Believe it or not, the federal government was once more interested in increasing the shooting skill of American civilians than stripping them of their rights (or denying the importation of classic rifles).

Part of the effort to make sure Americans could hone these skills was the creation of the Office of the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) in 1903, which was the forerunner of today’s Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

Today, the CMP is probably best known for the youth marksmanship programs they support, the long-range shooting competition at CMP North (Camp Perry, Ohio), and the sale of surplus USGI rifles (M1 Garands, M1903 Springfields, M1917 Enfields, M1 carbines) to CMP-affiliated club members.

The overwhelming majority of the USGI rifles they sell are the battle-scarred veterans of two or more wars, often repaired and refinished multiple times, and as you may expect, they sometimes require a little tender loving care. Up until now, that meant attempting to find a local gunsmith who may or may not be familiar with the rifle, and who may or may not use USGI-spec parts.

CMP South, in Anniston, Alabama (where more than one person I know has made a pilgrimage to wander the aisles and personally select the M1 Garand of their dreams), has now added a custom shop:

Effective October 1, 2013, the CMP Custom Shop will open for business, providing a wide variety of repair, upgrade and custom services for a wide range of U.S. Military rifles, specifically those issued in early eras.

The CMP Custom Shop will be able to perform virtually any normal upgrading, accurizing, customizing and refinishing (not to mention regular repairs and troubleshooting) to the types of rifles that we are currently selling or have sold in the recent past.

CMP will specialize in working on the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine, 1903 and 1903A3 Springfield, the 1917 Enfield and the Krag. Other rifles like the Remington 40X, Mossberg 44 and H&R Model 12 can also be serviced if needed.

The shop will only work on the USGI contractor-made rifles listed above, and will not work on commercial reproductions, handguns, or modern rifles (M14s /M1As, AR-15s, etc).

The shop has already posted a list of services.

This is very welcome news, ensuring that the millions of shooters of these military classics get the best care possible from the men and women who know these rifles the best.