When the federal government finally announced that, yes, the Civilian Marksmanship Program would get hold of surplus 1911s, I and a lot of other people were pretty stoked. Finally, all those 1911s that were sitting in storage could finally get into the grubby little paws of us in the civilian sector, no longer to be ignored and neglected.
It’s taken a few months, but now the CMP is just about ready to start selling.
“Some of those are anticipated to be unusual and worthy of being auctioned,” said Mark Johnson, CMP’s chief operating officer on Wednesday. “The remaining number will be sold based on a computerized Random Number Generator.”
The guns will be in four grades:
Service Grade $1050. Pistol may exhibit minor pitting and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.
Field Grade $950. Pistol may exhibit minor rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips are complete with no cracks. Pistol is in issuable condition.
Rack Grade $850. Pistol will exhibit rust, pitting, and wear on exterior surfaces and friction surfaces. Grips may be incomplete and exhibit cracks. Pistol requires minor work to return to issuable condition.
Auction Grade (Sales will to be determined by auctioning the pistol). The condition of the auction pistol will be described when posted for auction.
It should be noted that the grade is close to, if not under, current market prices for U.S. military 1911s. For example, the current Blue Book value of a Remington-Rand made 1911– the most common maker who cranked out more than a million such pistols in WWII– is listed as $900 in 60 percent condition.
This is true. However, let’s also remember that the Blue Book value is more of a factor for collectors, not shooters.
The CMP is supposed to be a program about putting guns in the hands of Americans so they can practice shooting. The idea is that this would increase American marksmanship as a whole, which would naturally benefit the Department of Defense in the long run. It’s not about putting guns in collectors hands.
As such, these prices are more than a little high in many shooters’ minds. A Rack grade is about the same for a new Inland 1911, one that doesn’t have rust and is a pretty faithful reproduction. A Taurus PT1911 is a couple hundred buck cheaper and has more bells and whistles. The downside to that one is that it’s a Taurus.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people who will jump at these guns. Hell, I’m probably one of them. The history aspect alone will drive many to buy them.
However, I also see the point of those who aren’t going to pay this kind of money for what is ultimately a used gun. Those folks don’t care about the history, they’re looking for shooters. At these prices, though, that’s not what the CMP is providing, not by a longshot.
For those interested in one of these guns, the CMP has eligibility requirement for purchase. Check them out.