The 1911 was the United States’ service pistol of choice for most of the 20th century. It was replaced by the Beretta M9 in the 1980s but despite the increase in magazine capacity, the Beretta just couldn’t win the hearts of the military like the 1911 and is currently being replaced by the M17 and M18 (both variants of a new modular handgun designed by Sig Sauer).
So right now there are around 10,000 1911s coming down the pike.
If you qualify, you’ll be allowed to buy one 1911 per calendar year but your name will first go into a lottery. As you can imagine, demand will be high for this weapon. For more information go to the Civilian Marksmanship Program which handles ex-military sales. According to The Tribunist, the CMP has a history of selling off government surplus to members of participating gun clubs. Their goal is to increase participation in shooting sports.They’ve had the 1911s for a while, but haven’t had a clear government mandate to sell them off.
According to The Tribunist, they also sell other surplus guns as they become available. M1 Garands and 1903 Springfields are their most popular offerings, though there is a push to bring thousands of M1 Carbines back from Korea. Those guns were left in service with the South Koreans after the war, and have been warehoused over there for years.
The bad news seems to be the price. CMP is pricing them at $800 – $1100 depending on condition which is a lot when you think you can get a good 1911 for around $500 – and it hasn’t been shot up on the range. I guess they’re selling these to collectors – and trying to self-police by only selling to “responsible” people.
The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic, magazine-fed, recoil-operated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. It was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The pistol’s formal designation as of 1940 was Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911 for the original model of 1911 or Automatic Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 for the M1911A1, adopted in 1924. The designation changed to Pistol, Caliber .45, Automatic, M1911A1 in the Vietnam War era.
The U.S. procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols in military contracts during its service life. The M1911 was replaced by the 9mm Beretta M9 pistol as the standard U.S. sidearm in October 1986, but due to its popularity among users, it has not been completely phased out. Modernized derivative variants of the M1911 are still in use by some units of the U.S. Army Special Forces, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
Designed by John Browning, the M1911 is the best-known of his designs to use the short recoil principle in its basic design. The pistol was widely copied, and this operating system rose to become the preeminent type of the 20th century and of nearly all modern centerfire pistols. It is popular with civilian shooters in competitive events such as USPSA, IDPA, International Practical Shooting Confederation, and Bullseye shooting. Compact variants are popular civilian concealed carry weapons in the U.S. because of the design’s relatively slim width and stopping power of the .45 ACP cartridge.