Back in July we reported that the Civilian Marksmanship Programme was in line to receive 10,000 newly surplused M1911A1 pistols in 2018. With the United States Senate passing the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on the 18th November the bill will now be sent to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
For collectors, 1911 fans and the shooting community a couple of sections of the NDAA are important. First, Section 348 ‘Repurposing and Reuse if Surplus Army Firearms’, this states that in an effort to minimise storage costs all firearms “no longer actively issued for military service” currently held at the Defense Distribution Depot in Anniston, Alabama are to be repurposed or reused. How will the surplus small arms be repurposed? According to Section 348 they’ll be used in “the reforging of new firearms or their components” or melted down to make “force protection barriers and security bollards.”
But the good news is there are some important exceptions to the dirrective with “M–1 Garand, caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols, caliber .22 rimfire rifles” all being exempt from destruction. According to Section 1091 of the NDAA some of these weapons are destined to be transferred to the CMP.
Section 1091 calls for the “Transfer of Surplus Firearms To Corporation For the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety”. While the NDAA does not stipulate the transfer of any of the Army’s remaining surplus Garands, it explicitly mandates the transfer of at least 8,000, but no “more than 10,000 surplus caliber .45 M1911/M1911A1 pistols” during the 2018 fiscal year through to 2020.
At the same time the 2018 NDAA also repeals the 2016 pistol transfer pilot program. The Civilian Marskmanship Program are ready and waiting for the surplus 1911’s. On the 11th October, the CMP’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Johnson gave an update:
We are waiting patiently and quietly to see how the NDAA 2018 turns out. All prescribed steps have been taken by CMP to fulfill the mandated requirements for receipt of the 1911s from the United States Army. CMP is in a constant state of readiness. The CMP has no further information at this time.
With the passage of the bill and its imminent signing into law it looks like thousands of surplus 1911s will finally become available on the civilian market. But just when is unknown as the transferred pistols will need to be inspected, graded, test-fired and inventoried before they can be offered for sale.