find.

Want to know how many guns CMP has in the warehouse?

By the numbers from a recent 44-page GAO report on the government-chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program:

304,233 – The number of former military rifles the group sold to U.S. citizens from 2008 through 2017.

$196.8 million – The revenue from those sales, or about $650 per rifle.

279,032 – The number of rifles transferred by the Army to CMP at the same time (note the less than 1:1 replacement in inventory).

$85.8 million – The cost of the program’s marksmanship activities in the past decade, mostly promoting youth in the shooting sports nationwide

$3.6 million – CMP’s cost of the program providing free ceremonial rifles to veterans groups during the same time

$15.6 million – The non-profit’s expenses for 2017, ranging from targets and ranges to keeping the lights on to guarding the expansive warehouses and inspecting/repairing pallets of sometimes moody guns and ammo.

$0 – The number of taxpayer dollars the group has collected. The only support they have had from Uncle since 1997 has been through the transfer of surplus gear and guns.

228,791 – The number of rifles CMP had on hand in Aug. 2018.

More in my column at Guns.com

CMP got 8,000 M1911s. Guess how many order packets they received?

The plan to transfer some of the Army’s stockpile of vintage M1911 pistols to the public via the Civilian Marksmanship Program has been met with a big response.

On Tuesday, the federally chartered non-profit corporation tasked with promoting firearms safety and practice announced that they had received and were processing 19,000 packets submitted for a chance to acquire one of the classic .45ACP handguns. That’s more than twice the number of guns in the CMP’s warehouse.

And they may not be getting any more.

More in my column at Guns.com

The time machine that is Camp Perry

1908 California rifle team at Camp Perry, Ohio. The site of the National Shoot. 5×7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection via Shorpy.

When Camp Perry opened, the Krag Jorgensen rifle was still king of the range. It was not until 1908– as shown in the above photo– that enough of the Model 1903 rifles were available that they could be set aside for use in the National Matches.

Of interest in this photo from Perry in 1907 is the use by the shooter in the foreground of a Pope sight micrometer, attached to the rear sight elevation leaf. Harry Pope’s micrometers, unlike most of the several varieties that were made and sold, were intended to be left in place while the rifle was being fired. Photo via American Rifleman

At the 1907 National Matches, the rifle ranges accommodated 160 targets for shooting out to 1,000 yards, while the revolver targets (the M1911 was still a half-decade away from making an appearance at the match) numbered 5 each at distances of 15, 25, 50 and 75 yards.

US Army Rifle Team at the 1911 National Trophy Team Matches. Photo via Springfield Armory National Historic Site

Today the National Matches are a great deal more diverse and draw a slightly larger attendance, but one thing that hasn’t changed in the past 100 years is SAFS.

The Department of Defense first conducted the Small Arms Firing Schools (SAFS) as part of the National Matches at Camp Perry in 1918 and  Federal law continues to require the annual course– which now instruct nearly 1,000 pistol and rifle shooters each year in firearms safety and fundamental marksmanship skills.

The current token entry fee of $45.00 ($30.00 for juniors) provides SAFS shooters with classroom instruction, field training, live fire squadded practice session, entry to the M16 EIC Rifle Match, as well as ammo for the course. The winner gets a plaque. The top four get medals. All get a t-shirt, a lapel pin, and a memory to keep forever as their very own experience in the National Matches.

From CMP:

The Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) is a two-day clinic that includes a safety training and live fire portion (30 rounds) on the first day and an M16 Rifle Excellence In Competition (EIC) match on day two. The course of fire after five sighting rounds for the M16 EIC match consists of 10 shots slow fire prone in 10 minutes, 10 shots rapid-fire prone in 60 seconds, 10 shots rapid-fire sitting in 60 seconds and 10 shots slow fire standing in 10 minutes, all fired from the 200-yard line.

The two-day Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) is a two-day clinic at national matches, which often sees military instructors impart their knowledge to 1,000 or so budding marksmen. (Photo: CMP)

The program is designed for beginning marksmen or those looking to earn their first EIC points, which are earned and applied toward receiving a Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

 

Member of a shooting club? Want CMP to do a Small Arms Firing School there? Done

From CMP:

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is looking to expand the reach of its Small Arms Firing School beyond its regular schedule, which is held annually at the National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, the CMP Travel Games at Oklahoma City Gun Club, Camp Butner – North Carolina, CMP Talladega – Alabama, New England Games at Camp Ethan Allen – Vermont and the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona.

Currently, the CMP welcomes 400 to 800 attendees each year at the national Small Arms Firing School at Camp Perry as part of the National Matches.  CMP travel games SAFS programs serve between 40 and 100 participants per event. The CMP provides rifles and ammunition for all SAFS programs, home and away.

As a part of our firearms safety and marksmanship mission, with an emphasis on youth, the CMP is looking for a few more qualified sites around the U.S. to host the classroom program of instruction and 200-yard Excellence-In-Competition rifle match to reach those who lack the time or means to travel to a current CMP instruction site. The SAFS EIC rifle match is the only match which allows a beginning competitor to earn four leg points toward a Distinguished Rifleman Badge – the highest honor most marksmen seek to achieve in our sport. Firing the match is not a requirement of the class.

The CMP will provide instructional and administrative staffing to conduct the classroom activities, rifle match staging, squadding, firing, awards, and record-keeping.

SAFS Remote Location Training Course and Match Criteria

Classroom

  • Appropriate seating accommodations for the size of the group your club/range expects to accommodate – minimum 20, maximum 50 participants
  • Overhead lighting and electrical outlet(s) to supply laptop PC and projector
  • Projection screen and 6′ or 8′ demonstration table
  • Attendee accessibility, parking, restroom(s) in the vicinity
  • Participants age 16 and over

Rifle Range

  • CMP Affiliated Club preferred, but not mandatory
  • Minimum 10 firing points
  • Volunteers to assist with range safety, labor, firing line and target line maintenance
  • Porta-johns or restrooms, running water in the vicinity, preferred
  • Responsible range owner-operator/approved range superintendent, insurance coverage
  • Secured, established range fan, safety danger zone identified
  • 200-yard high power range with safety berms, range flags, easily-accessible roads, trails, etc.
  • Well-maintained pit-served targets or easily-accessible walk-up targets to accommodate standard NRA SR 200-yard targets and cardboard backers
  • Raised firing line, grass-covered, concrete or other suitable surface for three-position shooting
  • Range communication system preferred – loudspeakers, chief range officer tower, (or pickup truck bed). Range to pits communication if pit-equipped. (Communications equipment can be provided by CMP if necessary)
  • A medical facility, 911-ready, first-aid, medic in close proximity
  • Housing, hotel/motel/restaurant accommodations in the area for CMP staff and event attendees from out of town, etc.

If your range facility would like to be considered by the CMP to schedule a future Small Arms Firing School and rifle match and your facility meets the criteria listed above, respond via email to CMP special projects coordinator, Amy Cantu, at acantu@thecmp.org, or by phone at 419-635-2141, ext. 602.

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