Soldier Holding an M1 Garand MemorablePlaces Proudly Presents: The M1-Garand Rifle
An American Companion in Three Wars
Our Experiences With The CMP
(Civilian Marksmanship Program)
in 1999 and 2000

Page 2

Adopting An M1 Garand

Obtaining an M1 Garand Rifle from the Civilian Marksmanship Program is fairly painless. While it is an involved process as far as paperwork is concerned, it isn't really difficult. Besides, the extra paperwork is worth the effort considering you are getting a good price on a choice piece of American military history.

What You'll Need To Do

First you must meet some basic criteria in order to be able to be considered. This includes an age requirement, a citizenship requirement, membership in an affiliated firearm association, participation in marksmanship activities within the last 5 years (a requirement that is waived for several types of people), and of course most importantly you must legally be able to own a rifle. This last point is critical and the CMP does a criminal background check via the FBI NCIS on all applicants to assure that they are clean and eligible.

You will need to corroborate all of the above requirements by submitting lots of official paper, but gathering the documents shouldn't be too much trouble. The only thing that requires the aid of another person is that you need to get the paperwork notarized. That's It!

Garand Paperwork and cashier's check ready to go to the CMP photo (c)
Paperwork and a cashier's check ready to go to the CMP.

Since my father had been in the military and was over 60 years old he did not need to satisfy the marksmanship participation requirement. Because I had a huge set of commitments that quarter I had no time to shoot a qualification match I decided to actually buy my rifle through my dad. In addition, I was working 16 hour days (NEVER again) during this period and needed my weekends for sleep. I have had a ton of training in handgun and shotgun but sadly this sort of training does not count with the CMP it must be rifle marksmanship and it must be recorded. To be ethical and fair to the CMP we did inform them of our intentions and they apparently do not mind this sort of arrangement.

We Begin...

Our first personal interaction with the folks at CMP happened before we even mailed the paperwork in. Prior to sending in our order we telephoned the CMP and spoke to a very helpful lady named Jan who we asked a few technical questions about the application. These questions were clarified in a couple of minutes to our satisfaction. We also were unclear about ammo purchasing and asked if we had to receive the rifles before ordering the ammunition that CMP sells. Jan confirmed that we could order everything at the same time and told us the current wait was about six weeks for the rifles.

With all of our questions neatly and expertly answered we got right to work on the forms. It was almost time...

Special Requests?

The CMP does not generally give customers a chance to pick and choose what they desire insofar as serial numbers or specific rifles. The CMP's official documents said that customers really only had the choice between one of three 'gradations' of M1 Garands - namely; service grade, select grade, or collector grade.

The CMP described them as follows:

"SERVICE GRADE: In external appearance, these are average rifles in "military service" condition. Metal finish may be worn. The wood will be sound, but with probable dents, gouges and bruises. Parts and/or finish are not necessarily original, and may be mixed from different manufacturers. Bore condition measured by a throat erosion gauge will vary from 1 (new) to 5 (worn but serviceable). Limit of two per customer per calendar year. "

"SELECT GRADE: Same as Service Grade but initially picked out for nicer external appearance. Metal finish is very good to excellent, and the stock will have fewer dents, gouges and bruises. However, the main difference is assured bore condition: throat erosion will not exceed 2 (minor wear). If the gauge reading is greater than 2, a rifle is classified as Service Grade regardless of its external condition. Limit of one per customer per calendar year when available."

"COLLECTOR GRADE: Either of two criteria qualifies a rifle for this grade: originality or scarcity. Condition is secondary: the rifle is not likely to appear "new", and in fact may look no better than some rifles in Service or Select grades. Bore condition may gauge from 1 to 5. Limit of one per customer per calendar year, when available."

Though the application notes that special requests are not honored, we had learned from members of a couple of online forums that, in practice, The CMP will try to grant 'minor requests'. This generally only holds true if the crate of rifles the CMP is processing at the time of the order matches something special a customer has asked for. In practice what this means is that if you ask for a specific serial number or something quite rare you don't stand a chance in hell of getting it, but if you have a broad preference for something easy to satisfy you will likely have a better than average shot at obtaining it.

With this in mind we determined that the best bet for us was a pair of Service Grade rifles and we asked for either Winchester or Springfield Garand rifles. We further suggested that we'd like one from WWII and one of any other era but that it be in good shape. We also took the time to note that we "understood that the CMP could not go through a boxcar of weapons just to find 'perfection' for us and would be happy with whatever maker and era we received."

In go the applications

On October 29th 1999 we sent in our application along with a check for 2 rifles, 2 cases of ball ammunition, 2 cases of match grade ammo, and 2 CMP patches.

And there we began our anticipative vigil...

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Please feel free to explore the other sections of this website:
[About This Website] [How I Maintain My M1s] [CMP Program - Our Experience]
Our CMP M1 Garand Rifles] [CMP Ammunition] [M1 Parts Photographs & Nomenclature]
M1 Garand Accessories] [A Little Important Humor] [Links to Other M1 Garand Sites]

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