With anticipation continuing to build over its sale of the Army’s surplus 1911 pistols, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) has provided another update to clarify a few points in its original breakdown of the sale process that raised eyebrows among potential customers.

One aspect of the program that garnered some attention is the fact that buyers will be forced to pass two separate National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) checks. In its latest update, the CMP cites two reasons for this. Here they are:

First Reason: The first NICS check makes sure the customer can legally possess the 1911 type pistol prior to shipping it to the local 01, 02, or 07 FFL dealer. The CMP, Congress, and the United States Army do not want the 1911 to have to be shipped back to CMP 1911 if the purchaser is not legal to possess. The more in transit the pistol is, the more likely it could be lost or stolen. The second NICS check is performed by the local 01,02, or 07 FFL in accordance with their standard transfer procedures.

Second Reason: CMP’s enabling legislation mandated by Congress specifies that the purchaser “successfully pass a thorough and complete background check”, i.e. NICS. CMP cannot turn any firearm over to the purchaser until it receives a “proceed” from NICS, the local FFL can turn the pistol over after 72 business hours have elapsed if they have not heard back from NICS. Turning the pistol over after 72 hours and not getting a “proceed” does not satisfy CMP’s enabling legislation mandated by Congress. This leaves CMP no choice but to have a NICS check done and get a “proceed” to satisfy its enabling legislation, before shipping to the local 01, 02, or 07 FFL.

The potential sale price is another sticking point with prospective buyers. While no official price tag has been announced, Steve Cooper, the GM and marketing manager for CMP North, told The Gun Writer in an interview that he expects the surplus 1911 pistols to probably go for between $800-$1,000 each. Presumably after getting feedback regarding this, the CMP sought to clarify its position. Here’s what the organization now states:

Concerning sale price of the 1911s: CMP has been selling M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, 1903s, .22s, etc. for 21+ years and we have never taken advantage of anyone. CMP is not going to start price gouging people now with the 1911s. The 1911s will be priced at fair market value just like our M1 Garands. The CMP’s enabling legislation directs sales of items at fair market value.

The CMP says the surplus 1911 pistols “cannot be transferred to 03 FFL (curio and relic) license. BATF and the United States Army prefer the second background check be performed by a ‘store front’ FFL dealer.” It also states that there will be an all-new 1911 order form and a 1911 page on the CMP website. In addition, there will be a dedicated 1911 FFL fax number and email address for the FFL holder to send the FFL with the customer name included. The customer will have to send a new order packet that includes all of the qualifying criteria.

The CMP is careful to stress that there won’t be any “advantage or disadvantage” for any buyers.

Everyone will be a new customer, everyone starts with no advantage or disadvantage. CMP 1911 is an FFL governed operation and is a separate entity from CMP and has to have its own record keeping operation with no ties to the old CMP records.

To read the latest update regarding the sale of the surplus 1911 pistols in full, visit

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