The US Army is expected to transfer about 8,000 surplus M1911 pistols next year to the federally chartered Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP), helping the firearms to land in the hands of civilians.
This year’s $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), recently approved by the US Congress and awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature, would prompt potentially the largest transfer of government stock of vintage military surplus handguns to the public.
Added as an amendment introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers, one of the sections in the legislation details how the US Army’s iconic 45-caliber M1911/M1911A1 pistols can be transferred to the government’s marksmanship program, which seeks to educate the public about firearm training and safety.
To purchase a firearm from the CMP, an individual must be a “qualified purchaser.” The process of becoming one is in fact quite simple: if you are a US citizen you can enter one of more than 5,000 shooting clubs across the country affiliated with the program, obtain a proof of marksmanship-related activity — and that’s pretty much it.
The two-year pilot program would cap the number of transfers to the CMP at 10,000 per year and require an annual report to Congress from the Army Secretary that must include the number of pistols transferred and sold, as well as information on any crimes committed with the pistols. If the program continues after review it could eventually mean the transfer of the Army’s entire M1911 collection to the program.
“We are waiting patiently and quietly to see how the NDAA 2018 turns out,” CMP’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson wrote last month in a note to customers. “All prescribed steps have been taken by CMP to fulfill the mandated requirements for receipt of the 1911s from the United States Army.”
The M1911 joined the service in 1911 as a standard-issue sidearm and saw use in every conflict in which US armed forces fought, including the two World Wars. It was eventually replaced in 1985 with the Beretta M9. But the wheel never stops turning, and now the M9 is being replaced by Sig Sauer’s P320 pistol as part of the Modular Handgun System program.
As part of the FY 2016 NDAA the Obama administration authorized the Army to send up to 10,000 of the.45 caliber pistols out of their estimated stock of 100,000 to the CMP during a one-year pilot program, but the effort didn’t result in any actual sales, Guns.com reported.
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