Uncle Sam is About to Sell 10,000 Surplus 1911s. Here’s How You Can Get One.


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.

From Wikipedia:

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.

  • Mikial

    The author fails to mention that CMP is pricing them at $800 – $1100 depending on condition to ensure only “responsible” people buy them. Sorry, but that’s way too much money for an old, shot out 1911 when you can buy new ones for less than that.

  • Re

    800 to 1100 bucks is a rip .we the public can buy a 911 cheaper. You can keep your guns at that price .keep paying storage on them .would be nice to have one in my collection .dont R.I.P. us off thinking we have to have one.

  • Papa Bear

    I noticed things have changed since I participated more than two decades ago Far too much Red Tape not to mention the prices. I was fortunate enough to purchase a brand new never fired M-1 Garand from the Springfield Armory for $50 I trained with an M-1 while I was in Boot Camp at PI shortly thereafter the M-1 was retired and the M-14 was the weapon used in Combat then the Matty Mattel M-16 came into service. Piece of JUNK at first now I suppose it’s OK but I prefer a battle rifle with a caliber starting with a 3!!

  • Papa Bear

    I have several 1911’s never paid more than $500 for any of them new out of the box!!

  • Moderator

    I’ll add it in. Thanks Mikial

  • concerned

    I have an Ithaca 1911 that has some custom work done to it that I bought in the 80s, I paid 350 bucks for it and love it to death its my favorite shooter. If I can get another WWll 1911 at the prices the CMP is asking I’ll jump at the chance and get one every year if I can, I am a collector.

  • Daniel F. Melton

    I’ve recently seen imports from the Philippines priced about $350 new. They just don’t have that “U.S. Government” stamp on ’em.

  • Daniel F. Melton

    I carried an M14 my first tour in VN. When they made me give it up I took up the M79 and I still won’t have one of them oversexed .22s.

  • Papa Bear

    Dan as far as I am concerned battle rifles should start with a .3. Fortunately my MOS often took me into areas where we weren’t supposed to be in the midst of plenty of the enemy,. Our teams elected to carry the AK (I really don’t like that platform) and if we had to use them the enemy thought they were shooting at their own as the round makes a distinctive pop as it breaks the sound barrier as the M16 is a high pitched “snap”

    I have fabricated several AR platforms 5.56x 45mm 7.62x 24mm .300 Blackout same in a pistol 10″ barrel which I find perfect for home defense 7.62x51mm and the .458 SoCom
    I have a captured AK and I find the .300 Blackout round to be superior in ballistics maybe because I custom hand load every caliber I own except .22LR

  • Daniel F. Melton

    I’m in agreement as to the caliber, but I still cannot tolerate that plastic toy.

  • Papa Bear

    All my AR Platforms are forged 7075-T6 aircraft grade aluminum. Nothing “Plastic” about those the stocks are made of dense carbon fiber ans stronger that the standard m-14 I have to say the AR-10 is heaver than the M-14 with reduces recoil to the point of not having any. Quite a few innovations have come about since the “Matty Mattel” that was issued in 1966

  • Daniel F. Melton

    I’ve seen too many jammed on the battlefield 69-71, and personally had two different M16s malf while I was at Ft Carson. I don’t doubt there have been improvements. Anything that could be done to that pos would be an improvement.

  • Papa Bear

    When I was in Vietnam 1964 through 1968 I never experienced any malfunction with any of my weapons. Well all but the 5.56 any AR platform I have I would take into battle especially the .458 SoCom that beast hits hard and will penetrate body armor. The recoil is a bit nasty as one might expect!!