The Civilian Marksmanship Program has been providing arms to civilian match shooters and riflemen for over 110 years, but one weapon left off the list of civilian-legal surplus firearms the CMP is allowed to sell to civilian shooters is the venerable 1911 handgun. However, that may soon change. For the past couple of years, variations of the National Defense Authorization Act have been proposed that would change the law establishing the CMP to allow them to sell 1911 handguns to the American public, but so far none of these versions have passed and become law. The most recent version of the NDAA provides for the sale of 1911 handguns (albeit in a different manner than the rifles, i.e. through an FFL) through the organization, and is poised to be signed in the next week. Hognose of WeaponsMan reports:
According to Al Jazeera, which is bent out of shape because the language forbidding the closure of Guantanamo remains, the President will sign the changed National Defense Authorization Act.
The President’s reasons were many and various. The two he most often gave were the use of off-budget “Overseas Contingency Operations” funds to circumvent military spending caps, and the maintenance of spending caps on domestic programs.
The Republican Congressional leadership yielded to the Democrats across the board, discarding the budget sequester principle and going on a spending spree in domestic/welfare spending. Ironically, the OCO money remains, and is increased — but the increase is tapped off for domestic spending also.
The Guantanamo language remains, and more to our point, so does the CMP transfer language. (We discussed it recently, and explained the many gotchas in the text. The law limits CMP sales to a max of 10,000 firearms a year).
The resultant sale of 1911 handguns to the American public, even at a relatively low rate of 10,000 per year, could open the door for historical handgun competitions, perhaps based on a variant of IPSC or USPSA rules, in the same way that National Rifle matches have been cultivated by the CMP. As Hognose writes in his post, the signing of this bill into law does not mean that 1911 handguns will immediately go up for sale on the CMP website immediately; the pistols will have to be transferred from Army inventory to the Program, first, and the new bill requires the CMP to have an FFL to do this, which was previously not necessary for transfers of rifles from the Army to the Program.