I’d say about 90 percent,” said Frank Bihn, an armorer at the CMP North Store located in Camp Perry, Ohio. While spending a day at the shop perusing the racks of rifles, I had struck up a conversation with Frank about the types of customers he sees there. “Most of the customers we get in here break the rifles down and check serial and drawing numbers to get the exact gun they want,” Frank replied. I nodded with a smile and went back to inspecting a rifle I had in my hand. So how is it that I was standing in front of row after row of M1 Garands with the opportunity to purchase the one of my choice (and for a very reasonable price, to boot)? It was all thanks to the efforts of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The CMP is a U.S. government-chartered program that works to encourage the citizens of this country to develop rifle-shooting skills as well as promote firearms safety training. Although CMP was administered by the U.S. Army from the turn of the century to the 1990s, in 1996 the Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice & Firearms Safety (CPRPFS) was created to take over management of the program. As a result, the CMP is no longer a U.S. government agency and receives no federal funding (apart from the U.S. Army’s donation of surplus rifles).
So, who exactly can take advantage of this opportunity? To qualify, potential buyers must (1) be 18 years of age or older and legally eligible to purchase a firearm, with purchaser information submitted to the FBI National Instant Criminal Check System for approval; (2) provide proof of citizenship, which can be done with a U.S. birth certificate, passport, proof of naturalization or any official government document that shows birth in U.S. or citizenship; (3) show membership in a CMP-affiliated organization; (4) show proof of marksmanship or other firearms-related activity; and (5) adhere to all pertinent state and locality eligibility requirements for a rifle purchase. If you are considering acquiring one, it is important to understand that the vast majority of Garand rifles have been arsenal-rebuilt, refinished, re-barreled and repaired as needed over the past half-century. They show service wear and rarely have all original parts. The rifles sold by CMP are genuine U.S. government rifles that are thoroughly inspected, headspaced and repaired as needed to ensure that you purchase a safe and functional rifle. They also do not have any import marks. If you qualify, purchasing one is simple. Fill out the required paperwork and payment information, put in your order, and wait for it to be filled and shipped directly to your home. The rifles are sold directly to you and are not required to be transferred through a federal firearms license. Orders are filled on a first come, first served basis with no option for “hand picking,” and shipping is $24.95. Rifles are available in a range of grades and prices. Although demand for these CMP rifles has been strong throughout the life of the program, the volume of orders in recent months has become nearly overwhelming. As a result, those placing mail orders are facing extensive wait times…
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