Colt 1911 CMP courtesy

The Saga of the CMP 1911 Pistol

The Epic Saga of the CMP 1911 Pistol starts over 100 years ago, when the Browning design was adopted by the United States military as side arm in 1911.  In that time since, the 1911 pistol had been used to win two world wars and countless other conflicts across the globe.

Just before the adoption of the 1911 pistol, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) was created by an act of the United States Congress. The purpose of the CMP to provide civilians an opportunity to learn marksmanship skills. The CMP also restores, refurbishes and redistributes unused surplus military firearms to eligible US civilians.

In 1986 the United States military began to phase out the 1911 pistol as a primary sidearm, replacing the primary sidearm with the Baretta 92fs, or M9.  Since then the unused, but not antiquated, 1911 Pistols have been sitting in government storage. These pistols have sat awaiting their fate in this epic saga.

In 2016 when then President Obama signed (renewed) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the CMP was to receive up to 100,000 surplus 1911 pistols.  The gun owner community was in celebration. Many gun owners thought they would have a chance to buy historical firearms.  However the festivities were short lived. The transfer never took place.

Only last month President Trump signed the NDAA which authorized the Army’s secretary to transfer up to 10,000 1911 pistols per year. The gun owner community again celebrates in anticipation of the release of these 1911’s.  However the story hasn’t ended just yet.

In early December, the CMP released a statement which reads…

To all CMP constituents:


The CMP Board of Directors has discussed at length how the sales of 1911s would be handled, if the CMP were to ever receive them from the United States Army.


Some preliminary decisions:


  1. Decisions concerning the grade and pricing of the 1911s will not be made until inspection has occurred of a substantial quantity which will take an estimated 150 days post receipt.
  2. All laws pertaining to the sale of 1911s by CMP will be strictly obeyed.
  3. Potential purchasers will have to provide to CMP a new set of documents exhibiting:  1) proof of U.S. Citizenship, 2) proof of membership in a CMP affiliated club, 3) proof of participation in a marksmanship activity, 4) a new form 2A with notary, 5) successful completion of a NICS background check, 6) a signed copy of the 01 Federal Firearms License in which the 1911 will be transferred to.
  4. The CMP customer will be required to complete a form 4473 in person and successfully complete another NICS check by the recipient FFL holder before the pistol can be transferred.
  5. Qualified CMP customer will only be allowed to purchase one 1911 per calendar year.
  6. No 1911s available in the CMP stores, or on line, only mail order sales.
  7. CMP will set the date in which it will accept orders for the 1911s. The date will be posted to the world.
  8. Orders will only be accepted via mail order delivery.
  9. Orders will only be accepted post marked on the date or after, no early orders.
  10. Once CMP receives 10,000 orders, customer names will be loaded into the Random Number Generator.
  11. The Random Number Generator will provide a list of names in sequence order through a random picking process to CMP.
  12. Customers will be contacted in the sequence provided by the Random Number Generator.
  13. When the customer is contacted a list of 1911 grades and pricing options that are available will be offered for selection of one.
  14. As CMP proceeds down the sequenced list less grade and pricing options will be available. Again, this done completely random.


Mark Johnson

Chief Operating Officer

Civilian Marksmanship Program


Please notice the key phrase, ” if the CMP were to ever receive them from the United States Army”. As of the time of this writing no pistols have yet been transferred to the CMP.  This is not the end of the saga of the CMP 1911, but just another chapter.



Thomas Kral

Thomas Kral is an avid gun rights advocate being involved in the movement in Illinois since 2012 and became one of the very first Concealed Carry instructors to be certified by the Illinois State Police in 2013.

Thomas is also a proud father and husband, having said, "The only things more important than 2nd Amendment issues and gun rights are my wife and kids."

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